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Moving to Canada? A Guide to Canadian Living, An Expat’s Guide

Canada is known around the world for its beautiful geography, friendly locals, wonderful healthcare, and clean streets, parks, and cities. Because of these things and many more, expats from around the world are flocking to Canada to live, work, and play. If you count yourself among the many who have considered a move to Canada in recent years, here’s what you’ll need to know to make it a successful, exciting transition that pays off in the long-run.

Immigrating to Canada: Immigration Paperwork & Requirements

As is true with many countries around the globe, Canada has a selection of immigration requirements would-be expats must adhere to in order to be offered a place in Canada. Canada’s main immigration website has a quick questionnaire for would-be expats who want to pre-determine their immigration eligibility, and this is an easy way to determine which immigration visas you’re eligible for, and what you’ll need to do to apply.
Keep in mind that, since each immigration situation is different, it’s tough to give a one-size-fits all appraisal of what it takes to apply for residency in Canada. By taking the government’s application questionnaire, you’ll be able to get up-to-the-minute details on what programs you’re eligible for and how you can take the application to the next step.
Regardless of where you’re coming from or what you’re hoping to find in Canada, you can always streamline the process by having copies of your birth and marriage certificates, bank balances, health records, job offers, and any other relevant paperwork prepared.

Finding Housing in Canada

When it comes to finding housing in Canada, you’re in for a smooth ride. Like any country in the world, Canada’s rent prices vary depending on location, accommodations, size, and amenities offered. For example, an upscale penthouse in Calgary will cost drastically more than a small apartment in Kimberley, so it’s wise to plan your rental budget according to where you want to live and how close you want to be to Canada’s main attractions. Once you’ve decided where you want to settle down, the easiest way to find a place you love is to hire a real estate agent. Realtors can help you locate accommodations in your price range, and can contribute to ensuring that you don’t wind up overpaying for something you could get cheaper elsewhere. Additionally, a realtor can be an invaluable tool for anyone searching for housing in competitive markets, such as Vancouver or Calgary. Once you’ve hired a realtor, it’s time to start looking at places. In Canada, apartments that are rented as “unfurnished” typically only require a renter to bring furniture, and will include essentials like kitchen appliances and light fixtures. If you’d prefer to find a furnished apartment, it’s possible to find housing sublets and similar such rental arrangements in various cities around the country.

The 5 Best Canadian Cities to Live and Work

Canada is the world’s second largest country by the overall capacity it occupies and the fourth largest by land area and is located in the northern part of North America. It has ten provinces. Some include British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan. Others are Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick and three territories; Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Yukon. These provinces and territories combined together from the Atlantic to the Pacific and north of Arctic Ocean cover 9.98 square kilometers. Canada is constitutional monarchy and a federal parliamentary democracy ruled by Queen Elizabeth the second. People of various races have settled in this country since a long time ago and is officially bilingual at the federal level. Canada is therefore one of the world’s most diverse and multicultural country. This distinguishing feature makes it a friendly country and one will never feel out of place just because he or she is of a different race.  There are many cities in Canada that are quite homely to the ordinary person as outlined below. Once you’ve decided to move to Canada, you’ll be faced with the tough decision of where to live once you get there. Regardless of whether you’re going to live, work, or play in Canada, these are the best places to live in the beautiful and scenic country:

