Archive for December, 2008

container-furniture-montrealWhen you move to Montréal you probably want to bring your personal items with you.Unless you’re coming from continental North America, your possessions will be coming by boat.


The first big question you need to ask yourself is: do I sell or do I ship? When you get a quote for your shipment, which will be around about €9000 / £6000 for a family-sized house you will ask yourself this question. So of course, sell and buy new! Stop though, second hand furniture is hard to sell and isn’t very valuable – yet new furniture can be very expensive.


Hence, when you add up the replacement value of your furniture, electrical goods, books and clothes, you’ll find that it is several times that of the cost of shipping your container.


How do you find a shipping company? Ask around or look in yellow pages for specialists in international residential shipping. Generally, try to avoid companies specialising in office moving because they don’t have the expertise in packing odd shaped home furniture and are likely to charge you more. Remember though the golden rule: shop around as prices can vary a lot.


Once your container arrives in Montréal it’s more than likely that Customs will inspect it. Montréal port authorities like to go through residential containers. The cost of the inspection will probably be around $600 but could be as much as $2000 so make sure you budget for the worst.


After the customs inspection you will need to go to the SAQ* to declare your alcohol. Unopened spirits bottles are NOT taxable. Open all of your spirits bottles before putting them in the container and empty out an inch. This will save you around $7 a bottle. Wine costs around $6 a bottle. For the SAQ you will need:

– a copy of your manifest (supplied by your Canadian Removals Company)

– your Permanent Resident or Temporary Work Permit card

– your B4 form you received from customs when you landed

– a copy of your goods to follow list


Once you’ve been to the SAQ you need to telephone Canada customs* for a meeting, and go down to the customs hall just before the alloted time. At this point, they will take your well prepared goods to follow list and determine how much extra you have to pay for your alcohol. You will need:

– a copy of your manifest

– your Permanent Resident or Temporary Work Permit card

– your B4 form you received from customs when you landed

– a copy of your goods to follow list


Apparently the British are very good at preparing goods to follow lists – this is effectively just a list of what’s in your boxes, on a high level, and the approximate value. For your spirits it’s worthwhile noting them individually as Canada Customs will ask what they are  and what their strength is in order to charge you appropriately.


Once finished, Canada Customs will give you a stamped copy of your manifest and you take this to your removals company who can then organise your move. If your container has been examined, ask your removals company to double check that it has been blocked before they move it. Blocking is placing wood barriers in the container to stop your belongings from shifting (and breaking) during transit.


It’s worthwhile double checking with the company you contracted with in your original country and the one in Canada to make sure that the Canadian end will respect the terms of the contract you have. We were surprised to discover that our Canadian removals company would not rebuild the furniture that the Belgians dismantled. After a lot of wasted time the Belgian company agreed to pay to have everything put back together, but it’s a lot of messing around when all you really want is to have your boxes unpacked!







H1N 3W5

TEL: 514-254-2020

Open: 8.30am until 4pm


*Canada Customs




H2Y 2C2

TEL: 514-350-6142

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This week we had our first major snow fall of the season here in Montréal. First it snowed, then it rained and then it snowed again. The rain turned to ice, so you have tree branches incased in ice and on the ground a layer of snow, ice and then more snow.

Here are some photographs:

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