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Canada is North America’s up-and-coming startup center (techcrunch.com)
171 points by miraj on Apr 20, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 222 comments

This article doesn't mention one of the major reasons for talent leaving Canada: if you work there, you need to stomach a 50% pay cut in average salaries vs the US. This is true pretty much across the board regardless of tech niche on the 2017 Stack Overflow Developer Survey[1]:

Machine learning specialist: US 108k, Canada 53k (49%)

Embedded applications/devices developer: US 100k, Canada 53k (53%)

Systems administrator: US 90k, Canda 49k (55%)

Doubling your salary by moving south across the border is a very tempting option, especially considering that NAFTA makes it extremely easy to do so. No need to wait for an H1-B, just show up at the border with job offer & credentials in hand, assuming you've graduated college. TN visas are instant and infinitely renewable.

[1] https://stackoverflow.com/insights/survey/2017#work-salaries...

While I do have a grievance with a much lower pay ceiling across Canada, those numbers are ridiculously low even if in US dollars as I assume they are. I don't put much stock in the StackOverflow survey.

And I'm not trying to be argumentative, but your take on TN visas is extremely simplified. For instance software developers aren't actually allowed to have a TN visa, and instead you have to say that you're a "system analyst". Only they've actually started strictly demanding proof that you're an analyst and not a programmer, etc. Add that any single border crossing can lead to a revocation of your TN visa.

No thanks.

EDIT: Before more people reply with general comments, I am specifically talking about the salary claims for "ML Specialist" and embedded developers. Those numbers -- and I happen to have a good amount of reason to know this -- are ludicrously low. But yes, if you're a web developer, a generalist, etc, pay will be terrible in much of Canada, just as it's terrible in much of the US.

those numbers are ridiculously low even if in US dollars as I assume they are. I don't put much stock in the StackOverflow survey.

Then put stock in a the words of a guy who has actually looked for employment in Canada, and after the election of Trump is very incentivized to take a positive view on moving to Canada: as far as I can tell from the salaries posted, I'd take about a 50% pay cut, and I wouldn't be able to afford a house (at least not in Vancouver). Drop me in, say, Kamloops for $65K/year and maybe I'd do it. But there are few, if any, software jobs in Kamloops, or Kelowna, or much anywhere else outside Vancouver.

If salaries and housing prices in Canada were at all reasonable, I know many fellow Canadians would move back from the Bay area in an instant. Toronto is the other major tech center which is stupidly priced (hopefully the new govt measures slow things down). If you can speak french, consider Montreal.

If you can't speak French, move to Montreal anyway, like everyone else!

Be mindful that there is (mostly) terrible weather everywhere in Canada except in Ontario/South BC(Vancouver)

Depends on your definition of terrible, I suppose. I never feel more alive than when I go for a walk on a crisp, sunny -20 degree morning. I used to get mornings like that quite often in Ottawa, and I've missed them the past couple of years in Toronto.

"Less terrible" in Ontario, "not great" in BC

How about the Tri-Cities[1]? I have several friends who live there, seems like there are lots of tech jobs around.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tri-Cities_(Ontario)

I live about 50 minutes from Cambridge/Waterloo/Kitchener. I'd totally move that way but my wife wants to stay close to her mom. If we made that move I'd be mortgage free after selling the Mississauga house for $200k more than the Guelph/Cambridge house would cost.

Still very limited job opportunities compared to US tech hubs, but the cost of living is indeed not out of control.

The biggest problem there is you have to be OK living in a place like Waterloo, which is great if you like suburbs and want lots of space, not so great of you're into city living.

The Club Penguin shutdown is a devastating blow to the Kelowna tech industry!

(seriously, their headquarters are there)

They didn't shut down the offices. They just moved to a mobile Club Penguin game instead.

The Okanagan is actually a great area to live in as far as tech goes in Canada.

That's interesting. I grew up around there and would definitely consider moving back one day to be around family.

What are the big tech names around there these days?

You might already use this site, but if not, definitely add it to your job search:


I moved to Canada in 2005 or so. It set me back a little financially to wait for my visa and build up a credit profile here but 12 years later I think it's one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Would might net worth be slightly higher if I had stayed in the US? Yes, because I spent around $30k to get established (that was also a personal choice, I needed a break after a rough startup go between '98-2005.

I, too, like BC, but SW Ontario has more jobs.

Here's another source, Payscale.com:

Software engineer (Canada): $51,000 (C$70,000)

Software engineer (US): $80,825

The gap here is smaller ($30k vs. $50k) but still significant. And I'm not trying to be argumentative, but I'm more inclined to believe two surveys than a random person's claim.

[1] http://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Software_Engineer/Sa... [2] http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Software_Engineer/Sa...

You can't expect salaries to move (quickly) with currency fluctuations though. A couple years ago the US and Canadian dollars were at parity, and those $70k and $80k salaries would have still been about the same. So not much of a gap at all, especially considering healthcare costs. Yes, at the current exchange rate, Canadian salaries are quite a bit lower when priced in USD. Most day to day expenses are proportionally lower too. (Although not all. Things like electronics tend to be tied to the US price somewhat, although not 100%. Housing is also inflated, especially in places like Vancouver and Toronto, but that's largely a separate issue. You'll notice that, for example, you can buy cars cheaper in Canada right now. (In fact, if you're in the US shopping for a reasonably high-end car, you can almost certainly save money by importing one from Canada.))

So yeah, a lower dollar is somewhat bad for employees who see some of their costs go up (in CAD) due to the exchange rate, as well as those who are planning to spend their earnings in other countries. It's also bad for companies that need to import goods. Of course it's good for companies that export goods, especially those with costs (like employee salaries!) paid in CAD. If the dollar stays low (in a relative sense) for long enough, these things tend to be pulled back into equilibrium, but they never move as fast as currencies can fluctuate.

5 years ago when exchange rates were at parity, salaries were lower than they are now. You can't just take the present day $80k cad figure.

Marginally lower; certainly not proportionally to the difference in exchange rates. Also note the CAD figure was $70k.

I haven't researched the historical averages and correlated them with exchange rates, but I have been employing software developers in Canada for around 8 years now and so have kept current on market rates. In my experience, currency fluctuations, even on the order of 25-30%, have very little impact on market salaries.

"The gap here is smaller ($30k vs. $50k) but still significant."

Healthcare, stability and democracy (sans land/house prices) make up a lot for this.

>Healthcare, stability and democracy

Healthcare: We're talking about tech jobs. The healthcare coverage you will get from any tech company paying 6 figures is going to be essentially zero cost full coverage.

