A Quick Guide Relocating to Canada

Have you decided to join your neighbors to the north and make “O Canada” your new favorite song? Whether it’s for school, work or personal reasons, relocating to a new country can be a very exhilarating—and overwhelming—experience. Before you make any major decisions, you should, of course, do your due diligence and extensive research, but here’s a Canada quick guide to get you started!

  • Citizenship. Relocating to Canada requires more than an interest in hockey and an affinity for moose. There are 10 programs through which you can apply to immigrate:
  1. Quebec-Selected Skilled Worker: Limited to immigrating to Quebec only and subject to the providence’s decision.
  2. Self-Employed: For those self-employed in cultural or athletic activities or farming.
  3. Provincial Nominee: Requires nomination by a Canadian province or territory.
  4. Refugee: Reserved for those who are forced to flee their home.
  5. Express Entry: For skilled immigrants based on their ability to contribute to the economy.
  6. Start-Up Visa: Applicable to those starting a business that will create jobs.
  7. Family Sponsorship: For immigrants with Canadian family members who sponsor them.
  8. Atlantic Immigration Pilot: Reserved for school graduates or workers in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, or Newfoundland and Labrador.
  9. Caregiver: For caregivers of children, the elderly, or those with medical needs.
  10. Immigrant Investor: Requires you to invest in the Canadian economy.
  • Money. Much like the euro, you’ll have to get used to using coins in place of $1 and $2 bills (casually referred to as a “loonie” and a “toonie”, respectively). Working off of the Canadian dollar (CAD), the bills are brightly colored to more easily differentiate their value. The good news is that the U.S. dollar has been stronger than the Canadian dollar for a while—at the time this was written, 1 USD = 1.31 CAD—so you’ll get more bang for your USD buck.
  • Climate. Simply put, the winter is a cold most Americans have never experienced. The interior and Prairie Provinces average a daily temperature near -15° C (5° F), but it can drop below -40° C (-40° F) with wind.
  • Language. With a population around 32 million, the majority of people speak the official Canadian languages of English (59 percent) and French (23 percent). The remaining 18 percent speak other languages.
  • Healthcare. Yes, the rumors are true: Canada offers free healthcare, but it’s not without a catch. Only citizens and permanent residents are eligible, so until your immigration is finalized, you’ll need to purchase your own health insurance. Another negative of free healthcare is how long it takes to be seen by a doctor, and it keeps lengthening. A 2017 study found the average wait time to see a specialist with a referral was a record-high 21.2 weeks, 128 percent longer than 1993’s reported 9.3 weeks.
  • Food. Get ready to adjust your palate and embrace Canada’s favorite fast food chain: Tim Hortons (or Timmies). You’ll find yourself ordering poutine (chips—French fries to you—smothered in gravy and semi-melted cheese curds) buying your milk in bags, adding maple syrup to everything, and craving bannocks (baked or fried bread) and beaver tails (fried pastry dough).
  • Slang. Avoid looking like a tourist by learning local colloquialisms; “toque” is a brimless, cool weather hat; “klick” is short for kilometers; “runners” are sneakers; “what you sayin’” is for when you want to know someone’s plans; “serviette” is a napkin; and, yes, we do say “eh” a lot.

Now that you’ve started a smooth transition to Canadian life, you’ll need a place to keep your belongings when you search for your new home sweet home. Contact the storage professionals at Secure Self Storage in North York or Mississauga and find the safe, affordable, convenient way to store what matters most to you.


Ski & Snowboard Equipment Cheat Sheet

Looking forward to shredding some fresh powder on the mountains this winter? Join the 2.5 million skiers and snowboarders in Canada and make this a season to remember. You already know what gear you need to make it to the top, now learn how to buy the right ski or snowboard equipment to get you to the bottom safely. If this is your first trip on the lift, you probably aren’t planning on spending any serious money on equipment until you know if you like it. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know what kind of fit you’re looking for in a rental!

  • Snowboarders
    • There’s a weird (but effective) way to determine if you’re goofy (right foot forward) or regular (left foot forward) so your bindings can be set correctly: Simply let someone give you a quick shove from behind and see which foot you put out first to catch yourself.
    • Boards come in different lengths based on height, weight, and snow conditions. Ideally, your board should land between your nose and chin when stand up. You may find yourself wanting a different size once you get a feel for what’s comfortable, but a snowboard size chart is a good place to start.
    • Snowboard boots should be a snug, but comfortable fit. In the right size, your toes will barely touch the front of the boot and be free to wiggle side to side, while your heel remains in place even when your knees are bent.
  • Skiers
    • Similar to snowboards, ski size is dependent on your height, weight, and the snow quality. Shorter skis are typically recommended for beginners and thinner-than-average skiers. Long skis are ideal for aggressive, fast skiers, and those over an average weight. Consult a ski size chart to find the right fit for you.
    • When trying on ski boots, your toes will go all the way to the front of the boot until you bend your knees and your heel slides back. This is expected; if your toes don’t touch when you’re stranding straight up, the boots may be too large.

Now that you know how to find the perfect fit for the perfect equipment, you’re ready to hop on the lift with the rest of Canada! When the mountains close for the season, you’ll need someplace safe and convenient to keep your stuff until next winter starts. Contact the storage professionals at Secure Self Storage and find the perfect place for all your equipment and gear this year.


Ski & Snowboard Gear 101

Winters in Canada are usually met with dread and a yearning to hibernate until spring—no more! There are many fun and exciting ways to spend these cold months, but perhaps the most exciting of them all is hitting the fresh winter snow on the slopes. Before you spring for that season lift ticket, you have to get the right equipment and clothing to stay warm and safe. Follow this handy guide and you’ll go from bunny hills to black diamonds before the ground starts to thaw!

