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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Immigrating to Canada - big city or small town?

A lot of people who consider immigrating to Canada wonder where their best opportunity to settle is: a big city like Toronto, or a small town like Yellowknife? Of course there are arguments in favour of either answer.

Big city pros:
  • Lots of employers - In Toronto, there are thousands of employers and thousands of jobs available, if you have the right skills and experience. 
  • Lots of support and integration resources - There are many non-profits to help you settle and find work, housing, transportation and get your life started in your new country.
  • Large immigrant populations - Toronto's Chinatown alone is comprised of over 500,000 people. The city is truly multicultural.

Big city cons:

  • Lots of competition for jobs - For every job, there are potentially dozens, if not hundreds of applications.
  • Expensive to live in - big cities cost big money to live in: not only for housing, but for food and services as well.

Small town pros:
  • Less competition for jobs - smaller populations mean the employee pool is much smaller too.
  • Can be less expensive to live in (depends on location) - rents (primarily) and the general cost of living are more manageable in small towns. This is not the case, however, if the small town happens to be in a remote part of the Northwest Territories.

Small town cons:
  • Fewer employers - Some towns are "company towns" with only one major employer. If you can't work there, you might not be able to find a lot of other opportunities.
  • Fewer integration resources - Settlement services tend to be located in larger population centres. You might have to travel to one to get the help you need initially.
  • Smaller immigrant communities - It's likely in smaller towns that you wont find as many people who speak your native language, or share your traditions. There are, however, a number of small towns that grew out of and maintain strong heritage traditions from their populations.

So that's just a very high level idea of some things to think about when you consider where in Canada you want to live. I encourage you to learn about each of the Provinces and Territories - their histories and the current opportunities they have to offer. You may just find the perfect fit!

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