My eBook, How To Immigrate To Canada For Skilled Workers: The Authoritative Guide To Federal And Provincial Opportunities is available now on Amazon and other online retailers. Get your copy of the essential guide to Skilled Worker class applications today!

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Also available is my new eBook, "How To Immigrate To Canada In The Family Class: The Authoritative Guide Including Qu├ębec And Super Visa Opportunities". Get it at Amazon or the other e-retailers noted above.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

February preview

So what's coming up for February here at the Mind? Well, travel. I'll be out of the country for the month, but will make efforts to keeps up with the news of immigration and Canada as best I can with the distraction of being away. Look forward to March for things to get back to normal. I hope Winter is treating you well!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Permanent Resident Card arrives

Just a note for this milestone. After delays and confusion (see past blog entries), my Permanent Resident Card arrived today. I wish my hair looked better (I'm not as photogenic as Yasmin!)!

Pushing immigration problems across the border

Kim Murphy of the LA Times reports:

Canada for years has had one of the most generous immigration policies in the world, welcoming tens of thousands of asylum applicants who claim to be fleeing persecution in their homelands.

But the Conservative government has begun rolling up the welcome mat, stepping up efforts to track down and deport thousands whose applications have been denied.

The clampdown is likely to be felt not only across Canada but in the United States.

Read the article from the Seattle Times here.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Canadian Immigrant - Government to launch programs to better identify immigrants to Canada

The Canadian government’s introduction of two new programs could involve the sharing of sensitive personal information, such as fingerprints, from government to private-sector companies, and from government to government, which has privacy advocates concerned whether proper safeguards are being used to minimize risk.

Read the rest here

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Skating at Harbourfront Centre

The Natrel rink at Harbourfront Centre where I skate

When I knew I would be immigrating to Canada a few years ago, I took the brave step to go to my not-so-local arena in the Seattle area (there are only a handful of places to go) and take some introductory skating lessons. I was terrible. I learned how to swizzle forward and backward, but that was about it. The rink was a half-hour drive from home, and it cost $6 to get on the ice for the open skate (an hour at most), so I didn't go very often. The best thing was that I got over my fear of being a middle-aged beginner.

Once I got to Canada I figured I would get back to my skating. On my last visit to Seattle, I tried my skates on again after a couple years off them and man, did they hurt! So I went online to some hockey sites and found a YouTube video of how to measure for skates. Turns out I had been wearing the wrong size!

Now that I am in Toronto, there are loads of places to skate, including Harbourfront Centre, which is a short walk from home. I have been going out as often as is reasonable and am finally feeling like a kid again, skating on the big sheet right on Lake Ontario. It's inspiring! It's free! And I'm not terrible at it anymore!

I love this city and all the resources the public has here. If you're immigrating to Canada, I encourage you to learn to skate, no matter what your age. If I can do it, anyone can.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Wind chill?

For the benefit of those who might not be familiar with the term, and in keeping with a Winter theme (though the weather here in Toronto has been unseasonably warm all Winter so far), let's talk about "wind chill". When you check the weather in the morning, trying to decide what to wear and all (see previous post), you'll hear something like, "It's currently 3-degrees, minus 2 with the wind chill."

What that means is the actual temperature out is 3C, but what it "feels like" (because of the wind) is -2C.

According to our friends at Wikipedia: "Wind chill (often popularly called the wind chill factor) is the felt air temperature on exposed skin due to wind. The wind chill temperature is always lower than the air temperature, and the windchill is undefined at the higher temps (above 10 °C [50 °F])."

You always want to dress for the wind chill temperature. Even though here in the city there are corridors where you can avoid being exposed to the wind, if you go out, you can't entirely avoid it. And when the chill is below -19C, exposed skin can freeze in 30 minutes.

Take wind chill seriously and remember to dress warm!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

What to wear on a cold day in Toronto

Happy New Year! I'ts bitterly cold in Toronto this morning. -13C, but with the wind chill, it's closer to -24C (or -11F). For a guy from temperate Seattle, WA, that's cold.

Luckily, and thanks to my Love, I am prepared. So what do you wear to stay warm on a bitterly cold day? Here are my outer gear choices, from the top down:

  • Toque - Mine is just a red Nike woven cotton one. Nothing fancy.
  • Neck Warmer - I got this polar fleece one from Mountain Equipment Co-op. It works well because you can pull it up over your face too.
  • Scarf - A good scarf can be wrapped any number of ways to keep your neck, face and chest a little more comfortable and takes care of areas a neck warmer can't cover.
  • Down Jacket - This is where I got fancy (but my Love says its an "investment"). The jacket is a Canada Goose "Banff" Parka and it's my pride and joy. I won't mention all the features (read them here), but a serious winter jacket is a must and this one keeps me more than comfortable without heating me up and making me sweat. 
  • Gloves - While most days I get away with lined leather, on a day like today you need snow gloves that are warm. These are also from Mountain Equipment Co-op
  • Impermeable Boots - Toronto is big on salt. They spread it everywhere on cold days to keep cars on the road and people on their feet. Trouble is, it will ruin your shoes. So a pair of impermeable boots are a must, and insulated ones like my Kamik Insulated Rubber Boot (from Canadian Tire) are good to -40C. No frozen toes for me.
What you wear under all this is up to you, but these basics will keep most of you warm and dry. All told, there's around  $1,000 in gear here (blame the jacket). It can be done cheaper of course - but if you want to adventure in -24C temperatures, be sure and take your clothing seriously.

Have a warm start to your New Year!