If you’ve decided on moving to Canada, congratulations – you are in for the experience of a lifetime. Ask anyone who has ever been there, and they’ll tell you the same things about living in the Great White North – the people are friendly, the food is delicious, and ice hockey is life. Oh, and bears shouldn’t be trifled with.

It’s easy to get all kinds of excited about moving to Canada, but don’t lose sight of being prepared to live there. There are certain things you must know before you move there to make the acclimation process easier. Below are seven top things to know about moving and living in Canada – make notes and ensure you thoroughly understand them.

1. It’s Cold

It’s cold – like, insanely so. There are places in Canada that will freeze your eyelashes together during winter – and that’s on a warmer day. Canadian winters are often brutal. If you’re from a warm country, your first winter in Canada is certainly going to suck – but you’ll get through it.

Dress warmly, buy a thick pair of gloves, and get wool insoles for your boots. Thermal underwear and leggings will quickly become your best friend, and you’ll need to invest in a pair of ice cleats to keep you upright on slippery days.

2. Higher Taxes

Canada has some of the highest sales and income tax around – and those can come as quite a shock if you aren’t adequately prepared for them. Due to the US-Canadian tax treaty, most American ex-pats living in Canada are exempt from double taxation – which is a blessing.

Make an appointment with a Canadian tax specialist as soon as possible after moving to Canada – they will help you navigate the higher taxes and complete your first tax return.

3. Cost Of Living

The cost of living in Canada varies from one place to the next, but because it is considered to be one of the best countries in the world to live in – that can sometimes mean that it is expensive.

While the cost of living is different for everyone, the average cost is estimated to be around $800, excluding rent and utility payments. With rental charges, you are looking at closer to $1800 per month – that is the bare minimum.

Some provinces are more, and some are less. Remember that the goal isn’t just to survive – but to be comfortable and happy living there. You will also need money for leisure activities and savings. Quebec City is one of the cheapest places to live, and Toronto is one of the most expensive ones.

Do your homework and choose carefully when looking for a city to relocate to when thinking about moving to Canada.

4. Healthcare

For citizens and permanent residents, healthcare is free. Visits to doctors and hospitals are free and all medications are sold at an affordable price just to keep things fair and accessible to all its residents.

That being said, Canada does not pay for medical services for visitors so you should get health insurance in Canada. That will give you peace of mind while you live there, and who doesn’t need more of that in these crazy times?

5. Maternity Leave

Maternity leave refers to a period in which a mother temporarily stops working after the birth or adoption of a baby. There are similar benefits called paternity and parental leave – they work similarly.

In terms of how America compares to Canada concerning maternity leave, there are some super distinct differences in policies. Some key differences include a more generous duration, flexibility, and paid benefits. The Canadian government mandates leave and payment during this period – which gets administered by employment insurance plans.

6. It’s Massive

Moving to Canada is great as it is one of the easiest places to fall in love with because there is just that much of it to fall in love with. Canada is huge – like the second-largest country in the world huge. Second, only to Russia, Canada measures almost ten million square kilometers. It would take almost five years to walk its coastline.

Canada gets divided into three territories and ten provinces, which makes it easier to process.

7. Outdoor Activities

Although Canada offers urban life like no other country, the biggest draw for most people is the endless outdoor activities. The spaces between the cities are so beautiful they will make you cry.

Canada offers a serious amount of exploring to intrepid adventurers, and if slower is more your speed – the hiking options are breath-taking. From rafting to canoeing, hiking to skydiving, fishing to hunting, and every outdoor activity in between – Canada has it, and likely better than any other country on Earth.

The only thing left now is for you to finish planning your move – this country is more than worth the effort!