The 5 Best Dating Sites in Canada (What I Learned)

canadian_model_shauna_baker

Canadian Model – Shauna Baker (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Here is the quick list of my top five dating sites in Canada. I’ll go into more detail in my reviews later in this article.

  1. eharmony.ca
  2. Match.ca
  3. Tinder
  4. Plentyoffish.com
  5. OkCupid

If you live in one of the bigger cities such as Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, you’ll be happy to know that any one of those sites/apps above has a large membership base. Having spent a lot of time in Toronto and Vancouver, I’ll tell you that dating sites and apps are incredibly popular in Canada, just as they are in its southern neighbor, the United States. In fact, if you’ve dated in the U.S., the sites and apps that are among the most popular there are also popular in Canada.

What makes a great dating site or app? It needs to have a lot of members, a clean interface, and a decent male-to-female ratio to make it worth your time to sign up.

Like the United States, Canada is a melting pot of cultures and races. You’ll find a lot of hot men and women of all shapes, sizes and colors.

Each of these sites has its own character. Some are better if you’re looking for a long term relationship, and others are more geared towards short term hookups.

couple_in_canada

A Couple in Canada (Banff)

Without further ado, here are my detailed reviews of the top five dating sites in Canada.

1. eharmony.ca

If you’re in Canada, eharmony is the first site I would sign up for. It’s specifically geared towards those looking for serious relationships. If you’re looking for a quick hookup, don’t sign up for this site (do Tinder or OKCupid instead…I’ll discuss these in a bit).

eharmony was founded by Neil Warren, a professional psychologist and accomplished author of 10 books on love and marriage. It has around 33 million members worldwide.

eharmony

eharmony’s design and features are some of the best, and a hefty price-tag comes along with them. If you’re seriously looking for a long-term relationship, one that might lead to marriage, you’d be hard pressed to find a better site than eharmony. I have a few friends that found their spouse on there.

Sign up Process

Sign-up starts out easily enough, with your name, gender, match gender and location. Next, enter your email, password and how you heard about the site. Now for the personality test, which will take you 30-40 minutes to complete.

Most of the questions you answer by choosing on a scale of 1-7. Sections include: how applicable a word or phrase is to you, how often you’ve felt an emotion in the past month, how much skill or passion you have in/for a certain activity and your style and values in a relationship.

After these questions, you write what you’re passionate about and what you’re most grateful for, and wrap things up with your partner preferences and some more basic details like your education, occupation, etc.

Finally, upload a profile photo (optional), and you’re registered. At this point you are only 50% done with your profile however, with many different sections to fill out if you choose, including favorite interests, life skills, and an OkCupid-like question system.

How to Locate Potential Matches

Much like other personality test-driven sites (e.g. EliteDating), eharmony has no typical browse or search features. Once you’ve completed the sign-up process, eharmony will compare your test results with other members’ to find and present you with matches, which can be filtered by age-range and location. You can view your matches’ profiles but not their photos.

How to Communicate with Other Members

eharmony has a basic messaging feature, with only text supported. You can also send Smiles, or work your way up to a standard message with eharmony’s awesome Guided Communication feature, detailed below.

Premium members also gain access to the Secure Call feature, which allows you to call other members with your phone, while keeping your number and information private.

Unique Site Features

eharmony’s most unique and, in my opinion, best feature is the Guided Communication system. This feature helps you break the ice and establish connection in 4 steps:

  1. Quick Questions: Send 5 questions, chosen from 55 options, such as What’s your philosophy on travel? and What’s your opinion of traditional gender roles?. Your match chooses pre-written options as answers and replies with 5 questions of their own.
  2. Makes or Breaks: Share what would make or break a relationship for you. “Make” examples include: sense of humor and affectionate. “Break” examples include: racist and cheating.
  3. Digging Deeper: Ask some of eharmony’s questions (e.g. Describe some personal habits that are important to you) or write your own.
  4. eharmony Mail: The final step is the basic eharmony messaging feature, which you can skip right to if you want.

What is Included in Each Membership Level

  • Free – View your matches’ profiles, access the Book of You personality report
  • Basic – See your matches photos, see who has viewed your profile, send/receive unlimited messages
  • TotalConnect – Access to Secure Call feature, premium Book of You (deeper personality analysis)

2. Match.ca

match_com

Match.ca

Match.ca is the second best online dating site in Canada and is where I would go after eharmony.

Sign up Process

You can sign-up in the blink of an eye. To create your profile, provide your birthday, gender, your match gender, email address, username and password. Once this is done, you’ll be sent to the first page of questions regarding your appearance, personality, interests, lifestyle and what you’re looking for in a match.

There are nine pages of these kinds of questions, but it’s not required that you answer them all upfront. If you want to start browsing the site, go to the top and click on a tab. You will be asked to choose three matches so that Match has an idea of what type of profile you’re interested in.

How to Locate Potential Matches

You are given three different options for finding your ideal match:

  1. Basic search: Have the same birthday as me, today’s their birthday, Perfect matches, Mutual matches and Reverse matches. 
  1. Advanced search: Choose various filters to narrow your search, like location, age, lifestyle choices, and appearance. 
  1. Shuffle: This is a feature like on Tinder where you see random profiles and like or dislike them. When there’s a mutual match, you will receive a notification from Match.

How to Communicate with Other Members

While you’re a free member, you are allowed to browse to your heart’s content, sending out Flirts, but when the urge to actually speak to someone arises, you’ll need to upgrade to a Premium membership and pay the fee.

