Canada is a BIG country. Covering 9.98 million square kilometers from ocean to ocean, it is the second largest by land area in the world! That means that when you relocate, there are tons of potential for a lot of little differences between your new home in Canada, and the world you are leaving behind. It takes time and patience to understand the ins and outs of a new environment, but don’t worry…it will happen.
Until you discover your favorite little Canadian shops, restaurants or microbrewery, why not look for the big, easily recognizable venues? To help you become familiar with the the popular, staple businesses and destinations here, we’ve put together a list of what’s BIG in Canada.
Department Stores that are big in Canada:
- Wal-Mart Canada is part of the U.S. giant. This discount store sells almost anything you could need for the home. They often include full-service supermarkets, pharmacies, optical centre, photo processing, fast-food outlet, portrait studio, outdoor equipment, clothes and shoes, electronics, auto parts or services, and more. Find them in all major cities and many smaller locations.
- Canadian Tire sells a wide range of items including automotive, sports and leisure and home products. Some also sell food products, men’s and women’s work apparel, sportswear and other handy goods. Canadian Tire is Canada’s largest retailer, and it is said that 90 per cent of Canadians live within a 15 minute drive of a store. But if you fall within that unfortunate 10 per cent, there’s an online store that sells limited goods, too.
- The Bay: a.k.a. Hudson’s Bay has 90 department stores, all located in Canada. Believe it or not, The Bay is the oldest company in North America, and it plays a huge role in the development of Canada. Here, you will find high end fashion, apparel, accessories and home goods. There are multiple stores located in all of Canada’s large cities, including Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg.
Canada’s big Restaurant Chains:
Too hungry to cook, but don’t know where to catch a quick bite? Head to one of these popular and well-known Canadian restaurant chains.
- Harvey’s: A popular burger chain located in every province. They are known for their inexpensive hamburgers, hot dog, French fries and onions rings – all the traditional fast food eats. It’s the second largest chain in the country.
- Mr. Sub: “yours since 1968” Mr. Sub is like America’s Subway. You can order foot-long or six-inch subs at inexpensive prices, as well as wraps, soups, salads, baked goods and panini. Some of the item choices change, depending on what part of the country you are in.
- Pizza Pizza: It’s hot, it’s fast, it’s Cheesy. Pizza Pizza is mainly located in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and some limited Western Canada areas. Until you find your favorite local pizza join, Pizza Pizza is a great option. Order a pie, or sandwiches, salads, breadsticks, sides, wings and other things.
- Tim Horton’s: Were you wondering what the number one largest chain in Canada is? This all-Canada, totally successful coffee-and-donut chain takes the cake. Tim Horton’s is absolutely a cultural icon here. Besides its staple inexpensive coffee and sweet treats, you can grab a sandwich, soup, specialty cold beverage, and other snacks.
- The Keg: Though still a chain, The Keg is a more upscale eatery than the other fast food options on listed here. This popular steakhouse and bar is located across the country. The large menu features fish, chicken and ribs dishes, as wells as dinner salads, starters and “prime rib and keg cuts.”
Gas Stations that are Big in Canada:
- Esso: Look for Esso all across Canada. The Esso Brand is used at gas stations that are operated by Imperial Oil, which is mostly owned by ExxonMobile.
- Petro-Canada: Is the retail brand for Suncor Energy. Some locations across Canada have “Glide Auto Wash” car washes, and you can get a Petro Points credit card, that helps earn you fuel savings when you use it.
- Irving: Irving Oil owns the largest oil refinery in Canada, and its network of gasoline stations are all over Atlantic Canada, Quebec and eastern Ontario. The Gas stations usually contain convenience stores, just in can you get hungry while driving across eastern Canada!
- Canadian Tire: Canadian Tire Petroleum can be found at about 300 Canadian Tire locations. Save money on their gas when you shop at their store by collecting “Canadian Tire Money” – coupons which add up to gas bonuses.
- Husky Mohawk: You’ll find these gas stations mostly in Western Canada, though you will see some in Ontario too.
Canada’s BIG Banks:
Daily banking in Canada is rather easy and accessible. In Canada, the largest banks are known as “The Big Six,” and you can find them across Canada. They provide competitive banking options. The big six include, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD), Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank), Bank of Montreal (BMO), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) and National Bank of Canada (mostly in Quebec and New Brunswick). Opening a bank account must be done as soon as you arrive in Canada, or even better, prior to arriving. Whichever bank you choose (whether it be one of the Big Six, or another smaller bank or credit union, in order to open an account you generally need a proof of identity, a proof of your status in your province, a proof of residency and your SIN (there is some flexibility on the last two).
Beer Companies that are big in Canada:
While you’ll have no problem finding many popular brands of international beer in Canada, we have a couple big local brands that you’re sure to see on tap at bars and in stores. Our favorite mass-market beers are Molson Canadian and Labatt. Molson is headquartered in Montreal, and the signature brand, Molson Canadian, is brewed with Canadian water, prairie barley and no preservatives! Labatt is a Belgian-owned Canadian company, the largest brewer in Canada! For those of you coming from America, note that beer in Canada is generally stronger than beer in the U.S.
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Here’s more helpful information about Canada:
- 11 ways to cut heating costs in Canada
- Entering Canada: Documents needed for Border-Crossing
- 12 Interesting Facts About Justin Trudeau