Stability: I have no idea what you are even talking about here, but it would be pretty hard to refer to the US as unstable from the perspective of someone working in a tech job. I suspect you pay too much attention to click-bait news and not enough talking to people that live here?

Democracy: again, what is this even referring to? The fact that the US is a republic? That's a pretty weak argument when comparing to a monarchy.

>> Healthcare: We're talking about tech jobs. The healthcare coverage you will get from any tech company paying 6 figures is going to be essentially zero cost full coverage.

This is not always the case, especially for small startups. I know engineers who make 6 figures in small startups and pay $1K a month for Health insurance for family of 2 young people.

>> Stability.

I think what OP refers to is stability of financial markets. Canada does not have major financial crisis every decade or so, that wipes out half of your 401K and real estate value.

>> Democracy: again, what is this even referring to? The fact that the US is a republic? That's a pretty weak argument when comparing to a monarchy.

Canada is not monarchy, it is "Federal parliamentary representative democracy under a constitutional monarchy", so essentially Canada has parliamentary form of government. Also per my understanding they do not have electoral college. US has wired and extremely complex election system. In last elections Democratic candidate received 3M more votes, yet she lost election and Republicans control both House and Senate. Similarly Al Gore lost elections to Bush.

Same thing can happen in a Canadian election: win without popular vote.

The healthcare coverage you will get from any tech company paying 6 figures is going to be essentially zero cost full coverage.

That's not been my experience. Microsoft used to offer a 100% plan, but that was unusual, and they dropped it a few years back. (Don't remember exactly when; I'd already left.) Google did not have a 100% plan, and no startup I've worked for has done better - in fact the startup I'm working for right now has no health plan at all.

Huh? I've never had a to pay a dollar in healthcare premiums at any employer. Granted, I've never worked for a tiny, tiny startup but even among white collar employers tech companies generally have top-notch health insurance.

I'm not talking about monthly premiums, I'm talking about what it costs when you actually need health care. How much is the deductible, what is the coinsurance rate, how steep are the co-pays, how weirdly restricted are the options for doctors, etc.? "Zero cost full coverage" sounds like the old Microsoft plan, where everything was paid for all the time. That defines "top notch" for me, and most health insurance plans I've experienced are nowhere close to being that good.

I think you're exaggerating the actual cost. I really don't think Google has a deductible plan, and I'd be surprised if the copays are more than $10 or $20. And remember, we're comparing this to Canada where you still have to pay for prescriptions (or at least a co-pay depending on your situation). Very, very few countries in the world actually cover 100% of healthcare costs.

All in all I don't really think it's a useful point of comparison when considering compensation between the two countries.

I wasn't trying to compare countries; I don't know anything about Canada's health care system. I'm just taking issue with the assertion that "the healthcare coverage you will get from any tech company paying 6 figures is going to be essentially zero cost full coverage", because that isn't, according to my experience and observation, actually true.

I think the democracy one might have been a shot at Trump and the broken process that allowed for his election.

US politics are pretty terrible.

cough Trump cough

I don't see people flocking even after Trump won.

Why would you see them? Every move is different, and every person has their own motives. Often there are several. I'm not crazy about the direction the US is going, but regardless of the president I really like getting a month a year off.

>Why would you see them?

If any relevant number of people left you would know someone anecdotally at a minimum or be impacted in your tech company.

If this is anything like Brexit affecting London, I don't see lots of people leaving, I don't even notice any difference in my workplace, but I know someone living the UK every month to the point we're not even one year since the referendum and half my friends already left, one by one.

So, point is, you might not see a sudden movement but it might still be there.

Canada is a large country. $51k in Winnipeg might be a really nice salary. In the greater Toronto area that would be low.

United States is a large country. $51k or $80k would be a nice salary in Arkansas. In the Bay Area it's low. What's your point?

The point is when people start talking about average salary.

large by land area. small by population. Who is hiring software developers in Winnipeg?

I moved from Toronto To SF last year on a TN-Visa and the process was as described above. My salary doubled as well.

You mean it was "TN visas are instant and infinitely renewable", because that is absolutely false.

a) Engineering is covered by TN visas, but you have to have an actual engineering degree. Claim you're a software engineer and they have every right to deny the CS grad.

b) Programming is not covered. This is simple fact of NAFTA. It's a process where applicants are told to be super careful with the wording (sort of like saying you're "going to meetings" when crossing the border for work related things), and at most the actual allowance is for a software analyst that does a small amount of programming.

In the Trump era antagonism towards NAFTA, anyone who buys this notion that it's all automatic is fooling themselves. And once you have a TN visa, that is zero guarantee -- any single border guard can reject it, at any time.

>a) Engineering is covered by TN visas, but you have to have an actual engineering degree. Claim you're a software engineer and they have every right to deny the CS grad.

Not true at all. BSc in Computer Science is perfectly fine for Software Engineering jobs.

Look up NAFTA Appendix 1603.D.1

> b) Programming is not covered. This is simple fact of NAFTA. It's a process where applicants are told to be super careful with the wording (sort of like saying you're "going to meetings" when crossing the border for work related things), and at most the actual allowance is for a software analyst that does a small amount of programming.

That's true. But seriously is there anyone hiring "computer programmer" these days?

>>And once you have a TN visa, that is zero guarantee -- any single border guard can reject it, at any time.

True. Remember to carry all your paperwork with you whenever you cross the boarder.

Well you will have an I94 form and a slip/stamp indicating TN status in your Passport. Would be kind of ridiculous to be carrying your Degree, transcript of grades and documents from your employer every time you cross the border.

Umm .. I had one person give me a hard time when I was coming by car. Had to freakin drive back and get my diploma in the frame - next guy at the border literally waved me in.

Haha same here. I'm a TN-1 Software Engineer. I was told at LAX one time that the guy didn't like TNs and would send me to secondary. Talked him down eventually and gave him the papers he wanted but automatic is quite the overstatement. Definitely get a NEXUS card if you can.

I do that. it's all it a neat folder, though I have not been required to show it to anyone yet

> And I'm not trying to be argumentative, but your take on TN visas is extremely simplified. For instance software developers aren't actually allowed to have a TN visa, and instead you have to say that you're a "system analyst".

Small correction. "Software engineer" has been a valid TN category since the early (?) 90s.

Yes, I know several people from Mexico who have a TN visa. They just have to make sure their job title says "Engineer".

It's actually just "Engineer", which is pretty broad I guess. Does your diploma have to say anything about "Engineer"?

