Canada is one of the largest countries in the world and showcases a diverse landscape of coastal cities, prairie provinces, maritime communities, and the Rocky Mountains. At Newcomers Canada we are committed to supporting your move to Canada and helping you to better understand the unique and vast landscape of the country you will soon call home. The good news is Canada has something for everyone, and Newcomers Canada can help guide you to make the decision that is best for you when planning your big move. Newcomers Canada has developed this guide to Canadian cities to provide an overview of some of the major cities in Canada. Keep reading to learn more about what you can expect from life in each major Canadian city, some potential regional alternatives near each city, and how your occupation or training will be best suited for each Canadian city.
What to expect as a Newcomer in Vancouver
Vancouver is one of Canada’s most well-known cities. As a coastal city bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Vancouver, British Columbia, offers residents a lifestyle rarely found elsewhere in Canada. While there is a long rainy season between November to March, residents of Vancouver rarely feel the often-bitter cold, that the rest of Canada experiences. Downtown Vancouver is a beautiful peninsula that features a skyline filled with high rise buildings. A rarity in Canada, Vancouver offers oceanfront living and beaches, just a short drive away from the mountains and one of the world’s best ski hills, Whistler Blackcomb Mountain.
With all the natural beauty and lifestyle perks that come with living in Vancouver, it’s no surprise that it is one of the most expensive cities in Canada, if not the world, to call home. The cost of living in Vancouver can be overwhelming for many, but there are many regional alternatives. Regional Vancouver suburbs such as Burnaby, Surrey, Richmond, Langley, Delta, and Coquitlam offer many of the same perks as Vancouver, at a more reasonable price point.
What Occupations are in Demand in Vancouver?
Your training, background, and experience will be important factors when exploring the job market in Vancouver. As a major center, there are a wide variety of employment opportunities. The top 6 most in-demand occupations in British Columbia are:
- Software Engineers & Designers
- Digital Entertainment & Interactive
- Registered Nurses & Psychiatric Nurses
- Elementary & SecondarySchool Teachers
- Financial Auditors and Accountants
- Information Systems Analysts &Consultants
British Columbia offers a program called the BC Provincial nominee Program or BC PNP. This program is designed to support BC’s growing demand for skilled workers. The BC PNP helps foreign workers and experienced entrepreneurs to gain permanent residency in BC.
Moving to Calgary, Alberta
Calgary is one of the two largest cities in Alberta, alongside the Alberta provincial capital, Edmonton. Calgary is in the Southern portion of Alberta, amongst the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. This city of about 1.3 million residents features a downtown core surrounded by a vast array of suburbs. Calgary is the third most diverse major city in Canada. Known by many for it’s famous Calgary Stampede, an event highlighting the agricultural background of the region, Calgary is very much a four-season city. The summers can be warm, reaching upwards of +30 degrees Celsius, while the winters can be intensely cold, reaching -30 degrees Celsius at some points. Calgary’s weather is unique in two ways. Firstly, even when it is cold, it is most often very sunny. In fact, Calgary is the sunniest city in all of Canada. Secondly, Calgary experiences chinooks, or a warm westerly wind coming over the mountains. These winds warm the region and will often cause temperature changes of more than 20 degrees Celsius in just a matter of hours.
Calgary is a Canadian city that offers wide open spaces and is located just an hour away from the majesty of the Rocky Mountains. Urban sprawl in the city offers residents the opportunity to chose from a variety of different suburbs with varying amenities and home densities. If you are looking to live near Calgary, the communities of Cochrane, Okotoks, and Airdrie, are towns and cities that are nearly connected to Calgary. The city of Red Deer is a major centre located about 1.5 hours from Calgary, while Lethbridge is another major centre about 3-hours south of Calgary.
The economy in Calgary has traditionally been driven by the oil and gas industry, but with changes across the energy sector, in-demand talent has transitioned. Today, Calgary’s focus is on the following sectors:
- Creative Industries
- Energy & Environment
- Financial Services
- Interactive Digital Media
- Life Sciences
- Transportation & Logistics
Alberta offers a provincial nominee program called the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program or AINP. The program is designed to nominate individuals who have the skills to fill jobs that are in shortages or who are planning to buy or start a business in Alberta. The program offers a path towards permanent residency.
Essential Things to know About Living in Toronto
Toronto is perhaps the most well-known city in Canada. As the largest metropolitan region in Canada, Toronto offers newcomers considerable opportunities and a high quality of life. The most multicultural city in the world, with nearly half of the population representing a visible minority and over 200 languages spoken, Toronto is sure to offer you a sense of community no matter where you are relocating from. With over 50km of waterfront on the shore of Lake Ontario, Toronto is filled with beautiful parks, lake front beaches, and harbours to explore. Living in Toronto or southern Ontario will mean preparing for hot and humid summers, and cold and snowy winters. The city is a cultural playground filled with museums, art galleries, sporting events, and music venues. You will never be bored living in Toronto!
