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Canadian work permits are difficult to obtain because employment opportunities go first to Canadians. In most cases, you'll need to take a validated job offer from a specific employer to a Canadian consulate or embassy abroad.

Each year, the Canadian Working Holiday Program offers a limited number of one-year visas to Australians (A$165) and New Zealanders (NZ$180) between the ages of 18 and 30. Competition is stiff - apply early. Application forms are available through Sydney's Canadian Consulate General (02-9364-3082; www.whpcanada.org.au; L5, 111 Harrington St, Sydney) or New Zealand's Canadian High Commission (04-473-9577; www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/asia/whp; PO Box 8047, Wellington).

Student Work Abroad Program (SWAP) facilitates additional working holidays for students and those under 30 (sometimes 35). Participants come from nearly 20 countries, including Australia, France, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. Ask SWAP Canada (www.swap.ca) or Travel CUTS about which student travel agency to contact in your own country for further details.


Despite cries of 'Buy Canadian!, ' foreign companies can generally make a buck or two in Toronto. As Canada's convention and trade show epicentre, Toronto hosts over 100 events annually at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and Exhibition Place. Tourism Toronto readily assists business travelers and offers corporate incentives.

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Normal business hours are 9am to 5pm weekdays. Some postal outlets may stay open later and on weekends. Banks usually keep shorter hours, but close later on Friday; certain branches are open Saturday morning.

Typical retail shopping hours are 10am to 6pm Monday to Saturday, noon to 5pm on Sunday (although some shops are closed on Sunday). Shopping malls often stay open later, particularly on Thursday night.

Restaurants are usually open for lunch on weekdays from 11:30am until 2:30pm and serve dinner from 5pm until 9:30pm daily, later on weekends. If they take a day off, it's Monday. Breakfast venues are on the increase; weekend brunch is the flavor of the month (if not the decade).

Bars usually open late afternoon (around 4pm), but some unlock their doors around noon. Clubs usually open in the evening around 9pm, but most don't start pumping before 11pm. Bars serve liquor until 2am; dance clubs often stay open until 4am.

Pharmacies, 24-hour supermarkets or convenience stores are a dime-a-dozen. Tourist attractions generally keep longer hours during summer; some close during winter.

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Check out the Tourism Toronto website for business services, including translation, secretarial and equipment rental. Kinko's offers an impressive range of services, from internet to color printing and Fed Ex drop-offs. Mail Boxes Etc offers UPS courier services.

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