It might be better to look at the US as an outlier here. Those Canadian salaries (esp if they're slightly low based on the other comments here) don't see too dissimilar to what's available in the UK (outside London which has higher salaries for every job due to cost of living).

At the end of the day, those 'low' salaries are only low relatively. They are more than enough for most people and only a reason to move south if your main driver is money. Otherwise they're good enough.

> At the end of the day, those 'low' salaries are only low relatively. They are more than enough for most people and only a reason to move south if your main driver is money. Otherwise they're good enough.

The average Canadian house costs $585k now[0]. That's over 10x these average Canadian tech salaries. Housing prices contributed to our decision to move from Toronto to Seattle 10 years ago. I imagine that they are even more of a motivator nowadays.

[0] http://www.theglobeandmail.com/real-estate/house-price-data-...

Well, as long as we are compare to the U.K. also, Canadian and American real estate often look like a bargain.

The thing about Canada is that Nafta makes it easy to move south, while in the U.K. going to the USA is not as simple.

Which is extraordinarily frustrating given how close our cultures our and the amount of talented developers who'd like to take a role in the US.

I just had an interview fall through because I'm a Brit and it would be difficult to get me over to SF due to the visa system. Maybe I should look for a dev job in Canada? :P

I think Canada is pretty easy for UK/Ireland. I know a few people who moved there for work with relatively little planning and within a couple of years, they've got permanent residence. They moved for standard big company jobs too, it's not like they're experts in their field or anything.

Yeah, I'm definitely thinking about it. I speak English and French plus am legally qualified and can program so I think I should have a good shot!

No way those numbers are right. At least not in Toronto. I'm a back end dev with under 5 years experience and you couldn't get me to set the clock on your microwave for $53k.

For my benefit, would you be willing to share your salary or range (and currency :)?

I'm not the grandparent post, but, my salary in Canada was $80K starting in 2000, and is up to $160K now.

I've been making more than double the median wage in my city for the last 20 years or so.

$80K CAD is $59K USD, which is not that much different than the original post. $160K CAD = $119K USD is fairly good, but most developers with 17 years experience would take home north of $200K in Silicon Valley (I'm not familiar with other US markets).

All the anecdotes still seem to point to software engineers making more than double in the US. I would love to return to Canada some day, but I'm not likely to do so until the numbers I see people post online start beginning with at least a 2 or 3.

Exactly. A USD 200K software eng simply cannot move to Canada. It is messed up. That is more than a director or higher's salary in a place like Toronto.

If you're living in Canada, you're spending money in CAD. I don't think its fair to convert Canadian salaries to USD to make the comparison. Still, $160K CAD is considerably less than $200K USD.

If you are living in Canada, everything retail is more expensive anyways, so just converting to USD isn't very accurate.

$160k CAD = $120k USD.

And you have 20 years experience? If you are good, you could be making 4x this in the Bay Area. Or more,

We hire a lot in Montreal. Mid-size startup. Range is more like CAD 85-140k for generalist frontend and backend developers.

In the larger cities, salaries have really gone up in the last few years.

I think that actually makes the other posters points. That's 63-104k in USD, which is low. Most of us in the US would be taking significant pay cuts at that level. I have no idea how that stacks up as far as PPP.

Name the company my man! Then don't mention Montreal again, we don't want everyone coming.

Might be a well-known streaming company that definitely has interesting technical issues. Problem for some is the content and reputation.

It sprang to mind.

French is the key barrier .. not naming the city :)

Eh not in Montreal. As an Ottawa native I've never had trouble in Montreal with my English and horribly broken French. Now Quebec city...

I disagree. I'm here, it's not ideal, I'm learning but it's not a blocker. Unlike say London when you cannot live in a decent area.

>No need to wait for an H1-B, just show up at the border with job offer & credentials in hand, assuming you've graduated college. TN visas are instant and infinitely renewable.

This is false. I say this as someone with a TN visa, which I use to visit my employer a few times a year.

The TN application process is onerous and takes weeks to confirm. The actual visa is indeed granted at the port of entry but can be denied - simply having the completed application doesn't guarantee anything. And you have to go through the complete application process every time you re-apply. There is no renewal application.

The best way to get it done is to work for BigCorp, Inc. whose team of lawyers will handle it for you. If you work for a smaller company or are a contractor/consultant, you'll have to hire a lawyer for a few grand. I know because I've been there too.

> onerous and takes weeks to confirm

When I moved from Canada to the Bay Area, I accepted my job offer on a Friday evening, organized to get original transcripts from my university on Tuesday morning, FedEx'd them overnight to the law firm and they arrived on Wednesday. I received my TN-1 package (a thick, completely opaque set of forms, documents, letters and all sorts of other legal shenanigans) on Friday evening. I then bought my ticket to leave Canada the following Friday. All together it was 2 weeks from acceptance to arrival in the US.

Not every experience is the same, and no doubt it would have been far harder had my company not pipelined my immigration through a very prominent and large law firm.

That being said, the fact that I can be denied entry in the US at any time scares me. It scares my company. It's no secret it's expensive to hire, and even more expensive to hire new talent to replace talent that cannot enter the country. I say this as a young, educated professional with no criminal history or ties. I shouldn't have to worry about this.

I'm guessing you work at one of the big 4.

  takes weeks to confirm
The "application" for TN is a rather new development (introduced in 2012). In the past, you couldn't apply by mail - you just show up at the port of entry with your job offer, description of job responsibilities, and university diploma. And they grant it on the spot. This is still how I get my TN.

Agreed. Apply at a port of entry. Don't bother with the mail. The border crossing application fee is only $50USD and is adjudicated on the spot at secondary. Takes a half hour.

I recently moved from Waterloo to San Francisco. My salary had doubled in the process, but my living costs have also substantially increased. I live in a 1-bedroom condo with similar square feet; my diet stayed the same, I pursue the same hobbies and similar habits (fitness, education, entertainment). In the end, the higher cost of living offsets my salary increase, and my quality of life stayed the same.

The idea that "the increase in cost of living wipes out the salary increase" always comes up in these threads, and I think it's way off the mark.

For example, I used to live in Fukuoka, a mid-sized Japanese city, and now live in Tokyo. A nice 2BDR in Fukuoka downtown would cost (say) U$600 per month. My salary in Tokyo is about double of what I could earn in Fukuoka, but an equivalent place in Tokyo would cost me way over $1200. So I don't live in downtown, and I choose to live in a smaller place. But it's not like everything costs twice as much as in Fukuoka. Food is a bit more expensive, not twice as much. A smartphone costs pretty much the same wherever you are in Japan. Traveling abroad also costs the same (or less in Tokyo, since you usually need one fewer leg). More importantly, if I keep my savings rate the same (savings/income), I can save much more money in absolute terms; I don't have to retire in Tokyo, so it is definitely worth the save more.

