Finding a Temporary Home in Canada

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Unless you’ve rented a place in advance, once you arrive in Canada, you will need a place to stay temporarily until you are ready to consider renting or buying a home.

Locating suitable short-term accommodation is one of the first courses of action for many newcomers. 

Also, short-term rentals will also make it easier for you to transition between neighbourhoods in case you find another job and need to move closer to your place of work.


Check the regulations

For those of you without friends or family in Canada to stay with, short-term rentals like Airbnb, hotels and hostels provide stopgap accommodation.

Be sure to check the local regulations regarding short-term rentals because they will differ from city to city. For example, here are the regulations for Toronto.

Hotels in Canada typically offer private rooms and bathrooms equipped with phones, televisions, and internet, as well as a variety of services at extra cost. Some extended stay rooms have small kitchens that are a particularly wise choice as you can save money by cooking your own meals (here’s some great tips) instead of spending money at restaurants. There will also be laundry facilities available, and many have fitness rooms, barbecues, and pools.


Are hotels expensive?

Hotel costs vary considerably depending on the area, quality, and amenities offered. You can compare hotel ratings online at various sites, which always provide star ratings, as well as valuable customer feedback. A five-star rating means the hotel has the highest standards and cost, while a one-star rating means the lowest standards and cost. Be careful about poorly rated hotels, as this can mean unsafe areas or unhygienic conditions.


The hostel route

Hostels in Canada are very basic versions of hotels, which offer either private rooms or beds in shared rooms. 

Like hotels, standards and costs can vary, but they can be a clean, comfortable and low-cost alternative to hotels. Bathrooms are mostly shared and there will often be kitchens where you can cook your own meals. 

Again, it’s important to compare costs and ratings to determine which hostels suit your needs. Be cautious about very cheap rates, as that can reflect poor standards and less than ideal neighbourhoods.


When to book?

Always book short-term rentals, hotels and hostels several weeks in advance before leaving for Canada. By booking in advance, you are more likely to get better rates and ensure room availability, especially during peak holiday and vacation seasons. Choose locations near public transportation and services such as markets, banks, etc.


Sources for booking

Here’s some handy pros and cons for booking short-term rentals such as Airbnb.

  • Search the internet for hotels and hostels in the area you intend to settle. Most hotels and hostels have websites with all the information you need about prices, ratings, locations, and amenities.
  • Search the internet for the name of the city or town where you intend to settle (here’s some of the best ones in Canada) and check out the tourism section for hotels and hostels.
  • Check the Craigslist site of the city you plan to live in.
  • Buy Canadian tourist guidebooks in your native country that provide hotel and hostel listings or look up the internet for the sites.
  • Although it’s recommended you book accommodation before arriving in Canada, if you did not book, the information desk at the airport can provide information.

If you don’t want to consider hotels and hostels, you can contact an immigrant organization in the area you intend to settle about temporary accommodation catering to newcomers.