Canada is a huge country. Everyday, hundreds of people arrive in Canada to live, work, study, be location independent or do business. Many people who arrive here have relatives and friends to guide and assist them. But there are also some who have no one to rely on for information and are doing the research themselves.
In my experience, it is not a big challenge to find the right place to locate at in Canada. In this post, I am going to write about my experiences in finding where to locate here and a list that has become my basic guide when looking for the best place to live at in Canada.
When I moved to Canada, I already have relatives who were living here who I have constant contact with thru letters, assuring me that I will like living in the city they are in. I’m talking about Edmonton, my first city of residence in Canada.
Aside from my own research about Edmonton, my cousins are giving me feedbacks about what they know. I very much appreciate it and it helped tremendously when I arrived there.Having relatives and friends also helped me adjust easily when I made the move. Additionally, they are my major network in job hunting in addition to my own job search initiatives.
My first priority then was to find a job, which I luckily landed one after only a month of search. Location was not a primary concern then because I live with a relative. For free, initially and eventually paying rent when I got myself a job.
(Note: if you are not picky, it’s not so difficult to find a job in Edmonton. At the time of this writing, jobs are plentiful in Alberta.)
I thought I would be satisfied staying in my cousins house in the long term but the commute to work coupled with the cold weather had me having second thoughts about staying longer.
(Note: Subdivision type areas in Edmonton is similar to Manila, except they are not gated. Public bus service is limited only to specific areas.)
In addition, having just been in a busy city like Manila, I found living in a residential, subdivision type community like my relatives’ house inconvenient.
That is when I thought about writing a list of priorities for an ideal location that I think would suit my wants. Here are some that I deem important:
1) I don’t have a car yet, so proximity to the nearest bus stop is the first in the list so I can get to work and home as fast as possible. This one is high on my list because Edmonton winter is harsh. You should be able to know the time the bus will arrive and board it in as little time frame as possible.
2) Closeness to school. My kids will be arriving, so being close to school is of importance.
3) Proximity to the source of food. By this, I mean supermarkets, groceries or fast food outlets where I can get access to them by foot as much as possible.
Those were the initial list I made when I first came to Canada.I told myself that I will fulfill those in the list when I move to another place, as much as possible.
That was put to the test when I decided to move out. Luckily, Edmonton have apartment communities designed for families with school age children and at the same time will satisfy the remaining items in my list.
Everything is going well in our new place in Edmonton for more than a year but then, the itch for another adventure to move and search for better opportunities came up once again. So I made plans to search for the next city to live in. My wife was shocked when I told her about what I’m planning but could not do anything to stop me.
I was very confident and adventurous when I was younger and I feel that I would be able to satisfy this yearning in Canada, without worrying too much about some of our needs like health care and childrens primary & secondary education.
To prepare for any plans to relocate, all I have to do was to save some money for food and rent for at least 3 months, go to the city or town where I’m planning to reside, start looking for work as soon as I land and if work is found, pack-up the family and move.
The first city on my agenda was Vancouver. Besides being the closest city to the Philippines, my research about living conditions there is more to my taste than Edmonton. The city also is the least wintery part of Canada, so I figured my family will like it there. I was confident that the items in my list for finding the best place to live in Vancouver will be much easier than in Edmonton.When I arrived in Vancouver, first thing I did was search for work. In Canada, and I think this is true to any place in the country, looking for work is not as difficult as in the Philippines because there is always a Government support system in every Province or city you go to.
But two weeks have passed and I was not able to even get an interview, not because there are no jobs in Vancouver but because my skill is not very in-demand in that city. I was trained and experienced in manufacturing and engineering but there is not an ample availability there.
So, before my vacation time from work ended, I went back to Edmonton where I continued working to save more to prepare this time for ….. Toronto!
Because I was not able to deplete my savings when I tried my luck in Vancouver, I was ready to roll again only after a few months.
As usual, I did a research on the new city I am planning to discover – about where to locate primarily.
Similar to our first experience in Edmonton, we are also assured of a temporary accommodation, at one of my wife’s relatives there.
It was summer when we moved to Toronto. Because I feel very confident that the opportunity for my skill is in-demand in Toronto, I gutsily decided to move the whole family with me hoping that I will find work before our savings run out.
(Note: Ontario is the manufacturing center of Canada. There are all kinds of products being manufactured in Ontario but the automotive and aerospace industry were the primary. Nowadays, because of stiff competition from Asian manufacturers where many contracts are being outsourced, jobs in the manufacturing sector have dropped significantly.)
I was right, though, because when we landed in Toronto, I got a job immediately after only 1 1/2 weeks of looking.
Came the time to start searching for our own place. As usual, the requirements on the list is priority. What I found out, and I was not really surprised, is it’s much easier to accomplish everything on my list in Toronto plus so much more.
Toronto, it turned out, have plenty of apartment communities that are designed for newcomers like myself.
Proof of this is when we moved to our first apartment community in Toronto – not only were items on my list all checked-out, as bonus we lived very close to a public recreation center with a library, heated indoor swimming pool, indoor basketball court and a gym.
An indoor skating/hockey rink, outdoor tennis court and outdoor soccer field is just beside the elementary school, a good 5 minutes walk from our apartment.
I wrote about our first permanent location in Toronto here.
I thought that I just got lucky in finding this area but as I found out after living in Toronto through the years, that apartment communities like this are duplicated in many parts of the city, and I will write about some of them in future posts.
So, where is it best to live in Canada? It really depends. But one thing I’m sure of is that wherever you decide to stay, there will always be suitable place to your liking and it will always help if you get involved with your new environment and adjust accordingly. In my experience, as long as you have even a bit of resourcefulness, it is easier to find a permanent home in Canada.