Life in Canada
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My observation of daily life in Canada as a newcomer.
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​​#9 (about allergies and perfumes)
I noticed some time ago, that in Halifax and as far as I know in Canada overall, there are many people who suffer from allergy. Btw, Halifax is the fifth worst allergens city in Canada (reason-dust mites). Sources can be different, like ragweed, mould, food, bananas etc. Many schools have a ban to bring nuts, peanuts or other food that can cause allergy. Also people are highly sensitive to perfumes here. Hospitals, municipal buildings, including schools, libraries, courts, even City Hall, as well as many workplaces, theatres and other organizations have fragrance-free environment! Officially you can not use any perfumes at certain places (almost everywhere😁). So, welcome to scent-free country πŸ€ͺ
​​#10 (about disability)
A bit sensitive topic for me, especially when I think about Ukraine, and how disabled people are treated. When we just came to Canada my spouse asked me why here are so many disabled, is something wrong with medicine or ecology? The answer is simple, country just cares and strongly protect their rights. Specially equipped public transport, shops, restaurants, roads with pavement, pension plans, different benefits, equal employment and many more. That’s it! No harassment, no discrimination, full participation in society! This is soooo good example of humanity β™₯οΈπŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦
​​#11 (about driving license, part I)
Everyone who emigrate to Canada can drive with personal license up to six months and to get canadian ones should pass two stages. We did half a way, passed writing test. It consists of two parts, 1st - signs, where you need to find a correct definition and 2nd - road rules, you need to choose one of four answers. Only 40 questions and 8 mistakes allowed.
To pass a test you need to read and learn a Driver’s Handbook, come to particular place any time you wish, pay $16, take a pencil and do a task. You have time as much as you want, no one pushing or keep an eye on you, maximum comfort and minimum stress.
To be continue...
​​​​#12 (about tips)
Tips are β€œrequired” in many places such as taxi πŸš• , coffee shops, takeaway food, delivery services etc. So be readyπŸ€ͺ. It is not I don’t like it, just think that it should be optional and it’s my decision to give or not and how much. Usually, there is a choice you can see on credit card machine - 10%, 15%, 20%, and sometimes you can choose amount of $. And of course you can put zero and do not give nothing, but you know, it’s really hard to deny, when the person is smiling to you waiting for his small reward πŸ™ˆ
Hopefully, supermarkets don’t ask tips, but who knowsπŸ˜…
​​#13 (about driving license, part II)
So, after passing a written test, you should register for a road test (and pay $68 for it). You can choose location and date, usually it would be appointed approximately in 1 month.
For a test day you should have (own or rented) vehicle and all required original documents. Exam starts with car inspection. Then 15-20 minutes drive with examiner. In the end, you will receive a checklist with results. If you β€œpassedβ€βœ… take a photo, pay $80 for new license and wait for 2 weeks. If you β€œnot passedβ€βŽ then don’t worry, you still have many chancesπŸ˜‰.
My advice, do not be so confident, even if you have a lot of driving experience before. And be sure, without any preparation you will not pass!!🧐
​​#14 (about weather)
Suppose, this is the biggest fear about Canada. So, here is my truth.
Honestly, I was surprised when we landed (July 3rd) we felt warm. And all summer enjoyed beautiful hot weather, (similar to Ukrainian or even better). The only difference - high humidity (as it's close to the ocean🌊).
Now, it is November 19, +2Β°C, already snowing and melting. Nothing extra ordinary, except … frequent ice winds🌬! This is what you should be aware of! For this reason, umbrella won’t help you, since rain is falling horizontallyπŸŒ§πŸ˜‚
Surely, Canada is huge, and the weather is different (depends on territory).
Personally, I consider NS climate to be the best after British Columbia province 🌞
P.S. Picture was made last weekend. Location: Gaff Point.
​​#15 (about lost thing)
Since, ChristmasπŸŽ…πŸ» is coming, we made decision to buy a Christmas treeπŸŽ„. It was heavy enough, but bus stop was not so far, so, we tried to carry it. Suddenly, the car stopped and old lady ask if need some help. Of course we said β€œNo, thanks”. She insisted to help, we agreed. First she wanted to drop us home, but we didn’t want to make any troubles, so ask to leave us near bus stop. 🚏
Feeling inspired by Canadian kindness, I noticed that I forgot my bag in her car with my documents, some cash and credit cardsπŸ’³ I did not know her name, where she lives and whom to call in such situations, but on the same time I haven’t worry, as I understood I am in Canada πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ So we went to birthday party and when we come back home, we found a note from β€œthis lady ” that she have my bag! And the next day she brought all my lost belongings and ask for a hug πŸ€—
​​#16 (about water)

