Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Getting to Know Your New City - About Ontario

You have a lot to do when you first arrive. You need to spend part of your time learning about your new city. A good way to do this is to act like a tourist!

Before you arrive, get tourist information about the city where you are planning to settle. When you arrive, spend a few days looking around the city in a car (expensive) or on a bus (cheaper and more convenient as a newcomer). This will help you in many ways. Exploring your new home will help you:

  1. Find schools, hospitals, banks, stores, community centres and parks
  2. Find the best way to travel around the area, as being familiar with public transit is an important part of what so called “Canadian Experience”
  3. Learn what activities and services are available
  4. See local attractions and landmarks, but don’t spend lots of money on that till you get a job.

It is a great way to relax and recover from your journey before you start all the work of settling into your new home.


Ontario is a large province, so temperatures vary from region to region. The temperature can be different even within the same region. Usually, January is the coldest month of the year and July is the warmest. Radio and TV news give temperatures in degrees Celsius (C), but often add degrees Fahrenheit (F). CBC Radio (Frequency 99.1, website: is the best source of information.

However, Ontario has 4 seasons:

Spring is a rainy season in most parts of Ontario. Daytime temperatures rise
Throughout the season, but the nights are cool. Average daytime temperatures are about 12°C in March, April and early May.

Summer begins on June 21, but to most Ontarians, July and August are the main months of summer. In summer, the weather is very warm in most parts of the country. In southern Ontario, daytime temperatures are usually above 20°C and often rise above 30°C. It can be hot and very humid in the summer. On TV and radio you will hear warnings about health problems caused by heat, sun and smog.

Fall begins in September. The weather gets cool and the leaves on many trees change colour and fall to the ground. It can also be very rainy at this time of year. In some northern parts of Ontario, it can snow in late October. In these months, the average daytime temperatures are about 10°C to 12°C in most of the province, and lower as winter approaches.

In winter, it is cold and snows often. During the winter months (December,
January and February), the temperature in most of the province is usually below 0°C, day and night. Temperatures in some parts of the province can drop below -25°C. In most of Ontario, snow can be on the ground from the middle of December until the middle of March. In the northern parts of Ontario, the winter is longer and colder than in Southern Ontario.

Winters in Ontario can be very cold and snowy. If you come from a warm country, you might be surprised by how cold it can get.

However, as for me I was expecting much worse winter. As I live in Mississauga near to the lake … the extremely cold weather (-25°C) was just few separate days over the whole winter. It’s like as snow storm comes for couple of days and leaves behind a lot of snow … that’s it.

On the other hand, winter is a time for fun in the snow, but it is important to learn about the dangers of the cold and how to stay warm. Here are some of the winter clothes you will need:

  1. Thick, windproof coat
  2. Scarf – for around your neck and/or across your face
  3. Gloves or mittens
  4. Warm underwear
  5. Winter hat that covers your ears
  6. Warm boots that are lined and/or waterproof

You can find out about the weather in your area by listening to the radio,
watching TV, reading the newspaper or visiting weather websites.


jimB said...

Good information, but you should tell newcomers to BUY A MAP, of the city that they are living in.

For less than $5, this will save them time and make learning the city geography a lot easier.

You could also mention the street address numbering system, in Canada, as many people are coming from countries that don't have street numbers on buildings, or homes.

Finally, a few words about learning the cardinal points of the compass would be in order. NSEW are universal but many people don't know how to find their way, using a map.

Keep up the good work.

BTW I know that building where you live on Riverspray, as I was out there a few weeks ago, looking for a car that I had a warrant to seize, for unpaid lease payments to General Motors.

Jim B.

DiWar said...

Your blog is very useful. I check daily for updates. I'm patiently waiting for "Challenges I face in my daily life" and "Job Search" as those are topics many aspiring immigrants like myself will find VERY interesting.
Thanks for providing such useful information.


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