I spent two years out in British Columbia, living mostly in Whistler, a resort town about two hours north of Vancouver up in the coast mountain range. I moved out there in winter, yet my reasons for moving were just to ride bikes and escape this country for a bit.
The most important thing you’ll have to get your hands on is a visa, usually a one year working holiday visa. They are hotly contested – released in three waves in Jan/Feb time each year. Approx 20,000 people are trying for just 5,500 places in total. I took the day off work, and had two laptops and my ipad all logged onto the ‘Kompass’ account to apply for the visa.
It’s an incredibly friendly country, with very friendly people. Obviously peoples experiences can differ, depending on location, work etc, but living in the ‘whistler bubble’ bad experiences were few and far between in that idyllic mountain village.
Firstly you’ll need a SIN (social insurance number) which is the same as your National Insurance Number over here. With this you can get a bank account, apply for jobs, earn money, get a phone contract etc… everything you need.
All the banks seem fine, I have no advice to give with regards to that! I banked with TD Canada trust for what it’s worth and had no problems.
Here are a few things I have learnt though;
-STOP signs mean exactly that. Even if you can see it’s clear, don’t roll it. If caught doing it you’ll get a hefty fine from a very polite member of the RCMP.
-No drinking in public, no open cans, nothing.
-Don’t worry about cutting your hair or shaving. No one cares.
-Don’t get a girlfriend/boyfriend, move in super quick together, get a dog, break up a few months later and have to give the dog up to WAG. Seen it happen far too many times.
-Be friendly. To everyone. In such a small community which such a transient population, making a bit more effort to get to know people goes a long way if you’re planning on staying longer than a season there.
Most of all though enjoy it. My life hasn’t been the same since I moved home 6 months ago now. I have now retrained in a new profession that will permit me to move back there permanently, I’m just waiting for the right time now. I’m sure anyone who goes will love it as much as I did, as thousands have before me.