Moving From England to Canada

~ The Start of a New Life ~

Hi! Today I thought I would finally talk about moving from England to Canada, the experiences I met and the differences that I have noticed between these two places. I also look forward to adding some tips and suggestions to keep in mind when moving from the UK to CA.  

Here is a Special Collection of Pictures, giving a glimpse of Canada and the UK :)

polar bears in canadaYes, There are Polar Bears in Canada
British Telephone BoxBritish Telephone Box

I have wanted to write about this for ages, and I am glad I finally have. It has almost been a year since the move, and know I  can really look back on how I faced moving from England to Canada. I would love to share my experience with you!

So I have lived in England for most of my life. As you can imagine, it became home to me. It is there I enjoyed most of my childhood experiences. However, I have always been interested in exploring different places in the world. In our old house, we used to have a world map in the dining room and I always used to look at it in wonderment; thinking about how small the United Kingdom really is on the map of the world.

The Other Side of The World

Moving From England To Canada

To be perfectly honest, I never really took note of Canada till it came up in a discussion one day. The existence of that country had never really come into my consciousness. It was so far away, and I didn’t really know anyone who was Canadian. But then my dad became interested in Canada and I started to learn more about that far-away country. We did a lot of research together and we found out some wonderful facts about Canada.

For example we learn that:

  •  Canada is regarded as one of the best countries to live in the world due to  exceptional factors such as high level of life satisfaction, very high life expectancy, low unemployment, low tax rates, lower murder rates and wide cultural diversity acceptance, compared to many other first world countries.
  • Our findings indicated that Canada is one of the most peaceful countries in the world.

It was some brilliant information. I longed to go to Canada on holiday one day, as I read and learn about all of these. But I never, in my wildest dreams pictured myself living there.

When The News Came

Tower Bridge, London England

And so time passed, but then came the day when our parents told us quite seriously, that we were going to move abroad.

I was shocked, at first I found it hard to accept. But as I saw the plans begin to take shape, I realized that we really were moving.

Not just to another city. Not even to a nearby country. But to the Americas, to a completely different continent. On the other side of the world.

Changing Tides

Stonehenge, England

In the beginning, I didn’t want to go.

  • I was about to start my last year of high school in the UK and I couldn’t foresee a future where I would not finish my education in the school.
  • Moreover, I had many lovely friends and family, I felt that it was going to be so hard to leave them, and especially to break the news to them.

But I saw my family's excitement, and I too began to look forward to the move, at least a little bit.

  • I told myself that I would view it as an adventure, a chance to widen my outlook in life.
  • I saw that it was in fact a privilege to be able to live in those new surroundings an get to know the way things are done on the other side of the world.

And this outlook helped me to cope with the couple of months that I had to break away from everything I knew in England. To start afresh.

I immersed myself in research about Canada, the area we would live in, the school I would go to and the environment as a whole. The more I studied my new home, the more I became excited. Canada became more real to me, I began to see that there were so many new things to visit and see.


emigrating to canada

So summer eventually came. School ended.  I had to say 'goodbye'  to my friends and family and we began to pack for the big move.

As you can imagine, that summer was one of the most emotional and action packed summers of my life.

Moving continents is no small job. It took weeks and weeks of sorting out before we were ready. You don’t realise how much stuff you own until you pack it all up and ship it across the Atlantic!

The day we left the house was quite emotional as most of my siblings and I had spent all our lives there. But it was also exciting! I reminded myself that yes , we were leaving...but we could always come back. It is never really goodbye forever.

The Journey to the End of the Earth

The plane ride to Canada was quite relaxing and calm, the food was even good. We flew with Canadian affair and the flight was peaceful.

It didn’t seem too long, although the journey from England to Canada was at least 9 hours, non-stop.  We were off to a good start. One thing I do remember was how friendly people were on the day of our flight, especially the Canadian airport staff. This really helped me to feel welcome and relaxed.

As we traveled in a taxi, to our house I noticed how different the landscape was. The road was full of checker yellow cabs. The weather was very warm, the sun was abundant, and the sky seemed wider and lower than I remembered in England.  I was extremely jet-lagged. We ate, and I slept for about 18 hours straight.

And so, we started our new life in Canada.

Here is some of the differences that impacted me.

The accents!

Canadian Geese

To be honest, I never used to be able to tell the difference between a Canadian and American accent.

But I knew for sure that It was very different to my (Essex) British accent.

I listened in amazement as people talked. When I went to school, I could definitely see the American culture and accents- I felt as if I was on a Disney channel show.

I was introduced to the stereotype of the way that Canadians supposedly say 'eh' a lot. I have found this to be mostly true. ( 'Eh' at the end of a sentence tends to be an invitation to agree or comment in some way.)

Say it Again?!

It was not just the accents that took me a bit by surprise - but also the grammar too. The vocabulary that Canadians use is different from some British vocab and vise-versa. I got used to the accents but I was surprised when Canadians didn’t understand the meaning of certain words I said.

