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First few days in Toronto

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by jaggysnake123 » Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:43 pm

Hello!

10 months after applying for our visas, my girlfriend and I have arrived in Canada! We flew to Toronto 4 days ago, and plan to stay here until spring. I thought I'd write up our first 3 days so people have a better idea of what to expect. Also, if anyone else is in Toronto or is moving soon, hit me up! We need friends!

Day 1: 12th October
Flew from London to Toronto with Air Transat at mid-day, arriving 3.30pm Toronto time (few delays taking off). Flight was around 8 hours. Pretty good airline, plenty of good films, you get a snack and meal during the flight. Not the nicest meal, definitely not the worst. Once we landed we went through passport check where they asked us why we were coming to Canada etc. We were then directed to the immigration and border control where we would get our visas and work permits issued. Was pretty straight forward, they looked at our POE document, bank statements and insurance policy. Our work permits were stapled to our passport and directed to the otherside of the room to get our SIN issued (needed to get a job, also handy for proof of address). They needed our work permit, passport and proof of address (we used the air bnb place we were staying for 10 days). All together it took us around 40 minutes to get our visa and SIN.

We booked a hostel for the first night as it can be a great way to meet people, and pick up some leaflets about touristy things. Then the 10 days after that would be in an air bnb place, giving us loads of time to find a house to live in and get our lives set up in general. We were lucky as my girlfriend had an old school friend living in Toronto. He picked us up and drove us over to the hostel (called The Only Backpackers Inn). Very good hostel with a bar and cafe below. We dumped our stuff (got there around 6pm) and grabbed a beer. Ventured out to find some food, then came back and passed out. We were far too exhausted to be social ha.

Day 2: 13th October
Woke up around 8am and made use of the complimentary breakfast. Our plan was to just get to the air bnb place across town and get settled before we went about bank and phone set ups. However we saw a Scotia bank about 10 minutes down the road from the hostel and didn't need to check out until 11, so wandered down and got that our of the way. Was really straight forward to set up a bank account. We both went for the Scotia One chequing account. Basically a current account with debit card that allowed unlimited transactions (also lets you see films for free the more you spend on the card) along with a basic savings account that had pretty good interest. To open the account we needed our passport, work permit and proof of address (for this, we used our SIN document which had printed the address of our air bnb place). We made sure it was all paperless, chose our own pin number for the card and we were done! Took about 30 minutes each. Online banking is pretty much the same as back home.

After that we checked out of the hostel and just sat in the cafe, using the free wifi to plan how to get to the air bnb place. The subway system is very simple here. One line goes east to west, the other is a u bend line which goes north to south. Luckily both the hostel we were staying in and the air bnb place are on the east-west line. We found a fido phone shop was also along that route, so dropped in on the way. Got a cheap smart phone and plan set up in 30 minutes, now we can use google maps! Fido seemed to be the cheapest we could find, and we heard they had pretty good reception.

Our air bnb place is just beside lansdowne subway, near high park. Really nice area with lots of cool bars and loads of veggie/vegan cafes and restaurants (girlfriend is vegan). Air bnb place is very nice, good sized room sharing with a family. We dumped our stuff and went out to get some food. My girlfriend had found someone on a facebook group selling a phone, so we ventured north of the city to buy it. The guy was extremely friendly, buying us coffees and showing us how to use the phone and giving us advice about the city. He even offered to take us to Montreal and show us around! After this we were knackered, so came back and had a beer in a bar beside our air bnb, then crawled into bed.

Day 3: 14th October
We had been speaking to someone on a facebook group (bunz group, I'll talk about at the end) before we left about subletting a room in their house November - January. So we went over to meet them in the morning. They only lived about 15 minutes away from the air bnb place which was handy. After that we walked to Dufferin Mall and wandered around Walmart. Picked up some food for the next few days and came back to the air bnb. Had a bit of a chill and contacted our friends and family. Then in the evening headed out for some food at a thai place called PAI. Very tasty shit indeed! After we went to a bar and watched the Blue Jays (Toronto baseball team) play. At midnight we went to the Scotiabank Theatre to see Under the Shadows (we had booked this a few weeks before). Got an uber home and passed out!


We were surprised how quickly we were able to set up bank accounts, get phones and even find a place to live. Weather has been very sunny and warm, which was a welcomed surprise! Hope this helps people who are wondering what will happen once they arrive. Any questions just drop me a line :)

Also! I mentioned earlier about a facebook group called bunz. There are a few different groups, The Bunz Home Zone, The Bunz Helping Zone, The Bunz Employment Zone. There are thousands of people posting on these, very active groups. Its helped us find a place to live, buy a second hand phone, advised us on what phone provider to use and some other general info. So I highly recommend joining these! If they are private, let me know and I can invite you to them :)

Cheers,

Sam x
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jaggysnake123
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by saintfan69 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 12:58 pm

Hey Sam

Great post, thanks so much for sharing.

My son has just got his POE and will be coming to Toronto Jan/Feb 2018, so just really stalking the boards as a 'slightly' worried parent.

Just one question for now (but i'm sure ill have more). Once you had set up the bank account was it easy to transfer funds from your UK bank?

Thanks
Matt.
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by rmilne611 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 5:41 am

saintfan69 wrote:Hey Sam

Great post, thanks so much for sharing.

My son has just got his POE and will be coming to Toronto Jan/Feb 2018, so just really stalking the boards as a 'slightly' worried parent.

Just one question for now (but i'm sure ill have more). Once you had set up the bank account was it easy to transfer funds from your UK bank?

Thanks
Matt.


Hey there, thought I would pop in to answer your question.

I've been living in Vancouver since 2015 and have transferred money to and from my UK bank multiple times (came home for christmas last year). I have always used transferwise (they have a very good app) - its the easiest thing going, quick and reliable. That would always be my recommendation 100%.

Any other questions feel free to ask, be happy to settle any nerves!

Ross
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