Where to Live in Canada: Travelling Across All Provinces
A family from Russian hinterland immigrated to Canada and traveled all over the country.
Which province of Canada is worth going to and which city is better to live in? Let's ask the expert! Lena has been to all 10 Canadian provinces and has lived in several cities, so she knows a lot about the country.
Lena moved to Canada in 2016 with her family. They immigrated through Manitoba's provincial program and settled in Winnipeg. It is considered to be one of the most criminal cities in Canada, but after living in a small industrial city in Russia, even Winnipeg seemed beautiful to Lena, and she still feels particularly warm about it.
Moreover, Lena thinks that moving to a province like Manitoba is even better, because prices are not as high there, the government helps new immigrants a lot, and the population is nice to newcomers.
Aid from the state
The first months of life in Canada would have been much more difficult if Lena's family had not had the help of the Manitoba government. Both language courses and financial support are available for new immigrants.
The benefits totaled more than $1,000 CAD per month. Lena did not work because of the baby, and her husband came to Canada with little or no knowledge of English. The money brought in and help from the government was enough for the family to keep her husband from working for the first six months and to learn the language.
By the way, I immigrated to the province of Quebec and I also recommend it to everyone because, like Manitoba, it has good support from the government, especially if you move with children. But there's a downside too — you need to know French.
Lena's family had lived in Winnipeg for a year and a half. During this time they had time to go to Alberta and were thinking about moving. After much deliberation, the choice fell on the capital of Canada, Ottawa, which is located in the province of Ontario. Lena lived there for another year and a half.
"Beautiful, amazing city, especially the location," is Lena's take on the Canadian capital.
Ottawa is close to Toronto, Montreal and New York, as well as the Atlantic provinces of Canada and Niagara Falls. Even then, Lena knew that even if they did not stay in Ottawa for long, they would explore all of Canada.
From Ottawa, Lena and her family travelled across Quebec and the Atlantic. They visited New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island. After that, there's only one province Lena hasn't seen yet — British Columbia.
After returning from the Atlantic provinces, Lena faced a choice: to stay in Ottawa or to finish her journey across Canada and then decide where to live. Of course, she chose the second and, as it turned out, not for nothing.
"My heart shattered, it was impossible to stay in Ottawa after that," Lena recalls of her B.C. trip.
British Columbia is an incredibly beautiful province. Maple Autumn, Rocky Mountains, national parks, forests, ocean — you can't find such scenery anywhere else and it struck Lena to the core. Another plus is that the province has a very warm climate. As Lena's husband works remotely, the family did not hesitate to move within a month and a half after their trip to British Columbia.
For a year and a half, Lena's family had been living in the suburbs of Vancouver and saving for a down payment. It was time to think about buying a home. Lena admits she wanted to stay in Vancouver, but prices stopped her — the family could only afford a townhouse.
So it was decided to move to the suburbs of Victoria, which is the capital of British Columbia, which is on Vancouver Island, and one of the most beautiful and warmest cities in Canada. There, the family bought their own home for $650,000 CAD, paying only a 10% down payment. It has to be said that they were lucky, because since that time prices have gone up a lot.
Lena travelled around Canada by car and sometimes flew low-cost airlines. The car was bought after she moved to Canada and cost $4,000 CAD. Of course, you need to have some money to travel. There will be a lot of expenses for gas and hotels, which are usually expensive in Canada. Lena estimates that a month in the Atlantic costs her family more than $5,000 CAD.
But Lena is sure that everyone can find a travel option to suit their budget. For example, someone rents accommodation farther away, and someone goes with a tent at all and doesn't spend money on hotels. Besides, Lena traveled all over Canada in just two and a half years. If you stretch your travels over a longer period of time, it is much cheaper.
Comparison of provinces
Where's the best
For Lena, British Columbia was the ideal place to live. As for the worst province, she would choose Quebec. It has beautiful architecture, nature, cheap kindergartens, but at the same time — bad roads and more "ordinary" people who can throw garbage out of windows or argue with strangers. Of course, you have to understand that this is a subjective opinion, and for some people, Quebec is a great place to live.
