Hey there, well I'm 22 and at the moment living and working in Germany, but as I'm not quite ready for the adventure to end when my current Visa runs out in June, I'm looking at working in Canada for a year. Basically what I need help with is all the basics of choosing somewhere to base my search on for work... I know basically nothing about Canada, or where the best places to live are! I'm not a real big fan of whopping big cities, i.e. 1 million + but not really ready for quaint villages yet either. I most likely won’t be able to afford a car so a really good public transport system is a bit of a must. I don’t want to be stuck in some far flung corner inaccessible to the rest of the world, and still want to be able to go explore new things each weekend. My ideal job would be in organizing events, concerts, festivals and the like so somewhere energetic and lively would be perfect. It never snows where I come from, so somewhere with really harsh weather conditions might be a bit much for me, but I still want a white Christmas for once, as it was too warm in Germany this year! If you can’t think of somewhere that suits me, perhaps you could recommend places to avoid. Oh and before I forget I can’t speak any French, so I guess that narrows my options.
Ooh and do you know any info on foreigners opening bank accounts or any good job search, medical insurance, roommate search, websites? Anything you can think of that might come in useful really.
Basically I am going to be arriving with the pack on my back and not knowing a soul, can’t wait!!
well as i grew up in canmore a pretty small town about an hour away from calgary and 20 min from banff... if that says anything, i think calgary is a good place to start... the problem you are gonna find in canada in general though is that everything is so damm far apart, so even though a trip to the mountains (ie. canmore and banff) is possible, with the help of the greyhound bus, it takes it's time.
calgary def. has a lot to offer and is close to edmonton as well largest mall... and is a university city so finding a roommate may not be as hard as somewere else but calgary is also not the least expensive place.
Do you have a work Visa for Canada? When it comes to working in Canada or having status of any kind you pretty well need to meet "the shortage list" which means occupations that cant be filled by Canadians, due to lack of potential employees. Be sure and check all of this out ahead of time. Government of Canada websites have all the info you will need - medical, visas, everything.
It might be hard to find a job as a concert organizer etc, I know a lot of people who have tried it without a lot of success. Its a pretty attractive occupation and no lack of people willing to do it.
Most of Canada is civilized, you wont get remote and isolated unless you head North and French isnt an issue unless you plan on settling in Quebec. English is the official language in the rest of Canada
There are a lot of good sized cities to choose from, but given as you dont want snow for winter that pretty well means Victoria or Vancouver and there are no guarantees it wont snow there, it sure did this year.
Milder winters, snow, usually not freezing cold, sub artic temperatures would be through the southern interior of BC, parts of Ontario - but keep in mind it can still be unusually cold - anywhere.
Canada can be very expensive, but you are used to Germany so it wont be too great a shock I am sure.
Hello again, thanks for the help so far. Here is a message sent directly to my inbox so I'll add it in here, in case anyone else might find this useful.
You narrow it down quite a bit! . .. . So you can't/don't want to live in Quebec, where they speak French, cities of 1 mil + are out of the question and cities that are too small are not allowed either . . ..hmmmm . . . Well, I could recommend checking out Banff, a town, certainly under a million but a large enough town where things still happen and there may be some organizational-type jobs. If you like to ski Banff is a great place to go because many ski hills are in a close proximity to the town. Banff is in the Canadian Rockies which is a beautiful place to live. Otherwise, you may want to check out Saskatoon where you could become gainfully employed but I have to warn you that if you had one, you could see your dog run away for three days. However, both places would promise a white Christmas, especially Banff. Saskatoon has a decent public transit system as far as I know, though I haven't seen much in the way of public transit in Banff, though you could probably walk across it in a good hour, maybe less. Well, that is my comparison. Hopefully it helps.
Ok so here’s some replies to your questions:
I am in the process of getting a Working Holiday Visa, which is relatively easy for NZ'ers to get, since we're commonwealth countries.
I don't mind going to a French speaking part and learning French, but as I can't speak it yet I thought finding work would be close to impossible. I have lived in Germany for 8 months and speak very little German (my job involves only talking English) and have gotten on ok, but I don't deal with the public for work, and virtually everyone here can speak some English, which can make you a little lazy I admit.
I expect it to be cold, and severely cold at that, where ever I go, and Kindred I think you misread - I want snow for winter, but that’s not really a deal breaker.
