Canadian life is well known for good standards of living, safety and security, cultural diversity, beautiful surroundings, human rights, weather for all the seasons, vast open spaces and warm, welcoming people.
Here are some things that will help you to prepare in advance for your new life in Canada
Geography and demography
Canada is the second largest country in the world in terms of land mass. The population is almost 38 million people, with much of the country sparsely populated, dominated by forest and tundra. The country is divided up into 10 provinces and three territories. The Capital is Ottawa in the province of Ontario.
Quebec – the country’s largest province in terms of land area, and second largest for population and economic output, with Montreal the largest metropolitan area. Quebec City is the capital of the province and the oldest city in Canada.
There are two official languages in Canada – English and French
The Canadian flag carries the symbol of a maple leaf and in turn symbolizes unity, tolerance and peace.
The Quebec flag is blue and white recalling an ancient French military banner, and the four fleurs-de-lis are symbols of purity.
Canadian winters are usually cold, with regular and sometime heavy snowfall. Usually the snow starts in December, sometimes in November, and can carry on until March. When the sun shines and the sky is blue, the landscape is bright and the temperatures colder.
The spring brings the big thaw, as the weather slowly warms up and the mountains of snow on the ground start to melt away. It takes some time for the ground to thaw out and the greenery to start to grow again, and there can even be some late snow storms into April. Snow turns to rain, temperatures are milder.
Summers are usually very warm and sunny. The grass, trees, plants and flowers are green and vibrant, the days are longer and the temperatures can be hot and humid throughout the day, and even at night.
The fall is possibly the most spectacular season, with the famous changing of the colours in the trees, bringing breath-taking beauty all around. The warm summer temperatures can linger on into September, but it becomes cooler heading towards October, especially at night. As the leaves fall from the trees and November arrives, wind and rain are common.
|January||-10° / -19°|
|February||-8° / -18°|
|December||-7° / -15°|
|March||0° / -10°|
|April||8° / -2°|
|May||17° / 5°|
|June||23° / 11°|
|July||26° / 14°|
|August||24° / 13°|
|September||17° / 7°|
|October||10° / 2°|
|November||2° / -4°|
Ranking as one of the highest in International measurements for civil liberties, quality of life, economic freedom and education, it is one of the most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, as a result of large-scale immigration from many other countries.
Freedom of religion
Freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression
Freedom of association and peaceful assembly
Right to live and work anywhere in Canada
- Everyone is equal under the law
- An accused person is INNOCENT until proven guilty
- Ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law
- The right to a fair trial in court
- The right not to suffer cruel or unusual punishment
- Race or birthplace
- Sexual orientation
- Marriage or family status
National and Provincial Holidays
|New Year’s Day||January 1st||Nationwide|
|Easter Monday||Can be in March or April||Quebec|
|Victoria Day/National Patriots Day in Quebec||Monday before May 25th||Nationwide|
|Fete Nationale – Jean Baptiste Day||June 24th||Quebec|
|Canada Day||July 1st||Nationwide|
|Construction Holidays*||Last two weeks of July||Quebec|
|Labour day||First Monday of September||Nationwide|
|Thanksgiving||Second Monday of October||Nationwide|
|Christmas Day||December 25th||Nationwide|
* Holidays apply mainly to construction industry. Businesses and services still running.
help you settle and integrate with the local people and culture.
Canada is notorious for expensive cellphone plans, especially with data plans, so be careful about your usage and use Wi-Fi where possible. This guide will give you some helpful tips
You may be able to bring the phone that you already own and simply take it to a Canadian cellphone Bring Your Own (BYO) company and sign up for a contract, but there may be compatibility issues with the phone, and the SIM card will probably have to be unlocked. This site is really helpful for checking if your phone will be compatible in Canada:
New phones can be very expensive to buy, but generally with a contract, the cost is offset on the monthly bill.
There are a number of cellphone service providers, all with different packages and advantages, we will provide help in understanding all that is on offer and finding the best option for you.
This site might help to make your way through all of the different offers
Canadian power supply and adapters
In many other parts of the world, the voltage is higher, 240V, so it is important to think about this before arriving with your electrical items.
However, nowadays many devices are configured to automatically switch to the network voltage (look for input rating on plug 100-240V) – this is often the case with mobile phone chargers, laptop chargers, USB chargers, etc. (modern, low-power devices). In these cases, you would just need a travel adapter, like the generic on in the image, which will allow plugs type A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M and N into a Canadian B power outlet.
Higher power use items, like a hairdryer, that generate heat, are more of a problem, and a step-up voltage converter may be needed as well.
Being on time
Balance your life
- Plan your weeks in advance
- Make a to do list and keep it up to date
- Take some time from your obligations and enjoy a hobby or relax.
The legal drinking age in Quebec is 18 (although this is not the case in all the provinces, some have a minimum age of 19). In order to buy alcohol or consume alcohol in restaurants or bars, you will need to prove your age, with a photo ID. There are many laws covering the purchase and use of alcohol, and serious criminal charges can be faced if these are broken, including:
- Underage drinking, or providing alcohol to minors
- Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol
- Behaving in a disorderly manner in or around establishments licensed to serve alcohol
- Cooperation with the Police
The last thing anyone wants is problems caused by too much alcohol, so know your limits, go out with friends and be sensible, take taxis home and drink responsibly.
Canada’s currency is known as the dollar, and $1 is divided up into 100 cents. There are 5 bank notes ($5, $10, $20, $50, $100) featuring pictures of important national symbols, and 5 coins in circulation (5¢, 10¢, 25¢, $1, $2). While cash is still used, most people use credit or debit card for purchasing items.
For lots of other good tips and help preparing to come to Canada, check out these articles