Three tips for newcomers to find the right neighbourhood in Canada

housingsupplement-109Moving — many of us have done it or can at least relate to the level of planning it takes. Whether you are moving across the city or across the globe, finding a neighbourhood that suits your lifestyle likely tops your to-do list.

Buying a home and choosing where to live is one of the most significant decisions in our lives. If you’re new to Canada, take your time to ask questions, learn about the market and various neighbourhoods, and think through what is important to you before making a decision.
Consider these tips when narrowing down your neighbourhood search.

1. Budget

When you are looking for the perfect property to rent or buy, budget is a major consideration. Understanding your priorities — be it location, type of home or nearby amenities that fit into your budget will help narrow the scope of the search. Determine how much you can afford. In Canada, banks offer extensive assistance to newcomers and can help you find your dream home. Talk to a mortgage specialist when you are ready. Consulting with a specialist is free and they can meet you at your home or another location convenient for you.

2. Education

Finding a neighbourhood with schools is a must for people moving with children. Researching such options including additional needs like athletic programs or English/French as a second language will help find the community that works best for you.

3. Community

Feeling connected to your community be it through social programs, volunteering or local attractions can have a huge impact on your experience. Do some digging to find out more about what’s available based on your interests. It may help seal the deal.

Above all, look before you leap and take the time to research different neighbourhoods to familiarize yourself with what’s out there. Check out the RBC Neighbourhood Finder, which can help you in find the right home and the right community for you.


Ivy Chiu is the senior director, cultural markets, at RBC. Once a newcomer herself, Chiu is interested in helping newcomers integrate to life in Canada. Are you new to Canada or know someone who is? Visit for more advice.