Lifestyle Travel Waddyado working holiday visas

Planning a trip to Canada

So recently I relocated to Canada from the UK, I thought I’d give you a little insight on how I planned my trip.

Having gone through the rigmoral of applying for the Working Holiday IEC Visa through the Canadian immigration website, (which I should really explain but there are actually great websites out there who can shed a little light on this. I’d recommend www.moving2canada.com which I used a lot as a reference point), I decided to take the leap and relocate.

Choosing where to settle

First up, was the decision on which city I thought I would eventually settle and find a job. Through googling ‘Toronto vs Vancouver’ a hell of a lot, I concluded the following:

Toronto

  • Toronto has very hot summers (we’re talking 30 degrees plus, when I arrived in June it was very humid and 32 degrees) but can also be rainy with a hell of a lotta mosquitos, and cold winters (sometimes -30 degrees EEK)
  • Toronto is very cosmopolitan; it has bars, restaurants, culture gallore – Toronto is a city of immigrants and it has some fantastic subcultures within it based around different nationalities – for that reason, that was a massive bonus for me when I visited
  • Toronto has a lot going on in terms of theatre, music, culture etc., which, comparatively to Vancouver, this is something Vancouver is slightly lacking
  • Ontario has a lot of national parks, which is awesome for canoeing, kayaking, hiking. Just a heads up though, when you’re doing this is June, make sure you take a hell of a lot of anti-bug spray. I sprayed myself to bits and still ended up with 50 bleeding bites on my lower legs alone


Vancouver

  • Vancouver has absolutely incredible scenery. I mean, incred, kids. We’re talking beaches with mountain views in the background. It really couldn’t get any better for people who want to be outdoorsy. In the summer it means you can spend your weekends and free time doing hikes, going to the beach and local swimming pools/lidos. Winters can be spent getting involved in snowsports like skiing and snowboarding. For me, this is absolutely what stole the show.
  • Vancouver does lack a little in the way of a music scene, but I am told you just need to be “in the know”, which hopefully, I will be
  • Where Vancouver is a slightly smaller city, employment opportunities may be a little thinner on the ground
  • Vancouver is VERY expensive. That akin to London. Make sure you budget for at least $900 a month for rent for a room in a house in Kitsilano and half a month’s rent for the the deposit


Finding a job

Vancouver was my destination. I started reaching out to a few recruiters to check out the job market in Vancouver and Canada in general. This is something I would definitely recommend. Get in touch with recruiters on LinkedIn within your industry to gain some insight and advice, this can be invaluable before relocating.

My background is recruitment and sales, so thought I’d look into these roles. Heads up for anyone in this market – there are no rec 2 recs who cover the market really, I used a couple but the market really isn’t penetrated for that. I mostly did direct applications.

I undertook a few Skype interviews with about four companies and was offered a role which I accepted before I got out to Canada, which was a huge relief before moving out. I highly recommend doing this if you can!

Planning some traveling (the exciting bit!)

Having used STA Travel and Bunac previously when I did a working holiday visa to Australia, I decided to explore their resources. BUNAC offers a lot of support with the whole visa process and also offer Group Flight options for solo travellers, which is something I took advantage of when I went to Australia. Essentially they put you on a flight to Canada via Iceland for a few days, or for Australia we had a stop-over in Hong Kong for a few days with tours. It was a great way to meet people traveling solo also – I’d highly recommend doing it if you’re a little worried about making the leap to move abroad by yourself. I’m still close with a few people I met on that flight five years later.

STA Travel had various Canada tours featured on their website and I decided on the Moose Mohawk Tour: an 11 night tour through Moose Travel with a epic tour staring in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa with great trips to national parks in between with camp fires by stunning lakes, hikes, white water rafting and whale watching options. We had a local tour guide thoroughout the whole tour who drove us from place to place. HIGHLY recommend this. You can cover a lot in this time. Everyone on the trip were also solo travelers and it was awesome to meet people!

Overall traveling before settling is something I’d recommend, as standard vacation days when you’re employed is only two to three weeks of the year so get it out of your system whilst you can.

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