As the largest city in Canada, Toronto has become increasingly expensive, particularly the cost of living and real estate. The Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, or GTHA is a largest and most heavily populated region of Canada. The GTHA consists of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and the city of Hamilton. The GTA includes the city of Toronto as well as the regions of Halton, Peel, York and Durham. The GTHA is part of what is known as the Golden Horseshoe which wraps around the western end of Lake Ontario with a population around 6 million people.
Options for transportation in the GTHA include the GO Transit service, as well as local rapid transit agencies and the TTC which offers subway, streetcar and bus services throughout Toronto.
Toronto, Ontario, is an attractive place to live for many reasons, and employment opportunities are certainly one of them. In 2021 the most in-demand occupation in Toronto are:
- Technology programmers
- Financial analysts
- Customer Service Representatives
- Transport Drivers
- Register nurses
The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program or OINP offers foreign workers, international students, business owners and entrepreneurs from outside of Canada the opportunity to apply for permanent residence in Ontario. You can learn more about OINP here.
Guide to Living in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
With a population of around 800,000 New Brunswick is bordered by two other maritime provinces, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. These three provinces and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador make up Atlantic Canada and are the most Eastern provinces in Canada. New Brunswick, the only officially bilingual province in Canada, is made up of eight distinct regions, the largest city in New Brunswick is Moncton, home to about 110,000 residents. Living in Moncton will mean pleasant summers ranging from 20-30 degrees Celsius and winters with cold temperatures and heavy snowfall.
The city of Moncton is the economic hub of New Brunswick and boasts an impressive quality of life. With affordable housing, short commutes, and a small-town feel, living in Moncton is a strong alternative to other major Canadian cities. The province is currently experiencing strong economic growth and is seeing an increase in opportunities related to:
- Financial services & fintech
- Cannabis research
- Information technology
- Business servicecentres
- Food & beverage
In fact, the province of New Brunswick predicts that between 2018 and 2027 there will be 120,00 jobs created, half of them being in:
- Healthcare and social assistance
- Retail and wholesale trade
The New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program or NBPNP, is an immigration program that allows for skilled workers to find employment in the province and become eligible for permanent residency.
Montreal – Everything you need to Know
Living in Montreal is a unique Canadian experience bursting with history and culture. While Canada is a bilingual country with two official languages, French and English, the province of Quebec, of which Montreal is the largest city, is a predominantly French speaking province. Most residents do speak both French and English, but if you are planning to live and work in Montreal, it is highly recommended you are fluent in French.
Living in Montreal will mean experiencing four distinct seasons each year. As a resident of Montreal, you should be prepared for heavy snow and cold temperatures through the winter, beautiful fall colours in October and November, and hot summer days in July and August.
Home to nearly two million residents, Montreal, Quebec, is located along the Saint Lawrence River, a historical fur-trading and shipping route. The most popular neighborhoods in Montreal include old Montreal, Downtown, Plateau, Mont Royal and Outremont, and Eastside. Unlike many other major Canadian cities, living in Montreal is relatively affordable, especially if you are looking to rent an apartment or home.
The most sought-after occupations in Montreal include:
- Registered Nurse
- AI Specialist
The Regular Skilled Worker Program or RSWP is available to individuals who are hoping to immigrate to Quebec permanently for work. For this program, you must declare your interest in immigrating to Québec to work. If your profile matches the criteria needed in Québec, you will receive an invitation to submit an application for permanent selection. Learn more about the RSWP here.
Moving to Halifax, Canada
Home to one of Canada’s most vibrant fishing industries, Halifax is the largest city in the Canadian maritime province of Nova Scotia. Located on the East Coast of Canada, bordering the Atlantic Ocean, Nova Scotia is home to around one million residents, while Halifax is home to around 400,000 residents. If you are looking to live in a city that feels like a small town and operates slightly slower than the hustle of a big city, Halifax might be what you are looking for.
The city of Halifax is home to four post-secondary institutions or universities and features a lively nightlife and restaurant scene. If you are a fan of seafood and lobster, Halifax is the place for you! If you are an outdoor enthusiast, you will enjoy the many beautiful landscapes and lakes of Nova Scotia, with lighthouses off in the distance.
The cost of living in Halifax is substantially lower than in other major Canadian cities but is also the highest in the maritime provinces. If you are looking for a family friendly community in Halifax, consider Bedford, Westmount, or Clayton Park. If you are a student moving to Halifax, consider the North End, South End or West End. If you are concerned about your cost of living, there are numerous options outside the city which you can comfortably commute from, including Dartmouth, Fairview, Bedford, Fall River, Lower Sackville, and Cole Harbour.
The most demand occupations in Halifax include:
- IT gaming andDigitalMedia
- Financial Services
- Ocean Technology
- Transportation and Logistics
- Health and Life Sciences
The Nova Scotia Nominee Program or NSNP is available to individuals who are looking to move to Nova Scotia permanently for employment.