Here are a couple of examples of different words that are not common in England:

Whereas I would normally use the word 'beanie' to describe the knitted winter hat, I found that Canadians say Toque.

Toilet in England, is the whole room but in Canada it is referred to as the 'Washroom' and 'Bathroom'.  And so I have started saying bathroom instead.

There are many other Canadian words that confuse the British and of course the other way round, and so it has been interesting to pick these differences up.

I love that Canada is bilingual and it has two main languages- English as well as French. So most items that you purchase here are labelled in both languages.

The Weather and HUGE Worrries

Winter Trees In Canada
Warm, Winter Boots

Ok. So this was one of the things that completely frightened me. Canadian weather is notorious for its extremes.

Extreme cold and huge amounts of snow in the winter, and hot, dry weather in the summer. I was terrified of experiencing the cold, especially having to go to school in it. In England we would often get days of school when it snowed a bit.

Yep that doesn’t happen here.

Canadians know how to deal with the cold and snow and so we were going to have to learn too.

The Winters are not the Same

skiing in canada

I had been told of temperatures reaching -20 to -30 degrees Celsius to be very common - and I freaked out.

But then I came to learn that British winters and Canadian winters are quite different.

In Britain the weather is generally damp, and the winters are too. But Canadian winters are quite dry, and where I live  in Alberta, we get Chinooks.  Because it is drier here, the cold does not get so deep into your bones as the damp British winters. So -5 degrees in the UK might not feel far off from -15 here. I walk to school lightly dressed in temperatures between 5 and 10 degrees here. You couldn't do that in England.

Chinooks are a warm dry wind that blows down the east side of the Rocky Mountains during winter. The Chinooks help a lot. It could be -30 degrees one day and then +10 degrees the next thanks to them. They make the winter just a bit more bearable.

Anyway, our first winter- my only winter in Canada at this moment- was quite mild. It was unusually warm. And while we did hit -30 a few times, we found that it was manageable with the right clothing and the great indoor heating system.

Right now, I am enjoying summer here. The summers are quite short, but the weather is amazing and warm. This year though, we have had a fabulous long "summer" from April even up to the end of October (as I update this very paragraph).

The Food

Canadian Maple Syrup Pancakes

Something I do miss about England is the food.  Don’t get me wrong- I love my maple syrup pancakes and bacon.

But British food seems to be off better quality due to different food regulations. There is also a wider selection in the British supermarkets. I thought we would find more here. But not  exactly. I have also had to remind myself countless times that Canada is not the States.

Difference In Schooling

canadian school system vs british
  • High school in England goes up to grade 11 but here in Canada, it goes up to grade 12. 
  • So I have had to stay another year, while my peers in the UK , move up to College, 6th form or are just done with high school. But I am settling well, and my school days are running out!

There are no GCSE exams in Canada! I was thrilled to find this out although there are yearly exams in each grade (finals).

The curriculum is very different to the UK. There are some things that I had already learnt in the UK, but also some things that I have had to catch up on.

I found that in the UK we studied in more depth for a longer period of time, but here we cover things in a short time and get tested more often.

Generally I feel like the Canadian system gives me more freedom, I get many days off, I mostly work at my own pace- and no uniform!

Let's Talk Money

british money

We have of course had to switch from the British Pound to Canadian Dollars.

Many times, I still find myself doing conversions in my head. It took some time to get used to the massive difference,  but I am getting there.

The Pound is worth 2 times more than the Canadian Dollar at the moment so items sometimes look double the price.

Getting Post/ The Agony of Deliveries

canadian delivery system

The delivery system here sometimes makes me sad. It is impossible to find some items here and there are often no delivery options for certain companies- or the prices are ridiculously expensive!

There are many shops in the UK that I no longer have access to, but that is something you have to get used to. Sending things back and forth and money transfer can be a pain.

  There are COUNTLESS differences that I encountered moving from England to Canada, but those are some of the main ones.

Tips On Moving From England to Canada

Tips on Moving From England To Canada

A car is extremely useful!

Canada is huge and very sparsely populated. It is over 400 times larger in size and has nearly one half of the population. You will need a car to do anything there. And it is also a good idea to winter-proof your car with snow tires. Public transport is generally not as efficient as in the UK.

How to Deal with the Canadian Winter:

  • Dress in Layers
  • Wear a hat that covers your ears and a scarf that covers your face for extreme temperatures
  • Don’t forget mittens or gloves
  • Get a good pair of winter-resistant boots and thick woolen socks
  • Stay Healthy, eat well and get your vitamins
  • Get involved in fun winter activities such as ice skating and skiing.
  • Stay Cheerful.

Overall, I am glad that I moved because it has opened up my view on the world and I have experienced new places and done things that I couldn't in the UK. I do miss the UK but I am happy that I have had the opportunity to know and discover both places.

I hope you enjoyed reading my in-depth page on moving from England to Canada, and things you should know if you are planning to!


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