About Marmite to Maple

So, in September 2010 I did something that many (myself included) would call life-changing.

With one click of a laptop mouse pad I’d booked a flight to Vancouver, leaving London Heathrow on January 11th2011.  One further click uploaded my travel insurance details, and a third and final click opened an email confirming that my one year Working Holiday Visa will be waiting for me when I arrive on the other side of the pond in little under four months.

I didn’t what job I was going to do, where I was going to live, or whether I would to make any friends.  I convinced my boyfriend to come along for the ride, and he wasn’t sure what was going to happen either.

The first thing I felt after submitting my details to BUNAC was relief (from breaking out of the ‘will-I-won’t-I’ debate that’s been going on in my head for over a year) followed almost immediately by a combination of fear, concern and uncertainty, epitomised by the ever-foreboding ‘What if?’.  What if I can’t find anywhere to live? What if I come back to the UK and the recession has got worse? What if I don’t like maple syrup?

It turns out I didn’t need to be so worried. My initial return date was set for August 2011, but I extended this to the end of December to go home for Christmas.  I found a fantastic job, a great place to live and made some wonderful friends. I’m not planning on moving back to the UK any time soon, and I love maple syrup. I enjoyed my first year so much that I applied for a second, and a third IEC visa, and am in the process of applying for Permanent Residency.

Knowing what I do now, my what-ifs started to meander down a different route. What if I there was a way I could keep my friends and family up to date with how it’s going, both in the UK and in the City of Glass?  What if I could let other working holiday makers know how to get started, and what happens when you get off the plane at the other side?  What if I could offer hints, tips and advice based on my experiences in Vancouver?

It turns out that some what-ifs are easier to answer than others (particularly in the age of the internet), and Marmite to Maple was born.   I hope you find this blog interesting, informative, and dare I say inspiring, whilst I find out the answers to the rest.  BC here I am!

23 responses to “About Marmite to Maple”

  1. Halle says :

    Hey miss Lizzie!

    I’m loving your blog and think what you’re doing is absolutely amazing. I just thought I would let you know! 😀

    Good luck with everything, and if you need anything, let me know xxxx

  2. thebettylife says :

    Your blog is so inspiring! Congrats on making your dream happen. All the best with your Canadian adventure xxx

  3. gmalyn says :

    Brilliant Blog! I’ve applied, through BUNAC, to work at a Summer Camp over my uni break, just waiting to see if I get placed now, I really hope I do!! Are you doing this through BUNAC, with them finding your job and accommodation, or have you just booked flights with them and then are trying to find a job out there?
    Hope it all goes well!

    • marmitetomaple says :

      Hi, congrats on applying for the Summer Camp program and good luck with getting placed! I’m in Vancouver at the moment (I’ve been here about 6 weeks now) and I booked through BUNAC and came on the group flight. BUNAC don’t offer job and accommodation help for Work Canada, just the flights, but they organised our first night in a hostel and I sorted the rest out from there. I managed to get an apartment before I got here, and managed to get some career work within a few weeks as well. I definitely recommend it!! 🙂

      • gmalyn says :

        Oh wow, that really is brave! ***Clicks Subscribe*** Haha, I hope you have an amazing time, hopefully I shall be writing about BUNAC flights at some point to!

  4. Tinkerbelle says :

    great blog i wish i could bring myself to do the same 🙂

  5. Ewa says :

    Really enjoy your blog 🙂 Got my visa and aiming to fly to Vancouver in January!! Apart from The Sensible Girl’s Guide to Emigrating Elegantly what guide books would you recommend I snick my nose into??

    • marmitetomaple says :

      Hi Ewa, thanks for the comment! Congratulations on deciding to move to Vancouver, you won’t regret it! 🙂 I’m a bit of a bookworm so I read a lot of guide books about the area. There are some great ‘Vancouver: A Resident’s Guide’ books out there which I really love! I found that a lot of the books on immigration etc. were often out of date as soon as they were published, so for that kind of info I stuck to the internet. I hope that helps 🙂

  6. Ewa says :


  7. joehoover says :

    I’m glad I stumbled upon your blog as I am planning a move from London to Vancouver later this year, I’ve caught up on a few of your old posts and I like what started as a working holiday has progressed to something much more. My partner is transferring through work so I get to tag on the visa which sounds a lot simpler as they organise all that. But just trying to sort out sending my cat and getting on board with accommodation is enough to keep me busy. I’ve never been there before but reading people’s blogs helps form a picture of the city.

    • marmitetomaple says :

      Hi Joe, thanks for your comment and for reading my blog! I will admit to being more than a little jealous of your visa situation, it definitely makes things much easier! Though I didn’t have any lets to bring out with me which I’m sure isn’t easy to organize. Vancouver is an amazing city and I’m so glad I came out here! Best of luck with the move 🙂

  8. thereandreluctantlybackagain says :

    Hi there, I just stumbled across your blog and wanted to say that I love the name! I know that’s a bit of a random comment, but it made me laugh. Looking forward to reading about your experiences of Vancouver 🙂

  9. Else says :

    Thanks for the good tips on boarder crossing to the the US in order to activate the IEC visa… Got my visa approved yesterday! Heading to BC myself shortly with my Sask boyfriend. Congrats on your perm residency 🙂

  10. Jennifer says :

    Hello Lizzie,

    I was recommended to have a look at your blog by a friend and I wanted to drop you a line. First of all to say well done on your Canadian experience and thank you for sharing it with the world.
    And second of all, in the hope that you could give me some advice (in addition to what I already found on your blog.)

    I’m waiting for the work holiday visa to open (I’m a French citizen) and after living in Ireland and London, I want to move to Vancouver. I also work in the charity sector so I thought I could contact you.

    If you have some time please drop me a line at lerus_205@hotmail.com, I would love to discuss with you!

    Have a beautiful day in Beautiful British Columbia!


  11. Gemma says :

    Hi Lizzie,

    I’m creating a ‘Working Holiday in Canada’ e-book and I’m going to include a short section about people’s own experiences on their trip. Would involve answering maybe 5 questions about things like ‘Why Canada’ and ‘what was the best part of your working holiday in Canada’ I’d love to hear from you – I read your blog way back before I moved over for my own working holiday in late 2011.


  12. MarmitetoMaple says :

    Hi Gemma, wow, it sounds like a great project and an interesting resource! Thanks for thinking of me, I’d love to help! I’ll shoot you an email with my contact info 🙂

  13. Myra Rodrigues says :

    Hi Lizzy, I’ve read your “How to activate your Canadian work permit” post. I’m dealing with something similar. Is it possible for me to send you an email? Thanks! Myra.

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