13 votes

Does anyone have any advice for preparing for a cross-country move? (BC, Canada -> Quebec, Canada)

Hello friends! I'm interviewing with a company in Montreal, which is across the country from where I live now. I want to be able to answer questions about relocating, and to sound like I have somewhat of a plan. I don't want to come across as ill-prepared? So, I've been trying to do some research on renting, flights, interview questions, etc.

Even if I don't get this job, I still think might try to move out East one day. Do you have any words of wisdom that might help me make this dream a reality?

(EDIT: I'll try to respond to people asap, but the interview is on Monday so I'm trying to frantically prepare, heh. That's my biggest priority... I really want to impress them, hah.)

11 comments

  1. [5]
    aphoenix
    Link
    At 21, I moved from near Toronto to Vancouver; at 22, I moved from Vancouver to near Toronto. That was half my life ago, but I think i remember enough to give some advice. Ruthlessly prune the...

    At 21, I moved from near Toronto to Vancouver; at 22, I moved from Vancouver to near Toronto. That was half my life ago, but I think i remember enough to give some advice.

    • Ruthlessly prune the stuff you have. Get rid of things you don't use on a weekly basis.
    • Consider getting rid of your furniture and just buying new furniture after moving
    • Think about driving and doing it all within Canada. Canada is beautiful. This could be a leisurely way to spend a week, especially if you're moving with somebody.
    • You can sublet a place for 4 months, sight unseen, via the internet. Use that time to find a more permanent location once you've moved.
    • This bears repeating: ruthlessly prune your belongings. Get rid of things. It will make life easier.
    • Before you move: spend some time with the ocean, the trees, the mountains... or whatever it is about BC that you love. Those are the things that I still miss, even though I only lived out there for a year.
    • Brush up on your french. Get duolingo or something, and practice every day. You do not need french to survive in Montreal, but every time I go there, I find people generally are friendlier if I start a conversation in french.
    • Quebec City is one of my favourite cities of all time. Great food, great beer, great history, great people. Even if you don't move, it's worth visiting.
    • Once you have moved, get a library card.
    • Check out local get togethers for whatever your interests are - local meetups about software engineering, or maker groups, or poetry slams, or open mic nights. Just something to connect with people around you. You might feel disconnected for a while.
    • Be RUTHLESS with your stuff.

    That's most of my advice off the top of my head.

    12 votes
    1. [4]
      vivaria
      Link Parent
      Can I ask you about trains? Living in Victoria, visiting Vancouver means I need to take 1hr bus to ferry, 1hr35m ferry to mainland, 1-2hr bus to anywhere I need to go. The last time I did a day...

      Can I ask you about trains?

      Living in Victoria, visiting Vancouver means I need to take 1hr bus to ferry, 1hr35m ferry to mainland, 1-2hr bus to anywhere I need to go. The last time I did a day trip, I spent 8+ hrs in transit (there and back) and only 2-3hr doing things in Vancouver, just to avoid the cost of staying overnight.

      I just looked up transit and found you can take a train from Montreal to Toronto in 4-5hr. WHAT. Is this true?

      My best friend of 11 years who I've never met lives in Ontario, and it seems like it would be a cakewalk to meet her if I lived in Quebec. Am I dreaming?

      5 votes
      1. cfabbro
        Link Parent
        Nope, you're not dreaming. I have taken the VIA train from Toronto to Montreal (and Quebec City) a bunch of times over the years, and it's by far the best way to travel between the two provinces...

        Nope, you're not dreaming. I have taken the VIA train from Toronto to Montreal (and Quebec City) a bunch of times over the years, and it's by far the best way to travel between the two provinces IMO, especially for the price (~$100 round trip IIRC) and given how much of a PITA flying is these days.

        See: https://www.viarail.ca/en/explore-our-destinations/trains/ontario-and-quebec

        4 votes
      2. [2]
        aphoenix
        Link Parent
        Trains are a great option. Transit times are relatively fast, and the comfort level is relatively high. I think planning for 5 hours of transit is about right. You can also catch a flight from...

        Trains are a great option. Transit times are relatively fast, and the comfort level is relatively high. I think planning for 5 hours of transit is about right.

        You can also catch a flight from Montreal to Toronto for as little as double if you plan well in advance and flying from Montreal to Toronto and back is really easy; you could plan for about 2 hours of transit if you flew.

        There are also lots of ride shares available, and that's just a bit longer than the train, though I'd avoid it in the winter.

        Transit's generally pretty great in the Southern Ontario / Southern Quebec corridor.

