What compromises did you make after moving to Canada from US (Apart from Total Compensation)?

Hi All,

We are planning our move to Canada sometime next year.We have been in US for 12 years , so we are kind of excited but apprehensive about the move. Ultimately every county has its pros and cons, and you have to compromise on somethings to gain somethings.The most common trade off for many seems to be between peace of mind and high TC. So I was curious to know what other compromises did people make after making the move.For us, we will potentially we compromising on

1) Number of Job opportunities (compared to US).

2) A single family house with a nice backyard. (The real estate market in Vancouver is crazy and single family homes with a back yard seem to be in short supply in suburbs around Vancouver).

3) Moving away from a established support system of friends and family. Most of our friends and family in US are on a green card or are US citizens.This part has been especially difficult, but ultimately peace of mind is more imp for us.

Edit:I am aware of all the pros in Canada, just curious to know what people “gave up” .

Except for a big circle of friends I could visit every weekend (hoping to build at least a smaller network here in Toronto in the near future), I’m gonna unashamedly say, mostly materialistic wants. Cheap flights, awesome Mexican food, going to tennis tournaments, to name a few.

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+1 to what siddEE mentioned.

We miss a lot of popular food chains (Olive Garden, Cava etc), but Toronto area has more than what’s needed to make up for it. (Thai restaurants here are better than ones in the US, IMO).

Probably the proximity or ability to visit to US National Parks is something to be missed, but post COVID, travel is out of consideration at least for now. Had it been a regular summer for us, we’d have probably missed the usual summer travel within the US we’d do because of comparatively cheaper travel options (road trip / flight tickets).

Other than these two, I don’t know what else do we feel like we gave up.

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  1. @siddEE 100% agreed. Good Mexican food, Mucho burrito doesn’t cut it.
  2. Buying wine at Costco, here we have to make a separate trip to LCBO in Ontario.
  3. Friends but many of them also ended up relocating to other cities or counties over the years anyway, not sure if I can count that.
  4. Moving away from family was at a much larger scale when moving from India to US, US to Canada move pales in comparison, at least for me personally.

Yes the housing market is very competitive, the prices are sky high and still pushing higher. If you are moving form a cheaper housing market in the US, this might be a real concern for you. The demand for houses are very high here.

Yes and +1 to @ntn for Olive Garden, that one is not here apparently.

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+1 for buying wine at costco., I will have slight disagreement on points regarding tourism.
Ontario (and in General, Canada) is highly under-advertised for the beauty and breathtaking tourist spots it has.

Ontario itself has some of the best lakes and camping sites in NA. We had been to Sudbury last month (yes, it was a risky proposition), and each of the lakes, hikes are second to none.
No one knows about them, and that’s the good part, let it stay unexplored.

There are so many similar tourist spots like Sudbury throughout Ontario, and Atlantic coasts. Wish Covid gets over soon, and we all get back to exploring more of Canada.


That’s great to know. Probably we’ll need a thread for sharing places to explore around Toronto/Vancouver/Calgary/Montréal. :slightly_smiling_face:

For us it was the weather - we moved from California to Toronto and it was hard to settle for a long winter. I also miss the Farmers market scene and the availability of fresh food all around the year.

For people who are craving good Mexican food in Toronto, Kensington Market has some really good options. Tacos from Seven Lives are better than any place we’ve tried in California. El Trompo is another of our fav.

For Travel in Ontario - Tobermory and the Bruce Peninsula in stunning, Algonquin Park in the Fall is beautiful. In the past summers, we’ve gone to Montreal, you get such a different vibe there and took a train all the way to Quebec City which gives you a feel of Europe with the castles and cobblestone streets.

The only gripe I have is you have to travel far to get to nature while in Cal nature was just in your backyard.

I agree with @ntn we need to start a thread just to share places to eat and travel :slight_smile:


Thanks for sharing everyone!

I also had similar question. Thanks @spai for asking.

We are confused if after living in US for so many years, does it make sense to wait and if things don’t work return back to India, where family and friends is set. We are concerned that Canada will give all the benefits, but living in winter for half the year and without a good social circle like US or India, would it really be a good decision for kids growing up. May be if we had come to Canada couple of years back, things might have been easy. Also, many people say that you can move to US on TN, etc. but again after you are in mid 40s, it may not be easy to just move back getting a job in US. So, we are really confused.

It would be helpful to learn what others thought and how they were able to stick to the decision of moving to Canada long term.

Are you always in a same city location in US?
If not, then even there not sure how do you have good social circle…
Even in Canada, there is huge chance to form a social circle like you would do in any of US city you move to.

It all depends what we would need, although it is easy to say than actually knowing myself…
I mean why to move back to US, if everything settles good in Canada in few years…

Yeah weather is really not good especially in GTA area… Its been like 3rd winter now :slight_smile: because it was little warm in March and then cold then again warm for few days in April, then colder again…Finally from few days it is getting hot now… so winter lasted about 6-7months… but it was not that bad… it was more like due to combination of lockdowns and restrictions with colder weather this year…

Houses are expensive here…
Almost everything like clothes, gas, grocery etc. is expensive…
But probably because we were in mid to small towns in US so we feel that…
but comparably there are hundreds of cities in US to have job but here it is more concentrated in 3-4 bigger cities…
so feels expensive…
The benefits are definitely no uncertainties with visa extensions which was more with previous administration and probably now back to normal with Biden…

Thank you for the detailed reply @srhere Yes, the winter this year has been quite long in general.

