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December 02, 2016 4 min read

Hey guys, my name is Kristy and I'm from Australia. I work part time at Freeride Boardshop, and I just wanted to write a little something to help out my fellow Aussie family once they arrive here in Canada.

 A Bit About Me

My partner and I have been in Canada for over a year now. We worked our first season at Lake Louise Ski Resort and absolutely loved it. Whilst working there we were lucky enough to be able to travel to a bunch of different hills throughout the season. It was so much fun to explore other hills and if you're a snowboarder, I'd highly recommend you do the same. Learning to snowboard isn't the easiest of things to do, but hang in there. Once you get it, you get it, and its pretty easy to progress. Soon you'll know what I mean. After the winter we travelled around America on a 3 month road trip in our van staying in Walmart car parks, hotels, camping and air bnb's. My personal favourite place was Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. I highly recommend going there. 

polaroids of tourist locations


Sin Number

Sin number (social insurance number) is a must-have if you plan to legally work in Canada. If you arrive in Vancouver the place to go is the service Canada centre. It’s best to get there early as it's like the transport registry offices back home.

Here's the Service Canada address: 

Sinclair Centre, Office 125. 757 Hastings Street West. Vancouver, British Columbia 


Bank Accounts

Bank accounts are fairly easy to get. Don’t be alarmed, their everyday bank account is a chequings account. That's the norm here. Most people go with TD Bank or CIBC because that’s who most of the hills are with. You will either get paid by direct deposit into your account or by cheque every two weeks. Don’t come here with the illusion that your going to be making bulk money. At the ski hills you will be earning minimum wage, which in British Columbia is $10.85 and Alberta $12.20.


image of a burger


You will hear a lot of different opinions on tipping. Realistically there are 3 different tip percentages 15%, 17% and 20%. If you get really bad service, give a lower tip (if any), but if you get really good service the tip percentage goes up. The standard is usually 15%. Take note* if you have a table of more than 8, they can add an automatic gratuity to your bill. You don't need to tip again if they do that.



Make sure your phone is unlocked before you get to Canada. There are a few different phone companies that you can go with depending on how much you want to spend and what sort of plan you're after. It’s best to go with a month to month plan, also known as post-paid plan. Pre-paid plans here are ridiculously expensive. Koodo, Virgin and Fido have really good deals for around $50 a month that gets you some data, phone calls and free international messaging. This is CANADA there is wifi everywhere so keep that in mind when you're looking at adding data to your plans.


Buying a Car and Getting a License

You can drive in Canada on your Australian license for 3 months before you have to get a Canadian drivers license, unless you have an international drivers license. If you wish to change to a Canadian license you have to have your full driver history and traffic history with you. You can get that from your state transport authority in Australia. The Canadian transport department will keep your Australian drivers license as well. When buying a car in Alberta just be aware they don't need to pass a roadworthy inspection before the car sells. In British Columbia they do. 


 Top Recommended Ski Resorts

  • Lake Louise
    Food and Coffee - Trail Head cafe.
    Favourite Run - 133 Boomerang. 
  • Big white
    Food and coffee - Bean Scene.
    Favourite Run - Serwa’s.
  • Whistler
    Food and coffee - Mount Currie Coffee Company.
    Favourite Run - Franz’s Run.
  • Silverstar
    Food and Coffee - Out of Bounds Coffee co.
    Favourite Run - Whiskey Jack.



Aussie vs Canadian

  • Bring your vegemite because its super expensive here!
  • It’s washroom not dunny.
  • Second cup is like Zarraffas coffee.
  • Ceaser’s are like bloody marry’s back home. It’s a must try Canadian experience!
  • You don’t need to tip if your going to a fast food place.
  • Order fries not chips. You will literally get a bag of chips if you ask for them.
  • 10 cents (dimes) are smaller then the 5 cents (nickels)
  • Loonies and Toonies are 1 and 2 dollar coins
  • Toilet water swirls the opposite way.
  • Pop is fizzy drink.
  • Candy is lollies.
  • Slot Machines are Pokies
  • A Double Double coffee is double cream and double sugar.


We are now back in Canada working at the sickest skate/snow shop in town! Freeride Boardshop in West Kelowna, BC. If you want some good Aussie conversation and recommendations, come visit us! We're always happy to help.

road trip map of america


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