Water here is amazing. Everybody can drink from a tap because it safe to. You can find free water in every mall, libraries, etc. Halifax even have a ’Tap' app (startup) that helps users access free water.
But not across all province water is drinkable, I know that they’re some areas, where high level of iron is. But we are lucky, in our district it has very tasty flavor. We also bought simple filter just to improve the tasteπŸ˜‹
By the way, during 5 months that we are here, plaque inside the kettle have not appeared, the metal is shining!🀩
​​#17 (about urgency)

As far as I can see, Canadians in Nova Scotia have not heard about sense of urgencyπŸ˜…
If you applying for a job, write an email or just agreed to get an answer, calm down and relaxπŸ€ͺ
If its CV, there is only 5-7% chance to get any response. If we are talking about mailing, be prepared to receive a reply in a few weeks or never. And of course, each rule has exceptions. I met those handful super responsible people here, lucky one πŸ˜‹
Honestly, I do not know the reason of certain vanishing. I already talked to some (not originally Canadians) about this issue, and they totally agree with me.
Anyway I need to do investigation🧐. And will let you know about resultsπŸ˜‰
​​#18 (about medicine, part I)

When you come to Canada, one of the important thing you should do is to make your medical health insurance card and then to find a family doctor (FD). It is generally said, that to have a FD you need to register online, but it doesn’t work! You can wait in this list for eternity, so you better do it by yourself. Subscribe and follow all local communities on FB, Twitter and Instagram. Usually, people who know that some doctors are accepting new clients will share this information. Also, you can make a list of such clinics and check them time to time. FD is your trusted person who keeps your health history, treats you, examines and can refer you to other specialist. All consultations, blood work, x-ray, mrt (mri) are totally free!
​​#19 (about cell phone providerπŸ“ž)

Your mobile phone bill is going to be high in CanadaπŸ™„
Halifax (NS) has some good providers, like Bell, Fido, Rogers, Telus, Koodo (each province has own market leaders)☎️
Other providers are cheaper but they have bad network coverage in far location.
I choose Fido and pay $50+7 HST per month, this includes unlimited text messages and calls, + 5GB of data. And believe me, its considered to be not expensive price. Compared with Ukraine, I paid only $7 and here - $57😏
By the way, installation is not as easy and quick process, as I got used to. Here you will need a lot documents, like ID, bank account, Social insurance number, home address or other identifying proofs +$30 for card activation😣
​​#20 (about apartment searchπŸ πŸ”Ž)

It took one month to find a good apartment for us. And its not as easy as I thought. 😏
I will not recommend to rent apartment being at home unless you have friend or person you can trust who can check it for you, (especially a neighborhood), because pictures do not always reflect the realityπŸ€”. But you can start at home, look through , find out the area you would like to live, gather feedbacks on rental companies etc.
Note, approximately half of advertisements are updated, the rest are old and not valid.πŸ₯΄
If you like the apartment, be active, do everything to get it! πŸ’ͺ🏼Booking a view or writing email or just calling is not enough, do all together. Landlords are getting dozens of letters and you should prove that your family is the best candidate☝🏻
Remember, they are making a choice too, among many good families. And good apartment is like a hot cake, it will not be free for a long🧐
To be continue..
​​#21 (about how we found our apartment)

As I mentioned previously, searching of good apart is tough πŸ’ͺ🏻process.
I had some cases, when rental company canceled viewing because certain people already took it. So I understood that I should be faster in making decision☝🏻
I saw an ad of apartment on and immediately call the landlord number. Nothing. Wrote message, then email. Nothing. Then I called to company owner, and share my sincere interest in viewing. After few hours landlord call me back.
When we come to see, it was love from first sightπŸ₯° spacious, warm, bright, big windows, old building, squeaky floor πŸ™ˆand ancient doors 😁Of course there were some disadvantages, but I wanted it!
After few hours I send a filled application. And called one more time to confirm my HUGE interest. I should wait some more days for approve, as there were other couples. But I couldn’t wait πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
I called before appointed and told that I really like the apartment and ready to pay in advance for some months etc., just to have itπŸ€ͺ
Company agreed😊After two days we signed the agreement and apartment was our πŸ˜€
If you want to know more details about apartment itself, price, what included, utilities, press ❀️
​​# 22(about some basic living expenses)