1. Ottawa
Ottawa is best known for being the seat of the Canadian government. As such, expats who currently work in or aspire to work in government often view Ottawa as an appealing destination. In addition to boasting thousands of high-paying jobs and a stable economy, Ottawa is also beautiful, with a wide selection of museums and stunning buildings to take in. What’s more, it’s seated on the banks of a scenic river and offers a buzzing tech startup scene, which makes it perfect for young entrepreneurs looking for a place to settle down.Housing here is relatively inexpensive, and it’s easy to find a good job and a beautiful home to go along with it.
There is Ottawa which is the capital city of Canada in the province of Ontario. It is the fourth largest city in Canada with an estimated population of 951,727 people within the city and 1,236,324 within the census metropolitan according to the 2014 census report. The city has evolved as the technological and political center of Canada. Ottawa has the highest living standards in Canada and has a high rate of employment. Worldwide it comes in the second position as per the global database of reported consumer prices, health care quality and other qualities of life index (Numbeo).  Many national headquarters are found in Ottawa and it is rated the second cleanest city in Canada and the third in the world, furthermore, in the year 2012 for the third time continuously it was ranked the best community in Canada to live in by the Canadian personal finance and lifestyle magazine; MoneySense. Annually it is estimated that the city attracts 7.3 million tourists. Ottawa is a major technological center and has many companies majoring in telecommunications, software development and environmental technology.
The city boasts of its scholarly properties, as it is the most educated in Canada and a home of research, post-secondary and cultural institutions including the National Gallery of Canada which is where the Maman sculpture is kept . The National Arts Centre: one of the largest acting arts amenities in Canada that works with very many artists from all over the world. In North America, it is the only multidisciplinary performing arts center in many languages. It funds programs for the youth and young audiences, and it is the sponsor of emerging artists. It provides resources like study materials needed by the teachers, supports community programming, English and French theaters and it is one of the largest art centers in the world. The city has four general hospitals. This ensures there is good health care for its people and high life expectancy is maintained. Hospital facilities that major in specific sectors also are available. Among these health facilities is the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. Another facility is the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre.
Ottawa experiences large periodic temperature differences with its summers being warm to hot and sometimes severely cold winters and the level of precipitation well dispersed during the course of the other seasons. Summers are humid and warm and under normal conditions, 11 days of the summer months have a temperature surpassing 30 degrees Celsius with the average relative humidity being 84% in the morning and 54% in the afternoon. In winter, the city yearly receives 224 cm of snowfall but retains 22cm throughout the months of winter. Spring and fall are susceptible to extreme temperatures and irregular weather fluctuating conditions.

2. Montreal
Montreal is much larger than Ottawa, although it’s only located about two hours away. Chock-full of restaurants, galleries, museums, and delicious eateries, Montreal is a cosmopolitan city with plenty to do. Many Canadian nationals and expats report that Montreal has a distinctly European feel, and anyone who has lived here long enough will agree with them. The cobblestone streets and stately, domed buildings give it an ancient feel, and the downtown area is positively vibrant with things to do, see, and experience. While housing here may be a bit more expensive than that in Ottawa, it’s still quite affordable compared to places like Vancouver or Calgary.
There is also the city of Montreal in Canada and it is the second most populous municipality in Canada after Toronto and the second largest city after Paris of using French as its primary language. The majority followed by English and other native languages speaks French but many people speak both French and English. It is situated on the Island of Montreal and according to the 2014 report the population of Montreal’s metropolitan area is approximated to 4.1 million people. Although it was overtaken by Toronto in economy and population capacity, it still remains the commercial capital of Canada and a center of aerospace, design, technology, pharmaceuticals, education, tourism ,culture and entertainment.
Mount Royal is the place anyone will die to visit when in Montreal city, where Mount Royal Park is and one of Montreal’s largest green spaces. The prominent Kondiaronk Belvedere is situated in the park together with a fabricated lake, Beaver Lake and a sculpture of Sir George Etienne Cartier. Cultural activities are always held in the park and athletics come in the park to do their daily exercises.  In addition, two cemeteries are found on the mountain, Mount Royal Cemetery and Notre Dame Des Neiges Cemetery with 900,000 and more people buried there. Montreal Port is one of the largest ports in the world with the capacity to handle 26,000,000 tonnes of cargo annually therefore being the railway hub of Canada.
Summers in Montreal fluctuate from warm to humid with a maximum temperature of 26 to27 degrees Celsius while excessive temperatures of up to 30 degrees Celsius are not a rare occasion. The winter’s daily average temperature ranges from -9 to -10.5 degrees Celsius but some days the temperature allows rain for only 4 days in the months of January and February. When there is snow, it covers the ground for 4 months. Spring is susceptible to sudden temperature changes and there are possibilities of unseasonably warm and dry weather occurring during the spring and autumn. Altogether, Canada is a developed country, recognized among the highest in the international. Measurement of government’s quality of life, transparency, education, and economy and civil. Liberties, this gives it a friendly quality and will provide a pleasant home for anyone across the world

3. Vancouver
Largely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in Canada, Vancouver, British Columbia is located on the coast and surrounded by scenic attractions like orca whale sightings and tide pools bustling with life. Home to major tech startups like HootSuite, Vancouver has a reputation for being a bustling, busy city with plenty of opportunities to offer virtually everyone. In addition to being known for its startup and seaside scenes, Vancouver is also known as one of the most health-conscious cities in Canada, and is famous for all of its outdoor attractions and pursuits, including mountain biking, skiing, hiking, and running.

