Newcomers Guide to Canada

Welcome to Canada

You are about to begin on an exciting journey in this beautiful country.

We made this guide to help you get through your initial days as well as hopefully throughout your life in this country.


Things to Do!

First week in Canada: 

After you arrive, there are a few things that you need to get started with your life in Canada. We list the important things you need to take care of:


The first and foremost thing you need to do is to figure out how you will transport yourself to places in your initial days and later as you proceed with your life in Canada.

Get to know the transit system, fares, and bus passes. If you are in Toronto, get a presto card. Google maps work well in almost every city for planning trips using public transit. Also, check for the local city transit app.

Phone Plan

Check the following carriers:


The big three are most expensive followed by 1st level flankers and 2nd level flankers. The three big ones own all the other ones. We recommend getting a cheap one and then change as per your needs. Freedom Mobile is another cheap one 

Bank Account

Open a bank account. If you have purchased a GIC, go to the bank account with whom you have the GIC and you can get a checking account with them as well.

Apply for a Credit Card as well. Credit card is important as it will help you build credit. This is important when you try to get a loan e.g. to finance a car or buy a house. 

Book an appointment with the bank before you go!

SIN Number

Get a SIN Number from Service Canada. Get it linked to your credit card (talk to your bank) once you have it.

Look out for Winter Gear

Following winter gear is necessary to get you through winters:

  1. Winter jacket: check Costco, Old Navy, Mountain Warehouse, etc (60 CAD and above).

  2. Snow Boots: check Costco, Sportcheck, Mountain Warehouse, etc (60 CAD and above).

  3. Gloves: again check Costco, sportcheck, Mountain Warehouse (20 CAD and  above)

Look for deals. 

Driver Licence

A car and a driver licence are extremely valuable for your life in Canada. Being authorised to drive opens up a lot of opportunities for you in Canada.

When coming from foreign country, check if your experience and licence transfers to Canada. Don’t forget to get an experience certificate from your home country if you can get it considered when applying for a Canadian driving permit. 

Whichever province you come to, you will likely have to do a written test. For each province, there is a different Driver’s Handbook. 

Here it is for ONTARIO: 

Search for your province on Google and prepare for the written test so that you get that out of the way as soon as possible.

There are two advantages of doing this soon:

  1. Canadian ID: You don’t have to carry your passport when you go to a club or to buy liquor :) Your driver licence you get after doing written test will act as a piece of ID.

  2. Time towards next test: You will become eligible to practice driving and to do the road test shortly.

Canadian ways of doing things

There are a few things that are norms usually everywhere in Canada:

  1. No outside slippers in the house: Keep a set of slippers for inside the house. Always switch to those when you go into the house. 

  2. How to shave: Do not let your hair fall into the drain. It will get clogged. Put a paper towel underneath if trimming. If you shave with a razor, use a container filled with hot water and use it to rinse the razor. After you are done, dispose off the water outside.

  3. Volume and Sound: Houses in Canada are made of wood. Sound easily travels. Watch your volume so others do not get disturbed.

  4. Greet whoever you meet: In Canadian culture people usually greet each other. Greet people you see when walking around, going outside for shopping, etc.

  5. Take a look at the flooring and treat it with respect

    1. If the floor is hardwood, you have to be careful while using it. Don’t scratch it with your luggage, boots, or other furniture.

    2. If the floor is laminate, same applies

    3. If the floor is carpet, don’t bring dirty footwear or litter/spill liquids as cleaning carpet is hard

  6. DON’T LITTER: Keep the surroundings clean. Respect cleanliness and don’t litter

  7. Garbage: Understand the garbage management. Recycling, compost, and trash are managed differently.

    1. Plastics, paper, cans, containers go into recycle

    2. Food waste (vegetable/fruit peels) go into compost

    3. Everything else goes into trash


Scam Calls

Often you will get scam calls from people pretending to be from Service Canada, CRA, RCMP, or other government agencies. Please be aware of such and do not give personal information, money, or any details to these individuals.

Shop Smartly - Use online shopping

Getting around can be hard especially in winters. Use online shopping - 

  1. Amazon for goods

  2. Instacart for grocery, and 

  3. Uber eats, skip the dishes, doordash for food.


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