Moving to Toronto

Hello community, I am moving from India to Toronto for work in November. Any advice on the following would be very helpful!

  1. setting up bank account from India
  2. booking rental accommodation from India

I am planning to buy some winter clothing after landing there, so which city would be good for staying? Toronto, Burlington, Waterloo are some places I am looking at, and the office is in Toronto.

Firstly congratulations on the move. Are you landing as a PR or on work permit?

  1. For setting up the bank account you need the SIN number (if you don’t have that you will get it from ServiceCanada locations across the city, after passing through immigration upon arrival and having the relevant documents to show at the ServiceCanada center).

  2. For the time being you can book AirBnb close to workplace or hotel, depending on your preference. Also, Facebook marketplace/Kijiji might have some options for you. Check Google maps for best location.

You need a driving license to go from anywhere you are staying, to work place in Toronto, unless you have already figured out carpooling options. If public transport is the only option and work is in Toronto, it’s a no-brainer, live as close to your workplace as possible if you have to go in regularly.

A good jacket, thermals, gloves and headgear from India should be fine for November for a few days temporarily (check weather trends over the years), but once you come here buy good winter clothing.

@avj Thanks so much for your suggestions! I am coming on work permit, and I have booked an AirBnb in Markham.

Any suggestions based on your experience, where I can buy these winter clothing? Any specific brands? Black Friday sale, etc.?

Yeah in the coming months there will be tons of sale happening, try googling for dates/locations etc; any big mall in town will have tons stores and options for you. In terms of brands/stores, I’m not an avid shopper, there are too many to name, and others might have better suggestion, but some off the top of my head: The Bay, SportCheck, even Walmart, Costco etc. will have good jackets that are reasonably priced. Personally I use Helly Hansen (HH) since it’s very warm and reasonably priced. People go for Canada Goose, they’re really good but expensive. People have also recommended “Parka” since it’s longer. It’s upto you really.
And not sure if you’re aware but you can even try and return it if you don’t like (ask in store for details).

Thank you so much @avj! These are valuable points for me as a newcomer to Ontario.

I would encourage you to consider signing a long term lease before you arrive. I moved to Toronto in July, and directly moved into an apartment for which I had signed lease in May.

The problem with finding apartments is that most reasonably priced apartments with rent control would be leased out 2 months or so before move in date. So if you arrive and stay in AirBnB (which I found to be very expensive compared to long term rental place, but may be you found a cheap place), you would have to stay there for 2 months or so before you move in to new apartment. You can find places to lease for immediate move in but usually these will be either expensive or not rent controlled (because they are new) or both.

Having said that, since you are coming from India, I can understand wanting to see the place before leasing for an year. I had moved from the US, so I guess my situation was different. I was satisfied with google street view and bunch of reviews/discussions on Reddit about the neighborhood, etc

Thanks @arjun-humain! Yes, I would like to see the place before finalising for long term. Any suggestions for creating bank account from India? I heard about Tangerine (online banking) and a couple of other banks where I can create account from India itself. Also, any suggestions regarding what credit card I can purchase?

For winter gear, if you’re looking for super cheap/budget $$, try Value Village and other thrift stores. For higher quality winterwear, I highly recommend the brand Cyanos Jay. Both my husband and I bought jackets from there that kept us warm and toasty in -25C weather.


Thanks so much @MissMapleFry! I will check out the brand, for sure!

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@RohitRanga i believe you need to be physically in Canada to open a bank account, and show your work permit/PR etc proving your legal status in the country.

@arjun-humain Oh I see!

We were able to open accounts from the US before moving with RBC. Once we arrived, we took our IDs to the bank and got all our paperwork and account info. It was a super quick process. Even though we were able to open accounts while we were in the US, we couldn’t actually make any transactions until we activated our accounts in Canada.

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Thanks @MissMapleFry! Have you heard anything about online banks like Tangerine, Simplii, etc?

I made a table with different banks vs features.

I do use Tangerine and RBC. We got monthly fees waived for RBC for one year so used just that for one year. Tangerine has no fees so we started using that this year. Has been a good experience so far. Only thing with Tangerine is that interac e-transfers may be delayed half an hour vs other banks that are pretty much instant.

Oh I see…thanks for the insights @MissMapleFry!