What I Learned About Renting While Living in Canada

When I moved halfway across the country to go to university at 17 it was my first time being away from my parents for more than a week. This was definitely not a problem; I had been focused on "getting out" for years. Unfortunately for me, my parents had no idea what they were doing, and neither did I. I've now lived in five different apartments of varying degrees of crappiness in three different Canadian cities with 10 different people. I would like to share with you some themes of my experience in the rental housing market, namely all the basic ways you can hopefully avoid similarly crappy experiences as much as possible.

Winnipeg, Manitoba: The Slurpee Capital of the World

Here's a delightful post from Priceonomics on the invention of the Slurpee. Who would have thought that Canadians were such huge consumers of flavored icy drinks? Canadian readers, is this true?

Ralph Hicks Bought and Saved an Independent Bookstore

Why buy a bookstore in small town Ontario?

Pirate Joe’s: Canada’s Bootleg Trader Joe’s Store

There are no Trader Joe's stores in Canada, but there is a Pirate Joe's store. Canadian Michael Hallatt loved Trader Joe's products so much while he was living in San Francisco that he decided he wanted to buy a bunch of products at regular retail value in the U.S. and resell them in Vancouver. He's now being sued by Trader Joe's.

The Hardest $270 I’ve Ever Saved

Despite being a socialist utopia in many other ways, you still have to pay for prescriptions and dental care in Canada. Luckily, I was on my father’s insurance plan, but that luck was set to run out on my birthday.

Searching for a Dream Apartment But Finding Only Nightmares

Where have you lived, Zoe Daniels?

Places I’ve Lived: Multiple Towns in North Ontario

Where have you lived, Jenny Potter?

Canadian Middle Class Feels Bad for American Middle Class

As a followup to Meaghan’s post about the American man who traveled to Canada and was struck by the existence of a “vast and comfortable middle class,” the Upshot talked to some middle-class Canadians who said they had plenty to worry about but thought they were better off than Americans:

“When you have a family to raise and you are middle class, you are on a treadmill,” said Deborrah Mustachi, a 52-year-old educational assistant for the Catholic school board in Markham, a Toronto suburb. “It’s very difficult to save when you have to live for today.”

Yet, Ms. Mustachi added, “I think people in the U.S. seem to struggle more.”

Canadians have little doubt that they face less financial stress about medical costs than Americans. Many also credit their labor unions for the size of their paychecks; union membership rates are higher in Canada. Canadians also know that the American housing bubble and bust were more severe than their version.

“We got to keep our houses,” said Gregory Thomas, 39, an actor and house painter who lives with his wife and two young children in Toronto. “As an outsider, it seems like the aspirational section of the middle class — those who are constantly trying to get a little bit higher — they really got decimated in the States.”

And I can’t get over this kicker:

Or as Mr. Thomas said, Americans “may get more on their plate when they go to Denny’s, but they don’t have more when they go home.”


Photo: Alex Indigo

How a Professional Stage Actor Does Money

Chet is a 30-something professional actor from British Columbia.

Death of an Unpaid Intern

A 22-year-old unpaid intern in Canada died in a car accident after falling asleep at the wheel while driving home after working for 16 hours in a 24-hour time period. His family is now trying to pass new laws that would protect unpaid interns from exploitation. [Thanks to Alison for the story pointer.]