Living in Boston
Boston has been welcoming immigrants since 1620. Look here for the answers to some common newcomers' questions, or better still, come to an alumni event with your local resource questions!
Canadian groups and clubs
Besides getting involved with the Queen's alumni, there are other ways to reach out:
Meetup.com pub night, photo Conor Rankin
- There is a meetup.com group for Canadian expatriates in Boston that organizes periodic pub nights as well as having a nifty website for posting profiles and meeting other Canadians in Boston.
- The Harvard Graduate Student Canadian Club is an active group which most years puts together popular events including Canadian Thanksgiving dinner and a curling bonspiel that are also open to non-students as space permits. Their Canucks mailing list is an especially good one to join if you are chronically in need of a ride to Montreal.
- The Canadian Women's Club of Boston organizes several presentations a year by Canadian authors and notables, a slate of social events (generally held in Weston), and also supports several organizations in Boston and in Canada that focus on women's and girls' development.
- The Canadian Consulate General in Boston sponsors networking events and promotes the visits of all kinds of Canadian cultural ambassadors to New England every year, from children's theater to soloists playing with Boston's best orchestras. Contact them about their events mailing list.
- The Canadian Embassy in Washington runs the Connect2Canada website/mailing list effort to provide a clearinghouse for Canada-related event information across the US as well as an array of Canadian factoids intended for US consumption.
Don't miss the outstanding college sports in Boston, including the annual Beanpot hockey tournament pitting BU, BC, Harvard, and Northeastern, all sometime NCAA Division I championship contenders, against each other!
Renting in Boston
Finding a rental can be a surprise for many newcomers to the area. Real estate agents are gatekeepers for most of what's available, and though their enthusiasm for helping rental clients varies wildly, you are unlikely to avoid their standard one-month's-rent fee.
You may decide to find an agent and choose from what they can show you. Or look to a big landlord like Archstone, the biggest manager of large, full-service developments around Boston. Many paid services also exist to funnel ads to you, but none is nearly as comprehensive as they claim.
If you shop on your own, Craigslist carries by far the largest number of agency and by-owner ads, but be prepared to do a lot of sifting. Continuous reposting, especially by agencies, who are mostly all representing the same set of available properties, creates a tremendous daily volume of mostly redundant ads, but it is the only place to find pretty much everything that is available.
Craigslist is also the most active forum for free ads to buy and sell your stuff locally once you're moved in. Craigslist free ads are especially effective in making almost anything disappear literally within minutes. Corollary is, if you shop there, you'll have to be fast.
The big day for rental turnovers in Boston is September 1st. If you are expecting to move then, you'll find the biggest selection, but expect the competition to create extra pressure to sign leases quickly, a lot of ads for places that are already rented, somewhat higher rents, and difficulty hiring movers or trucks.
Everything you've heard about driving in Boston is probably true. If you're thinking about living in the city, and have never considered life without a car, now is the time to start! These are the people who can help:
- MBTA, subways, buses and commuter rail
- Amtrak, intercity rail
- Massport, airport and suburban airport shuttle service
- Zipcar or RelayRides (with others appearing from time to time), car-sharing in Boston and major cities across the US and Canada
- Hubway, bike-sharing in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline
- Uber and airbnb are both popular here with lots of rides/places available all over town.