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  • Our landing Experience

    By G9

    We (myself, wife and 4 yr old son) landed in Toronto's Pearson Airport on 7th June'05.We had planned to stay in Canada for two weeks and go back to Kuwait and use the 3 years time we have to build up our savings. We did a lot of research on the Internet before we landed and it really paid off. We felt well prepared and confident.

    We flew KLM from Kuwait and since we had over 7 hours at the Amsterdam's Schipol Airport , we took a guided city tour from the Airport itself. It was a three hour bus tour that covered major landmarks in Amsterdam.

    After about 20 hours of travelling we were quite exhausted when we landed at the airport and anxious to get the whole thing over with. We were guided to the section where all new immigrants were waiting after we were given a number. We waited for about half an hour and then realised that the officials in this section had no idea that we were given numbers. It turned out that people were going in out of turn. Anyway, we protested and when it was our turn, the officer just called me, as I was a principal applicant and processed our papers. We were given a copy of the Record of Landing paper.

    Next we were handed out forms for SIN/OHIP/Child Tax benefit etc along with pamphlets and a general guide as to what newcomers must expect initially. We had already downloaded these forms through the respective websites and had filled them up accordingly to save time and energy later on.

    Next is the Canadian Border we had to present our Goods To Follow List. They also made some kind of Currency Report. They just asked us the total figure/amount that we were carrying for this. They did not check our drafts/cash. Our four year old started discussing cartoon movies with the lady officer and they were quite friendly.

    We stayed at the Ryerson Student residences at ILLC (international Living and learning Centre) Accommodations were very decent at 57$ a night .We had a room with en-suite bathroom, pull out sofa cum bed, and TV, Phone, daily housekeeping(free) . Moreover it is located at 5 min walk from Eaton Centre which considered centre of downtown Toronto. The Dundas Station is about the same distance. We used the subway through the entire stay and in the process saved a lot of money and discovered the place easily.

    Before you go to apply for the SIN you can actually go to their website, type in your postal code at where you plan to stay and it will tell you the nearest office. Ours was at St.Clairs, which is a subway stop too .Fares for an adult on the subway is 2.5 $ for a day and you can take transfers if you need to change and travel on buses and streetcars. On weekends and holidays, one can purchase a Family pass for 8$ which enables a family of 2 adults and 4 kids to travel unlimited the whole day on TTC. It is a good deal. Anyway SIN took 20 min and we proceeded to open a bank account with TD which gives landed immigrants a secured credit card. a lot of landed immigrants ts are disappointed when their application for a credit card is refused. At TD we opened an account where they would block a certain amount and give us a credit limit for the same amount. We got temporary bank access cards immediately.

    Next we went to apply for a temporary G1 licence .I recommend you buy a Drivers Handbook and go through it before you apply. Again you can check on the net which is the closest store you can buy it from by keying in your postal code. You pay 85$ to register for the exam. I did not clear it the first time so I paid an additional 10$ the next day and proceeded to clear my exam.

    Our son wanted to go to the zoo so we did that. We used the subway till Don Mills and then took a bus that took us straight to the zoo. We thoroughly enjoyed it. We also went to a Flea Market to get an idea of prices and took a day trip to the Niagara Falls.

    We also took the VIA rail to Montreal for a three day trip. We stayed at the Montreal Youth Hostel in a private room with an attached bath. We paid 65$ including taxes.

    We also visited a few friends all immigrants with different backgrounds in Toronto and got very positive feedback from them about their life in Canada. Coming from the Middle East we loved the cheap International Calling rates. We loved the fact that people are generally nice to you and are not judgemental immediately at the first instance (based on your nationality).Government Officials do not behave as if they are doing you a big favour. We walked a lot and my wife was particularly happy with the freedom she felt. We are looking forward to moving permanently to Canada.


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