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Do you want to move to Toronto from the UK? Well, this guide and expert international removal advice will help make the whole process much easier. Written by an expat for expats, it’s just the ticket!
The information below will help get you started and guide you through the moving process.
Toronto is one of the main destinations for Brits moving to Canada, thanks to career opportunities and quality of life.
Big, bustling and bold, Toronto is Canada’s largest city (population: 3 million). It’s also the fourth largest city in North America. If you’re moving to Toronto from the UK, you’ll find one of the most diverse, cosmopolitan cities in the world, with a history of attracting newcomers. An economic powerhouse and leading financial centre, Toronto is also a cultural big hitter. You can look forward to a liveable city with good schools and housing. And when it’s time to relax, the great outdoor is not far away. What’s more, the US East Coast big cities are relatively close.
You’ll need to have a job lined up before you can move to Toronto. But as a global city, it offers huge opportunities and is an ideal location for the next step of your career.
A significant banking and finance centre, Toronto has a dynamic economy and takes the lead economically in Canada. The city is home to the Toronto Stock Exchange, the headquarters of five Canadian banks, and a diverse collection of industries.
Also playing a significant part in the Toronto economy are aerospace, design, education, technology, life sciences, food and tourism, and the arts and entertainment. Numerous global players have a presence in Toronto. The banking and finance sector is, among others, represented by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, National Bank of Canada, Bank of Montreal, and investment company Onex. Bombardier represents the aerospace and aviation sector, and Rogers and Bell telecommunications. Other big local names are retailer Hudson's Bay, electronics manufacturer Celestica, and real estate company Royal LePage.
Relatively low levels of bureaucracy will make doing business easier, along with plenty of business associations and networking groups for you to make new connections. Toronto also offers an excellent business environment, and companies setting up here can rely on a highly-educated workforce, well-developed infrastructure, and political stability.
When it comes to personal tax, income over a certain amount is taxed, and you’ll pay two taxes – to the federal government and to the province or territory where you live. However, a joint collection system applies. A double taxation treaty applies between Canada and the UK, so you won’t pay tax twice on the same income.
Canada probably has one of the most open immigration systems at the moment, actively “welcoming” foreign nationals. There are multiple visa types for Canada, so it is important that you apply using the correct visa type to ensure that you can live and work in Canada. It is highly recommended to speak to a qualified immigration lawyer before making an application. Sterling Lexicon visa consultants are an option you can use. They offer a free 30 minutes chat and they’ll help you understand or reconfirm what you need. Talk to visa specialist.
Canada has a system called Medicare (different to that in the US and Australia) a publicly-funded system like the NHS. However, it doesn’t cover everything, including prescriptions and calling an ambulance. Many expats say that waiting times are an issue. Therefore, most Canadians opt for private healthcare insurance to cover the costs.
If you are thinking of health insurance, a competitive quote is recommended. Sterling Lexicon have an arrangement with William Russell, who will be happy to provide a competitive quote. Get a healthcare quote.
The Toronto housing market is buoyant, and prices are consistently rising so you should check with an international relocation company to get the latest indicators. For general information about housing, including prices, see Statistics Canada. You can also check with locally based Toronto Realtors.
If you’re looking for family-friendly areas with plenty of greenery and semi-detached or detached properties with three or more bedrooms, Toronto has plenty. Roncesvalles, enjoying the greenery of High Park, is a good example. Round the corner, High Park North has a similar feel; some homes date back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries and retain original features. Rosedale/Summerhill take in some of the most affluent streets in Toronto. Villas, many of which are set back from tree-lined avenues, give the areas an English garden city atmosphere. Vaughan, on the edge of the city, is a newer equivalent, with plenty of large detached properties, as has Bayview Glen, relatively close by.
If you’ve children of school or college age, your choice of neighbourhood will often be defined by your school choice.
Canada’s education comprises publicly-funded schools or public schools, and private schools (fee-paying), which include most religious-based schools. School starting and leaving ages vary by province; in Toronto, in Ontario province, children and young people must attend school between the ages of 5 to 18. They begin at pre-school (kindergarten), progress to elementary school, from ages 6 to 11, and finish at secondary school (ages 12-18).
Private schools in Toronto include Bronte College and The York School, which teach the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme; the former provides education from ages 4 to 18. The Columbia International College, in nearby Hamilton, is also private but doesn’t offer the IB. Notable public high schools (run by The Toronto District School Board) include North Toronto Collegiate Institute, Ursula Franklin Academy, William Lyon MacKenzie Collegiate Institute and Leaside High School.
Once you have secured your property, you can start looking for an international removal company and a quotation for your move. When you move to Toronto, from the UK, you’ll normally require a sea shipment for the majority of your belongings and an airfreight shipment for your most essential personal belongings.
Already got a move Quote?
It is recommended to get a quotation for your international move to Georgia. This will help you budget and plan effectively. Get a move quote here.
You will need to have a place to stay and address for when you arrive and for the weeks between all your possessions being packed and their arrival at destination. Temporary accommodation is a good option. There are different types, that can be arranged in Toronto, or even in the UK before you depart.
If you would like help sourcing the best value temporary accommodation in Toronto and in the UK, check with your moving company if they offer this. The Sterling Lexicon team would be happy to provide a competitive temporary accommodation quote.
It’s important to ensure your documentation and customs forms are all completed correctly. This will save a lot of time and cost later down the line. Several items are either prohibited or restricted and are subject to customs duties. It’s best to have an understanding of these.
Check out this overview of the Canadian Customs requirements here [link to move to Canada page anchor #US-customs-forms]. Speak to your international removal company Move Consultant if you have any doubts.
It is advisable to insure your possessions for the duration of the international removal. To do this you’ll need to complete an insurance form detailing an inventory of items you wish to insure and their insured values.
Check with your international mover that they are using professional packing teams to pack your household goods. Ask about the training they receive, the quality of the materials the mover uses and how eco-friendly and recyclable they are!
Allow 4-6 weeks in total for transportation by sea from the UK to Toronto and clearance of Canadian customs.
When your household goods have cleared Canadian customs, your international removal company will normally be in contact with you to arrange a date and time for delivery to your new place. If you choose Sterling Lexicon, they have professional crews in Canada who will unpack and place some essential items in your house or apartment, allowing you to enjoy your first meal in your new home.
Welcome home! Sterling Lexicon offers an optional welcome home support package to help you settle in. Perhaps you need a maid service or handyman to get everything into place and connected. Just get in touch with them.
If you have arranged a maid or handyman service with your international removal company, they will help to get everything into place, connected and reassemble furniture.
Once you are moved in, you can start to settle in and live like a local! If you’d like any local support for the practical matters such as utilities, local expat club introductions, schools, or anything else, then ask your international removal company. For example, Sterling Lexicon can help with settling-in and tours to help you get started safely.
Each year we help many returning residents, diplomats and professionals moving for work and with their families to move to Toronto, Canada. We help them with their visas, finding homes, schools, moving and support at destination. Everything needed to start a new life chapter of living and working in Toronto. Check out the Sterling Lexicon locations here.