4. Furniture & BeddingWe know, we know. You’re shocked to learn that it doesn’t make sense to bring your three-piece couch with you on the airplane!Even though this advice may seem obvious to all new arrivals (except those driving up from the U.S.) we have a few important details to share. First, recognize that some accommodation in Canada comes furnished. This is most useful if you’re coming to Canada temporarily. Simply tailor your apartment hunt to include only furnished apartments and you’ll be able to have comfortable bedding and furniture without having to worry about finding couches, beds, and chairs.Second, acknowledge that you’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to budgeting for your furniture. If you want high-end chic furnishings that are in style and will last years, you’ll be able to find this, but expect to pay a good chunk of money. On the flip side, if you don’t have much budget for furnishings, you can often find items for sale through friends or virtual community marketplaces. But, if you’re buying furniture or bedding second-hand, then you need to consider our third point.Bed bugs. Yes, unfortunately we’re serious. Bed bugs are little insects that often live in mattresses, bedding, and upholstered furniture. Not only are they gross, they’re extremely difficult to get rid of. And, because they’re nocturnal, they often hide, so you might not find them unless you know where to look. If you’re buying any furniture or bedding from a second-hand source, you have to know how to check for bed bugs. Trust us on this one. Even when you’re staying overnight in a hotel or considering a furnished apartment, it’s worthwhile to take a few minutes and check for the telltale signs of these little creatures.5. Bank AccountA bank account is one of the essentials for life in Canada. If you’re like most of us, you’ll use your bank account multiple times every day, for everything from paying for your daily coffee to scheduling your rent payments automatically. In some cases, it is actually possible to open your bank account before you arrive in Canada, but often it makes more sense to wait until you’ve arrived. There are a number of different major banks providing services across Canada, although Moving2Canada is happy to recommend HSBC Bank Canada. No matter which bank you choose to work with, we have a few tips and tricks for making the most of your banking experience. First, check with your bank to see if they have any incentives for newcomers and new account holders. If a bank doesn’t offer special incentives for newcomers, you may want to look elsewhere. One of the reasons our team recommends HSBC Bank Canada, is due to their Newcomers Program, which is designed to help people who are new to the country. HSBC is here to help welcome newcomers to Canada with the HSBC Canada Newcomers Program, valued up to $1,000. Second, check to see if your bank offers account holders any travel insurance options. You may already have travel insurance, or you may qualify for health insurance in Canada, but if not, many banks offer travel insurance packages. HSBC Bank Canada has a range of insurance options to help make sure you’re covered in Canada and while travelling outside the country.It’s important to understand if you have coverage in Canada or if you need to purchase insurance. If you’re not sure, check out our guide on insurance for your first months in Canada.Finally, if you’re planning to stay in Canada longer-term, you’ll want to ask your potential banks about their mortgage programs for home buyers. HSBC offers a mortgage program to help first-time home buyers, including recent arrivals looking to put down some solid roots.Learn more about the HSBC Canada Newcomers Program and find out how you can get up to $1,000 in cash back and rewards when you get started with HSBC. Issued by HSBC Bank Canada and HSBC Investment Funds (Canada) Inc. Terms and conditions apply.6. A Credit CardCredit cards are common in some countries and less common in others. We’re going to do a quick credit card explainer, so skip ahead two paragraphs if you already know this stuff!A credit card is a crucial tool for your long-term financial success in Canada. Credit cards allow you to make purchases and payments within your credit limit. Notably, this credit limit is not money that you actually have, it’s an amount of credit, loaned to you by the card provider. Each month, you have to make a minimum payment on your credit card balance, and you pay (pretty substantial) interest on any remaining balance. Why, then, do we recommend getting a credit card? Well, a credit card is an important tool for building your credit score in Canada. Your credit score is a number assigned to you based on your history of managing credit (bills, loans, etc.) in Canada. This score is used to assess your eligibility for loans, mortgages, and lines of credit, so it’s crucial if you plan on staying in Canada long term. If you can demonstrate that you consistently pay your credit card balance, it reflects positively on your credit score.Some banks are hesitant to offer credit cards to newcomers, as new arrivals don’t have any credit history in Canada. HSBC Bank Canada, however, offers their HSBC credit card to eligible newcomers with no credit history in Canada with a credit limit of up to CAD$5,000. Tools like this can help you build your financial foundation in Canada.7. Vehicles (including bikes!)Just like furniture, it’s probably no surprise that we don’t recommend purchasing a vehicle until you arrive in Canada. But, similar to our section on furniture, there are a few important reasons that you should take into account. First, if you have been considering importing your foreign vehicle to Canada, you should be aware of the import regulations for vehicles coming into Canada. Consult the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) guidelines on importing a vehicle if this is something you’re seriously considering.Secondly, we believe it’s useful to get a sense of transportation in Canada before committing to your vehicle of choice. For example, if you’re a single person moving to Vancouver, you might be surprised to learn how accessible the city is by bike and opt to make biking your main source of transportation (think of the savings!). Or, if you’re moving to Toronto, you might realize that you underestimated the winter weather and need a vehicle ready to handle the snow. Access to adequate transportation is key to enjoying your time in Canada. Give yourself the time you need to understand what your needs are and how best to meet them.8. Ski pass!Canadian law requires all newcomers to become certified in either hockey or downhill skiing during their first winter in Canada.Okay, fine. That’s not true. But, for those of you who love the feel of fresh powder, you’ve come to the right country. And even if you’ve never skied before in your life, it makes for an amazing Canadian adventure. Canada has so many amazing ski hills all across the country. Take your time to try out a ski hill close to your chosen destination and see if skiing might be an activity you’re willing to commit to. And, hey!, if skiing doesn’t work out, there are so many other hobbies to test out: playing hockey (difficult!), watching hockey (easy!), curling, camping, hiking, and, of course, telling people how much you love Margaret Atwood (“I’m honestly more a fan of her early work… it’s much more subversive.”). You don’t have to carve up the slopes, but make sure you take the time to carve out your niche, whatever that may be!And remember, when it comes to financing your Canadian must-haves, we recommend working with HSBC Bank Canada. HSBC Bank Canada is here to help welcome newcomers to Canada with the HSBC Canada Newcomers Program, valued up to $1,000*. HSBC is here to help you get set up in your new home: Canada.Learn more about the HSBC Canada Newcomers Program and find out how you can get up to $1,000* in cash back and rewards when you get started with HSBC. Issued by HSBC Bank Canada and HSBC Investment Funds (Canada) Inc. *Terms and conditions apply.
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