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Oshawa, ON, L1H 4G1
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What Life in Canada is Really Like

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What Life in Canada is Really Like

Jade Calver

Moving to Canada from the USA

What is expat life like in Canada? And what do you need to know about moving to Canada from the United States?

Most people are surprised to learn that the majority of our clients immigrate here from the United States. Whether coming to Canada for work, to study, travel, or join a spouse or partner, there are many reasons why our Southern neighbours choose to relocate to Canada. 

In this interview, our former client, Emma shares her experience of moving to Canada from the United States to live with her Canadian husband. 

 
 

Emma’s second trip to Canada.

Emma’s Story

I first moved to Canada in the fall of 2017. My husband, a Canadian Citizen, and I had just gotten married in my hometown in Kentucky. We spent a week after the wedding there changing my last name on all my legal documents and loading my things into our car, and then we made the 10-hour drive to our new home. We had been together just under three years and this trip would mark only the seventh time I had even been to Canada (the only country outside the U.S. that I had ever been to at all).

I have now been living in Canada for almost two years. I obtained my permanent residency in December of 2018 and I plan to apply for citizenship once I’m eligible in a couple more years! From dating a Canadian while in university to planning the beginning stages of immigration, to actively living in Canada, I’ve learned a lot over the past four years.

Emma and TJ at Niagara Falls (left) and a Blue Jay’s Game at the Roger’s Centre (right).

What surprised you about life in Canada?

For me, the weather was a major concern when considering a potential move here, particularly the winters, so I have to say it is NOT always cold here! My first trip here was in August and it was over 100°F (38°C) every day! Most parts of Canada do experience all four seasons, and while winters here might be harsher, they actually feel so much safer than in my home state of Kentucky, as Canada does an amazing job at treating and clearing the roads and snow tires are a commonality here.

How does the cost of living in Canada compare to the United States?

The cost of living in Canada is higher depending on where you live and where you’re coming from. We pay twice as much for our apartment here as we would in my home state of Kentucky, gas is much more expensive here, and groceries, especially produce, tend to cost more as well. And while it is true workers are generally paid higher wages here than in the States, it does not exactly even out as income and sales taxes here are much higher than in the United States (sales tax in Kentucky is 6% and in Ontario, it is 13%). BUT you really see where that money goes here with things like the amazing health care system, well-kept roads and public spaces, and the well-paid educators and public servants!

Emma and TJ at Casa Loma (left) and Nathan Phillips Square (right).

What are some of the smaller differences you’ve noticed about living in Canada versus the United States?

  • In the States, we used the imperial measuring system (i.e. Fahrenheit, inches, and miles) so I was nervous when moving to Canada that I would have a hard time adjusting as they use the metric system (i.e. Celsius, centimetres, kilometres). 

  • Canadian Currency is a bit different than in the U.S. There are no one-dollar bills or pennies here in Canada. Instead, when there are pennies on a bill the total is rounded up or down, and in place of one-dollar bills, there are one-dollar coins called Loonies and two-dollar coins called Toonies! (And yes, Canadian currency is also very colourful and more plastic-like in feel).

  • Most Canadians speak English just like in the United States, but there are still a few words you might hear in Canada that you wouldn’t anywhere else! Yes, Canadians really do say ‘Eh’! They also say ‘Washroom’ instead of ‘Restroom’ or ‘Bathroom’ and in the winter they don’t call the hats they wear ‘Beanies’ or ‘Toboggans’, they call them ‘Toques’! 

Emma and TJ at Canada’s Wonderland (left) and the Toronto Zoo (right).

What is your favourite part of living in Canada?

Canada is VERY culturally diverse. Individuals come here from all over the world, bringing their various cultures with them and the general population of Canada is extremely welcoming and happy to have these cultures within their borders. I have had the opportunity to experience and meet people from so many different countries and cultural backgrounds! It is a true melting pot here where one-fifth of the population is an immigrant!

There is so much to love about this country, but my favourite thing about living in Canada has just been coming to love this country as my home! I’m extremely proud of my American heritage, but I’m also so proud and excited to be living and growing within Canada! I now have two countries to call my home and I love learning more about the history, culture, and traditions of my new country and I can’t wait to continue to experience more and more! 

 
 

Emma and TJ celebrating Emma’s 1st year in Canada with a Canadian favourite: poutine!

We want to say a special thank you to Emma for sharing her story with us! To follow Emma’s journey to citizenship and see more of her life in Canada, you can follow her Instagram account @meamarenee


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Contact our Oshawa office today!

71 Albert St.
Suite 6
Oshawa, ON
L1H 4R1
289-677-0108

Our Services

Calver and Associates is a leading provider of Canadian Immigration services in Durham Region. We serve clients in Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, and beyond. Our Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant has over 10 years of experience in Canadian Immigration law and over four years of experience serving those in the Oshawa area. 

We can provide assistance with applications for both temporary and permanent residency in Canada. We handle applications for study permits, permanent residency, family class sponsorship, visitor visas, work permits, and Canadian citizenship. We also handle criminal inadmissibility cases by developing remedies for refusal