The city of Waterloo, almost 100km southwest of the capital Toronto is a firm favorite with Canada’s Indian immigrant population. This blog explores why Waterloo is consistently rated as one of the top cities for those moving to Canada from India.
What are the attractions of living in Waterloo, Ontario?
Waterloo is a little over one hour driving distance to the southwest of Toronto, and has some notable advantages for Indian immigrants over the larger city. According to a survey by Resonance Consultancy, a business advisory firm, it was ranked number 5 in Canada’s best cities. Here are some reasons why it’s popular with people moving to Canada from India.
The area has a growing Indian population driven mainly by increases foreign students. The India Canada Association was set up to provide support and cultural events to the Indian population and provides services such as Indian Meals on Wheels and an Outreach Programme to help people stay connected.
The Canadian ‘Silicon Valley’
Waterloo is home to more than 1,100 startups , mainly technology companies. Apart from California’s Silicon Valley, it boosts the world’s highest density of tech firms. This creates huge job opportunities, especially for university graduates, and is one of the reasons why the area has been attracting more university students in recent years. The University of Waterloo has a world-renowned Engineering department providing a steady flow of highly qualified tech professionals to local companies. Aside from the positions in technology, Waterloo also has several other thriving sectors, including insurance, automotive, advanced manufacturing, and food processing, so work opportunities for skilled immigrants are good.
Cost of Living in Waterloo vs. Toronto
Although Toronto is a multicultural city that offers many advantages for immigrants moving to Canada from India, there are also some downsides, not least of which is the cost of living in Toronto. Compared to Mumbai, one of the most expensive places in India, Toronto’s costs of living are significantly higher. For example, a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is typically around 225% more expensive in Toronto. Daily living expenses such as groceries are around 156% more, and going out to eat, 155% more expensive. Despite this, purchasing power in Toronto is typically about 87% higher than in Mumbai due to higher wages. 
The cost of living in Waterloo is typically around 12% lower in Waterloo than Toronto, but for rent, which makes up a large proportion of your monthly expenses, you can save about 26%. You can expect to pay around 30% less for a meal in an inexpensive restaurant, 37% less for a pair of jeans, and about 42% less for a monthly travel pass . This means that purchasing power in Waterloo is about 53% higher than Toronto which is great news for people moving to Canada from India.
If you’d like to send money to Canada, you can easily send a money transfer through Western Union’s app. Our money transfer app can help you conveniently send money to friends and loved ones, and you can even track your transfer in real time in the app. So, even if you’re far from home, you can easily send financial assistance and a little love back home to friends and family.
Activities, entertainment and recreation facilities
Although Waterloo’s population is around one-sixth that of Toronto, you won’t be short of entertainment, good quality restaurants, arts venues, and nature. For those who are very active, visit RIM park, a giant indoor and outdoor venue where you can go walking or jogging along the seven kilometer loop trail, play beach volleyball or use one of the 12 multi-purpose fields, 4 ice rinks, 2 gymnasiums or the playground.
If the arts is more your thing, visit the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, or if you are into history, you can take a historical walking tour of the city. Shopping, food, and drink opportunities are plentiful, with Canada’s largest year-round St James Market and the main shopping mall housing more than 130 shops.
Your finances in Canada
Opening a bank account in Canada is relatively straightforward, though you will need at least two forms of ID showing your Canadian address. When you arrive in Canada, you could have funds in Canadian currency waiting for you by sending a money transfer in advance via Western Union. You can also do this on the app, and there are more than one dozen agent locations in Waterloo where you can collect your Canadian dollars.
If you require further help to make cross-border payments, contact our Help Centre.