Rent tripled once I moved to SF, and there are quite a few other things than just food and rent. For example, Crossfit Classes and Yoga classes cost 3x as much ($10 vs. $30). Going to the bars here are at least 2x as much ($5 vs. $10+). So really it comes down to lifestyle, admittedly I tend to live an expensive lifestyle.

You are either not paid enough for a SF/SV engineer, or were paid quite a lot in Canada. Even with my increased rent and food I'm saving in a year what took me 2-3 in Canada.

Parent's mistake is to maintain the same lifestyle. If you settle for less housing or room mates, you come across ahead.

Why would someone move for work if it meant a lifestyle downgrade?

It doesn't have to be a downgrade in the aggregate. You can downgrade your housing but upgrade other stuff.

That is, if stuff or travel are your main motivators in life. If you'd prefer to raise a family, a 1BR ain't gonna cut it.

No need for the snark; obviously "other stuff" includes things you need for raising a family.

Right, but housing is sort of the bare minimum. People in developing countries raise families in extremely cramped conditions, true, but that's not something you can get away with in our society. Children's Aid Society, Family & Children's Services, and many other organizations will intervene in such situations. It'd be especially embarrassing to be put in such a situation just so you can bump up from a high-five-figure-job to a low-six-figure-job by moving to SF.

Beyond that, there's also the issue of schooling. That tends to be a nightmare for people in the Bay Area, due to the districting policies. Many Bay Area parents opt for private schooling, further adding to the expense.

DCFS is the main reason not to raise children in cramped conditions?

How about, you know, basic empathy? (Unless you have some reason to believe that DCFS has unreasonably high standards here?)

DCFS is the main reason not to raise children in cramped conditions?

No. I was never advocating for raising children in cramped conditions. Remember, the person I was arguing with lumped family into "other stuff".

I live in Waterloo. I've seen more than one person on HN argue that you should leave as soon as you get your degree here. I don't want to do that. I think Waterloo has some wonderful neighbourhoods for raising children, complete with top notch public schools within walking distance. The real estate prices here are not nearly as bad as Toronto, let alone SF. Even if you could make 3 times as much working in the Bay Area as you could here; I would assert that it's easier to buy a 3BR house here, have 2 kids, get them both into university and keep them healthy the entire time than it would be in SF.

Depends how nice your lifestyle was back in Canada.

If you used to live in a nice 1BR condo, you could definitely move to SF and spend an extra $20k/year in housing and still come out way ahead.

If you used to live in 3br house with a backyard and garage, you definitely won't be able to maintain that in SF.

I was an executive at a SW firm in Toronto for almost 9 years (I'm originally from the US).

In order to hire relatively talented people, the salaries were (even in 2007) no where near what you are describing.

When I resigned in 2014 the lowest paid developer on a 30 person team might have been making around $80k. Typically salaries were between $88 and $110.

While there are a large number of Canadians that have gone to the US to work, I regularly encounter Americans in tech that have come here. Sure, it's anecdotal.

My taxes are only slightly more than I paid in Wisconsin, and likely on par with California. And for that I always have some level of basic healthcare, even if I lose my job. Plus, the government tries harder for its citizens here.

My sense is the more ambitious Canadian engineers and/or those with high earnings potential will be drastically better off in the US (financially speaking) because the upper end of compensation and access to job opportunity is so much higher, but beyond that it's significantly murkier and highly dependent on personal circumstance.

As long as you are not on an H1B you might be better off. That said, fintech in Toronto is burgeoning.

Shopify https://www.glassdoor.ca/Salary/Shopify-Ottawa-Salaries-EI_I...

Software Developer $80,947 Software Engineer $96,600

500px https://www.glassdoor.ca/Salary/500px-Salaries-E600778.htm Software Engineer $93,333

The averages are pulled down by lots of mediocre companies. Startups and big places like Google and IBM have salaries that are nowhere close to your numbers. Couple this with taxes here being much much lower than say the bay area, and you are doing really well living here.

You're listing two companies that are veritable unicorns in Toronto. There are a handful of successful mid-level companies like those in the city, and tens of thousands of hungry developers earning far less at non-technologically focused companies.

The average Torontonian (in any field) earns ~$50-70k and costs here are quite high still, even if they trail San Francisco by ~30%.

To wit: on that average salary you certainly won't starve, but pick one: save money, buy a car, have a child (and that might be a stretch).

For reference: $96,600 CAD == $71,718 USD

Sure, but most of these sky high US salaries are in the bay area. So consider that the cost of living is roughly double there:


Note that is at the current exchange rate

Yes, that more or less sums it up. Plus you have fewer job opportunities and career mobility as well as higher taxes and rapidly rising real-estate prices in both Vancouver and Toronto. I think Canadian software engineers are crazy to stay in Canada.

I'm a Canadian software engineer living in Canada, but I'd never consider working for a Canadian or US company here and earning Canadian dollars - it just makes no sense. I work remote only (these days only part-time.) It isn't such a great deal as it used to be for me now that I have to pay Canadian taxes, but it was bloody fantastic when I used to live in Panama and legally paid no tax of any kind other than 7% sales tax.

  as well as higher taxes and rapidly rising real-estate prices in both Vancouver and Toronto
Taxes are lower in Ontario than California for most people.

Income taxes (maybe). Not VAT, gasoline or alcohol taxes, just to name a few.

Ok, so you're saving 4% on VAT in California - if you're spending $40k/year on non-rent things, that's $1600. Alcohol taxes are negligible. Gasoline taxes in Ontario are higher than in California, but also a negligible difference.

But high earners pay lower taxes in California because the higher brackets are lower and they can purchase a home (interest portion of mortgage is tax deductible).

I thought in Panama (and anywhere else outside the US) you have to pay income tax on earnings over $100k. I think you have to pay into Social Security too?

Yes that's correct. Although, if you're working remotely you're not likely to be making much over $100K, so it may still be worth it. Your take home may still be close to working in the Valley, and your cost of living, excluding food will be less than half.

I'm Canadian though, so I don't have to deal with the long-armed-fingers-in-my-pockets embrace of Uncle Sam. Every other country in the world is sensible enough to only tax residents.

Could you explain? I live in Germany but, as far as I know, am still required to file taxes in Canada every year.

