After a smooth 2-hour flight from Toronto via Air Canada Rouge, we finally arrived in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.
The Charlottetown Airport was quite small, having only one baggage conveyor and no immigration counters as it only serves domestic flights. But us Filipinos are used to that! We even have smaller airports in some provinces of the Philippines!
Once we claimed our luggage, we headed out towards the taxi stand and waited for a few minutes for a cab to take us to our Airbnb! It was quite obvious with the amount of luggage we had that we were not just visiting tourists. The taxi driver was really friendly in welcoming us into his hometown, pointing out different places on the way. We reached our place in just 10 minutes and paid $19 + tip for the ride. An interesting fact about taxis in PEI is that they are not regulated. They do not have meters and have fixed fares depending on the general distance you need to travel.
After settling into our room, we went out to grab a quick lunch at this place called Leonhard’s. After that, we had our first order of business to accomplish: getting our SIN (Social Insurance Number). We’ll write about this in our next post since the SIN is one of the most important documents for anyone who lives and works in Canada.
Our next stop was Scotiabank. If you recall, we wrote about transferring our money to Canada sometime back (Part I and Part II). We did this by wiring our funds from BPI to Scotiabank through their StartRight Program. About a week after doing that, we received an email confirmation from Scotiabank that our money has been successfully received on their end. We printed out this confirmation letter and presented this to the bank officer in Scotiabank, hoping to be able to finally activate our account. However, as with all things in Canada, setting appointments is always a must. The officer scheduled for us to come back and see her at 4:00 PM (it was around 2:00 PM at that time).
We had a couple of hours to kill so we decided to go to Best Buy to get our Canadian cell phone numbers. We had to take the bus to get to Best Buy since it is located outside of Charlottetown’s downtown. The bus system for the central Charlottetown area is pretty simple as it just goes on a straight line from downtown to Charlottetown Mall and loops right back to downtown. We got a book of 10 bus tickets for $20 from Shoppers Drug (a local convenience store), because A) it’s cheaper to buy tickets in bulk than to pay per ride and B) it saves us from having to always scour for some change since buses only accept the exact amount.
We kind of already knew that we wanted to apply for the month to month “BYOP” (Bring-your-own-phone) plan of Fido, that’s why we went to Best Buy, since Fido doesn’t have a physical store here in Charlottetown. The plan costs $65/month for unlimited Canada-wide calls, unlimited Canada-wide messaging and 3gb of data. Not a bad deal especially since it’s a no-contract plan, meaning we can cancel it whenever we want if ever we find something better in the future. They simply needed a valid Canadian ID (your SIN will suffice), the COPR, and a credit card (we used the credit card that we brought from Manila). Depending on your credit history, you may be allowed to apply for more than one number under the same account, which is what we did to make things more organized.
Finally, it was time to go back to Scotiabank for our appointment with our banker. She explained that when our funds were wired through, by default it went into an investment account, also known as a savings account. To be able to readily use our funds with a debit card, we had to also apply for a chequing account. She quickly set it up for us and then asked us to pick which kind of debit card we wanted. There are so many kinds of debit cards to choose from that it could get overwhelming, so take your time to really assess which one best suits your needs. It might be a good idea to already do some research before setting an appointment with the bank. After confirming which one we wanted, we got our debit cards right then and there. As for the credit cards, we needed a bit more time to decide on which kind to apply for so we set up an appointment for that on another day.
It was a jam-packed and tiring day! But luckily, also a very productive first day for us here in Charlottetown.
Moving to Canada will be a daunting task for anyone and If there’s anything you want to ask, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!