kata

Looking for elementary school and accommodation in Toroto GTA

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kata

Hi everyone, would really appreciate ideas on getting accommodation b4 arriving in Toronto (mainly looking to settle in the Peel region/Mississauga).

We are a family of four: husband, wife and two kids (aged 6 and 3). We'll be arriving on 1 Dec and booked accommodation on airbnb for 30 days.

Our dilema is finding an elementary school for our grade 1. From my understandind, and I stand to be corrected, kids get enrolled to a school witihin their residential zone. We wouldn't want to put him to a school witin the  airbnb zone as this is temporary accommodation.

Does anyone know if it is possible to find long-term rental accommodation b4 landing (long-term meaning at least 3 months)?

I have checked on kijiji but looks like house-owners always require Canadian credit records and proof of employment (we don't have jobs yet).

 

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Flyfish

Hi Kata

We arrived on the 25th of December 2017 with a 7 year old. We stayed in Mississauga for a week and then were luck enough to find an apartment to rent in that week. We moved to Oakville where the schools are very good and it is a bit calmer than Mississauga which suited us(It was also surprisingly cheaper). They are quite sticky about the school being in the same zone as the residence.

My suggestion would be to use the AirBnb as a base and look for more permanent accommodation when you are here as it is much better to see the place first otherwise you will  be stuck with what you have as the lease terms are quite strict. You will also be arriving in December which is basically only a half school month so it gives you a bit of time.

The time of the year you are arriving is relatively good for finding accommodation as there will be a few places empty with not many people looking to move in as it is winter.

Another tip is not to talk to multiple agents as they have some unspoken rules about it and they all have access to the same rentals. Choose one and direct them to look at any you find. One more thing is to make sure you bring your credit report with you as they will look at that as part of your references and it makes things easier.

Good luck.

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kata

Thanks Flyfish this is really helpful. Any thoughts on Catholic schools v Public schools?

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Flyfish

Funny you should ask that. My daughter started in a public school and has just moved to a Catholic school. She prefers the Catholic school as there is a bit more structure and she went to a Catholic school in South Africa. There is also more of a Christian element to the school where the public schools are very PC. That being said, there didn't seem to be any issues at the public school and the education was the same if not better than at a private school in South Africa.

If you do plan on Catholic school, make sure to bring at least 1 parents baptismal certificate if you can as it makes it much easier. There is quite a procedure as I understand for non Catholics to get into a Catholic school.

Hope this helps. I am more than happy to provide any information that we may have garnered since we landed.

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Jules

If you have a grade 1 student who is landing in the middle of the school year (and coming from a totally different country syllabus), there’s actually no rush. I don’t think it’s a big deal if your child stays home for a few weeks while you sort things out - unless you have to start working immediately. Heck they could miss a month and it wouldn’t make a difference. 
 

dont worry about it. Take your time to find the right home and then enrol your child. 

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OutOfSa

100% with Jules, my kids missed 1/2 a year and Jumped up a grade. Both doing extremely well.

No rush, let the kids settle - remember they’ll be all confused and messed up too. Go play in the snow as a family, they need to get secure, you need to get to grips with winter an everything new.

It is brutal here (starting out) 🤔but so totally worth it.

Just remember, in Toronto, every name, no, every word is offensive, so don’t say anything, just point - that way you’ll stay out of trouble a bit longer 😂😂

..... no really, it’s difficult not to be offensive, especially fob Africa !!!

Yebo! Gogo!

Edited by OutOfSa

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kata

Thank you all for the responses. 

Regarding exchanging the S.A driver's license, any tips there?

If we buy a car as soon as we land, can we drive using our S.A driver's licenses. I read somewhere that insurance companies wont cover us until we get a Canadian drivers license. Is this true? 

As for medical insurance, any suggestions on the best company to use in the first 3 months whilst waiting for the Ontario one. 