If you're non-resident in Canada, you only have to pay tax in Canada on Canadian-source income. Unfortunately, yes that includes a pension.

To be non-resident you have to spend at least half the year outside the country and have no residential ties to Canada like property, dependents, bank accounts, health insurance, etc.

See: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/nnrsdnts/ndvdls/nnrs-eng.html

Do you have to pay tax on your German earnings (earned in Germany, which you already pay tax to the German authorities on)? Almost all countries only tax you on the money earned (approximately) within their borders. So for most 'expats' it amounts to taxing interest and dividends, and maybe rental income on your old house.

Not so the USA, which has a claim on all money earned by Americans world-wide. There's a ~U$100k earnings exemption (so many people aren't paying much tax back to the USA), but high-earning USA expats are in a different tax-world from their overseas colleagues.

> TN visas are instant and infinitely renewable.

Not for Mexicans, as I found out the hard way. I tried doing this to come to Canada, but since Mexicans at the time needed an entry visa, I had to leave the country for a month and apply for a work visa in NYC. It was pretty frustrating for me because I read and re-read all the documents I had to read, and everything seemed to say I could just walk into Canada with my NAFTA-relevant job offer.

On the other hand, the Canadian border guard at Toronto was very nice to me, said I had to figure out my visa status and let me in anyway on a 1-month temporary visa, to give me time to go to NYC and fix my visa status.

Policies around visa processing vary with time and even depending on what port of entry or what agent you get. (It's a taste of what the state is like when there are no accountability procedures.)

There are people in the Valley who specialize in tracking every twist and turn of what visa policies are like this year.

In my experience, those numbers for Canadian salaries would be ridiculously low.

Also, I'm assuming those numbers are converted to USD. Even if they look lower, you have to consider what kind of lifestyle the salary buys you where you are earning it.

In my experience, the real reason people leave isn't so much salary, as lack of opportunities.

It's an interesting situation. Not difficult to imagine Canadians moving to the US, while immigrants who lose out on H1B visas take their place in Canada.

Of course, Trump has said before he's not a huge fan of NAFTA either, so...

On the other hand, basing your startup in Canada means dramatically lower costs (made even better with programs like SR&ED), while still having access to a talented pool of developers. And yes, there are plenty of people who simply do not want to move South, and plenty of people willing to move North.

Maybe for some areas but for Alberta this is closer to reality:


Hey fellow Albertan. Keep in mind the USD/CAD exchange and that $90k here becomes $60kUSD.

The developers I know that are worth their chops have all taken remote US contracts. I'm looking to do the same because local companies just can't compete with the work available nor wage.

100% agreed

Note that salary is also close the same wage (~10% more) as an electrician, accountant, or boilermaker.

Statistics are good for describing populations. Average pay can be a useful metric. However, when looking at what you or I might earn in Canada it is completely useless. I make 4x the average where I live. Salary is very negotiable and often has a lot of variance.

Is that adjusted for cost of living?

Well if you cannot stay in US, going to Canada is better than nothing. Trump says it all.

Trump says what exactly that affects the bottom line? It's business as usual for the cabal. Wake up. Trump just be trumping.

Part of this might be the poor CAD:USD exchange rate.

Additionally, sales tax is high relative to the US. IIRC GST in Toronto was around 15% when I was there last summer.

13% in Toronto. 5% in Calgary.

Even Australia is better than Canada, $100K for a senior dev vs 80K and the cost of living is pretty much the same.

I can't believe it's so low. I hope Canadians aren't asked to put in overtime at those wages.

It's even more fun, in BC "high technology companies/professionals" are exempt from a bunch of the usual labour laws around overtime, hours of work, stat holidays, etc.


Of course, in practice, no sane company is going to abuse this to the extreme. People do get stat holidays, overtime isn't usually used, etc.

You better believe it. Overtime is expected.

Not the same as the US. In the US, if you lose your job, you lose health care. That is a big motivator for people with families. I've seen people take a lot of crap in the name of a job. In Canada, it is not that bad unless you took a crazy mortgage in the last 5 years.

Maybe where you work. Not expected everywhere at all.

Those seem too low, both US and Canada. Is anyone really paying a ML specialist $53k?

I'm assuming that comparison is converting CAD to USD which would make it ~$72k CAD, because $53k is way to low. But that doesn't make this comparison any more realistic seeing as you'd be living in Canada spending CAD.

It makes me feel proud that Canada has been North America’s up-and-coming startup center since I graduated from Waterloo over 20 years ago. That's a solid, consistent track record of almost being there.

There has been a story equivalent to that on the front page every few weeks for the last five years that I've been reading HN.

I attribute it to some kind of watch-goliath-fall fantasy. That has been amplified dramatically since Trump got elected. Since then, a couple dozen countries are now supposedly candidates to swipe a lot of tech talent away from the US. Nothing will come of it; even more high-skilled talent will actually make it to the US thanks to reforming the H-1B back to what it was supposed to be. Inbound, substantial corporate tax cuts will increase the power of the magnet luring start-ups to US shores.

Cities that are commonly touted as the "next silicon valley":

- Berlin

- Toronto-Waterloo

- London

- Vancouver

- Shenzhen

- Chicago

Not OP, but some thoughts on these cities:

Berlin - startup capital of Europe. Strong education system, low cost of living, dev salaries are held down by immigration from, and proximity to, Eastern Europe. Possible synergy with German automotive and manufacturing industries.

Shenzhen: global manufacturing hub, access to Chinese-speaking World. Major support from Chinese government. Possible synergy with supply chain, manufacturing, and logistics.

London: English speaking, global financial capital. Drawbacks include immigration questions and small population.

Toronto seems to be based largely on proximity to the US with a better healthcare and immigration system, plus the university of Waterloo.

Not sure what the obvious rationale would be for Vancouver or Chicago.

small population?

It has a smaller metro population than Shenzen, LA, etc. It's a big city, but a small gigacity.

Lots of cities that are expensive compared to tech wages and others that are financially conservative.

Why do people think they will be the next SV?

Maybe Chicago could be a contender?

I think the closest contender isn't on this list because there's no need to fluff it up on a regular basis - New York. They don't need to keep telling themselves they'll be the next silicon valley.

I have read plenty of articles about New York overtaking Silicon Valley.

How could you forget Ottawa? It was Silicon Valley North for years before Waterloo or Toronto even were on the map.

Because it never recovered from the 2001 crash. Nortel is gone. Corel moved it's HQ overseas. The Adobe offices in Ottawa were having major layoffs in 2012.

