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Moving to Canada - good, bad & different - Aussie view

Discussion forum for expats moving to or living in Canada.

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Moving to Canada - good, bad & different - Aussie view

Post Posted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 8:20 pm

A bit of background. We are an Australian family who moved to Canada 2 years ago for work purposes and live in the GTA (just west of Toronto). Unfortunately my assignment is coming to an end and we will be returning to Australia in January.

When we were moving we found this forum to be a great resource so I thought I would contribute my views about the move to Canada - the good, bad and just different. While it seems most people on this forum are from the UK this is an Aussie's view of things.


I'll start off with something that may be a surprise to some - WINTER. Like many before we came we worried about the cold coming from a warmer climate. Now don't get me wrong there are some days that are bone chilling but we love the winter time. The key is just to dress correctly and GET OUT. Enjoy the season don't lock yourself away. We are still like little children when it starts to snow - stare in amazement. It is nice to 4 seasons (even though I have heard from some locals in TO that there is only 2, winter and construction)

The people - everyone we have met has been amazing. We have 4 kids who were welcomed from day 1 at school and have made life long friends. Canadians are very accepting and welcoming. My wife has also made amazing friends. The schools are good and all my concerns about the kids settling in disappeared. If fact they don't want to go back to Oz yet.

Houses are generally larger in size (and land) than where I come from (Sydney Aust). Having a basement is wonderful. Heating can be expensive though.

The lakes, the falls the mountains - beautiful country - so much to explore. The summer festivals - always something to see or do.


New to Canada means no credit history etc = initial cost. Initially things like getting credit (cards), car insurance (no local driving history) etc are expensive. Make sure you have cash aside for initial set up costs (insurance, clothing, electricals, etc, etc). Also I had to sit through driving tests which I haven't had to do since I was a teen - not hard just frustrating.

The Toronto Maple Leafs - will they ever win another Stanley Cup (not in my lifetime). Always sold out and tickets are expensive but don't know how to win - go figure.


- driving on the other side of the road (yes I did get in the wrong side of the car a few times and have driven up a street the wrong way before especially when you come out of driveways etc - this is probably why insurance is expensive)
- having to plan your morning in winter - do I need to shovel the drive before I get ready for work.
- Variety of food. Can't get everything you are used to and the actual variety is not as great as I'm used to in Sydney. We still get care packages from Australia for some of those "comfort" foods.
- No beaches, probably the thing we miss the most.
- language. Yes its generally english but the slang is different - have to explain what I mean / want some times.
- the obsession with Tim Hortons. Give me a good expresso based coffee any day not a double double thanks.

Sorry for the long post but thought i would share my experiences.

We have not regretted for one moment coming to Canada and would say if you are thinking about it - just do it. Great people, interesting places, good lifestyle. It's a shame we have to leave so soon would have liked to stay a few more years.

Comments, criticisms, corrections welcome.


Re: Moving to Canada - good, bad & different - Aussie view

Post Posted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 8:34 pm

As a Brit in the early stages (and I mean very early stages) of contemplating a move to Canada, I found your post very interesting and helpful.

Interesting in that you have come from a country us Brits flock to and moved to a country us Brits flock to!!!! (Does it say something about the UK???)

It is also interesting that your good/different points outwiegh the bad points.

Helpful from the point that I will not even try and support the Maple Leafs!!!

Thank you for your unique insight.



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Re: Moving to Canada - good, bad & different - Aussie view

Post Posted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:07 pm

Andy's right, it was good to read and I must say the bad points were not that bad really. When I hear bad points being said about somewhere I expect them to be really negative. I think those points are just what we call hiccups and are something you can get over.


Tis the year to be jolly!


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Re: Moving to Canada - good, bad & different - Aussie view

Post Posted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:18 pm


Thanks so much for your contribution to the Canada forum.

It is wonderfull to read such a well balanced posting, and I'm sure that it will be read by many who are , like you were , wondering about the journey to get here and the reception that they will receive in Canada.

Please feel free to contribute further insight for our readers .

Jim B. Toronto.


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Re: Moving to Canada - good, bad & different - Aussie view

Post Posted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:27 pm

Andychg :

Could you give me an idea what you were talking about, re the Leafs ?

It is not mandatory that you develop a interest in hockey, when you arrive in Canada, but at least let me take you to a game, and explain the finer points of it to you.

If you approach it from the point of view that it is a fast , exciting and tough game, with no standing around or faked injuries, you will enjoy it.

If not, you can allways attend the snooze fests that are the Toronto FC matches. (grin )

Jim B.


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Re: Moving to Canada - good, bad & different - Aussie view

Post Posted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:35 pm

Thank you OZCan. It's always good to read stories written by people who have been there and seen it first hand. My husband and I are considering both Dubai and Canada for relocation. Dubai for the business opportunity and Canada for the quality of life and the nice people. I'm glad you just confirmed that.


Travel & Network International
Your Business Gateway to Morocco


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Re: Moving to Canada - good, bad & different - Aussie view

Post Posted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:37 pm

Andy & Adele

You are right. The bad things are not really bad and everything else has outweighed it. I came to Canada at my employers request and although my family were worried and would miss friends and family (Australia is a long way away) everything has worked out well. I really struggled to come up with negative things to say. It has been a great adventure and we are sad to be leaving so soon (work calls again).

Like everything there are adjustments to make but really that is just settling in. I was really surprised how culturally similar Canada and Australia are. They are a long distince from each other, different climate but both beautiful countries with wonderful people. I still love Australia and there are things I miss bjt I would not change anything. Our time in Canada has been great. Its the people who make the difference.

We live in a very nice area here with good schools etc. like every city there are places to avoid.

On balance if you are thinking of moving to Canada I would say just do it - you have nothing to lose and will enjoy the experience.


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