So, I am assuming that you are a new immigrant in Canada. Even if you are not, this guide is going to serve you as a refresher for some basics that everyone must know.
If you are arriving during or close to winter, might have a hard time acclimatizing to the harsh weather conditions here. Canada is a huge country. So, the degree of cold varies from place to place. It is extremely important to pick the right gear to save you from that cold. If you plan to live anywhere apart from major cities in Ontario and British Colombia, you need to prepare yourself for harsher weather conditions. The best thing to do is to understand what you are up against.
Extreme cold can potentially be life-threatening. But, frostbites are much more common. You certainly don't want to have a risk of losing a couple of fingers or tissues. So, buying the right clothing should be number one on your priority list. I have already discussed it in detail here -
You might want to consider getting Amazon Prime, especially during winter. Personally, I am usually not be motivated enough to go out shopping when it's that cold outside.
If you are landing as an international student then you are lucky. Amazon offers Free Prime membership for 6 months if you are a student. Don't worry, when the free period expires, you still have to pay half the price. The full price is about $80 for a year and students pay $40.
Here is the link. You can register today.
Back home, I used to think that drinking water would not be an issue in Canada. I have seen people drinking water from faucets directly, and I have done that too. I can certainly say that drinking water directly from the faucet is perfectly safe. Water is clean and doesn't have any bacteria (I have tested it myself under a microscope). But, why am I writing about the water?
There are two things that are wrong with the water -
1) Chlorine - This is certainly true for most places I have lived and heard about. The level of chlorine in water is usually not the same every time. Sometimes the taste of water from the faucet is terrible !! and sometimes it tastes ok. Either way, there is a lot of chlorine that goes into the water to keep it bacteria-free. If you happen to be a coffee or tea lover, chlorine just ruins the entire flavor. Additionally, too much chlorine isn't good for your health in long run. There could be an increased risk for certain types of cancer due to chlorinating by-products (Trihalomethanes). So, we must avoid chlorine whenever we could. Drinking water from the faucet once in a while won't do any harm.
Note for science folks: In the above passage, I am referring to Chlorine, Chloramines, chlorine dioxides, etc.
2) Lead: Lead is highly carcinogenic !! There is no doubt about it.
Over the past few years, attempts have been made to reduce the amount of lead in water. For, the most part it has been successful. So, you are unlikely to find dangerous levels of lead anywhere.
But, how does lead get into our water supply?
Lead typically comes via leaching from those older pipes which have lead soldering to seal them off. For more than a decade, lead solder has been replaced with lead-free solder. And no, everyone is shifting towards a solder-free alternative - SharkBite joint/coupling. One won't know for sure whether they have lead in their water
or not, till you have tested it. Leaching lead is still a problem with some older buildings which haven't yet replaced
But, don't worry about it. Both chlorine and lead issue have the same solutions -
A) Use a water Pitcher/Purifier -
You can get it from Amazon for as low as $20. They usually come in two varieties -
1) filter that removes chlorine only
If you are sure that your water doesn't have lead or if you are not concerned about lead at all then this is great for you.
Tough they might look cheaper but, they last shorter and don't remove lead. Comparing them with blue filters, I personally don't think they are any
Filter only https://amzn.to/3gijZHH
Pitcher + Filter https://amzn.to/3rlUOuq
2) filter that removes chlorine + Lead + other metals
In my opinion (b) is far more superior in terms of performance, longevity, and cost-efficiency.
The is manufactured by Brita and has a blue filter. These filters will last you about 5-6 months.
Filter only https://amzn.to/3gi21VW
Pitcher + Filter https://amzn.to/3Hk5FKP
B) Using refillable Water Jug/Bottle -
Many stores offer this facility these days. You need to take your bottle and get it refilled for a small fee and you should good to go for days. They only downside is a little inconvenience caused by lifting those heavy bottles and bring them home. Apart from that they are a versatile option if you have a large family.
We are still in a pandemic and our health must always take priority. There is a wide range of products to choose from. You can easily get multi-vitamins at a pharmacy - Shoppers, Relax, etc., or at any grocery store - Walmart, Real Canadian Superstore (RCSS), Fresh Co, etc. Descent options are available at Dollaram as well.
Or, you can avoid the hassle and order them online from amazon.
There are some that I have tried. I don't have a preference when it comes to multi-vitamins. I keep on changing brands and combinations.
If you are coming from Europe or Asia, you'll certainly need to use some sort of power adapter. But, they aren't really working that inconvenience if you plan to live here for long. As, type C and USB ports aren't going anywhere for a long time, buying a new brick is certainly a great investment. I have multiple devices so I would prefer a brick with multiple ports. As, I have both android and apple devices, anything that offers me Quick Charge 3.0 and PD/PIQ will provide you with greater flexibility and future compatibility.
There are many lesser-known brands to choose from but when it comes to trust and reliability, I'll go with Anker. Tough their products are marginally more expensive than other competitors, I believe they are worth it.
This is the one I am using these days.
When I was new here and trying to settle in, I was missing my toolbox back home the most. Irrespective of your gender and interests, you must have a basic set of tools with you. And the biggest reason is that we have to assemble most of the things by ourselves, whether its a bed, chair or table.
In contrast to the Asian and American system, Canada uses Square head screws instead of Phillips's head. You'll see a bunch of different screws being used in a bed alone. I brought my first screwdriver sent with almost 20 different heads from Walmart at a great price. They are available at Dollaram too, but I cannot vouch for their quality. I would not spend more than $20 on a screwdriver sent.
Additionally, Thrift stores - value village, salvation army, etc. have used tools. They offer great value for money. The only downside is that you need to put a little bit of time and patience to find the right thing.
For reference, you can have a look at this from amazon.
You have your basics covered and can assemble your furniture with the tools you just brought.
I won't recommend Buying furniture and Mattress from Amazon. The only reason is that you'll have to drop it off at the post office yourself. Unlike in India, they don't come to your home for picking up returns. And that furniture and Mattress could get crazy heavy. The best thing to do is to buy such things in-store. Some of the top stores are Ikea, JYSK, and HomeSense. You can buy pillows and linen from amazon. They aren't that heavy and you'll still have the freedom to return them conveniently if you don't like them.