Founded by European settlers in the early 19th century, London, Ontario, bares more than a few passing resemblances to its counterpart in the UK. Situated on the River Thames, it was originally proposed as the capital of Upper Canada and now forms part of a separate municipality, although it remains the seat of Middlesex County.
There are a number of visa options available to expats who consider moving to London. Permanent residence visas are generally awarded based on two “programs”, family and economic. The economic program is relevant to professionals and skilled workers, as well as those emigrating for business purposes. Applications are assessed on a point system and weighted heavily towards those already holding job offers from employers in government-approved industries.
The family program involves sponsorship of a foreigner by a related Canadian national, who has the sole responsibility of supporting them financially once after their move. Other classes for permanent residence visas do exist and include investor, entrepreneur and self-employment categories.
With a sizable community of students and transient medical professionals, the short-term rental market in the city is particularly active and could be a great option for those who want to get to know their new home before buying or committing to a longer lease.
If you are renting long-term, expect a one-bedroom apartment in the city center to cost around 850 CAD per month, a premium of around 200 CAD when compared to similar properties on the outskirts of the city. Family-sized, three-bedroom apartments in the suburbs tend to average 1,000 CAD per month, rising to 1,300 CAD in the city center. The Canadian housing market is, in general, very stable, and London boasts many affordable housing options, with properties outside of the city center costing an average of 1,400 CAD per square meter.
If you are moving to London with a young family, districts such as Fairmont and White Oak are great choices. A bit of a hidden gem, Fairmont's circular design keeps passing traffic to a minimum while White Oak boasts tree-lined streets, character properties and a vibrant, artistic community. Young couples or those in search of a bargain should consider the Soho district. Very central with affordable prices, this district is a little rough around the edges. However, it has caught the attention of a few developers and is beginning to feel very up and coming, with great restaurants and a proposal for major redevelopment works in the pipeline.