The best places in Canada for a working holiday
So you’ve decided it’s time to take the leap into a working holiday in Canada, but now you need to figure out where to go! Canada is a big place, and there are lots of different working holiday experiences you can have in the country. Of course, you don’t have to pick just one spot, but we’ve summed up some of the top places working holidaymakers go in Canada to help get you started.
Canada’s West Coast port city is the landing pad for tons of working holidaymakers and some of them never really make it any farther than this seaside city with a mild climate. For good reason, too. While it’s got all the fixins you’d expect in an urban centre, it’s flanked by mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on another, so it’s a hub for nature-lovers who need a bit of city buzz in their lives. Tourism and hospitality offer up many jobs, while office work remains an option for others.
Ah, Whistralia. The Aussie accent has been a little less pervasive in Whistler, BC, over the past couple of years as fewer working holidaymakers flocked to the country’s biggest and most famous ski town. It was actually a bit of a problem for a bit as the ski resort and its surrounding industry struggled to staff up for ski seasons. The jobs in Whistler are plentiful—it’s the housing that gets a bit tricky. Park yourself at HI Whistler in the fall and start your hunt for a job with staff accomm (p.s. the hostel sometimes offers these too).
Where to stay: HI Whistler
© Destination BC / Blake Jorgenson
Like sunshine and working with your hands? Penticton in BC’s Okanagan Valley is a wine-making, fruit-growing, summer-loving destination and it’s the perfect place for those who like to get their hands dirty with plenty of vineyards and orchards hiring seasonal workers each year. Plus, the town itself is a primo beach destination by the lake. For true working holiday connoisseurs, a summer in Penticton pairs great with a winter in the mountains.
Where to stay: HI Penticton
If you’re more of a city dweller but still want to get a look at those Rockies, Calgary might be perfect for you. This city is Alberta’s largest, but it’s just an hour and a half away from Banff National Park, so you can live your weekdays in the city and then bust out to the mountains every single weekend. Calgary has a booming tourism and hospitality industry but it’s also home to many provincial and national companies that employ temporary office workers.
Where to stay: HI Calgary City Centre
Banff and Jasper National Parks
The literal stuff of postcards, Banff National Park draws in tons of working holidaymakers who are looking to live and breathe the mountains (and get some good Instagram fodder while they’re at it). The towns of Banff, Canmore, Lake Louise and Jasper are where most of them end up, working jobs in tourism and hospitality in town or at the many tourist attractions throughout the national parks. Banff is the most populated and busiest destination, but Lake Louise and Jasper offer up a smaller town feel with a bit more peace and quiet, but all of them offer no shortage of epic views and amazing day-off adventures.
© Travel Alberta
Tu parles français? The picture-perfect city of Quebec is an amazing spot to get to know French Canadian culture. Old Quebec is the heart of the city’s tourism industry with tons of shops, cafes, restaurants, bars and attractions that draw in business year-round. The city is a great jumping off point to explore more of the province of Quebec or to foray into the Maritimes to the east. French-English bilingualism is typically a pre-requisite for public-facing work in this province.
Where to stay: HI Quebec City
Halifax is a vibrant seaside city in Nova Scotia and the perfect spot to get a salty taste of Maritime life. The oldest part of Canada has some incredible history, but Halifax is also a university town so the whole place has the perfect mix of old-world charm, Maritime hospitality and youthful energy. Tourism jobs are pretty easy to find in the summer, though the city does quiet down in the winter off-season.
Where to stay: HI Halifax (currently closed)