So, you’ve decided to move to Toronto. Congratulations!
This is an exciting and exhilarating time, but it doesn’t come without frustration. Hopefully this detailed checklist, along with the other information on the site, will help ease your way to a happy transition for those who are moving from outside Toronto.
6 or More Months in Advance
We know this is probably a given, but it’s never too early to look into immigration requirements.
As with all governments, Canada’s can be tricky, so we’d suggest a trip to the official Canadian immigration website along with our own immigration section, Details Crossing the Border.
As well, if you have pets, now is the time to check the official government regulations on immigration requirements for your pet. Canada’s regulations regarding the importation of animals are relatively lax, especially from “rabies-free countries” like the UK, but it pays to make sure that you’ve got the right paperwork.
12 or More Weeks in Advance
Take a look at moving companies. Get recommendations. Find out what is included. Get more than one quotation.
Are you moving with children? Be sure to evaluate the school options.
If you are going it alone without the consultant, Ferne and Nina have extensive on the ground experience with matching families to neighbourhoods with a keen eye on what educational opportunities present themselves.
www.tdsb.on.ca is the website for the Toronto District School Board which will give you solid exposure to Toronto secular public schools.
www.tcdsb.org is the website for the Toronto Catholic District School Board which will give you solid exposure to Toronto catholic public schools.
You should also contact your current doctor and, if you have a pet, your veterinarian. You’ll want to get your medical records sent over, especially if you have any ongoing health issues.
If you can, visit your new home and take measurements. This will help you to decide which of your belongings to bring with you and which to leave behind or sell. If you have a car, you need to decide whether to drive it alongside the moving truck or ship it separately – or both, if you have more than one.
Will you bring your furniture with you, or will you sell it and buy new furniture when you get to your destination? If you’re moving from overseas, will your electronics work in Canada?
6 or More Weeks in Advance
Start packing. Yes, already. Confirm your moving date and moving company. If you’re flexible with your dates,: mid-month and mid-week are less popular times to move, some companies will offer discounted rates for these times.
Buy your plane tickets if you’re moving long distance. If you have a pet, confirm their travel arrangements with the airline company.
Take a look at community groups you might join, and contact them. Most will be delighted to welcome new members and may offer to send you a copy of their newsletter, or a member might even invite you to dinner when you arrive!
If you belong to a religious tradition, research places of worship for your faith in Toronto. It’s a multicultural city, and we’re confident that you’ll find someplace that’s right for you.
Cancel or transfer your existing memberships. Gyms, health clubs, tennis clubs and other similar facilities often require a one-month notice period before cancellation, so it’s a good idea to make sure you’re on top of everything so you aren’t charged for a service you aren’t using!
Make copies of all of your records. This step is often overlooked, but as things can easily get lost in a move, we highly recommend it!
If you have a scanner, you can go one better and back everything up electronically, either by storing it on an external hard drive or memory stick or by creating a special storage email address and sending everything there.
Sort out your health insurance. If you’re moving from outside of Canada, there is a waiting period before you’ll be covered by OHIP, which is the provincial public health care provider. You may be legally required to buy health insurance in the interim: information about insurance providers in Canada can be found on the webpage of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association.
Regardless if you are renting or buying a home you will need home insurance.
Check to see whether your current policy transfers to your new home: if not, apply for a new policy. Luckily, Toronto is an extremely safe city, all things considered: crime is low, it’s not in a flood plain or on a faultline, and the weather doesn’t get much worse than the occasional blizzard.
Still, insurance is always a good idea, so check with a local provider to see what policies are recommended.
3 or More Weeks in Advance
If you want to have one, hold a yard sale or hire a company that will sell your items for you.
You have been packing so you will have created a group of items that you can arrange to sell or give away. Inquire about companies like Maxsold that will sell your items will very little effort on your part. They take a percentage yet the items are purchased and happily you don’t have to move them.
While you’re sorting out your belongings, put aside valuables and fragile things. You’ll want to take these things with you when you move, either on your person or in your checked luggage.
Start eating from the food in your freezer. This can make for some oddly matched meals, but it’s better than throwing the food away, right? And what better time to re-live your heady student days of Casserole a la Random Stuff?
Consider getting a newspaper subscription. We like the Globe and Mail and the National Post.
Adopt out your houseplants, especially if you’re moving from another country: you can’t take them with you. If you’re moving within Toronto, you can probably keep them, but make sure there’s space for them in your new home, and plan where they’ll go.
2 or More Weeks in Advance
Tie up loose ends.
Return all your library books, and give back everything you’ve borrowed from friends.
Pick up your dry-cleaning. Arrange for the cancellation of your telephone line (if you have one), power, gas, and mobile phone if necessary. Make sure you tie things up emotionally as well, especially if you’re attached to the place you’ll be leaving: spend some time walking around your current neighbourhood.
If you’re a regular at the café down the street and other neighbourhood hangouts stop in and say goodbye to the staff. Take photos of your favourite places to go, and make a little album in print or online to keep with you at your new home.
Sort out your banking. If you have a safe deposit box, take your belongings out and/or arrange for them to be transferred to your new bank
Plan your meals for your last few weeks in your home. Buy disposable (but biodegradable!) plates, bowls and utensils so that you can pack your dishes. Ideally, it’s a good idea to plan cold meals and/or meals at friends’ houses for the last week, so that you can pack all of your kitchen implements.
Print out important documents. In duplicate. Make sure that you have not one but two separate copies, kept in different places, of all of your important documents, both move-related and non. This may seem paranoid, but we always counsel our clients that it’s better to be safe than sorry!
1 or More Week in Advance
Send out change-of-address cards and/or emails.
Similarly, set up a mail-forwarding service with your local post office. If you have kids, ask a friend to help out with childcare on moving day.
Fill your prescriptions if necessary, especially if you don’t have a new family doctor lined up. If you will need prescription refills soon after you move, find the nearest pharmacy to your new address and ask your doctor to pre-arrange a refill or two.
Confirm all moving details with your moving company. A day or two before you move, pack your last essentials.
If you’ve hired a moving company to pack your things, supervise them, especially if you will be moving fragile or hard-to-pack objects. Enlist a friend to help on the day. Give them a note of your itinerary, just in case you need help on your way to your new home in Toronto, or in case of unforeseen circumstances.
Leave a note for the new tenants or owners. This should include your new address, in case they need to forward your mail, and your utility meter readings on move-out day.
Do a last survey. There’s always something hiding in a corner, or a closet, or in a cabinet. (Often, it’s the cat.) Make absolutely sure you’ve brought everything with you.
Say goodbye. Spend a few minutes reflecting on your life in your old home, and give yourself emotional closure.
Get excited. New home, here you come