After 2 weeks of vacations in Iceland, we are in Canada for 3 months, alternating between work and tourism (we are digital nomads, I remind you)
Reykjavik => Toronto
It costs us less to go to Toronto than it does to go directly to Montreal, so we come here first. The trip is very pleasant with Icelandair, but we are only served drinks, not food. What we had not anticipated for a 6h trip 🙁
The sky is rather clear when we pass over Groeland.
And that’s somewhere in Canada
And Toronto seen from the plane :
This is our very first time coming to Canada.
As soon as you get off the plane, there is a passport control, by 3 agents. In general, this procedure is only put in place when the police are actively looking for someone (in France at least).
Short interview at the airport
When it’s our turn to come by, the agent says hello and as soon as we talk about staying 3 months in Canada, it looks like they hit the jackpot, that it was US they were looking for ahaha.
We are taken aside by another agent, who asks us even more specific questions about: our itinerary, how we plan to stay in Canada, how much money we took with us, our monthly salaries, our work, etc
After making sure that we had all the necessary means to live in Canada for 3 months (our answers seem to satisfy him because he didn’t ask us to justify our answers), we are “released”.
The interrogation lasted only a few seconds but it’s surprising, it’s the first time it happened to us.
If he ever needed justifications, I think we could have shown him the balance of our bank accounts, as well as the monthly salaries that arrive on the accounts & the Airbnb reservations we have already made.
In fact, we shouldn’t take it personally, because it’s the only place for them to ask us questions live. Since all the following steps are done automatically (for those who have an ETA in any case). We scan our passports, fill out a declaration on a screen and go through all the steps without having a stamp on our passport, nor an agent to ask us further questions.
As a result, for European nationals, the only time they could talk to us face-to-face was right after leaving the plane. I also think that most of the passengers on the plane were Canadians returning from vacations in Iceland. A foreign passport was a chance for them to get some action 😀
Airport => Airbnb in Uber
In North America, contact is very easy, so after our first trip to the United States, we know that Uber drivers are very chatty and it’s the best way to make contact with locals and ask for good deals. Thus, we could ask a lot of questions to our driver Uber (of Afghan origin) about life in Canada.
Every Uber here has some kind of luminous badge on the windshield that takes the shape of the Uber logo. This is a connected object and the color of this badge changes and matches what is indicated on your Uber app (to avoid people taking the wrong Uber because it seems to happen frequently). That’s super clever! There is no more war between cabs & Uber, so Uber are allowed to pick up customers at the airport, there are even arrows at the airport indicating the places where you can wait for them (Driving app or something like that).
In Canada, drivers also receive tips. And we can give it away through the application. If it’s a big race, we can choose, at the end of the race, the % of tip in relation to the total score. If it’s a small race, we will be offered to leave 1$CA, 3$CA, 5$CA… or the amount of our choice. It’s cool because it allows us not to have to carry a lot of coins with us.
Little subtlety to know: this will generate two withdrawals on your card (one for the price of the race, one for the amount of the tip). Namely if you don’t have an international option and you have fees each time.
Accommodations are very expensive in Toronto and since we only stay 9 nights, we don’t benefit from the nice Airbnb discount for a one month rental.
So our apartment cost us 589€ for 9 nights or 65€/night. We aren’t very far from the city center, but it’s a huge city, so “not very far” = 30 minutes of transport anyway.
We quickly purchase the PRESTO card – $6.00 CAD, allowing you to take public transportation at a preferential rate. Simply load the card and badge it.
Our next visit: Niagara Falls, an hour and a half from Toronto. I’ll tell you about it soon.