‘It’s not what you know’: Expats share inside advice for life in Canada

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An estimated 500,000 Britons live in Canada with many choosing to settle around the beautiful city of Vancouver in British Columbia. Other popular destinations include Toronto and Montreal.

As part of the HSBC Expat Explorer survey, expats shared their tips and advice for adapting to life in Canada.

One said: “Everyday living involves covering a lot more in terms of distance, whether using public or private transport, so activities can take longer to accomplish.”

As the second largest country in the world by landmass, it can take a long time to travel around Canada.

However, many expats find they quickly adapt to the longer travel times, especially when routes are often surrounded by beautiful scenery.

Before settling on a location, it’s a good idea for potential expats to do a lot of research to make sure their new home is right for them.

One expat said: “Research the climatic conditions of areas throughout Canada, the cost of housing and different provincial taxes.

“Talk to as many people as you can in Canada before you make a decision to look for employment.”

Canada’s climate is extremely varied and generally temperatures are milder in the south of the country, towards the US border.

Winter in Canada can be long and extremely cold so British expats will need to stock up on warm clothes.

Many expats recommend that newcomers make the effort to get to know local residents when they arrive.

Local people will often have some of the best tips and advice to help expats settle into life in Canada.

According to one expat, building a strong network is really important if people want to get ahead in Canada.

One expat said: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Meet with people personally (face-to-face rather than by email or phone) and work to build relationships.

“Canada runs on networking and you need to get integrated as soon as possible.”

The more people new expats meet, the more likely they are to hear about new opportunities.

Expat life is often more exciting than life in the UK, but relocating abroad unfortunately also comes with a lot of admin.

One person said: “Make sure to get a letter from your insurance company (car insurance, home insurance etc.) stating the amount of years without a claim. If you don’t have this letter, you’ll start from zero and pay higher rates.”

Many expats say they never feel lonely in Canada as local residents are often very kind and welcoming.

One expat added: “Canada is a culturally diverse country. Be open, accepting and tolerant of others but retain your individuality. Also, learn to manage your own taxes.”

Although many areas of Canada speak English, French is the official language in Montreal and the wider Quebec region.

Top tourist destinations in Canada include the world famous Niagara Falls, Nahanni National Park and Banff National Park.

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