Below, I prepared for you short list of some expenses just to understand the approximate amount of money you are going to spend each month. Price is in Canadian dollars and includes tax (in Nova Scotia it is 15%).
- Rent of 2 bedroom apartment (city centre) - $1050 (includes one free parking space, hot and cold water, heat).
- Internet - $86 (we choose Bell, its a bit expensive but we never had any issues. Good service and quality).
- Power ~ $60 per two month (we receive bill each two months, price depends on usage).
- Mobile - $57 (we choose Fido, as it has good network coverage, includes +5GB).
- Laundry ~ $10 per month ($1 - wash, $1.5 - dry, located in our building. Some apartments has its own).
- Apartment insurance - $16 (mostly is required by landlord, price depends on $ coverage).
​​​​#23 (about US visaπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ)

If you don’t have a US visa, feel free to make it in Canada. Chronologically it looks like this:
- May 4th applied. Filled electronically DS-160 form and paid the $160 fee.
- May 6th booked an appointment for interview with consular. Could not do it at the same day, as there weren’t free slots.
- May 14th passed interview. I was asked about my business, degree, previous trips and why I moved to Canada.
- May 15th I received a message from Canada Post that my passport is delivered and ready to pick up.
- May 16th I saw my B1/B2 visa for the next 10 yearsπŸ˜€.
Honestly, it was the easiest visa process I faced with ever. For visa I needed only DS-160 confirmation page, photo, PR card (other prof of legal status in CA), employment letter and that’s it. Good luck πŸ€
​​#24 (about summer in Halifax)

Life near the ocean gives you many advantages and new ways to spend free time. So here is a list of some popular summer activities:
⁃ Many beautiful beaches - for surfing, swimming, tanning. My favorite is Rainbow Haven and Crystal Crescent. Want to go to Clam Harbour and White Point😍
⁃ Lakes - Williams, Long, Kearney.
⁃ Sports: free tennis courts, baseball/softball field, bicycle rent, etc., golf (not free, unfortunately πŸ˜„)
⁃ Trails for jogging or hiking - not a big fanπŸ˜‰
⁃ Deep sea fishing 🎣 (pay $55 - you will get all needed equipment and carry your catch home)
⁃ Whale watching ($50, the best one with guarantee is Digby - Brier Island)πŸ‹πŸ³
⁃ Rent a boat, yacht or take a short cruise (all are located on the waterfront)πŸ›₯πŸš€β›΅οΈ
⁃ Kayaking (Saint Mary's boat club)πŸš£πŸΌβ€β™‚οΈ
​​#25 (about lottery in Canada)

I never thought that lottery is so popular entertainment in Canada. Maybe because it's tax-free πŸ˜„The first wow I experienced after one Sunday’s church service when the lady came to me and invited to play Bingo every Wednesday in a church. She said all money goes to charity 😊 After that I started to notice that the lottery is everywhere 😁 and everyone is playing and trying their luck!
A few months ago we had an Atlantic Lottery Hackathon where developers/artists were attempting to build a lottery game.
And today I had an interesting experience to visit a home that you can win with a $100 ticket 😱 The house was just incredible with lake view, pool and many more! You will get a house totally furnished, beautifully decorated, equipped and no fees😍
​​#26 (about Covid-19)

This time is difficult for all of us, something that we can't predict and control, unfortunatelyπŸ˜”Canada is doing a lot to protect its residents, to decrease the stress level and panic overall.
Nova Scotia today declared a state of emergency. Universities, schools, daycares, restaurants, parks, beaches, etc. are closed. Public transport is free for all. Those who can work remotely now required to do so. People should keep the 2 meters distance and are allowed to go only to pharmacy and stores.
If people and businesses do not practice social distancing and self-isolation, they will face fines of $1,000 for individuals and $7,500 for businesses. Police can fine for charging higher than fair market prices for goods and services (my favourite part)!!!
And the good news - finally, we can complete Covid tests in NS, no need to send them to Winnipeg anymore☺️

Let's stay wise and strong!πŸ™πŸ»