If you are under 30 or 35 (depending on what agreement your country has with Canada), and are from a country which has a working holiday agreement with Canada, then you can come to the world’s second largest country and do all three thing in this posts title.
If you are not eligible for a working holiday visa, well you can still come for the play, and boy, would we love to have you over!
This blog post is my fifth and final entry into World Nomad’s blog your backyard competition. I have had a great time reflecting on and writing about my home country, and it has helped get me through some of the home sickness I have felt over here in New Zealand.
So, you need a place to stay?
One of the first things you will need to consider when you begin planning your trip to Canada is, where to start! Canada is massive – it’s the world’s second largest country after all. Most likely, you will be starting in one of the major cities. Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver. And for most of you, it will be Toronto. Toronto, although NOT our capital city, does have our busiest international airport, and for most travellers, this will be your port of entry.
Many people will decide to stay in Toronto, and as Canada’s largest city, there is definitely enough there to keep you busy for your entire trip. But on behalf of all Canadians who are not Torontonians – we urge you to see more than just the T dot!
No matter what your style, you will find somewhere in Canada that will suit your tastes. From rugged landscape with sparse populations in the maritime provinces, to urban playgrounds in Ontario, to French chique in Quebec, to the liberal and hipster paradise of British Columbia.
Once you decide on where you want to be, you need to find a place to stay. If you are only passing through, you will find no shortage of hostels and hotels to cater to your needs. There is also a vibrant couch surfing community in Canada, and if you are open to that style of travel, I definitely recommend it.
If you are staying longer term, you will probably want to find an apartment to rent. Each area of Canada has different resources, but do check if your region of choice has any craigslist or kijiji listings. And also make sure to check the local newspapers, and their websites for listings.
So, you want to make some money?
Canada was very fortunate to not be hit very badly by the financial crisis of 2008, so it is still relatively straight forward to find a job here.
Every job I have had in Canada, I have found by aimlessly walking around and handing my CV to any shop I pass by. And that is definitely a great way to find work if you are looking for something in retail or hospitality. But if you are unlike me and actually have a real degree (ie. not an arts degree), or real job experience, then you are better off to aim a bit higher. The government of Canada has a great job website which lists jobs all over the country – and not just government jobs either. Aside from that, another avenue you can go through are temp or job agencies. Although I have never gone through a job agency, I know of several people who have had great success with them.
Well, now that the boring part is taken care of, it’s time to get out there and have some fun!
Depending on where you chose to live, this could mean anything. If you are in an urban centre, make sure to pick up some of the many varieties of free entertainment papers out there and check out the listings. Even in smaller cities, like my hometown of Winnipeg, there are bands playing and art events happening on most days.
Don’t forget to check out all the different festivals on offer around the country. The great thing about a country which prides itself on multiculturalism, is that we have loads of great and colourful festivals to indulge in.
And of course, there is the great Canadian outdoors. If its summer, grab your bug repellent, and if it’s winter grab your toque (its Canadian for hat), and get out there! You don’t have to go far to be away from the urban crowds in Canada, and make sure to check out the parks Canada website for great information on our national parks.
If you are into skiing or snowboarding, then you will have a hard time dragging yourself away from Banff, Jasper, or Whistler, so make sure you don’t miss out on these great locations.
And last, but not least, there is my favourite Canadian past time. EATING OUT! Restaurants are more affordable in Canada than in many other places I have lived, and yet again, our multicultural ways have blessed us. You can probably find every type of food from around the world in Canadian cities, and you would be missing out if you didn’t try them all. If you are in my city of Winnipeg, make sure you go get an avocado bubble tea from Kawaii Crepe in Osborne village ….. but don’t tell me about it…. I might get homesick again!