Are you thinking of moving to Canada? I totally get it, a few years ago I decided to move to Canada for my studies and I didn’t regret it for a single second!
Canada is a wonderful country and moving to Canada has a lot of advantages! However, in my experience, also a few disadvantages. And these pros and cons are what I’d like to share with you in this blog post to make your decision just a little bit easier.
If later on, you need a little bit more help, you might also want to check out my ultimate Canadian packing list or my packing list for moving abroad!
Anyways, without spoiling too many details in the introduction, let’s take a look at all the pros and cons I experienced when living in Canada!
The pros of living in Canada
#1 You can enjoy all seasons to the fullest!
Indeed, Canada has the most beautiful seasons you can imagine! This is therefore my first benefit of living in Canada! Warm summers allow for swimming in its lakes, while fall makes for a magical and colourful experience, winter is filled with lots of snow, and spring allows you to experience the bloom and gloom on a massive scale!
Thus, in terms of weather, I think Canada is the country where you’ll find the most variety you can get anywhere in the world. This means very nice summers but also very cold winters, which might be one of the disadvantages of living in Canada as well.
Related: the ultimate packing list for Canada!
#2 Canadians are super friendly and welcoming
I first thought this was one of the myths you get to hear when you move to Canada, but it’s actually true! Canadians are super friendly people who will always greet you and ask how you are (not just to be polite).
Plus, they don’t hesitate to help you when you are in need of help. For example, an old lady on the train offered to bring me home if no one would pick me up at the train station. This is just one of the examples where you’ll encounter the helpfulness of Canadians!
#3 Canada is a mix of cultures and food
Canada is traditionally a country with a lot of immigrants. Therefore, you’ll find a mix of people in Canada and also a mix of different cuisines as Canada does not really have its own strong food culture.
However, one dish that is very typical for Canada and originates from Quebec, is poutine. This dish consists of fries, gravy, cheese curds and any topic you can imagine! It’s the perfect comfort food that you’ll be able to get anywhere, and people from Quebec are particularly proud of it.
While living in Canada, I followed a cooking class to learn how to make poutine with a true Quebecer chef, and he allowed me to publish his recipe on my blog! So, if you plan to move to Canada, you might want to check out this poutine recipe!
#4 Nature is magnificent
As you’ve probably seen from many pictures, Canada has incredible nature that you can explore. The many national parks and other natural spots are a true paradise for outdoor lovers. Think of the well-known Banff National Park, Algonquin National Park, pumpkin and apple picking farms and so much more!
Whether it’s hiking, camping, skiing or whatever, you’ll find your perfect outdoor activity for every season in Canada!
Canada is well-known for having a decent social safety net that resembles a bit that of Europe. Therefore, this might be one of the largest benefits if you’re coming from a country like the United States.
Some examples are great public elementary and secondary education, government pension plans, public-funded healthcare etc.
The cons of living in Canada
#1 You’ll miss certain food
When I moved to Canada, I really missed two things: bread and chocolate. Yes, as a true Belgian I eat bread every day and I’m addicted to chocolate. Quality bread was certainly very hard to find (you can’t find it in a regular supermarket) and chocolate was just very expensive and limited in range. For me, this was one of the biggest disadvantages of living in Canada.
Depending on which country you currently live in, you’ll have other things that you will miss, so be prepared for that! Luckily, there are also other ingredients that are really good which you won’t find in your home country. For example, buying fruit in Canada was much cheaper compared to Belgium!
#2 It’s insanely cold in winter
If you love winter, cold and snow then Canada might just be the perfect country for you. But if you don’t like temperatures below zero, then you might want to reconsider moving to Canada.
Because temperatures can easily get extremely low. You can expect freezing temperatures all winter long, starting from November/December until March/April. The coldest months are generally January and February, but when I visited Quebec City at the end of December, temperatures already reached minus 10 degrees Celsius (equal to 14 degrees Fahrenheit).
Of course, the benefits of this are wonderful snow landscapes and lots of winter sports activities!
#3 Distances are huge
If you come from the US this might not be a huge difference, but coming from a small country like Belgium (where you can cross the entire country within 3 hours), it is an enormous adaptation.
For example, driving from Toronto to Montreal will take you at least 5 hours, and when you want to go from one side of the country to another, you’ll need to take a flight of at least 4 and a half hours!
This means that if you live in a different city, meeting up becomes already much more complicated, and living in Canada without having a car might seem impossible.
Luckily, public transport is quite good, train connections between different cities are a good way to move from one place to another, but if you’d like to go to IKEA or visit a National Park, this will be difficult without a car.
Related: top 6 cities in Eastern Canada you should visit!
#4 It’s hard to get a job as a foreigner
This is a point I heard often during my time in Canada, it is difficult to find a job here. Although I personally don’t have experience with looking for a job in Canada (I lived there as a student), I often heard that many employers require you to have a Canadian diploma and that foreign diplomas might be regarded as being inferior.
Of course, this all depends on which country you studied n and how much experience you have in your job. So if you’re older and more experienced this might be less of an issue.
#5 Language difficulties
In Canada, not only English is the official language but in Quebec, everyone still speaks French. This is historically grown and most people who speak French also speak at least a bit of English, but if you’re thinking of moving to Quebec, you’ll really need to consider that everything will be in French.
I generally found that Montréal, which is closer to Ontario, is much more bilingual than other parts of Quebec. However, the rest of the country just speaks English.
But this also means that if your English is not great, you’ll have difficulties fitting in.
Summary: pros and cons of living in Canada
|Pros of living in Canada||Cons of living in Canada|
|You can enjoy all seasons to the fullest||You’ll miss certain food|
|Canadians are super friendly and welcoming||It’s insanely cold in winter|
|Canada is a mix of cultures and food||Distances are huge|
|Nature is magnificent||It’s harder to get a job as a foreigner|
|Good social safety net||Language difficulties|
So, by now I gave you all the pros and cons of living in Canada that I personally experienced. I hope that these can help you decide whether to actually move to Canada or not.
Is Canada a good place to live? In general, I loved living in Canada and I would highly recommend it. Although there are disadvantages, many of them are just minor things and you’ll get used to them.
In my opinion, the pros definitely overweigh the cons!
Want to know more about Canada? Take a look at all the fun facts about Canada I gathered!