4. Calgary
A city that’s famous for its industry, Calgary is known for its oil and gas jobs. Wages here are high, and Calgary is dominated by people who work in the booming oil and gas industries. Don’t let its blue-collar work ethic fool you, though, Calgary is also a city that likes to get out and play and its residents take frequent holidays – often driving over the border into U.S. states like Montana for vacation, recreation, and shopping. In addition to its good jobs and friendly community, Calgary also offers a few world-famous attractions, like the Calgary Stampede, and Spruce Meadows – a world-renowned equestrian center.

5. Toronto
Toronto is another Canadian city that’s predominantly known for its industry and business pursuits. The home to many of Canada’s primary financial and banking institutions, Toronto is known around the world for its manufacturing and distribution jobs. The city also houses many of Canada’s television and film production operations and is home to some of Canada’s best jobs. While it may not be as stunningly beautiful as other Canadian cities like Vancouver, Toronto is industrious, intelligent, and hardworking, which makes it the ideal place for enterprising expats hoping for a city that will reward hard work. As an added benefit, Toronto is also the most cultural diverse planet on the city – with more than 140 languages spoken.
Secondly after Mexico, New York and Los Angeles, Toronto is the fourth most populous city in North America, the most populous in Canada and the provincial capital of Ontario. The 2011 census report revealed that the total population of the city was 2,615,060 that made it the fifth largest city in North America.  It is located on the coast of Lake Ontario, the Southern part of Ontario on a highland that is traversed by a forest, deep valleys and a link of rivers. Foreign born people make 49.9 % of Toronto’s population as per the 2006-census report making it one of the world’s most diverse cities. This city has over 200 different ethnic origins embodied among its occupants. English is the primary language spoken in the city beside 160 other languages spoken and anyone who speaks English can fit in the society of Toronto.
Toronto is an international center of business, finance, arts and culture. It is therefore recognized as one of the most multicultural and cosmopolitan cities in the world. It is historically recognized as the destination for immigrants to Canada because of its vast population. In terms of culture, the city has very many dance and ballet companies exceeding fifty, six opera companies and two symphony orchestras. It also hosts the Canadian Opera Company. National Ballet of Canada, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and many more. The Canadian Stage Company stages an outdoor Shakespeare production each summer in Toronto’s High Park. It ranks as the third largest production center after Los Angeles and New York City when it comes to domestic and foreign film and television production.
Another distinguishing feature of Toronto is its tourist sector especially the Toronto Zoo. Located near the Rouge River the zoo it is the largest in all Canada occupying a total area of 287 hectares. It is a home of more than 5,000 animals consisting of over 450 different species. The animals, some are displayed indoors in tropical pavilions while others are kept outdoors in the environment that suits their habitats which enables tourists to view them from vehicles and take photographs at a distance. The Art Gallery of Ontario plays host to exhibits from museums and galleries from all over the world and displays a great assembly of Canadian, African, European and modern-day works.
The Royal Ontario Museum is also another great tourist destination. It is the largest museum in Canada and one of the largest in North America the reason why annually it attracts more than one million visitors. World culture, art and natural history are all represented in this museum and are Canada’s largest field-research institution in present day. The museum holds dinosaurs’ fossils among thousands of different specimens, minerals, meteorites, design and fine art collections including clothing.
Like most other cities, its climate is humid continental, its summers being humid and warm, and winters being cold. Toronto has a low diurnal temperature range due to its nearness to water and the effects of urbanization. In the densely populated urban centers, the nights are warmer than those in rural areas all through the months. On early summers and late springs, the climate can be cooler because of the breeze from the lake. Winter is usually associated with cold conditions and frequent snow; sometimes snowstorms interrupt transport processes and business because snow can fall at any time from November and the middle of April and accumulate. Summers have very warm temperatures while spring and autumn have trivial and cool temperatures interchanging with dry and wet periods.

