Im going to Canada late this year or early Kanuary 2008!
I`m on a work visa for a year with Bunac!...
Ive never been to Canada before and wanted to get some info from those of you who have gone.
I wanna fly into Vancouver first....and I feel I`d like to work in Whistler / Banff or one of the other ski resorts ( even though I cant ski! haha YET ) .. mind you - I dont mind doing Administration etc...
Thing is, I want to leave the UK knowing that I have accomodation and a job lined up!....
I dont wanna hostel anymore, done enough of it over the past few years of travelling... SO... any tips or websites would be helpful.
Any info on Vancouver, and work etc woul dbe great!
First off, Vancouver is Canada's best city (Montreal/Ottawa coming in close second) and is beautiful. Right on the coast, the city's surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and Costal Mountains. About 10 square km's are cut off to accomodate Stanley Park, which has a massive breach wall (right off the ocean) which stretches 9km. Good place to run/bike/rollerblade.
On the ski/snowboard in Banff/Whistler front, if you don't mind spending 65$ on lift tickets per day (mind you, you could get package deals but it's still expensive) to learn how to ski, go right ahead. It's a little daunting even for experienced snowboarders/skiers, and extremely busy during the winter months. In order to get a job there, you'd have to be extremely pushy as Whistler/Banff is always flooded with Australian/European students wanting to get jobs. There are smaller hills surrounding the Vancouver/British Columbia area; Cypress Mountain, Sunshine, or Golden British Columbia are good alternatives.
- * Housing is extremely expensive in the Vancouver area. I think the average monthly cost is something like $1300 Canadian which is about 700 pounds.
Vancouver is a definate must see, and if you end up getting a job at whistler it would be amazingly fun (apart from the whole expenses part.) On a whole, Canada's super friendly (especially to people with accents! people here just eat that stuff up. You'll continually get asked where your from) but it's also competitive, if you'd want a good job. If you're not too picky, and have good funds then you'll be fine!
I can't give you advice on any ski resort in Canada but Whistler. I lived there for a year and have taken countless extended visits (sometimes working) there over the last few years. I've also lived in Vancouver, so if you need any more info on it, PM me and I'll see if I can help you out.
The first thing I'll say is that Dec-Jan is a bad time to arrive in Whistler. The mountain opens in late Nov and is in full swing by December. This means that most places, particularly the Mountain owned stores, already have a full staff. Most of the hiring is done in Oct/Nov during the job fair. Do a google search for "Whistler Job Fair" and I'm sure you'll find some info on that. The shitty deal with that is that alot of people get hired in Oct but get no shifts until Nov or Dec. This is not to say that there is no hope of getting a job if you come too late. Last year when I was there in Feb I seen heaps of help-wanted signs around town. And since by this time there are few people looking for jobs, if you do find a place hiring you could probably just walk right into the job. I have no idea what the prospects are for finding a job before you arrive. I've actually never heard of it. It seems to me like there is no point for an employer to look overseas when there are thousands of Aussies and Brits right outside their door looking for jobs.
As far as jobs go, there are two routes you can take. First, there is working for the Mountain. Most people think this means being a lift operator or ski instructor. While those are definetly options, the Mountain (company's actually called Intrawest) also owns half the retail stores and a number of restarants in the village. So working for the mountain could mean selling jackets at the North Face store, doing guest relations, selling ski tickets, or serving coffee in a cafe. With these jobs comes a free seasons pass for the mountain, and i'm pretty sure discounted equipment. They also have a housing option in a place not unlike a university dormitory. Intrawest is pretty cleaver with this because they pay you minimum wage, but give you all the bonuses and discounts, which are then things that really make the Mountain jobs atractive. But it means that they give you money for working, but you pay them rent, you buy your gear at their stores where you get a discount, and you eat at their restarants and bars where you get a discount. So most of the money they pay in wages goes right back into their company. Pretty smart I think. Anyways, this is usually the best option for newcomers because you don't have to worry about alot of upfront costs, you get your ski pass, and you can often find housing easier.
Then there are the hundreds of private businesses, restarants, shops etc in the village. The good thing about these is that its the same as any job in the world. No job fairs or anything, you just walk in, talk to the manager, give them a resume, and hope for the best. They also generaly pay a bit more than the Mountain. But they don't usually offer free ski passes. What they do usually offer is a Spirit Pass, a discounted seasons pass because you are a resident. Usually your employer will buy if for you, and you pay it off a little at a time out of each pay check. Some employers will even pay it off for you if you finish the whole season with them. What's funny about these passes is that there is no calling in sick on good skiing days. The employer has the ability to get your ski pass blacklisted for the day. Some companies, particuarly big hotels, will also provide staff housing.
The biggest problem in whistler is not the jobs - its the accomidation. Good affordable accomidation is pretty scarce and you do hear of horror stories of either people having to leave because they never found anything, or living with 6 roomates in a one bedroom flat in order to pay rent. So though you mention that you don't want to do the hostel thing anymore, you might have to accept it as a reality. Hopefully it won't be for long though.
Sorry if I've scared you after this response. There are definetly many job opportunities, and most people do eventually find place to live. It is a fairly small amount of people who have to leave for not finding anything. If you aren't fussy and don't mind cleaning rooms or something then you'll no doubt find something pretty quickly. Since the ideal job is at night so you can ski all day, expressing interest in working days also helps. But the biggest things I think is arriving in Whistler as early in the season as possilbe.
There's also the option of heading to a ski resort in the summer. Whistler and Banff are both stunning, and very busy spots in the summer. No skiing of course. There is still lots of jobs, and rent becomes cheaper and accomidation more available. Its actually my favorite time in Whistler.
Heres a few sights that I found that might be useful:
And two weekly newpapers with classifieds:
Hope some of this helps. Let me know if you have more questions.