        3 votes
        1. cfabbro
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Greyhound is also a decent option as well @vivaria, and is generally even cheaper than traveling by train, though not nearly as comfortable... but it can also take you to more locations, which is...

          Greyhound is also a decent option as well @vivaria, and is generally even cheaper than traveling by train, though not nearly as comfortable... but it can also take you to more locations, which is convenient. That was my go-to way to get around when I was a still a student, and when I was 16 I even took one across Canada, from Toronto all the way to Vancouver. It was a great experience... but I definitely wouldn't recommend it, and I took a flight back instead of the bus again for a reason. :P

          4 votes
  2. [5]
    patience_limited
    (edited )
    Link
    As I've done a cross-country and cross-climate move myself in the past year, please be aware that BC and Montreal, though at similar latitude, have very different weather. I'm assuming you'd be...

    As I've done a cross-country and cross-climate move myself in the past year, please be aware that BC and Montreal, though at similar latitude, have very different weather.

    I'm assuming you'd be moving soon if the job is acceptable, which means you're going to encounter an East Coast winter. Typical January - March days are -10°C maximum, as low as -20°C minimum.

    You'll need the following items:

    1. Snow boots, at least 25 cm in height, with good insulation and ice treads.
    2. Parka-style jacket, preferably 800-fill down or equivalent. I don't know if Canada is served by REI, but their used gear site has very good deals; I got mine in as-new condition for $100 USD.
    3. Ski-type gloves, Gore-Tex preferred if you can afford it.
    4. Thermal base layers - I'm partial to Uniqlo HeatTech, after some field testing. It's reasonably priced, and doesn't sweat or stink.
    5. Scarf, hat, and possibly a balaclava, depending on your above-ground public transit reliance. Wind exposure can injure your skin very quickly at those temperatures.
    6. You may find yourself in 3 - 4 layers of clothing for comfort on a daily basis, so don't prune your wardrobe too much.

    Perhaps see if you can borrow something from friends for your interview trip, or just invest so you're prepared for similar weather on Toronto visits.

    Summers are also going to be more intense than BC, so prepare for 30+°C when the time comes.

    Otherwise, I'll echo /u/aphoenix's warning about minimizing what you move. We had a poor experience with movers; most of the heavy items were damaged in transit. If I had it to do again, I'd have sold or given away everything I couldn't move myself with a U-Haul truck.

    Even with the benefit of familiarity, we spent a week in our destination city to locate an apartment before moving. Rental housing was scarce enough that it took almost the entire week to find an acceptable option, so we didn't regret the time and money spent.

    Best of luck on your interview, and I hope that you're at home wherever you find yourself.

    6 votes
    1. [4]
      vivaria
      Link Parent
      Just to clarify, I'll be in courses from Jan-Apr, and this would be for a Summer 2020 internship. But, I'm graduating this year and ending on this internship, so my ideal would be to stay on...

      Just to clarify, I'll be in courses from Jan-Apr, and this would be for a Summer 2020 internship. But, I'm graduating this year and ending on this internship, so my ideal would be to stay on full-time in the same-ish role immediately after this internship ends, and just never move back. (I'm hoping that will look like a plus for the employer?) I'm definitely going to have to get used to the extremes if things pan out!

      Thanks for this guide! I'm missing a lot of it, so it'll definitely be something to keep in mind as Winter 2020 approaches. :)

      2 votes
      1. [3]
        patience_limited
        Link Parent
        Sure, but still, keep it in mind if your interview falls during the extreme months; you'll look like you did your homework! It does seem to take a few weeks to adapt if you're not accustomed to...

        Sure, but still, keep it in mind if your interview falls during the extreme months; you'll look like you did your homework!

        It does seem to take a few weeks to adapt if you're not accustomed to those temperatures, as well, so you may need to dress more warmly than you think. Sub-freezing conditions can happen anytime through the end of May, and start up again in September.

        3 votes
        1. [2]
          vivaria
          Link Parent
          Oh! I hadn't even considered an onsite. I was assuming the video interview was all. Goodness.

          Oh! I hadn't even considered an onsite. I was assuming the video interview was all. Goodness.

          2 votes
          1. patience_limited
            Link Parent
            Heh - I'd double-check that! When I moved from Michigan to South Florida, years ago, I assumed I'd never need sweaters again, and gave them all away... before I learned the hard way about 95°F...

            Heh - I'd double-check that!

            When I moved from Michigan to South Florida, years ago, I assumed I'd never need sweaters again, and gave them all away... before I learned the hard way about 95°F outdoors and 65°F indoor air conditioning.

            Moving back has had similar challenges - I forgot that real winter requires tall waterproof boots, not just heavy insulation.

            3 votes