Dear Pink Realtor,
My husband and I live in Quebec and our snowbird friends say that Hollywood Beach has a lot of Canadians. We want to come for the season and feel at home, so we subscribed to this newspaper to get an idea of the area. Someone said there used to be a French Canadian newspaper there as well. Is there? A second home in Florida is our dream. Anything specific you can tell first time snowbirds?
Living the Canadian Dream
Dear Canadian Dreamer,
What a small world! My Dad is French Canadian. Hence the name: Lecavalier (Le-CA-val-yay).
The newspaper you mention is “Le Soleil de la Floride.” It is still published and widely available around Hollywood Beach and can even be found in select locations in Quebec (http://www.lesoleildelafloride.com/soleil/).
Hollywood Beach has more rental apartments than hotels, and many snowbirds return to the same place every year. When buying a second home, I suggest you spend one season renting while you get to know the area, determine your preferences and understand the local real estate market. You happen to be considering buying at an excellent time.
For French Canadian Snowbirds, Hollywood Beach is the place to buy a second home. French Canadian Snowbirds are to be found in Dania Beach and Hollywood Beach in high numbers. In my opinion, Hollywood Beach is the superior buy in terms of real estate value and potential appreciation. Over the past few years, many have been moving farther north to Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach, but it is a small percentage.
Hollywood Beach has been receiving a series of upgrades over the past year, including an attractive sea wall along the Broadwalk (a wide, 2-mile long paved path on the beach). On any day of the week, one can spend the day walking or bicycling around the area and find Italian water ice, discover free concerts at the beachfront band shell and take in the Florida sunshine.
In Dania Beach (a few miles north), you will feel removed from the world, with only ocean in front of you and trees behind you. French Canadians play petanque– the French version of bocci– and on weekend evenings, cruise ships sail out from nearby Port Everglades.
The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is west of downtown along Florida’s Turnpike. In addition to gambling, there are a number of restaurants, shops and a theater showcasing big-name acts.
Dairy Belle (118 N Federal Hwy Dania, FL 33004) is an ice cream shop, but is considered by many to have the best poutine in South Florida. (However, it is said that the fries are not as crisp and the cheese has a different texture than that of authentic poutine from Quebec.)