Bienvenue au Canada - Settling in tips for this French speaking nation
By David Hollins
It can be easy to feel lost in such as a colossal country, but sticking to a few top tips from David Hollins, Regional General Manager at Crown Relocations, can make settling in to the Canadian lifestyle much easier.
About the Author
David Hollins is the Regional General Manager at Crown Relocations. Crown Relocations is a division of the Crown Worldwide Group. Crown Relocations operates from more than 200 locations in almost 60 countries, providing end-to-end relocation services. Crown Relocations provides a range of relocation and settling-in services for families on the move that help with housing and education, as well as the physical movement of household effects, online tracking tools, storage, transit protection and cultural support.
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Thank you for this article. I am a Canadian expat in Hong Kong. I lived all my life in Canada (until one month ago) and so was interested to read these recommendations for settling into my home country.
I would like to offer my perspective on a couple of things mentioned. About the language, while a lot of people in Canada can speak French, it is only spoken consistently in the province of Quebec. The capital city of Ottawa, Ontario (where I lived) is bilingual and there's quite a bit of French spoken there, but anywhere west of Ottawa all the way to BC you will find almost exclusively English. This is also true in some of the maritime provinces, Nova Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland in particular. If you are living in Quebec, yes, you will definitely need to speak and understand French well in order to function there. But almost everywhere else in Canada operates in English.
Re the social customs, I have never known anyone to send flowers in advance of a dinner party. It is quite common to take along an arrangement and present them as a hostess gift, but I would think it would be quite a formal affair for flowers to be sent in advance. (Perhaps that's a Quebec custom?) I also am not aware of any rules regarding how much or how little one eats. If you like the food, it is perfectly acceptable to have a second or even third helping!
The information about money, the seasons and sports/clubs is great. Re tipping, yes 15% is normal, but you might want to tip on the food and beverage portions only, not the TOTAL amount of the bill which will include the provincial tax (13% in Ontario for example).
While most of what is written here is correct it's not normal to send flowers in advance of a dinner party nor is it wrong to finish your plate. As much as others around the world think we are like Americans....try again, we are Canadian and there are many differences between us. Our national sport is Hockey not Ice Hocking! Tipping is yes, expected but I have never had it added automatically to my bill and don't feel you have to tip if the service isn't good. French is our official second language and if you travel to Quebec it will be useful to know at least a little. Most of Canada is however, English speaking. There are pockets of Francophones in Ontario, New Brunswick (the only officially bilingual province in Canada)and Manitoba. Canada is a huge country full of diversity, culture, sport, crazy weather and friendly, outgoing people. We are funny and yes even quirky! Come and enjoy all it has to offer!