Shopify came out of Ottawa, but it's the only one. A Rails dev in Ottawa is usually either working for Shopify or is unemployed.

This sort of arrogance only hurts you.

What's "arrogant" about it?

I see more fluff pieces about Toronto-Waterloo than actual companies coming out of them.


The startup scene here in Vancouver is scrappy but really shouldn't be compared to SV in any way, it's just not a fair comparison.

We are, however, woefully under-represented with experienced seed stage investors, as the author states. The few that are here have abandoned seed and pre seed and are exclusively VC, mid to late round investors. Can't blame them, either, as the wins are still few and far between.

Vancity seems to excel at bridging H1B visas for large firms hoping to cycle them into the US once they've cleared. Candidates get here easier and quicker.

We're also a cost effective labour farm, and our devs are happy for the work to help pay for their ridiculous mortgages.

Great city to live in, worst city to fundraise, good place to launch and validate, and really nice for avoiding the noise.

We'll see a unicorn or two in the coming years. They'll just go a much different path than the typical SV startup.

The word is out in the last few years though with any young developer googling Vancouver. Low pay, high cost of living not worth it. Even the founder of Hootsuite wrote an op-ed and the situation is only worse since the 2 years ago he wrote that. Something that pays 125,000USD in SF pays like 78,000CAD here. Condo's are $1000/sqft still.

> Condo's are $1000/sqft still.

In the suburbs maybe.

Presales downtown are at $2k/sqft.

Sometimes I fantasize about winning the lottery and go browse condos to see what I could buy.....$5M downtown gets you something completely unimpressive, it's really hard to fathom.

It's not just money. You need the backing of movers and shakers who know doors to knock, open, and barge through.

Absolutely. See this a lot more in Waterloo/Toronto for sure.

Just had a convo with a NYC venture friend who was raised here in Vancity and his quote was revealing. He said the stink of the VSE resource pump and dump era is still prevalent.

I've been approached by 3 different groups trying to list us pre launch here in town. When that's the culture of the investment scene, it's tough to make anything great.

What is "VSE resource pump and dump"?

VSE = Vancouver Stock Exchange. Pump and dump is a market timing strategy where you ride an inconsequential stock's rise over a relatively short time and then sell. I have no idea how that relates to parent's last sentence.

In the 1980s and 1990s the Vancouver Stock Exchange was notorious for fraud, and Vancouver was known as the "scam capital of the world."

There's an (accepted) culture of dishonesty in Vancouver, particularly in companies listed on the VSE (TSX-V), including the exchange regulators.

I have no idea how accurate the opinion is that this affects raising funding.

It contributes to the investment culture in the city, despite strong efforts from Wertz and a handful of others to lead a more enlightened approach and build great companies.

It's not the only challenge the city has, there are a myriad of forces at play, and some are positive. Best way to fix it is to get more startups earning more customers and growing locally. Nothing stopping them from doing that, just wont be as fast as SV is all.

Rule of "Silicone Valleys" and "Startup Centers": if it is announced in a press release that a place is becoming one of those things, chances are they won't.

A lot of these press releases come from top down incentives, tax cuts, special programs and such that. The problem is they fail to capture all the reasons and causes a startup center is a startup center.

One thing might help is to start war for example and have the Canadian defense ministry invest heavily in war technologies and hand out cash to develop radars :-) or other such non-obvious things.

So we use our armies to keep peace and to defend ourselves, not to attack. The NRC -- National Research Council -- works with the private sector to productize promising new technologies without invading ^_^

Vancouver: where senior developers would be genuinely lucky to top out at $90k, a single bedroom on a transit line is $800k, a teardown in a distant suburb is $1.5M, and bottom shelf cheese costs $40/lb.

I don't think a startup scene in a city is ever going to really blow up when sticking around in that city is giving up the possibility of building any kind of future for yourself.

Everybody I know who's worth half a damn moved to Seattle.


Toronto: maybe.

Montreal: sure.

The prairies: "Is Fargo the next up-and-coming startup center?"

I grew up in Toronto and have visited Montreal numerous times but only as a tourist.

At any rate I'm very skeptical of the Montreal claims. It is a wonderful place to visit, but all of my Canadian non-native French speaking friends eventually found that their career opportunities were limited and the culture was simply too hostile to non-Quebecois and so they relocated away.

I just want to give my POV on all of this as I have lived in both Vancouver, Toronto, and now in Mountain View.

Everything pointed out in the comments about low pay, and high cost of living in Vancouver is true. However, let's look of it from another angle. If you were a young college grad with options, wouldn't you want to go to sunny California? Not only is it an adventure, there's better night life, better sports teams, the glory of the valley, and on top of that, higher pay. It's really a no brainer for some.

Toronto is definitely a better environment and I can see it blossoming more and more. I know a couple of Founders there and they love it. I would go there myself in the future, except for family ties in the west coast.

Just my 2 cents.

I've also been to Mountain View. As a young college grad I would like to live in a CITY, not a sprawling suburban nightmare where half of my day would be stuck in traffic.

The higher pay is the ONLY reason to move to Silicon Valley. It has nothing on Vancouver or Toronto in terms of night life, food, or fun for a college-educated professional.

So why not NYC? More of a city and better wages for devs than either Vancouver or Toronto.

Agreed. NYC is the best choice.

Also lower chance of suicidal depression from 8 months per year of gloomy grey skies and rain.

-20 degree winters will do that to you if rain doesn't

What bothers me about these articles is that they lay out all these reasons for why a place will be great, or is a great place to start a company, but then why -- in spite of these assets -- does that place not produce like Silicon Valley?

I am not saying Toronto is not a great city to live and work and start a business.

But if it has all these things going for it, why isn't it producing startup value per capita like SV? Doesn't this show that these things are not enough for a startup scene? Or, to put it another way, having startups is not essential for a great city.

You are assuming there is no political influence here. Unfortunately there it's a major component and it mostly comes from the investors who are currently primarily US based.

First they will tell you it's impossible to succeed without them. Very aggressively so. Then, if you sign on, they will tell you that you can't succeed unless you move to Silicon Valley. They'll connect you with dozens of experienced people all chanting the same mantra. Eventually most people succumb to it.

But it not scientific. It's not "proof" of any sort. It's simply a very well funded agenda to keep Silicon Valley as the king of innovation. I don't blame them, it's a good strategy, but it's also one very rarely discussed or even recognized.

I think there are a number of factors here, and I don't think social factors should be ruled out.

There are a number of startups here, but there are also many community/social innovation hubs[1] and organizations that draw in a lot of people who come here to start something up.

