What if you want to work someplace that doesn’t feel like Canada? Check out Montreal. This city is unique from any other Canadian city—especially with tourists claiming that they often feel like they’re in Europe when they visit. It is one of the oldest and largest cities in Canada, where Montreal has a rich heritage and culture. For one, many people in Montreal speak French despite there being plenty of English-speaking individuals as well. Its main hub, Old Montreal, is lined with cobbled streets and historical buildings. Montreal is also known for being Canada’s artistic hub, with plenty of artists, musicians, writers, and the like calling the city home.
Most importantly, Montreal is a great place to work because of its affordability. While rent in cities like Vancouver or Toronto can easily exceed CAD 2,000 for a 1-bedroom apartment, Montreal’s average cost of rent per month is around CAD 1,400. So even while you’re working a part-time holiday job, you’ll still be able to cover most, if not all, of your expenses. Popular part-time jobs in Montreal include baristas, creative assistants, nannies, sales representatives, and pizza delivery drivers. If you can speak some French, you’ll double your chances of securing a great job, and fitting in with the locals!
Being a city-dweller doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be living right in the heart of a city. If you’re a city person who enjoys the outdoors, you’ll experience the best of both worlds living in Calgary. This is Alberta’s largest city, but it’s also very close to the majestic Rocky Mountains or the beautiful Banff National Park. Calgary also enjoys more days of sunshine than any other major Canadian city, so you won’t have to sit through almost seven months of rain as people do in Vancouver. But what makes Calgary a good place to live on a Working Holiday visa? Here’s a quick list: (1) ranked as one of the world’s cleanest cities, (2) no provincial sales tax, (3) public transit is reliable, (4) affordable rent ($1,400 for a 1-bedroom apartment), and (5) plenty of employment opportunities. So, what are you waiting for?
Halifax, Nova Scotia
If waking up to the fresh ocean air and eating a delicious fish-and-chips meal sounds like your idea of the perfect working holiday, you’ll enjoy life in Halifax. The capital city of Nova Scotia is special because it is the biggest city in all of the Maritime provinces yet manages to break away from the busy hustle-and-bustle of city life. It’s a smaller, coastal town with friendly locals and a slightly laid-back atmosphere, and with a population of just over 400,000, Halifax is a very diverse community with people from all over the world.
Like Montreal, living in Halifax is on the more affordable side. A 1-bedroom apartment in the city will cost you around $1,600, while a 1-bedroom apartment outside of the city will be approximately $1,300. Being a coastal city, part-time jobs in IT, restaurants, engineering, agriculture, fishing, and mining are common to find. If you enjoy working with your hands, you’re in luck. Halifax’s biggest offering to its people is that as a medium-sized city, it offers both a fast-paced environment and a slower, more relaxed lifestyle.
Although Winnipeg may not be on everyone’s top-10 list of working holiday destinations, it’s a wonderful place to consider if you’re ever in Canada. Winnipeg once made it to National Geographic’s list of Best Trips on Earth in 2016 and was the only Canadian city on that list! Like the other cities mentioned in this list, Winnipeg is a city on a budget: it offers affordable housing, a low cost of living, and plenty of job opportunities. In addition to this, living in Winnipeg means that you have access to a great healthcare system. Areas of high employment opportunities include the healthcare and construction industries and a rapidly-growing IT/engineering/science industry. Its thriving economy, low rental prices and culturally-diverse population make the city one of the best to work in!
With rising costs of living in Canada, big cities are slowly becoming more and more unaffordable. For those who still want to live near the city, one great working holiday destination to consider is the capital city of Canada, Ottawa. Now, you might be thinking: isn’t that where all the government and administrative stuff happens? Indeed, Ottawa is commonly known for being a “government town,” but there is so much more to see and do as well. For one, if you’re a big fan of food, you’ll love the city. Ottawa is filled with restaurants from all around the world, particularly Vietnamese and Lebanese cuisines. Several historical buildings including Parliament Hill and the Canadian Museum of History will also keep you busy for much of your stay.
Regardless, Ottawa has a strong economy and offers a variety of job opportunities for people with diverse backgrounds and interests. While government and NGO jobs are common, other key industries include IT, life sciences, and law. Ottawa’s proximity to other major cities is also one of its best characteristics. While it doesn’t necessarily have the same atmosphere or nightlife as Montreal or Toronto and doesn’t offer the peacefulness of a place like Halifax or Winnipeg, Ottawa is still a great place to live for those looking to work on a holiday visa.
Sources: 10 Alternative Working Holiday Destinations in Canada, Numbeo: Cost of Living, Top 5 Working Holiday Visa Destinations in Canada, Pros and Cons of Living in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Moving to Calgary, Why Choose Ottawa