Moving to Dubai from Toronto 

If you’re thinking about moving to Dubai from Toronto, you probably know that you’ll be facing a lot of changes. This type of relocation will be very difficult, and you have to prepare for it. After all, you’re not moving to the house next door, but to an entirely different continent. While moving to Dubai may sound great, there are still a lot of things that you need to consider before you make such a huge decision.

Get ready for some heat

While Toronto is a Canadian city that has four distinctive seasons, the heat in the hottest summer day can’t be compared to the warm afternoon in Dubai. As a matter of fact, few places in the world can.
No matter how much you love the summer and the sun – nothing can prepare you for the climate in the Emirates.
Dubai looks astonishing, with amazing architectural wonders, infrastructure, beautiful beaches, and artificial rivers. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that is built in the middle of the desert.
When temperature during the winter day drops below 20 degrees Celsius, that’s the coldest that you can expect.
As a Canadian, adjusting to the desert climate maybe will be the biggest challenge for you. Still, while hard, it isn’t impossible. Although the summer temperatures in Dubai goes over 50 degrees, that doesn’t mean that is unbearable. The whole city is equipped with air condition. The metro and bus stops are pleasantly cool and connected to the major malls and surrounding buildings. Public garage and all the facilities have cooling systems that work non-stop.
Since all the city is artificially cooled off during the hot months, it makes easier for newcomers to adapt to the new climate conditions after moving to Dubai.

Eternal summer sounds fun, but constantly high temperatures can be a big disadvantage.

Cultural differences

Due to a great education and a very diverse living environment, most Canadians know what to expect when moving to Dubai. It’s logical that you will do extensive research before you make such a big step. Still, reading about some culture is totally different than experiencing it first hand. In the end, any international relocation has pros and cons. It’s up to you to find out can you adapt to Dubai before you even move there.
Here are some things that you should know about local culture in Dubai.


The official religion of the UAE is Islam. As an expat, that will only affect your work week since the weekend days are Friday and Saturday, and most of the official public holidays are based on the Islamic calendar. On the contrary to most of the Middle East countries, Dubai has big tolerance and respect for all religions.


The Arabic language is very difficult to learn. It takes a lot of time for foreigners to learn this language. In the end, it isn’t necessary to learn it all. English is totally sufficient since the expats are the majority of the population. Still, if you learn a few greetings on Arabic, it will impress the locals and help you to meet new friends after the move.


On the contrary to popular belief, no one will take offense if you wear a short dress or shorts in your free time. Still, it will create a wrong image of you if you wear that kind of clothing in your workplace or when visiting public facilities. Like in any other country, for that matter.

Beach in Dubai - just one of the perks of moving to Dubai
While you can freely sunbathe in the bikini, you should only wear it to the beach.

Taking photos

Never snap a photo of people without their permission in Dubai. Especially the photos of women and children, mosques or military facilities. Not only that is rude, but it can also get you in trouble.

Public displays of affection

Expressing affection in the public doesn’t fit with local customs and culture. Even between spouses. Still, a gentle and short kiss on the lips never put anyone in jail. Also, hand holding is acceptable. Making out in the booth of the coffee shop however is indecent in every culture, but here it can end up with imprisonment if someone reports you to authorities.

Couple kissing
Restrain yourself from smooching in public.


Laws against drugs are very strict in Dubai. Even the smallest amount of illegal substance can cost you deportation or even long jail time.

Things to know before moving to Dubai

Before you start to plan your long distance move, take a look at some things that you may don’t know about Dubai.

  • Residents – If you think that Canada is a diverse country, you may change your opinion after moving to Dubai. Only about 20% of the total population in all the UAE are the real locals. All the rests are the immigrants from the neighboring Arab countries, Europe and North America.
  • Citizenship – UAE has very strict laws about citizenship. In fact, only people with pure Emirate heritage can enjoy the benefits of total citizenship. It is impossible for any foreigner to have the UAE passport, no matter how long it lives in the country. At best, you can get second rate passport that allows you some of the state privileges, like health insurance.
  • Healthcare – Speaking of healthcare, it is a big strike to the Canadians. Healthcare in this country is free only for locals.
  • Taxes – One of the biggest reason why many expats are moving to Dubai is that it’s a largely a tax-free country. You can forget about income taxes and property taxes. If you are thinking about moving for a job to Dubai than this is a big perk.
  • No-alcohol law – There are many myths about the laws in Dubai. One of the most popular is the no-alcohol law. While there are some restrictions, it’s far from the true that Dubai is the city free of alcohol drinks. While there are some restrictions for locals, that doesn’t apply to foreigners. However, in order to enjoy a cocktail on the beach, you do need to get an alcohol permit, which is very easy.