The number of jobs I have seen posted for the "Next Flipp!" the "Next Uber!!!" is outstanding. How many flyer-aggregate apps do people really need? There's an odd lack of creative capital in business for a city that prides itself on the arts.

I think some of that is due to social pressures. Many in the arts here, at least the people who would need the money, seem to think earning any real money is evil unless you earned your $10.50 an hour working on the line in a diner kitchen. As if a financially successful business is inherently a corrupt business.

Other organizations like Enterprise Toronto[2] seem like great ideas to bolster people in theory, but (speaking only from my experience) it seems to attract people who want to only run their quaint one-man dev-designer gig with enough money to do what they want, and all the free time to do it. Sounds kind of nice, but the city is flooded with people who have the same dream. (Maybe there's more space for it these days, and maybe I should get in on it).

Your last paragraph raises very good questions, and the answers are probably too many: the best talent goes to California/New York/Boston(/Waterloo?), or otherwise the best talent here doesn't get into business but stays in academics. Some of the highest capital here seems to be made through selling to American companies.[3] Then of course the social factors I mentioned: it might just be that the dream is a little different for a lot of people who come here. They didn't necessarily come to strike it big with a company, but more for the culture of the place. Like you put it: having startups is not essential for a great city.

[1] https://socialinnovation.org/ [2] http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=0323... [3] https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/why-is-canadian-m...

edit: I should add the obligatory MaRS is an awesome resource comment. https://www.marsdd.com/

Actually, MaRS has been not at all useful in my experience. Additionally, Toronto is home to a lot of great startups, though many are a bit smaller than the giants, but some are giants. Shopify and 500px are good examples. Smaller examples are AgileBits who make 1password and PagerDuty. There are more too, in enterprise, legal, you won't have heard of these as the aren't consumer facing.

MaRS seems to be much bigger in science and medical startups, and unless you look for what they've been supporting it's like you mentioned most won't have heard of them because they aren't consumer facing. I think I mentioned elsewhere -- Shopify and 500px (I've applied there and failed lol) are some of the unicorns here. Good companies with good products and good talent. I'll have to check out AgileBits.

I work for a company that sometimes deals with other smaller startups but they can be fleeting in lifespan.

I would love to find something viable to join in on vs. the enterprise environment I find myself in now. Though I honestly haven't had my ear to the ground as much lately.

As far as Toronto is concerned, nobody grows to the size of a multi-national juggernaut. Everyone takes the buyout/merger/acquisition way before that ever happens. It's often been said, what major multi-national corporation has their headquarters here? Reuters is the only one and they are technically headquartered in New York now.

The companies that get that far will typically come out of other places where they aren't stifled by the conservative VCs/angels eager for an exit like they are in Toronto.

Brookfield is another.

Does TD count?

No, I don't think any of the big Canadian banks would or should count.

Mind you this is by the same author who wrote : "The Netherlands: A Look At The World’s High-Tech Startup Capital" and half a dozen similar pieces. Often cringeworthy PR fluff written in tourist brochure style.

I saw a poster in my business school building (in the midwest) about "Silicon Plains." Honestly, it'd be so cool if there really were more tech hubs, but the degree of wishful thinking can be almost painful.

I'm not suggesting by this that Vancouver isn't an up-and-coming startup center. Just commenting on the extreme desire I see all around to be like SV.

This article reads like someone who doesn't give 2 shits about Canada decided to crack open wikipedia.

> but many countries of similar stature — G7 nations, for example — dismiss the Great White North as nothing more than America’s top hat

Canada is one of the G7 nations. Or did you mean the other 6 don't care about Canada?

Can you please just not bother writing about my country anymore.

" Similarly, sub-zero temperatures scare people to warmer areas, leading to a brain drain and serious demand for startup-orientated marketers."

Living in one of the cities, sub-zero might have an impact but I don't think it's the brain drain main reason. For aspiring founder, I think it's more related to insufficient founding. For engineers, I think the very low salaries is more to blame. Even if cost of living is a bit lower, the difference makes no sense at all.

For aspiring founder, it's both the lack of funding and the lack of enormously abundant talent.

The Bay Area is strange in that well-funded startups can actually hire top talent at below-market rates because quite frankly a ton of these ex-Googlers really have more money than they know what to do with. They just want a new adventure.

It's hard to do a proper comparison of costs unless you're young and single. Consider medical costs (usually, but not always covered by your US employer), and family-related costs (school for kids is the biggest I can think of: private schools and private universities being more expensive in the US).

What's sad is that Canada has a very good public school system all the way from Kindergarten to University. Combined with the lower costs (i.e. free K-12 for these good schools unlike Americans sending kids to private schools) and reduced stress on children due to lack of a standardized university entrance exam, Canada SHOULD be a place where people want to have families.

That being said, I'm a product of the public schooling system in Scarborough/Markham. Which could possibly have the best free public schools in North America.

Same here ! I think we might be from the same school. I grew up my highschool in Scarborough.

Markham yes .. but Scarborough having the best schools?? Which one? George S Henry in North York was pretty awesome.

Agincourt, oldest :-)

I know few Campbell guys

Agincourt grad here.

The salaries in Toronto in particular are quite low in comparison to other places. Especially in larger companies that don't have technology as a focus, but as a requirement.

A lot of places pay easily ~ 60% to 80% of market average, and ~ 30% to 60% of market peak.

With any student loans that puts you at paycheck to paycheck if you want to rent an apartment, take transit, eat healthy, wear new clothing, get a decent haircut regularly, buy a computer/parts/software once in a while, and socialize. I'm not saying one needs all of these all of the time, but it's a typical adult lifestyle to do so.

You mean people who have lived with that weather all their lives aren't moving to another country (will all the associated pain) just to avoid it?

But that theory made so much sense!

I'm surprised to see how little funding/support there is specifically from Alberta[1], given the oil/gas wealth and the general awareness (going back decades) that they need to diversify their economy.

1 - https://www.mentorworks.ca/what-we-offer/government-funding/

Interestingly in AB the investor community is adverse to tech. Because they've had few successes, don't understand it, and have plenty of opportunity to invest in what they do understand (energy).

Some quick googling and there appear to be many more Alberta government business funding programs:


That's probably the case for other Provinces too.

Alberta used to be the best province regarding the behaviour of government, and this was one of the great things. The provincial taxes are fairly low, and until the most recent regime change none of the cities had municipal debt.

I would take lower taxes over a grant most days.

How do taxes play a role for a startup that defers profit for growth? Taxes won't be a factor until you've succeeded.