I realize that the Event Industry is a tricky one to crack into, so that’s why I'm more than happy to start at the bottom, and work my way up - hell I'm only 22, basically fresh out of University, I gotta start somewhere. I will work anyway when I first arrive.
I'm not really as fussy as my first post sounds, I'm open to a lot of options/alternatives. The reason I don't want to go to a whopping big metropolis is I find them so impersonal, and when you're new, its incredibly difficult to make friends. And I don't really want to get hooked into the whole expat community exclusively.
Ok enough, again thank you for your help so far, and keep it coming!
Calgary would be a great place to start your adventures. I am from Calgary, been living here for 20 years and in 3 weeks I’m off to Australia for a year =P. Calgary has nice summers, but sadly they don’t last very long and winters are long, snowy, and can be extremely cold (-35'c) but don’t let that get to you, we do have Chinooks that last for weeks. This moment it is snowing here, and has been for the past 3 days. Calgary has great public transportation.
In Alberta (The province of Calgary) is very desperate for people needed to fill jobs. You could literally go out and get a job in a couple hours. A lot of places are raising there starting wages, and throwing in a signing bonus just for agreeing to work for them. I would say you could easily find a job making $15 an hour, with $1000 signing bonus. You mentioned something about a job organizing events, concerts, festivals, etc... A friend of mine sets up and takes down stages for concerts and gets to see them play for free backstage. He’s seen a lot of bands and circus de sola, plus many others. He enjoys it and makes great money! That something you might be interested in?
One thing I would highly recommend the first 2 weeks of July Calgary has a "Stampede", it’s basically a huge festival, games, amusement rides, shows, everything you can think of. Its great and everyone in the city goes to it.
On a negative side, we have the biggest housing shortage in all of Canada, so it would be very hard to find a place to live for a decent price.
I would recommend in the winters to go work in a ski resort, a lot of Kiwi's do it, plus many other people from all over the world. It’s a great place to work, and you can ski/snowboard as much as you want. Banff would be a great home base since its anywhere from 20min-2 hour drive to some of the greatest ski resorts in the Rocky Mountains. That’s all that I can say for now, if I think of anything, or you have any more questions just ask and I will try to answer them.
Wow, thats some really good advice! Thank you very much for the obvious time and effort put into your message.
Another email sent to Inbox, I'll post here to help others:
hope i can help you a little. I am from Toronto which is surely a booming metropolis and the biggest city in the country so maybe not your style - there are however many great cities within an hour or so of toronto that you may be interested in. If you want to go to Ontario (the province I am from) you may want to check out the Guelph area on line. I think there's a few hundred thousand folks there and it's a very traveller friendly city with lots of cool, modern but down to earth people ( I went to high school there) You should be able to find the type of work you are looking for there. It has a great public transportation system and you can catch a bus or train into the big city if you want to check that out too - Toronto is an amazing zoo! They also have white Christmases there most of the time, this year was the first green one bacuase it was also unusually warm. The other place I would recomend is british columbia. The capitol, Vancouver, is huge but there are smaller cities in the area, like Coquitlam, that are really great. Victoria is the best but it's not on the main land so you would have to take a ferry to see the rest of the province. The island is beautiful and have great beaches, mountains and Canada's only rain forest....you would love it!
I don't know about the work thing but being from a commonwealth contry you will have no problem getting papers. Hope this helps!
Well looks like Vancouver is it! I've sorted out all the visa stuff, and even managed to get a really good flight for only EUR314! But now just have to sort out all the nitty gritty little details. Do you have any advice for a decent bank? One with good Internet banking, and reasonable day to day transaction fees, I'm not going to be saving a lot so just a normal debit account is all I need. Also some advice about Medical Insurance for foreigners would be great to!
Well take care, all of you and thank you for your time.
For banking, all of the major banks have online banking. They are:
TD Canada trust
Royal Bank of Canada
Bank of Montreal (BMO)
President's Choice (they have AWESOME transaction fees meaning free debit, but are based through a grocery store called Loblaws, but you can access your account without paying other bank fees through CIBC ATMs)
I know that I'm forgetting a couple, some of whose branches are few and far between.
[ Edit: Edited on Mar 15, 2007, at 6:39 PM by Kar2083 ]
Check out Whistler if you go in the winter. Great party atmosphere. It's still close to Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Loads of jobs in hotels there. Lots of Kiwi's and Aussies too. You will usually get discounts on skiing at Whistler/Blackcomb too if you work in the hotel/hospitality industry.