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Home of the happiest and well-educated people on the planet, Canada is one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth. You’ll be welcomed with open arms whichever project you pick and get to know that there is so much more than maple leaves, maple syrup and Ice Hockey to see.
Canada has huge, vibrant cities like Toronto, Ontario and Quebec but the main reason most people choose to work in Canada is for the nature, the parks and the outdoors. Even though Canada is the second biggest country in the world, almost 90% of its territory is uninhabited, which means you’ll see untouched beauty that’ll blow your mind. And you can live it with free accommodation.
Trade a few hours a week helping to build, maintain, clean, care for children, organise parties or stay at the reception. If you’ve never done any of them before, no worries. All the projects offer training and support, so you’ll also learn a load of new skills to become globally competent too.
Canada has 8 distinct climate regions. Because it’s so big you’ll be able to find every type of weather, from highs of 104°F down to −40°F. Before you pick your project, research the typical weather for that region. It’ll make a big difference to what clothes you’ll want to pack. It’s also a good idea when contacting your host to ask their advice. They’ll know exactly what you’ll need to have the best experience possible.
Depending on where you choose to volunteer in Canada you may also want to brush up on your French. There are cities that speaks French as their mother tongue, so if you find yourself in Quebec or Montreal it’s essential to know at least survival French. Don’t be scared by that though, immersing yourself in the culture is absolutely the best way to learn a language. Listening to people speaking and then practising every single day will skyrocket your learning. Some projects even offer free language lessons as a part of the placement.
And it’s not just French. When volunteering in Canada you’ll be meeting other travellers from all over the world. It’s the perfect opportunity to learn about their culture too, make new friends and maybe even travel around Canada together.
Canadians are usually at the top of the list for friendliest people. If English isn’t your first language and you’re worried about practising in another country, Canada will welcome you with open arms.
Whether it’s one week, one month or longer, you’ll be living, working and socialising with your new project family. Trade recipes, skills, experiences and stories. Taste poutine, maple taffy and Saskatoon berry pie while listening to The Bare Naked Ladies, Arcade Fire and Fozzy. You’ll walk away from your project with a much greater understanding of what makes Canada so unique.
Safety is yet another selling feature for Canada. If you’ve ever hesitated about travelling alone then this is a fantastic place to build your confidence. Canada is considered one of the safest destinations for women travellers plus it has some of the top cities for LGBTQ volunteers.
What makes it so safe? It’s a popular tourist destination for starters. The infrastructure is fantastic and designed to help people get around. The crime rates are low, the police presence strong and the quality of life is consistently ranked the best in the world. Feeling better about your trip now?
There’s a cultural attitude of acceptance, tolerance and welcoming towards others so, whichever work project you choose, you’ll be in safe hands. Canada offers a whole range of volunteering opportunities.
Permaculture and Eco-living are popular in Canada. If you don’t know what permaculture means, this is a perfect opportunity. Learn exactly what it means to live sustainably, reduce your carbon footprint and leave the world a better place. Learn how to connect with the land, grow super tasty food and have fun while doing it.
If you want a bit more action then try a hostel. Who wouldn’t want to say they’ve worked in a town called Horsefly? Aside from an amazing name it’s located on the shores of the Quesnel Lake in BC. It’s a glacial lake surrounded by towering mountains, so you’ve got paradise on your doorstep. You’ll learn how much goes into maintaining a hostel while meeting like-minded travellers from all over the world.
Doing volunteer work in Canada is so much more than just an experience though. You’re going to be learning new life skills that are almost impossible to get elsewhere. Travel is a pure form of education, learning new cultures, increasing your empathy skills and generally being an all-round more accepting human being. Volunteering is an investment in your future.
To get the complete Canadian experience you’ll want to visit both the big cities and the great outdoors. As far as the cities go, they don’t get much bigger than Toronto. Even if you’re not a big city person, the Toronto skyline is a thing of beauty. Take your pick from museums, galleries, awesome nightlife, parks, sporting events, shopping and restaurants.
Montreal will give you a completely different flavour. It’s dripping in history, art, culture and biodomes. Montreal is home to some of the best botanical gardens in the whole of North America. Enjoy free accommodation in a hostel in the heart of Montreal in exchange for a few hours work per day. In your free time you can really get a feel for the Canadian culture, uncovering all the hidden gems.
Visit and work in Vancouver for the mix of beaches, mountains and city life. It hosts some of the best beaches in the country while giant mountains lie just a few hours away. Use our filters to see the opportunities for:
Whichever project you choose in whatever city, you won’t be lacking for things to do on your day off. Aside from exploring your new home most projects offer additional extras like hiking tours, discounts for parties, free bike hire and free laundry.
If everything was sounding too perfect, here’s where you can hit a hurdle. The cost of living in Canada is relatively expensive with daily budgets ranging from $60 up to $250 and most of that money is going on food and accommodation. Volunteer in Canada frees up your budget for accommodation and usually a meal or two. So you can spend your savings on fun things and really make the most of your days off.
When you’re not eating with your host then it’s always good to get out and explore the local cafes and restaurants. That’s where you’ll find the true heart of the city. Be sure to ask your host for the cheapest markets and places to eat. They’ll be able to give local, insider knowledge that you’ll never find in any guidebook.
Free tours, activities, language lessons and party discounts are just some of the other benefits you may be offered while doing volunteer work in Canada. With regards to travelling, if you have the time, travel in Canada using the Megabus. The journeys are much longer, but you’ll save a lot of money. If you don’t have much time then you’ll need to fly. With over 500 airports you should be able to find your destination.
Before you jump on the plane, check the visa requirements. Some nationalities don’t need visas but do require an Electronic Travel Authorization. Check out the official Canadian government page, answer a few simple questions and it’ll tell you exactly what you need to enter Canada.
If you do need a visa then apply in plenty of time to avoid any problems. Check with the local government website for the visa requirements.
Volunteering projects in Canada are popular. It’s not often you get to live and work in such natural beauty or warm welcoming cities. Apply in as much time as possible, and make your application the best possible.
You’ll also want to make your profile really stand out. If you need some tips and advice check out this handy guide of how to create a winning Worldpackers profile and increase your chances of being accepted further with this tips for the application process.
Depending on when you’re visiting or what area you will work in Canada will have a big impact on your experience.
Once you’re there, make the most of it. Your mind is going to be blown and you’ll return home with experiences and photos that most people can only dream of. You’ll make friends for life and definitely won’t want to leave. You’ll also walk away armed with a multitude of new skills, talents and enhanced confidence.
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