Much like backpacking around Europe, Canada has become a right of passage for many Australians. Moving overseas can be a little daunting as you don’t always know what to expect. When I first arrived in Canada there were a few things I had no idea about so keep reading below for my insider knowledge!
Living costs, especially in major cities *cough Vancouver*, mountain towns and ski areas, you’ll be seeing prices above or around the Australian average, however, you’ll only be earning about half your usual income. The minimum wage in Alberta is currently $12.20. For seasonal work, you’re looking at earning between $12.20 to $15.00 an hour. Food, car insurance and mechanic prices are higher, whereas, rent and petrol prices are lower. You will have to learn to shop smartly to be able to afford your living costs and still have money to have a good time on that minimum wage!
4 WAY STOP SIGNS
4 way stops…. Why Canada?! First of all, I’ll just start by saying they’re stupid. Where we would use a roundabout in Australia, Canadians use a 4 or 3 way stop sign. How this intersection works is basically first in best dressed, so if there are four cars approaching the intersection, whoever is the first to reach it and come to a stop gets to go first. What happens if you arrive at the same time? You stare at each other awkwardly until someone either goes or politely waves to the other to go ahead. Another little road tip is you are allowed to turn at a red light if it is safe to do so and you are not crossing traffic.
25 CENT COINS
50 cent and 20 cent coins don’t exist here. If you’re working at a till, aka register, you will need to get used to this. Another thing to take note of in Canadian money is $5 notes are blue so don’t accidentally give someone a $5 note when they really should be getting $10 which are purple… Oops!
Tipping here is mandatory so you can expect a grumpy waiter if you don’t! The tipping standard is between 15-20% of the total bill before tax. You can tip more or less depending on your experience.
TAX ISN’T INCLUDED
This one gets me every time! Unlike most countries, Canada doesn’t include tax in their sale prices so you will never know the final cost until it’s all scanned through at the register.
Was there anything surprising to you when you first arrived? Let me know in the comments below!