Here is a short summary of the different steps you need to go through to buy a car in Calgary when you are moving from Houston:

  1. While in Texas, buy Consumer Reports and select a model you like: Subaru Outback
  2. Go to the Subaru dealership in Calgary
  3. Learn that any car in Canada cost about $10,000 more than in the USA, just because
  4. Test drive the car
  5. Call your wife to pick the color
  6. Negotiate the price down
  7. Agree to buy the car with a large down payment and a four years loan at 1.9% APR
  8. Pay a portion of the down payment
  9. Be reminded that you have no credit history whatsoever in Canada
  10. Learn that you need a proof of address to buy a car in Canada
  11. Learn that you need a proof of insurance to buy a car in Canada
  12. Learn that you need a proof of income to buy the car before you even got your first pay check cheque
  13. Learn that you need a copy of your passport and your work permit
  14. Go to Alberta Motor Association (same as AAA but better)
  15. Learn that you need a letter of experience from your insurer in Texas before you can get insurance in Canada
  16. Learn that you need proof that you have your driver license in Texas for over two years (driver's record) with little or no traffic violations to get cheaper insurance in Canada
  17. Learn that you need proof of address in Calgary to get insurance
  18. Find a house to rent
  19. Sign the lease
  20. Go to the Texas Department of Public Safety web site and pay $22 to get your driver's record abstract
  21. Find out that they only send those documents to a USA address
  22. Give the address of the forwarding service that you contracted right before leaving the USA. Smart move, pat yourself on the back!
  23. Give up on obtaining your driver's record before your car rental contract expires
  24. Accept to pay more insurance until you have an Alberta Driver License
  25. Call your insurer in Texas
  26. Have your insurer in Texas understand what you want and have it sent you a letter of experience by e-mail
  27. Bring the letter of experience to your insurer in Calgary
  28. Find out that your insurance is going to cost you as much as what you were paying in Texas except that you now only have one car
  29. Find out that you can not insure your vehicle unless your insurer has the vehicle bill of sale
  30. Go to the dealership
  31. Find out that the finance company refused to give you a four year loan with a big down payment because your work permit expires in two years
  32. Accept to double your monthly payment with the same big down payment and get a two years loan at 0.9% APR
  33. Make the rest of your big down payment
  34. Fax your bill of sale to your insurer
  35. Bring back the car to the rental agency at the airport and pay a $50 fine because you are twenty minutes late
  36. Get a taxi to your apartment
  37. Call the insurer and pay the premium
  38. Receive the proof of insurance by fax and fax it to the dealership
  39. Bring the bill of sale, your driver's license, proof of address, and your proof of insurance to the closest registry
  40. Explain to the clerk that you really have two middle names and that the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) did not put a space between them because their software did not allow for it back in 1999. Ironically, DPS put a space by mistake in your street name for your Texas address
  41. Hear that you won't be able to register your car unless you can prove that there is a space between your two middle names
  42. Walk 15 minutes to your apartment to retrieve your passport
  43. Walk 15 minutes to another registry
  44. Register your car, get one shiny license plate, and a piece of paper. Canadians cars only have one license plate at the back
  45. Get the dealership to pick you at your apartment
  46. Drive away with your brand new car

Your car has seat warmers, extra large sunroof, All Wheel Drive (AWD), mirror defrosters, wipers defroster (so they don't stick to the windshield), engine block warmer (you know the plug coming out at the front of the car). Interests for whole loan life will amount to $256! This is your consolation price.

Go drive your car around and park it in the garage at the house you are renting which is a forty minutes walk from your appartment because you've already seen hail since you arrived in Calgary and we are in the middle of July.

PS: This car as a remote control and I can open and close the doors remotely. I promised all my colleagues in Houston that my new car will have this feature.