How to choose a good neighbourhood to live in Canada
Do you want to live in a ghetto or in safety and comfort? 3 ways to check out a neighbourhood that will help you choose a great place to live with good neighbours.
In 6 years of living in Canada, my family and I lived in three different houses and weren't particularly interested in neighbourhoods. We paid the price for that. It’s hard for newcomers to rent housing without a Canadian credit history. Without it, you can be refused in renting or asked to pay several months in advance. So usually, price is the main factor when choosing an apartment or a house. I hope that after reading this article you will pay attention to other factors, too.
All three ways to check the selected neighbourhood are related to the postcode. In Canada, it is six characters, three digits with letters separated by a space. For example, the postcode at the Canadian Parliament is K1A 0A4.
If you have children, you should know that free public schools are tied to your residential address. You may end up with some poorly rated schools. If it's elementary school, that's okay, but older kids are better off going to better-rated schools. I have three kids, and for that reason, we enrolled our older sons in a private school, which resulted in a lot of expenses.
In Canada, rental contracts are usually for one year. You can find an apartment or house for rent on Kijijiji, a popular bulletin board. There you can choose housing according to different parameters. The ad always indicates the postcode, by which you should check the neighbourhood.
When you're looking for a place to live permanently, don't be lazy and look up available schools by postcode:
In large cities like Toronto, there are often many schools attached to one address. If you are considering a smaller town, there may be one or two schools to choose from. Next, you can read online reviews by the name of the school, but it's better to use a website with school ratings. Ratings are recalculated every year and are based on how well students do on exams.
I'll move on to the second way to check the neighbourhood. There is a special website that collects statistics on various parameters. It has information on 15 million households and divides people into conditional 67 segments.
You can enter the postcode and see the following information:
- average annual income of a family from the specified neighbourhood;
- age of adults and children;
- percentage of immigrant residents;
- percentage of residents who speak unofficial languages of Canada;
- if there are more renters or homeowners in the neighbourhood;
- if more residents live in apartments or houses;
- what residents do in their free time;
- which stores they shop at;
- what brands of cars they drive, and so on.
It is clear that this is averaged information, but it still gives some insight into the future place of residence. It is better to study it and know who will live next to you.
A third way is to look at additional demographic information on the largest real estate website Realtor. By the way, you can also use it to look for housing to rent or buy.
On this site, you need to enter the postcode of the housing you are interested in, select any property in the area, and open the "Statistics" section of the listing. It shows more accurate data about the neighbourhood: a breakdown of residents by age, income, languages spoken, education, what percentage owns a home, and so on. By the way, it's believed that the fewer people who rent, the more peaceful and affluent is the neighbourhood.
And if you are not yet in Canada, contact our company for help with immigration.
Alex Pavlenko, founder of Immigrant.Today