Or is it that your experience with grants are that negative that you value them so poorly?

Grants are dangerous for society, because they encourage private businesses to cooperate with current-term politics, and they take money out of the market. Last year, our federal government gave nearly $400mm to one company expecting the creation of just 1300 jobs. There are federal tax incentives for any company that does essentially anything novel (SRED) and that somewhat works, since acceptance is only conditional on meeting the criteria. Grants are preferential.

This article looks like a fluff piece that is pretty thin on actual research.

They talk about how great MaRS is and how much revenue it has generated... but in reality MaRS has been an issue and has had hundreds of millions in bailout money.

This sounds like the typical Silicon-everywhere story. Any big developed country now has a "start up scene", and rightly so. Otherwise they wouldn't be developed. Relatively speaking, all of them are up and coming, as they're all catching up with the original silicon valley.

The only notable and interesting stories are when the articles compare absolute investment amounts, tech GDP growth, IPOs, open tech jobs or other real measurable comparisons. This seems to be lacking any of these deeper comparison to actually non-trivially show how this area is really the "up-and-coming startup center" of North America.

Favorite quote:

Vancouver is found in British Columbia (BC), amongst the Rocky Mountains on Canada’s west coast.

Yah. Excellent.

Most people have it mixed up. They're usually referring to the Coast Mountains/Cascade Range which is located directly east of Vancouver (can be seen on a clear day).

The actual Rocky Mountains are much more east at the BC/AB border.

*edit, added Coast Mountains

To be fair, there are mountains and they're pretty rocky :-)

Totally fair.

And speaking of rocks, the hike up the Yosemite Half Dome, just an hour by car from downtown Vancouver is really nice.


Somebody get these two a map.

I speak as a founder of an AI company in Vancouver Canada and ran it there for ~1 year - we relocated to US for fundraising and that's another story - but here is my sense for salaries:

* AI/ML Scientists (UBC, SFU) , Typically MS/PhD: C$85K-125K

* Web developers: ranges from 60K (mediocre) to 110K (very good), the exceptional are nearly impossible to find.

* Database/Backend : C$80K-100K for the good to very good talent.

I would expect Toronto to have similar salary ranges, Waterloo and Montreal might be a bit lower.

Montreal is way lower. But then again rent here is significantly less than Vancouver/Toronto.

SV used to be a cheap place to live and this helped the startup scene grow into what it is today. Now it's (more or less) self sustaining.

It enabled a lot of risk taking.

I don't think you could call any major Canadian city cheap.

So how does it build up an ecosystem? Maybe if all the VCs etc get chased out of the US?

Seems like Conrad is doing the equivalent of one of those $YOUR_CITY voted best place to live 2017 articles, but instead for entire countries, and specifically for startups.

Not saying he's necessarily wrong about any of this though, I wouldn't know.


An obscure bylaw in the TechCrunch corporate charter mandates them to publish a 'why <some place that will never be the next Silicon Valley> is the next Silicon Valley' article every two months. Rumor has it that in the bottom desk of the editor's drawer is a jar of used blood from the last time vampire Thiel had a hemocyte change and a dart has its tip wetted with this foul ichor before being thrown across the room at a large map. Whoever does not turn away from viewing the ritual fast enough is assigned the story.

So basically because the cost of living in San Francisco is scary, everyone is looking for the next start-up center and assuming it will be somewhere outside the United States. But there are many other cheap places to live in the US, much cheaper than Canada. I guess the current political climate in the US could be a driving factor.

There is no huge difference in tech jobs salaries between US and Canada. You can easliy spot it on the salary map: https://jobsquery.it/map;bounds=%7B%22south%22%3A46.23432130...

But there is a significant difference in the number of job offers:

USA: ~5000 https://jobsquery.it/jobs;page=1;tags=;sortBy=PUBLISHED_AT_D...


CANADA: ~100 https://jobsquery.it/jobs;page=1;tags=;sortBy=PUBLISHED_AT_D...

Canada is a better place to live but due to the low population, culture (less consumerism/socialist mentality) you are not going to generate outsized returns from pure capitalism.

> Many household names, such as Slack, Hootsuite and Shopify — which may be mistakenly considered as U.S. products — hail from north of the border.

They are Delaware corporations, aren't they?

Not essentially, everyone registers as Delaware for tax benefits. So did we but we're situated in Toronto.

Also you could be sarcastic, hard to tell.

This headline is funny. North America is only three countries. One is already its startup center which leaves only Mexico or Canada or both as its up and coming center.

Canada is North America's shameful violence against seals for furs center. Oh, and Waterloo is a good school.

The title is really foolish - so out of the two countries in north america, the first one actually being the startup center canada is aspiring to (according to the title) canada is up and coming.

Also, shocking news - I use my left hand the second most often of all my hands.

A better, and overused, title would be "Canada is poised to be the next startup center" or something.

Meh. The weather is already too cold for me in the Northern US.

Actually, the weather in Vancouver and Seattle are not bad as they have the Pineapple Express. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pineapple_Express

"Pinapple Express" is an ironic term for what is, in fact, days of shitty weather. There are waves of heavy rain. The air might not be that cold, but you will be if you're soaked.

"Shitty" is subjective. The fact is, the Pineapple Express brings warmer, tropical-esque temperatures. I grew up in Vancouver and didn't move away till I was 18. I've always thought the rainy weather was nice and didn't think too much about it. That's just me...haha :D

Pineapple express weather is good for people who walk to their cars with an umbrella. 11 degrees C in January indisputably beats being in some snow blizzard in northern Ontario. Look how much better off we are than those suckers, ha ha!

11 degree water, on the other hand, is like out of the cold water tap. Not so great for outdoor activity. Add to that the windchill factor if you're running or cycling.

Clear, sunny weather and -3 degrees is better than pouring rain and 11 degrees.

Staying warm isn't much of an issue for outdoor activity. It's not hard to achieve: an extra layer, some head gear and gloves; being dry is more important.

Is Waterloo or Toronto better for starting a tech startup?

I'd say Waterloo, getting office rentals are cheaper and overall living costs are cheaper in Waterloo. You also get access to UW and Velocity (shout-out to Jay Shah!).

Toronto has MARS and DMZ and 111 Richmond are a few places to start off. I'd rather take Waterloo over that any day. The real-estate in Toronto is just insane.

Neither Toronto nor Waterloo has the VC's of Sand Hill Road, so if you're on the fund raising track, Waterloo being an hour away makes no difference.

So yea, I'd still opt for Waterloo, just my opinion, others will likely disagree.

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