Sharkhacks guide to moving to Toronto

Shoukri K.
Aug 27, 2015 · 5 min read

This guide is dedicated to my X Telcocell team. A team of amazing folks who worked, and continue to work with me. I love you guys and I hope to see you soon here in Canada.

Many years ago I moved to Canada. I was lucky to be surrounded by amazing people who helped me and guided me through the process and gave me their tips, tricks, and hacks. Even with this support I made my fair share of mistakes, and discovered many many more tips, trips, and hacks. and I continue to learn something new each day.

I wish someone handed me this guide when I first landed in Toronto, but no one did, so here you go guys… How to get started from scratch in Toronto.

The first commandment : Though shall make Google your best friend.

If you want to ignore this lengthy guide and still get some value out of this post then here it is .. If you need anything … Google it.

The beauty of living in a first world country where everyone is connected and has a data plan on their phone is that everything is online. Everything. The Government, Services, Businesses, Roads, Information, Booking, Banking, everything you need is here for you. If you know where and how to look.

Before Landing :

Do you need temporary accommodation? You have a few options to find temporary accommodations. You can try AirBnb where you can rent an apartment, or you can try to book a hotel. The thing is, you can do so online, if you have a credit card. If not then you can still make the reservation online and pay when you get to the hotel.

This brings us to the second commandment.

The second commandment : Though shall have or obtain a credit card as soon as possible.

You need a credit card, and you need to build credit score. We will talk more about this later, but Without this you will never ever be able to do anything. No house, no car, not buy anything. You may try to pay cash but not everyone accepts cash.. Plus i think the only people who pay in Cash are generally the drug dealers… Don’t be a drug dealer. Get a credit card!!!

How to get a credit card? We will cover this below, after we get you landed.


If you are coming to Toronto, you will most probably land at Pearson International Airport (YYZ). The airport is in Mississauga. Mississauga is to the west of Toronto. You don’t need this information for now, if you have google maps. Just keep this in your back pocket.

When you land, and if you are on a Visa, and not a resident, you need to go to Immigration. An officer will ask you to go to the Immigration offices. There you will show them your visas and tell them you are here to work (assuming you are), and that you need to get your work permit. Have all your Work Papers ready… Everything you used to submit your work permit application , plus all your personal identification documents, CVs, Job offers, college degrees. Make sure it is all with you.

They will look at your papers, and will issue you a work permit, they will staple it to your passport. Keep it in your passport and don’t remove it. You will need this for a whole bunch of things.

Taxi , Lemo, Uber

Next depending on where you are going you will need to take a taxi, an airport limousine (Limo), or an Uber (if you have your app working).

If you have the Uber app then take an Uber. If not then you can take one of the airport Limos (typically they wont over charge you and i think the prices are someone controlled by the city so you should be fine). The City has many other Taxi companies such as Beck and others who you can also use.

This brings us to the part where you tell the driver where you are going, and therefore brings us to the general Address formats that are used in Toronto. There are many many address formats, enough to create an encyclopedia, but the ones for residential places (Civic format) are typically as follows :

Street# Street Name  Street Type (Street ST,  Boulevard BLV, Avenue Ave,  Court CRT, etc..)
Unit type Unit #
City/Municipality , Province
Postal code (Letter Digit Letter Digit Letter Digit)

So a valid address looks like this

15 SomeStreetName St
APT 1922
Toronto, ON

The third commandment : Though shall have a Smart Phone with a data plan ASAP

Smart Phones are the bliss and curse of our life. You cannot live with it and you cannot live without it. And if you are new to Toronto I highly recommend you get one, unless you cannot afford it.

Before buying a smart phone or a phone plan and if you are coming here to work first check with the company if they will give you a smart phone with a data plan and if they are covering its expenses. If they are DO NOT!! I repeat: DO NOT buy an additional phone and/or Plan. Cell phone bills are going to be one of your high and recurring expenses.

We at Canada are certainly over charged in terms of Cell phones. I work with all Canadian carriers and interact with them daily and I can tell you that there are a few things that come into play as to why Canadians pay a lot for cell phone usage (geography plays a good part in this). The U.S. is definitely less expensive, but I believe we will eventually get there. (Disclaimer this is my own opinion, not my employer’s)

Additional guides:

Finding the right place to live in Toronto (The Sharkhacks FAQ to finding your dream home)

Finding the right Bank for you in Toronto — Banking FAQ — (Sharkhacks guide to selecting your bank(s))

How to get Health and Medical Care in Toronto

Credit Cards, Credit Score, Credit History and Credit Bureaus in Canada — Sharkhacks credit FAQ

Parts of this guide that are coming soon :
The Sharkhacks guide to getting a better cell phone and plan in Toronto.
The Sharkhacks guide to obtaining a Social insurance Number.
The Sharkhacks guide to obtaining an ID Card.
The Sharkhacks guide to quick transportation

The Sharkhacks Car guide
Driver License — Process for immigrants

buy vs lease


Sharkhacks ISP guide — Where to get the best internet deals.
Food, Grocery, Restaurants
Sharkhacks furniture buying guide


Financials — Sharkhacks guide to living expenses , expenses analyzed.
Sharkhacks financial guide. Debt, Expenses, etc..


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Shoukri K.

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