Our first few days as Canadian Permanent Residents were spent in the lovely city of Toronto. We decided to take this short detour before heading off to PEI so that we could do a bit of sightseeing as well as meet up with friends that we haven’t seen in so long.
We stayed at the Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott Toronto Airport. It was around three minutes away from the airport and they also had a free shuttle to and from the airport so it was perfect for us and our four pieces of luggage. Plus, the hotel had strong, free wifi and a complete buffet breakfast was also included. Definitely very good value for money.
Of course, the first order of business for sightseeing in Toronto was to go to the famous Niagara Falls. We decided to join a bus tour for the convenience of it, plus the other additional stops the tour made vs. just driving to Niagara only and back. After much research, we booked with Airlink Tours for their 9-hour Niagara Falls day tour for the following reasons:
- They pick you up and drop you off at your hotel (yes, even from an airport hotel)
- The Hornblower Cruise is included in the price
- No credit card payment is required at the time of booking. You can choose to pay by cash or card on the day of the tour.
We booked this tour online when we were still back in Manila and got a confirmation right away. We were told that our pick-up time on the day of the tour would be between 9:15-9:30 in the morning. Fast foward to June 18th, the bus arrived at exactly 9:30 am. We were the last ones to be picked up since the airport is between downtown Toronto and Niagara Falls, but were pleasantly surprised to see that the tour bus wasn’t full when we got on.
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After weeks of tearful despedidas and goodbyes, we were off to our greatest adventure both as individuals and as a married couple.
On the 17th of June 2017, we flew from Manila to Toronto via Philippine Airlines. It was an 11 hour flight to Vancouver, with a two hour layover there before the final four hour leg to Toronto. It was really a pleasant experience despite travelling for a total of 17 hours. The only complaint we had was not being allowed to leave the plane during the layover in Vancouver. I would’ve preferred to be in the airport to walk around and maybe grab a bite to eat, but it was interesting to see how the ground crew serviced the plane in between flights.
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After a ten hour flight from Manila to Vancouver, a two hour layover (inside the plane) and another five hour flight, we are finally here in Toronto! With our bodies currently fighting off jet lag, we had time to write this down and update you guys on our overall landing experience.
This will be a two-part blog post, the first one will be dedicated to the list of documents needed to be prepared prior to departure and the next post will be about our actual landing experience.
Landing Documents Checklist
What an emotional roller coaster these past couple of weeks have been! Not only did we finalize the sale of our house, we also did a lot of packing. I kept thinking about how weird this whole thing was since we were really just moving in a few months ago, packing our things from the homes we grew up in to our new one. And now, we’re doing the same except it’s to move 8,000 miles away. Imagine how difficult that was, having to decide on which things had to stay and which ones would come with us.
With everything going on, it’s was easy to get carried away and forget the many documents that are actually necessary to complete the landing. It may get overwhelming, especially if you have a big family coming with you.
Here’s a list of the forms you will need to prepare prior to landing:
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With our departure date inching closer and closer, we’re rushing to accomplish all the last minute errands that are left for us to do.
One major thing that needed to be accomplished was to get our Philippine Driver’s License certified as well as get our Certificate of No Apprehension.
Now, there might be a bit of confusion about this when you do your research. The main issue that comes up is whether you should get your driver’s license certification DFA certified. After doing our research, we decided to just forego having the driver’s license certification DFA certified (we’ll update this post in the future when we find out if we did the right thing or not).
Anyway, let’s go through the steps on how to get your Philippine Driver’s License certification and the accompanying Certificate of No Apprehension.
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It’s now officially 30 days before we move to Canada.
By this time, most of our family and friends already know about us leaving. Most of them have been all smiles and supportive, but of course there are those who allow their doubts and concerns to come to the surface. We can’t blame them though since they’re just looking out for our best interests based on what they believe in. Besides, uprooting your life and moving halfway across the world is an undertaking that’s almost impossible to fully comprehend.
These days, whenever conversations steer towards Canada, there’s one question that’s almost always asked.
In our last post, we talked about the different ways you can bring your money into Canada as a first time immigrant. In that post, we mentioned that we will be going with a wire/telegraphic transfer between BPI here in the Philippines and their partner bank in Canada, Scotiabank.
This will be done through the Scotiabank StartRight Program for newcomers to Canada. It is basically a bank account that you can open before landing in Canada which gives you some benefits including being able to do a one-time wire/transfer of up $50,000 to Canada without any fees.
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It’s now a little over a month before our big move to Canada and we have been busy taking care of the many different matters that need to be settled.
Right now, we’ve put our house on the market and have started making inventories of the items and clothes that will be making the trip with us. It’s also starting to take it’s toll emotionally as we’re slowly coming to grips with the fact that we’ll be leaving our family, friends and dogs (most especially our dogs!) behind. We get tearful moments just thinking about things like this.
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