10 Things to Know About Moving to Canada

Before you move to Canada, it’s smart to get a well-rounded picture. Consider these things to give you a complete impression:

1. The winters can get very, very cold
People looking for a tropical escape might do well to choose somewhere besides Canada. Known for harsh snow, punishing winters, and frigid nights, Canada’s weather varies widely, and snow, sleet, and hail are possible even at the peak of summer.
That said, people who love the seasons will love it here. While nothing is ever guaranteed, seasons in Canada are lovely, and expats will find plenty of outdoor attractions like hiking and boating to love. In the fall, Canada experiences beautiful foliage colors and crisp weather perfect for harvesting goods like fruits. When spring rolls around, the entire country explodes into bloom. With that in mind, some things help even out the chilly, long winters.

2. Canada is very diverse
Canada is one of the more diverse countries on the planet, and expats who move here will find plenty to love n virtually any city in the country. People from around the world come to live and work in Canada, and most expats find it easy to feel welcome here. Regardless of what industry you work in or where you’re hoping to settle, it’s easy to find a community to love in this beautiful part of the world.

3. While there are many jobs in Canada, getting them can be difficult
Canada, like many countries, offers preference to Canadian nationals when it comes to filling job openings. This can be frustrating for expats hoping to find profitable work in the country and can lead to lengthy and stressful job searches. To ensure you don’t wind up disappointed when you get to Canada, do your best to secure a job before you migrate to the country.

4. Tipping is expected in Canada
As is true in the U.S., Canada is a country where patrons of bars, restaurants, and coffee shops are expected to tip. While this may not be a familiar custom for people from around the world, it’s the norm in Canada, and it’s wise for new expats to get the hang of it sooner rather than later. Not tipping is seen as rude, and can serve to make an expat’s integration process more difficult.

5. Cost of living varies depending on location
While the cost of living in Canada can be quite cheap, it can also be amazingly expensive, depending on where you choose to live. With this in mind, be sure to research your city of choice before you go there. This can help prevent nasty financial surprises and ensure that you’re fully prepared for the cost of the city you want to live in before you get there.

6. Smoking is illegal in public places
Tobacco use in Canada is illegal in all public places and expats or nationals who light up a cigarette in a bar, restaurant, or store risk being fined. Keep in mind that smoking in private vehicles or private homes is perfectly okay.

7. Canadian healthcare is publically-funded
The healthcare system in Canada is widely regarded as one of the better in the world, and residents of the country will get access to free or near-free services for virtually all health conditions. Keep in mind that expats are only eligible for a health card depending on the type of visa they have issued. If you do qualify, though, you’re in for quality health care in an easily accessible format.

8. You’ll likely need to get a new Canadian driver’s license
When you move to Canada, you’ll probably need to register for a new driver’s license. Because provinces issue Canadian driver's licenses rather than the country at large, you’ll need to get documentation or certification that aligns with your province and city of choice.

9. People are friendly in Canada

When you first go to Canada, you’ll likely be shocked by how warm and friendly Canadian people are. While this may seem like an exception, it’s the norm. Canada takes great pains to stand out as one of the more welcoming and accepting countries in the world, and it does an excellent job at it. By bringing in expats from around the globe, Canada has succeeded in creating a diverse and welcoming country for all to call home.

10. Taxes are high in various parts of Canada
In some parts of Canada, taxes can be astronomically high. If you’re coming from a place where taxes are low, this can be a surprise. It’s important to remember, though, that these taxes function to support the healthcare and similar social systems, so many Canadian residents view it as worthwhile.

Canada: An Expat’s Dream Come True
Canada is a land of opportunity, beauty, and a high quality of life. In addition to being one of the most diverse countries in the world, it’s also one of the most beautiful, with landscapes ranging from rainforests to rugged coastlines and plenty to explore in-between. Regardless of whether you’re interested in going to Canada for work, play, or something else altogether, this beautiful and welcoming country has more than enough to offer virtually any expat. From the glistening streets of Vancouver to the old west good times of Calgary, Canada is a very diverse place that promises to entertain, enthrall, and entice anyone who lands there.