Whether you’ve already booked your plane tickets or you’re only just thinking about making the move, starting a life in Canada can be a very exciting prospect. But as with moving to any new place, it’s always nice to know what to expect when you get there.
From the wildlife and place names to weather, healthcare, and some of the other wonderful idiosyncrasies that make this nation unique, there is so much to learn before you move to Canada – and that’s why we’ve created this guide.
Today’s post on our Day Translations blog covers nine things you should expect when you make the move.
1. Be Prepared for Very Cold Winters
One of the first things you need to know about Canada is that it is a place of four very different seasons, but most notably, the winters are very very cold!
We aren’t exaggerating either; there really is no place for words like nippy or chilly in Canada, with parts of the country (like British Columbia) reaching temperatures as low as -30°C or even -40°C in the colder months and nowhere across the country reaches temperatures above zero in the wintertime.
In fact, the coldest temperature ever recorded in North America was in Canada in 1947 at -63°C. That’s the same as the surface temperature of Mars!
So before you make the move, you might want to think about investing in some large coats and thermal underwear.
2. You Can Access Free Healthcare
Much like the UK and unlike their American neighbors to the South, healthcare is a tax-funded system in Canada where the government pays for people’s basic healthcare needs. Essential medical services are all funded by the Canadian tax refund system. The only slight downside to this is that the waiting time for medical attention can often be a little longer than you might expect.
Of course, as with any nation, you also have access to lots of private healthcare facilities if you can’t afford to wait.
3. Moose and Beavers are Very Real Pests
Although it might be exciting to think of the magical creatures that call Canada their home, especially national mascots like beavers and moose, these have genuinely become a bit of a pest. At between 350-450kg, the last thing you need is a moose wandering out in front of your car, yet moose-vehicle collisions have become a real problem for locals.
As for the beavers, well, they can be pretty naughty too. They have been known to attack dogs, flood roads, bite people and just generally make a nuisance of themselves. So though they might look cute and cuddly, you should always keep an eye on them.
4. Oh, and Bears are a Danger You Actually Have to Worry About
There are three kinds of bears that can be found in Canada, and though they might look cute and fluffy on TV, if they want to kill you, they absolutely can.
The three types of bears you need to know about are black bears, grizzly bears, and polar bears. As a general rule, black bears don’t tend to go near humans, but with 500,000 of them across the country, you still need to be careful.
Grizzly bears are much bigger and can run over 30 mph, there are far fewer of these (20,000) around Canada, but they are much more likely to attack humans. And then there are the 17,000 polar bears to think about.
The threat of bear attacks shouldn’t put you off going to Canada, and of course, some places are bigger risks than others. In some places, locals even leave their cars unlocked at all times just in case someone needs shelter from a bear, as thankfully, they don’t know how to open car doors just yet.
5. English isn’t the Only Official Language
Thanks to its rich cultural background, Canada has more than one official language. English and French have equal status out there, but you will really notice the ‘Frenchness’ of the place when you visit Quebec. So before you go, it might be a nice idea to learn a little French if you don’t already know some of the basic phrases, especially as lots of the signage is also written in French.
6. You Can Eat Like a King
Canada is about more than just maple syrup – although they do absolutely love maple syrup, and you will find it everywhere!
If you’re a foodie, you’ll live like a king in Canada. Some of the nation’s firm favorites include Nova Scotian lobster rolls and poutine, which is essentially chips, cheese, and gravy. There is also Bannock bread, an Aboriginal staple, bacon (and lots of it), and Montreal style bagels.
So if you do make them move to Canada, you absolutely should try all of the above at least once.
7. Canada is Home to Some of the Greatest Cities in the World
Canada is a big country; in fact, it is the second biggest country in the world after Russia. So it stands to reason that it would be home to some pretty great cities. Don’t believe us? Three of the nation’s cities ranked in the Economist’s 2017 list of the world’s most livable cities, and these were: Vancouver (third), Toronto (fourth), and Calgary (fifth).
The cities were ranked on five big factors, including healthcare, education, environment, infrastructure, and stability. So to have three big cities in the top 10 is very impressive, and you can expect a very good standard of living when you get to Canada. Citizenship in Canada entitles you to free or low-cost access to services such as education and healthcare, as well as the freedom to live and work anywhere in the country. Before you apply for Canadian citizenship, you can take the Canadian citizenship test to check your knowledge.
8. There is Plenty of Exploring to be Done
It’s not just the cities that are impressive either; the landscapes are equally as amazing – breathtaking in fact.
From the rugged coastline of the Pacific Rim to magical meadows and soaring mountains, Canada has a landscape to suit every mood. And with 90% of Canadians living within 100 miles of the American border, there is a heck of a lot of room for exploring.
So if you don’t want to see people for a few days, you don’t have to. You can go off exploring in the wilderness for a few days without having to speak to another person – though we advise that you tell someone where you are for safety reasons!
9. You’ll Hear the Word Sorry – A LOT
Last but not least, Canadians are very polite – even more polite than the British. The word sorry will be your bread and butter when moving to Canada, and you’re also likely to hear it A LOT, too; whether you’re in the supermarket, a bar, a restaurant, or just walking down the street, Canadians just love to apologize to one another.