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Kim Kuchenbecker and Adam Volker are an American couple who have recently moved to Montreal from Dallas, Texas.

Kim is a freelance animation concept artist, as well as an illustrator of children’s books, while Adam works as a creative director at a Montreal-based gaming studio. We recently spoke with Kim and Adam about their move to Montreal and what life is like for Americans in Canada.

Moving2Canada (M2C): Hi guys, and thanks for taking the time to speak with us. First of all, have you lived in any other country, other than the US before moving to Montreal?

Kim Kuchenbecker (KK): We have only lived in the United States up until relocating to Montreal.

M2C:  OK, Could you tell me why you decided to move to Montreal?

Adam Volker (AV): It was time for our company to grow. There is an established gaming industry here in Montreal, and our company was looking to be a part of it. We came because the timing made sense for us to open up a shop inside their offices.

M2C: So, would you agree with the perception that Montreal is a hub for visual effects and gaming right now?

AV: For sure, Montreal’s film/gaming/VFX community is healthy and large! We felt like putting roots down here would allow us access to talent and the culture that already existed.

M2C: What type of work-life balance have you experienced in Montreal?

AV: I’m part of a small team, and we make our own hours. However, we work a lot, and often when I’m at home I’m still drawing stuff for work. In Montreal though, there is so much to do and see and eat!! We feel like we get to do a lot of things around the city that inspire us to keep creating.

KK: I work from home and it’s so nice to just walk outside to a coffee shop, everything is so close by. We live by the canal and I love to go there to reflect and collect my thoughts when I’m trying to figure out a design or if I just need a break. It’s much easier to take advantage of restaurants and bars because everything is so accessible. We love hiking up Mont Royal as well.

Montreal's downtown core at dusk | Montreal
The views of downtown Montreal at dusk are best viewed from Mont Royal.

M2C: What, if any, are the major work and life differences in Canada versus the USA?

AV: The workplaces seem very similar, there are company functions, and production schedules, and weekly routines. From my observation of the larger entity, it seems pretty similar.

KK: There are so many community activities here and free festivals to attend. I’m sure every city in the US is different, but Montreal does seem to offer more opportunities to participate than other cities I’ve lived in.

M2C: Which Canadian immigration program did you apply to? Did you find the process tricky?

AV: My wife and I are here on NAFTA work permits, the application process was a breeze. We found everything to be very straightforward and clear.

Adam Volker and Kim Kuchenbecker
Kim Kuchenbecker and Adam Volker

M2C: Was NAFTA one of the deciding factors in your decision to move here?

AV: It wasn’t a deciding factor, it just happened to be the path we chose to go down.

M2C: Are you concerned about recent threats by President Trump to change or cease NAFTA entirely?

AV: We’re not taking anything the President says seriously.

M2C: Did you encounter any issues at the border regarding immigration?

AV: None!

M2C: Did you fly or drive to Montreal from the United States?

KK: We flew.

M2C: Did you have any of your belongings shipped to Canada?If so, what customs did you have to pay?

KK: We shipped some of our furniture, but few of our belongings fit into the taxable categories, so it was very little.

M2C: Did you bring your car with you?

KK: No, we had heard that Montreal has a great transit system and we were eager to try life without a car for a while. So far, it’s been great. The few times we’ve needed a car, we easily rented one and we don’t have to worry about oil changes and car insurance and upkeep during the winter.

M2C: Do you have access to the Canadian healthcare system at present? If so, what are your initial thoughts on it vis-a-vis the US system?

KK: We haven’t had much time to use the system yet, and hopefully we won’t need to use it very often. So far, the system has been pretty smooth. There are some things that aren’t covered by RAM-Q so we do use supplemental insurance through Adam’s work.

M2C: What are your thoughts on the amount of tax you pay in Canada? Is it more or less than you anticipated?

KK: We tried to do our research before we moved up here so that we wouldn’t have any surprises when it came to taxes. The taxes are definitely higher, but there are more services made available so it seems to balance out a bit and we’ve planned accordingly.

M2C: Is the value of the CAD versus the USD a concern for you? Do you feel it is something that many Americans in Canada consider?

KK: It is a concern for us because we are here on temporary Canadian work permits, so unless we gain permanent residency, we’ll be returning to the US in three years and we will have made less here in CAD than we would have made there in USD, especially if CAD devalues. I think it is something Americans in Canada consider. For us, quality of life and the variety of experiences available in Montreal help to make up for that.

M2C: Did you have any pre-arrival concerns about moving to Canada?

AV: There were things we weren’t sure how they were going to pan out, most of them were about banking, or finding a place to live, cellular service, things like that. We knew we would have to learn some French, but we took that on as an exciting challenge.

M2C: What are the three biggest things you miss about life in the United States?

AV: Breakfast tacos, The Alamo Drafthouse, and some of the streaming services we can’t access up here.

M2C: An increasing number of Americans are expressing an interest in moving to Canada from the USA in recent years, why do you think this is the case?

AV: Because America is currently a divided country of angry people. We have a horrible sitting president who is undermining the things our nation stands for and has already set  our culture back decades. I think a lot of Americans who don’t identify with the direction country is headed are looking for somewhere else to live.

KK: The past couple years have been crazy with the current US president. I think that a lot of people are feeling like they don’t have any control and they don’t trust the people who do so they are looking to make a change.

M2C: Finally, what advice would you give to other Americans thinking of moving to Montreal from the USA? 

KK: Do it, we love it. We’ve had a great experience, Montreal is an exciting city with a lot to offer. We’d recommend it to anyone!

M2C: Thanks Kim and Adam, and best of luck in your Canadian journey. Keep in touch!

We would love to hear from people who made the move from the USA to Canada, so get in touch, even if you’re not a US citizen. Contact [email protected] and tell us a little about your move to Canada, and we’ll go from there.

Citation "“Montreal is an exciting city with a lot to offer, we’d recommend it to anyone!”." Moving2Canada. . Copy for Citation