My vacation ends today and I’m going back to Canada and journeying into the unknown… because this time, I’m traveling to Ontario – my new home… for now. 😉
As I sit on a grey chair with a caramel macchiato in one hand in Toronto Pearson International Airport, I contemplate my life and times in Saskatchewan for the past 10 years – the flat lands with endless skies, the beautiful canola fields, old grain elevators with the town’s name written on it and of course, the few chosen friends that I made there, including my former coworkers in my last job. In my mind, I tried rounding up all significant events that I can remember since first moving there in March 2008. Those were good times, because Weyburn was still a sleep small city where it gets quiet by 6pm and most places close @ 7pm. People were very friendly and helpful. It was perfect for a newcomer like me at the time.
Fast forward right now, I can’t help but wonder if Ottawa, Ontario will somehow be kind to a newcomer like me… Like how amazingly well Weyburnites treated me when I arrived there. I know, I may or may not get the same reception from Ottawa because it’s the capital city and people tend to be really competitive and snobbish but anything like Dubai or better is fine with me. I just have to turn my “major city-mode” on.
If you happen to be a newcomer in Canada, allow me to save you time and sanity on where to start.
Here’s a basic list of what to get within the week of arriving:
- Social Insurance Number (SIN) – This is the very first thing that you must get because you can’t get access to many essentials like a health card and banking services if you don’t have one. Go to a Service Canada in your province and be sure to bring your passport and visa with you when applying for your SIN #.
- Health card – While @ Service Canada, you can ask where to get a health card or go to your local health center to ask. This is the 2nd most important thing to get.
- Provincial ID or Driver’s License – If you have a driver’s license from another country, you can go to a local license issuer and apply to obtain a license in your province. If you don’t wish to drive, you can easily obtain a provincial nondriver’s ID instead.
- Library Card – Your local Library isn’t just for borrowing books, but also a fantastic way to get free resources like museum and park passes, internet access, print & photocopy services, and upcoming activities in the community for all ages.
I’ve been a newcomer so many times in my life, even attended 11 different schools growing up so maybe, I can still nail this moving to a new place again!