  • Layers are the name of the game. With local temperatures as low as -31° C, you’re used to the cold. But being cold on your four-minute walk from the work parking lot and being cold for eight hours on a mountain are two different things. Invest in quality, sweat-wicking long underwear to stay warm and dry and layer with a comfortable long-sleeved shirt and active-wear pants. And remember, when it comes to warmth and comfort, jeans are not your friend.
  • Protect your head. Concussions and skull fractures aren’t limited to football players. When you’re going down a hill 5kph, it’s easy to wipe, hit a hidden patch of ice, or simply lose your balance. Don’t let the image of fluffy white snow fool you, hitting your head will hurt and can cause serious damage. Play it safe and strap on a helmet before you push off—a bruised ego is better than a bruised skull.
  • See things clearly. Between snow rushing at your face and the harsh glare of the winter sun off pristine white, it can be difficult to see well on a slope. Not only will the right pair of goggles provide protection from the sun and snow, they will stop your eyes from watering due to wind and momentum.
  • Pick the right jacket and snow pants. Waterproof, waterproof, waterproof. If you’re a novice skier or boarder, you’re going to spend a lot of time on your back and knees! What level of insulation you want is really a personal preference and depends on how warm your inner layers keep you. Leave some extra room to accommodate those layers—or better yet, wear the layers when you go shopping—and make sure you have full range of motion without an oversized, baggy feeling.
  • Keep your digits warm. Don’t make this the winter you get frostbite: Get a high-quality pair of waterproof gloves. While mittens will keep your hands warmer, they’ll limit your ability to adjust your gear or strap in on your board. If you still struggle with dexterity and coldness, add a layer of liner gloves beneath your normal ones.
  • Make your feet comfortable. Believe it or not, thicker socks are not ideal with ski or snowboard boots. Opt for socks that are thin, so they don’t bunch up; high, so they don’t slip into your boot; and sweat-wicking, because your feet will get very hot.

Now that you know how to pick the right accessories for your mountain adventures, you’re ready to hit the trail with the pros. If you find yourself lovin’ life on the mountain, it may be time to leave rentals behind and buy your own equipment. When the snow finally lets up, you’ll need someplace safe and convenient to keep your stuff until next season starts. Contact the storage professionals at Secure Self Storage and find the perfect place for all your gear this year.


5 Ways to Hack The Snow This Winter

For some people, the magic and wonder of first snowfall never really wears off. For others, each snowflake is a little inconvenience falling from the sky, making shoveling the driveway the ultimate showdown of man versus nature. Whether you love snow or could live without it, we’ve compiled a list of five tips and tricks that will help you win this winter!

  1. Spray Your Shovel with Non-Stick Cooking Spray. To keep the snow from sticking to your shovel, spray it with non-stick cooking spray or lightly grease it with vegetable oil. This trick is guaranteed to make your shoveling job a little easier.

 

  1. Make Your Own Bicycle Snow Tires with Zip-Ties. Do you find your bicycle gets stuck in the snow often and wish you had snow tires? You can make your own! Just fashion zip ties all around your tires—your bicycle will be snow-ready to safely take you where you need to go in no time.

 

  1. Prevent an Icy Windshield with Vinegar. Spray a mixture of vinegar and water on your windshield to prevent it from frosting. With this simple hack, you’ll shave time off your morning instead of shaving ice off your car!

 

  1. Use Bubble Wrap to Keep the Cold Out. With snow comes chilly weather! Attach a sheet of bubble wrap to your windows for easy insulation. Just cut the bubble wrap to size, spray some water on the window and press the bubble wrap in place with the bubbles facing the glass.

 

  1. Put a Cloth Down for Speedy Snow Removal. Drape a cloth over your car’s windshield or your home’s steps when it first starts snowing and just remove it when it’s time to leave the house. You’ll be safely out the door and in the car faster than you can say “shovel”!

With these five tips and tricks, you’ll be more than prepared to brave the cold months ahead! Contact the storage professionals at Secure Self Storage to find the perfect place to safely keep your warm-weather belongings during the snowy season!


5 Bicycle Storage Tips to Ride Through Winter

With the cold weather settling in and the holidays rapidly approaching, it’s about time to put away your bicycle for the winter. Before you stow your wheels for the season, here are five things you should know to ensure your ride will be in top shape and ready to hit the road when you take it out for a spin in the spring.

  1. Clean it Up. Thoroughly clean your bicycle. Leftover grime can cause corrosion over an extended period of time. Start by brushing off any dirt and then use a wet rag to wipe it down. Make sure it is completely dry before putting it into storage to avoid rust from forming.
  2. Make it a Smooth Ride. Use a lubricant on the chain, handles, cables and any other bending parts to protect against damage in long-term storage. This will ensure your bicycle parts will be ready to move with you once it comes time to ride again!
  3. Maintain Temperature Control. Avoid storing your bicycle in an environment where the conditions fluctuate, and instead opt for a climate-controlled space. Constant changes in temperature invite moisture and can cause damage to the frame, including cracking and rust, and deterioration of rubber tires.
  4. Pump Your Tires. Make sure both tires are full of air before storing your bicycle. Over time tires can lose pressure and, if left deflated, can distort the rubber.
  5. Lift it Up. Hang your bicycle off the ground using a rack or a hook to keep the weight off the tires. Standing it on its wheels on a concrete floor can cause damage, including weak spots in the rubber, especially if left this way for extended periods of time. If you have no way to suspend your bike off the floor, keep a mat or rug under the wheels and make sure to come in and pump your tires full of air periodically.

Now that you know how to properly store your bicycle for the off-season, you need a place to put it! Contact the storage professionals at Secure Self Storage to find a safe spot for your two-wheeled ride this winter.