Really appreciate all the help. Thanks 

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Jules

There’s no exchanging your SA drivers license. You have to retake the tests here. 
You can drive initially on your SA license for a few weeks - I think it’s a month or two. Just visit the website of the province you are moving to for exact rules. 
 

insurance will be a problem so probably best to connect with a few insurance brokers who can run around looking for quotes. It will be expensive. Very expensive.  

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OutOfSa

🤔 He’s Right !

Thinking back, we bit the bullet and hired a car from day 1.  Then I redid my licence within a week or so. (sit at the drive place until a “no show”) Then we bought a car - cause they won’t insure foreign peasants, you know..... and then we realized that the cost of the insurance for 1 year for one car would buy us a nice new car each....😡🤬🥵😱

Then, we just paid......and cried, and paid...

Its almost cheaper to rent ! For us it was $600/ month all in for a nice rental, and about $650 all in for the cost of a car and insurance. 
New car was $250 / month and $400 for insurance !!?! 🤢

But don’t worry, if your drive good (as they say when they murder grammar), then you should have went (fav expression !)home with better rates soon.  Weekly, or bi-weekly (which means two-times a month, not twice a month - what’s the difference ? I dunno, they say 2 times here and not twice..... which makes it twice as hard to understand finance stuff...

 

Jokes aside, I’d be very wary of signing up for anything before you have a little experience - everything is amazing early on, but as the rose fog clears and reality settles in, you will see stuff that is not compatible with your new life choices - so you may want to move to a more compatible environment, you don’t want to be stuck in an expensive mess. I know from experience that the desire to root immediately is strong - especially with kids, but don’t rush.

Canada is like any western culture - the closer to the inner city and the more compact the environment, the more problems kids have.

Take your kids somewhere where they can be kids and grow up with a little innocents and open space if you can - well that’s my opinion. 
 

Good luck !!!

  • Haha 1

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MaryJane

@OutOfSa Is that a pitchfork I see in your hand? 😎

Stop scaring the newbies.... 😂

While I try not to join the choir, can't help but sing the same songs.... Yeah, insurance was crazy high and the first few years, we paid through the nose.... Yeah, had to rent a car to learn to drive it.... Yeah yeah this and yeah yeah that.

@kata

For the SA licence, I believe it is 90 days according to this page - https://settlement.org/ontario/daily-life/transportation/driver-s-licence/is-the-international-driver-s-permit-idp-valid-in-canada/ and this one - https://drivetest.ca/licences/licence-exchanges/licence_exchange.html

I agree though that it wasn't for very long. I was driving with the SA licence for a month, then I went for G1 (learners). I scheduled my G (actual drivers) test within 10 days and did the test with the rental car. Bought a car after I got the G licence.

For medical insurance, the only one I know of is Blue Cross (https://on.bluecross.ca/health-insurance/health-insurance-solutions/recent-immigrant) but am sure there are others. When I was looking into this eons ago, I know you can also ask to extend your medical aid contribution if you are with Discovery Health in SA.

Something to remember though with the licence is to make sure you get a letter confirming your driving experience from the RTMC. The letter is important if you want to skip the waiting period from having taken G1 to taking G2/G licence. That was my experience long ago. I think this still applies.

Hope this helps.

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Gary van der Westhuizen

So this isn't really what this topic was about, but yes, the insurance is crazy. We went with a broker that took all of our SA driving into account, which made a HUGE difference. PM me if you are interested in his details. The area also made a huge difference, as soon as we moved out of the city our premium dropped significantly. RTMC letter is also critical. 

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OutOfSa

@MJ, I guess I should stop being so dastardly.... but if you can't terrify noobs, then what other fun is there?!

:offtopic:

Not really school, but something to look forward too...

On the plus side, you can go walkies in a place like that alone and you'll likely be fine (from baddies), now isn't that sooooooo nice.  

The leaves make a nice crunchy sound. 

Then the wife :censored:you out for making walkies-crunching-sounds....  no, not the dogs, me !  Did I say some things confuse me?   I must go walk, just don't crunch the leaves?

How do you walk in leaves without making a crunching sound? 

IMG_0186.jpg.51d6d1fb32f370aeba2e97378e78c428.jpg 

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