Where it's more expensive
The most expensive cities in Canada are undoubtedly Toronto and Vancouver. To live more or less well in these cities, a family of three needs to earn about $5,600 CAD per month.
Features of each province
All regions of Canada have one thing in common — incredibly beautiful nature. Yet each province has its own special features.
Atlantic Provinces. In Newfoundland and Labrador you can admire fjords, icebergs and whales. And there's also a place where you can walk on the bare mantle of the Earth, which is the part of the planet between the core and the crust. The province has a special culture reminiscent of Irish culture because the region is isolated from the rest of Canada. Lena recommends travelling to Newfoundland and Labrador in late May or early June. Prince Edward Island features endless sand dunes and dozens of lighthouses. Nova Scotia has Halifax, the only major city in the entire Atlantic, and plenty of seafood.
Quebec. It is undoubtedly a unique place in Canada, because most of the residents speak French and the province itself is somewhat reminiscent of Europe.
Ontario. Here, Lena particularly likes Toronto because it's similar to New York City, but not as busy and densely populated. In Ottawa, you can get patriotic by watching light shows outside Parliament.
Manitoba and Saskatchewan. There's not much to say about them. They are prairie provinces, where there may be miles of steppe and nothing else. But that's what attracts some people.
Alberta. For the most part it's prairie there too, but closer to British Columbia the mountains and the Banff and Jasper National Parks begin.
British Columbia. Here you can admire the mountains and warm lakes endlessly. On Vancouver Island, the Pacific Ocean rages, palm trees grow and there are many sandy beaches. It rarely snows in Vancouver and Victoria.
Settlements in Canada are very different from each other. For example, the immediate suburbs of Vancouver, such as Burnaby and Richmond, have a large Asian population, while Surrey is home to people from India. By contrast, in Victoria, where Lena lives, Canadians and descendants of settlers from England and Scotland predominate, while immigrants are not as numerous. Not far from Winnipeg, there is a large indigenous community. And in Ottawa, Lena has noticed many Arabs.
Generally speaking, the population of Canada is very diverse, especially in metropolitan areas and central regions. This is nothing to be afraid of: Lena has never experienced negative situations related to other nations, even when she lived in the Hindu neighbourhood. In the outlying parts of the country, where not many immigrants go, the population is already more homogeneous.
There are also areas where one nation is clearly dominant. In such places, Lena would prefer not to settle, because the feeling of living in Canada is lost. Although she notes that Chinese suburbs have strong schools.
Where do immigrants move to
Lena believes that you should not choose a province or a city when you are in your home country. You should first find a immigration program that meets your requirements. Life in any province in Canada will be a pleasure. It's even better if it's an "easier" region, like Manitoba or the Atlantic provinces, because there are lower prices and lower immigrant requirements, like language. Then when you get permanent residency you can look for a suitable place to live.
Toronto is said to have the most jobs, with Vancouver in second place, where there are many programmers. But Lena is of the opinion that you can find a job in any city. She has many acquaintances in Canada with different professions, and they are all employed.
Top 5 places in Canada
Where is a must-see? Lena has highlighted five places of interest.
- Cape Spear in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The most extreme point of Canada and all of North America. A lighthouse on a bluff and the ocean for the next thousand kilometres, with only dolphins and whales to be seen and other countries somewhere beyond — there is a romance to it.
- Niagara Falls. One of Canada's most famous places, which is near Toronto. Near the night, the falls are illuminated and on weekends there are fireworks.
- Show outside the Ottawa Parliament.
- Banff Park and the Rocky Mountains with blue lakes.
- The beaches in the Tofino area of Vancouver Island. This is the best place to watch the raging Pacific Ocean, which is always cold and so loved by surfers. It is especially beautiful in winter during a storm.
Another place Lena thinks is a must-see is the rainforests of British Columbia. The rainfall there is always wet, the trees are shrouded in moss, and green growth hangs overhead. These places are like a fairy tale.
Dreaming of Canada too? Our team includes licensed immigration consultants. They will find the right immigration program for you and help with the paperwork.
Alex Pavlenko, Founder of Immigrant.Today