Heading to Canada? Here are some tips on finding somewhere to live!
Sunbathing on a beach, skiing down a mountain, or catching glimpses of grizzlies at a mountain resort; whatever you imagine doing on your working holiday in Canada, you’re going to need somewhere to live.
Below we have some tips on finding accommodation:
1. When you arrive
Free Guide to Work and Travel in Canada
Hostels aren’t as fancy as hotels, but you’ll make a nice saving by staying in one when you arrive in Canada. Hostels in Canada can vary in the facilities they offer, but a good hostel will always be clean and secure. Often, you’ll be able to choose between staying in a mixed dorm or a male or female only dorm. Some hostels also provide private rooms at a higher cost.
A Free Breakfast?
Sometimes hostels provide a small free breakfast included in your accommodation. This will usually be something small like cereal or pancakes but every cent counts when you’re on a working holiday!
Many provide shared kitchens so you can cook up a storm and save money by eating in. Don’t forget to check the “free food shelf” where previous guests leave food behind for people to use.
Often you’ll have access to cheap laundry facilities so you won’t have to worry about packing too many clothes when you travel.
Depending on the hostel, you may get free Wi-Fi access either in your room or at designated areas in the hostel. Unfortunately, there are still some places where you’ll have to pay to access the internet, although free Wi-Fi is now becoming the norm.
The average Canadian tax refund is $998
Do your research!
Always research the hostel in advance and make sure you read the reviews. As well as a variation in the facilities, hostels can vary widely in atmosphere. Some hostels will have more of a “party” vibe and some may even have a bar, whilst others will be more family-oriented and may impose a curfew. You don’t want to get locked out of your hostel coming home from the club at 2am!
Where to search?
Here’s a list of our top hostel sites for Canada:
- Montreal – www.hihostels.ca
- Le Jazz St. Denis – www.jazzhostels.com
- La Maison du Patriote – www.lamaisondupatriote.ca
- Ottawa – www.hihostels.ca
- Ottawa– www.ottawahostel.com
- Edmonton – www.hihostels.ca
- Calgary – www.hihostels.ca
- Wicked Hostels – www.wickedhostel.com
- Vancouver – www.samesun.com/backpackers-hostels/vancouver/
2. Longer term accommodation options
If you want to settle down in a particular city or town for a number of months or more, then your best option is to find rental accommodation. Sharing with a mate will be even better and help save you some cash for sightseeing.
Begin your search on some of these top rental websites:
Tips when looking for an apartment in Canada:
- Arrange temporary accommodation before you leave for Canada as it could take weeks to find a suitable apartment.
- A lease usually begins at the start of each month and is legally binding. Don’t sign a lease for longer than you intend to live in the property.
- Often, the best way to find accommodation is to walk or cycle around the neighbourhood where you would like to live. You’ll find a lot of availability for apartments that aren’t advertised online. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to call and schedule a viewing right away!
- Typically, you’ll be asked for up to one month’s rent upfront as well one month’s rent as a deposit.
- Accommodation is often un-furnished so just be aware that this can be an additional expense. Furnished apartments may be available in the area but could end up costing you more each month.
- If you can, bring a reference letter with you from a previous landlord, as you may be asked for one.
- Also check out boards in hostels and outside buildings. Be wary of anyone asking for money before you see the apartment.
If you’re looking for a housemate or a house-share, make sure you ask some questions:
- Are bills included in rent?
- Do you have rules about cleaning?
- Is this a quiet household?
- What’s the landlord like?
- What are the neighbours like?
- Is there public transport nearby?
- Does anyone smoke in the house?
- Is it noisy at night?
- Cold in winter or too hot in summer?
The average Canadian tax refund is $998
Make sure you explore what areas you want to live in online to see how they rate in terms of safety and access to transport.
3. Resort accommodation
Remember, some jobs already include accommodation, so if you want to work in a ski resort, hotel or mountain lodge etc., then you might not have to worry about accommodation!
You may end up in a shared dorm with limited space but this will also be hugely cost-effective and the fun you’ll have should outweigh the negatives! So, if you land a hospitality job at one of the resorts, be sure to check if there is accommodation included.
However, if you’re not one of the lucky ones with accommodation included in your employment, make sure to look into the local hotels in the area. Samesun and HI hostels are examples of hostels that offer permanent accommodation for a good price. Check out Samesun’s locations in Banff, Kelowna, Silver Star and Revelstoke, and HI’s locations at Jasper, Banff, Lake Louise, Fernie, Whistler and Mont – Tremblant.