Ah, the Great White North! Canada, is a vast and diverse nation known for its beautiful landscapes, friendly people, and the tempting promise of adventure. Whether you’re escaping the Australian sun for a while or seeking unique experiences, embarking on a working holiday Canada has to offer is a decision you won’t regret.
So, how can Aussies make the most of their Canadian journey? Let’s dive in.
1. Understand the Working Holiday Canada Program
Before immersing yourself in the Canadian wilderness or city life, it’s crucial to understand the basics of the Working Holiday Canada Program. The International Experience Canada (IEC) program permits young Australians between 18 and 35 to work in Canada for up to two years. This is a fantastic opportunity not just to travel, but also to gain international work experience and immerse yourself in a different culture.
2. Pick Your Canadian Destination
A. Urban Delights: Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal If you’re looking for a bustling urban experience, these cities won’t disappoint. From Vancouver’s stunning sea-to-sky landscape to Toronto’s multicultural vibrancy and Montreal’s French-infused charm, there’s a city for every taste.
B. Adventure Central: The Rockies For those seeking the thrill of outdoor adventure, the Rockies provide skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and more. Banff and Jasper are just two of the many hubs for mountain enthusiasts.
C. Maritime Magic: Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island With a slower pace of life, the Canadian Maritimes are perfect for those looking to immerse in history, seafood, and some of the most welcoming Canadians you’ll ever meet.
3. Get Involved in Seasonal Work
One of the biggest perks of a working holiday is the chance to earn while you explore. Canada’s vastness means a plethora of seasonal job opportunities.
A. Winter: Ski Resorts From November to April, ski resorts like Whistler, Banff, and Mont Tremblant are in full swing. Jobs can range from ski instructors to hospitality roles.
B. Summer: Farming and Wineries During the warmer months, consider working on a farm or in the vineyards of British Columbia’s wine country. It’s not just about the paycheck; it’s about the experience and the people you’ll meet.
4. Experience Iconic Canadian Festivals
A. Quebec Winter Carnival Held in Quebec City, this is the world’s largest winter carnival. Think of it as a winter wonderland with parades, snow sculptures, and, of course, the iconic ice palace.
B. Calgary Stampede Hailed as the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”, this ten-day event in July offers rodeos, concerts, and a full-on cultural experience.
C. Vancouver International Film Festival For film buffs, this is a must-visit. It’s one of the largest film festivals in North America, showcasing both Canadian and international cinema.
5. Connect with Fellow Aussies and Locals
While it’s great to connect with fellow Australians (who are invariably dotted around the country), it’s equally rewarding to forge bonds with locals. Whether it’s through work, meet-ups, or social groups, these connections can enrich your working holiday, offering insights, friendship, and sometimes even a place to stay.
6. Don’t Forget the Canadian Delicacies
Your Canadian adventure wouldn’t be complete without indulging in some of the country’s beloved foods.
A. Poutine: Originating from Quebec, this dish features fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. It’s heartwarming, filling, and oh-so-Canadian.
B. Butter Tarts: A delightful pastry filled with butter, sugar, syrup, and egg. Best enjoyed with a cup of Canadian coffee.
C. Nanaimo Bars: Named after the city of Nanaimo in British Columbia, these no-bake bars have three delicious layers: a crumbly base, custard-flavored butter icing, and melted chocolate on top.
7. Prepare for the Canadian Climate
One of the more notable differences between Australia and Canada is the weather. While some Aussies might be excited for the snowy winters, it’s essential to come prepared. Invest in good-quality winter gear if you’re planning on spending time in the colder regions. Remember, the Canadian cold is a different beast from the Australian cold!
8. Embrace Canada’s Indigenous Culture
Canada has a rich indigenous heritage, and it’s essential to respect and understand this aspect of Canadian identity. There are over 600 recognized First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada. Visiting cultural centers, taking part in indigenous-led tours, or attending events like National Indigenous Peoples Day can offer Aussies a deeper understanding of Canada’s roots. Experiences like staying in a traditional longhouse, listening to elders’ stories, or taking part in a drumming circle can provide a unique perspective and enrich your Canadian journey.
9. Explore the Lesser-Known Gems
While major cities and tourist hubs offer a multitude of attractions, Canada’s charm often lies in its off-the-beaten-path locales. Small towns like Tofino in British Columbia, known for its surfing and serene landscapes, or Dawson City in Yukon, which transports you back to the Gold Rush era, are worth exploring.
There’s also Fogo Island in Newfoundland, a remote island that has gained international acclaim for its sustainable tourism efforts and unique architecture. Venturing into these lesser-known areas not only offers tranquility but also connects you more authentically to the local way of life, making your working holiday in Canada even more memorable.
A working holiday in Canada is an experience that promises adventure, learning, and unparalleled memories. For Aussies looking to take the plunge, it’s essential to come prepared and stay open to the myriad of experiences awaiting in this vast and welcoming land. From urban escapades to rustic retreats, from seasonal jobs to gastronomic delights, Canada’s arms are open wide. So, why wait? Pack your bags, and embark on the Canadian adventure of a lifetime.