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I thought about this but later concluded that instead of Canada, if one had moved to some country in Europe, then that person wouldn’t have access to the USA treasures as easily :slight_smile:

At least from Canada, it’s relatively easy to go back to the USA for travel once you have citizenship.
Undoubtedly, the US has amazing parks, cities and opportunities that are hard to beat, and luckily, Canadians are not too far away to avail those benefits.
It’d be really difficult for Aussies or Germans to just drive into the USA as easily as Canadians can.

**Closest Olive Garden from Toronto is right beside Niagara on the US side, ~ 90 mins drive :slight_smile:


What is the name of that Olive Garden?
Btw Is there no Olive Garden on Canadian side near Toronto?

Nevermind… Perhaps you talked about “Olive Garden” the restaurant chain…
Earlier I thought you talked about some famous flower garden :slight_smile:

Ha ha, yes of course it’s the “Olive Garden”.

So far we miss quite a few things -

  • far less options/varieties at grocery stores as compared to US
  • these guys are far behind in terms of curbside pickup (think of Walmart/target)/fast shipping options
  • we have also noticed a lot of clothing items go out of stock pretty quickly at major brands
  • GTA is very crowded with mostly Asian population. As a matter of fact, Indians and Chinese predominantly. Go to Mississauga Costco gas station (or any other place) and observe each car. 95% of the times, it will either be a Chinese or an Indian. We moved to western world for diversity and this beats the whole purpose.
  • Crazy real estate. Bought close to $1.4M home in burbs that would cost close to $500K in Mid west.
  • most folks don’t greet you while passing by. We have a habit of at least saying Hi and a lot of folks don’t even respond.
  • people play loud music in their cars. Reminds us of India. This happens in US as well but quite rare unless you’re at a tourist place.
    And top of that, people drive as if they’re back in their native land.
  • Crazy auto insurance rates
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  • “GTA is very crowded with mostly Asian population. As a matter of fact, Indians and Chinese predominantly. Go to Mississauga Costco gas station (or any other place) and observe each car. 95% of the times, it will either be a Chinese or an Indian. We moved to western world for diversity and this beats the whole purpose.”

@jayhop you haven’t stayed in the SF Bay Area it seems :slight_smile: go to Sunnyvale or Fremont or pretty much anywhere over the weekend…
Similarly, house prices for two bed room apartments run in millions in SF Bay area.

Here are my 2 cents: US and Canada both are huge countries with extremely varied cultures. So, I would avoid generalizing.
Many points that you have made, such as saying Hi and all, I believe it depends on person to person on both sides of the border. However, Americans are known to be more open and chatty in general, anywhere in the world. So, it’s probably comparatively easy to start chatting with an American on the street or in the flight.
Auto insurance- absolutely true on this point!

Do I miss the US? Absolutely terribly.

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Agree to some of the points. The problem here is that most of the population living in GTA is immigrant with a lot of them from Asia where we don’t have the habit of greeting each other. I live in Milton and to be honest, I hardly see white folks who can strike a conversation or two. I’ll admit that we were not into greeting and all but after living in the states for a long time, we quickly developed that habit among other things. The problem that I see here is that people don’t learn from each other even after living here for a long time. They don’t leave old habits and continue with the same rut.

And it feels like folks who still say Canada is not like US in terms of racism, white supremacy, anti-maskers etc. are not right. We have all sorts of folks here but since the population is pretty minuscule as compared to US, it feels like those things don’t exist, which isn’t true. If you multiple that population with the numbers from US, you will find those things do exist on this side of the border as well.

We miss US too but that doesn’t means we don’t like Canada. It’s just that Canada is not what people portray it to be.

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I moved to Alberta and the story is a little different here. My wife and I both got the jobs here on work permits and the first thing we have noticed is workplace culture is far much better than the US. I still remember my first job in the US started with FERPA, HIPAA training and here it started with Respect at Workplace. I was thinking it would be cold :grinning: but this week there has been a heatwave and the temperature reached 100 F - fingers crossed for winters :crossed_fingers: . Things I have liked so far:

  1. Here in Alberta there is a good balance of diversity, people do respect each other and value outsiders.

  2. Food is certainly superb and we find all sorts of ethnic food here.

  3. Good rates on car insurance as compared to Ontario & BC - 2 big SUVs fully covered under $300 - but I have to call 5 companies to get the price.

  4. Pay is certainly better here taking COL into account, I am employed with a Canadian firm and they matched my offer which I had from a big eCommerce company from Toronto.

  5. Good driving habits. I visited Toronto in 2019 and the driving habits of people here are certainly better here.

Things which I don’t like:

  1. People here are too slow to work - Car insurance folks, car dealers, renter property folks - they will work at their own pace.

  2. Anticipating Frigid cold in Winters :grin:


Nobody mentioned anything about healthcare. Canada healthcare and its long wait has been our biggest miscalculation so far. Healthcare is bad in Quebec. Wait times for family Doc is like 2 years and specialist delays are GCs nightmare revisted :slight_smile: .
Sure, a visit to ER wont leave you bankrupt, but a delayed healthcare due to long waits would definitely end up in ER visit.


True, until you don’t face a situation, you won’t know. Our experience has been okay so far. Got registered with a family doc in a week. They see either in person or over the phone. There are multiple other doctors available for walk-in as well as or if you plan to make them your primary doc. Blood work has been easy as well with walk-ins and/or appointments.