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Why a Scouting Trip to Toronto is Important?

Making the choice to expatriate to Toronto can be an exciting adventure, but it should not be a leap into the unknown. Expatriation can be seen as climbing a ladder, with each rung representing a crucial step toward the goal. It is with this perspective that the prospecting trip to Toronto proves to be an essential stage. Before deciding to settle in the Canadian economic capital, it is crucial to understand the importance of this preliminary journey. In this article, we will explore why the prospecting trip is much more than a simple tourist getaway and how it can lay the groundwork for a successful expatriation.

Vacationing somewhere and living somewhere are two different experiences

Ask an American about their trip to Paris, then ask a Parisian about their life in Paris, and the responses will be entirely different.

Choosing a host country often follows an experience as a tourist or even an idea one has formed. Expatriation is often fantasized and idealized, overshadowing the realities and daily challenges. Many prospective expatriates to Canada, however, embark on the adventure unprepared and return disappointed. The key to success is thorough preparation beforehand.

The prospecting trip to Toronto serves precisely to correct these misconceptions. It provides the opportunity to discover the daily reality of life in the new city, far from tourist clichés. Preparing before the journey is also crucial, involving meticulous research on the host city, learning the local language, and becoming aware of potential challenges. It's not just about discovering landmarks but exploring residential neighborhoods, visiting schools and daycares, immigration services, real estate agencies, and beginning to understand employment prospects. The goal is not to visit as a tourist but to simulate as closely as possible one's future life as an expatriate.


Preparing for Your Prospecting Trip to Toronto

A prospecting trip isn't planned like a vacation. Such a trial journey aims to unveil the realities on the ground, enabling an informed decision.

  • Studying the City

It can't be emphasized enough: you need to study the city beforehand. Where are the work districts? The entertainment districts? Residential areas? Which neighborhoods fit within my budget? What types of housing are available? Which schools are associated? Expatriate Facebook groups, blogs, and Google Maps are your best allies in this endeavor! All these research efforts will help you grasp the city more quickly upon your arrival. Since your prospecting trip is usually quite short, you don't want to waste time figuring out where you are.

  • When to Go?

This question is often asked by individuals planning a prospecting trip to Toronto. There is no easy answer: if you come in the summer, you won't experience the atmosphere of the city in Canadian winter. If you come in winter, you won't know Toronto's unique summer atmosphere. Personally, I recommend going in the summer because the weather is more conducive to spending a lot of time outdoors exploring the city and its neighborhoods.

  • Accommodation on Site

Opt for short-term rental accommodation (Airbnb, Vrbo, etc.) in a neighborhood where you might live. This has the double advantage of allowing you to experience the daily life of a Torontonian (grocery shopping, etc.) and also exposing you to urban transportation (subway, bus, car). The Hyatt Hotel in the downtown area is undoubtedly very nice, but it does not reflect the experience you might have once settled here.

  • The Itinerary

Make a list of everything you want to understand or see with your own eyes, and make this list the central element of your visit. Create a genuine checklist that must be completely ticked off before your departure: list of neighborhoods to visit, have coffee with someone, visit a rental property, take a specific bus/metro route, etc.

The assistance of a relocation professional can be a valuable asset in organizing a prospecting trip to Toronto. They can highlight crucial points you may not have considered and help you establish a checklist. Once on-site, they can guide you through the city and its services.


During the prospecting trip to Toronto

Once on-site, the idea is to immerse yourself as much as possible in the life you could experience as an expatriate. It involves living daily life as if you were a resident: waking up early, using public transportation during rush hours, exploring your future neighborhoods, and visiting rental properties. The goal is to discover the city from a more pragmatic perspective rather than a recreational one. Of course, it is also essential to grasp the atmosphere of living and leisure spaces: parks, sports clubs, cafes, restaurants, etc. Knowing these places is equally important for your expatriation project.

  • Cook your own meals

Since you are staying in a rental, you can do your grocery shopping and plan at least some of your meals. Observe how the locals do their shopping. Are supermarkets common? If hard to find, locals probably prefer markets or specialty stores over supermarkets. Shop as if you were at home. What can't you find on the shelves? What is surprisingly expensive? Not everything will be available or as affordable as at home.

  • Get around like a resident

As a resident, you probably won't be taking taxis or Ubers everywhere you go, and you need to get used to moving like a local (metro, tram, bus). You don't necessarily need to walk for hours, but you must navigate on your own without depending on others.

  • Shop as if you were settling in

Look for furniture, decorations, sheets, electronics, clothing, pet food, appliances, tools, and anything else you might need once you're settled. You'll discover all the different places you'll need to shop, the style of locally available options, and even price comparisons.

  • Meet people who have taken the leap

Try to get in touch with expatriates from your nationality; they can share their experiences and introduce you to unexpected aspects. Stay flexible If you feel from the first days that Toronto is absolutely not for you, don't hesitate to change your itinerary and explore other Canadian cities: Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary. The only failed prospecting trips are those that don't allow you to make a decision.

  • Note your impressions during the stay

It can be easy to forget the positive and negative aspects of the city as well as your feelings, especially when you have visited multiple cities during your prospecting trip. Therefore, we recommend always sharing your feelings with your partner if you are not alone and also noting your positive or negative impressions.


Upon returning from the prospecting trip to Toronto

It is crucial to debrief a few weeks after returning from the prospecting trip. Retrieve your notes, go over the pros and cons, and make a decision:

  • If your prospecting trip questions your expatriation project, it's not bad news; it's actually a good thing because it will have prevented you from making significant life changes for a destination where you won't thrive.

  • If, on the other hand, your prospecting trip strengthens your sense of having made the right choice and your desire to move, you will be even better prepared to face the expatriation that awaits you!


Simple Relocate is your relocation partner in Toronto. We can assist you in organizing and conducting your prospecting trip, along with a variety of other services to facilitate your settlement in Ontario.


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