Once this is done, you can send messages and initiate chats with other members who happen to be online. You can also Favorite the profiles you like. Sadly, Match Canada doesn’t have audio/video features.

Unique Site Features

Match Canada hosts events in the real world for members, which is an amazing feature. To be included, all you do is look for the Events tab located at the top of the web page to view all the listings and be added to the guest list.

These events are categorized as Activities or Evenings.

Activities are fairly busy affairs, such as classes in photography, cooking or mixing cocktails. There are also tours of interesting exhibitions at museums. Evening events are more relaxed gatherings for members, usually for drinks at a pub or bar. Most events are totally free, plus you’re often allowed to bring three friends along, whether they belong to Match.com or not.

What is Included in Each Membership Level

  • Free – Create a profile, upload a photo, search/browse/watch profiles, receive messages, send messages to Connect members, use Shuffle limited
  • Premium – Unrestricted use of Shuffle, see who has visited or favorited you, start live chats and message with anyone, customer support
  • Extras:
    • Incognito Mode – Invisible browsing
    • Boost – Boost your profile, advanced placement in search results, extended communication options

3. Tinder

tinder

Tinder

Probably the best known in its field, Tinder, the “Swipe Right” mobile dating app, makes it quick, easy and fun to get to know other singles in your area. Its casual nature and easy-to-use design has attracted a reported 57 million users across the world. So how exactly does it work?

Sign up Process

Getting started is pretty simple. After downloading the app on any mobile device, creating an account just takes verification through a phone number or a Facebook account.

After that, users can choose up to 9 photos to display along with a short bio. Unlike other online dating services, there is not much emphasis on personal information other than the short bio and the option to include your occupation or university. This makes Tinder uniquely casual, which may not be what some users are looking for.

How to Locate Potential Matches

Users can set their distance preference, showing a range of potential matches between 1 and 100 miles away (which can be changed at any point). Profiles of other users are displayed on the main page of the app.

After clicking through their photos and reading their bios, the user can swipe left if they are not interested, or right if they are. If both parties swipe right then it’s a match!

How to Communicate with Other Members

After a match is made, either person can send the other a message. Messages can only be sent after a match is made and matches can always be removed or reported, ensuring user safety. Tinder lets users spice up any conversation with fun gifs.

Unique App Features

The swipe feature may be the app’s trademark trait, but it is really set apart by the laid-back approach to online dating. Any user can message a match and choose the level of information he or she wants to share.

What is Included in Each Membership Level

The app lets users try some of its premium features, letting them use features once each day. Super-Liking someone not only lets them know the user is extra interested but also shows that the user has swiped right on them.

Upgrading to Tinder Plus increases access to features such as super-like while Tinder Gold grants access to these features and additionally shows users who has liked them before they swipe.

4. Plentyoffish.com

plenty_of_fish_canada

Plenty of Fish

Plenty of Fish started in 2002 and has more than 30 million registered members worldwide, with 3 million active users per day.

Plenty of Fish is a free site and keeps itself afloat with lots of advertising. This might sound great, but it is not. As they say, you get what you pay for.

Because it is free, you will find that you will need to send out tons of messages even to just get one response. I also found that the overall quality of the members on POF was lower than the pay sites I mentioned above.

Sign up for POF when you have completely exhausted the other fine options above.

Sign up Process

To start, enter your username, password, email, gender, birthday, location and ethnicity. Doing this will take you to a new page with a questionnaire to fill out, with questions concerning your basic information, appearance, interests, lifestyle, etc. There are some unique questions sprinkled in as well, such as whether your parents are still together and what child you are (oldest, middle, only, etc.). This section is finished with three text-boxes for you to fill out: Description (of yourself), Interests, and First Date.

Plenty of Fish claims that any sexual language in these boxes will result in your account being deleted, but I saw sample profiles on the front page that flaunted this rule, so I’m not sure how strict they actually are. Next, upload a photo, and you are done.

How to Locate Potential Matches

Plenty of Fish gives you a couple options to find new matches. First there is Meet Me, where you are shown random profiles, asked if you would like to meet them, and notified when there is a mutual match. These matches are recommended based on your location, profile and site activity.

Basic search lets you filter by gender, age-range, ethnicity, location, image-status, relationship intent, body type and education. Advanced search lets you filter by anything specified in your profile. You can also search by username, and Online Now shows you profiles that are currently online, as well as profiles that were recently online, sorted by how recently.

How to Communicate with Other Members

As a free site, it’s not surprising that Plenty of Fish’s communication features aren’t very exciting. Your options are limited to sending virtual gifts or messages, and live chat. You can attach gifts and images to messages, but they are text only.

Plenty of Fish also lets you filter who you receive messages from, based on gender, country, age and length of first message.

Unique Site Features

Plenty of Fish has a number of personality tests you can take to find better, more compatible matches. These tests include: Seduction Style Guide, Relationship Chemistry, Relationship Needs Assessment, Is Your Love a Keeper? and a Psychological Assessment.

These are surprisingly in-depth tests, some up to 100 questions long, with detailed personality reports available afterward. These tests were my favorite features of the whole site.

What is Included in Each Membership Level

  • Standard – Create a profile, upload photos, search/browse/view profiles,
  • Upgrade – Ad-free browsing, see full profiles, show up first in search results, see who has viewed your profile (even the exact date/time), customize profile themes, upload more photos, send more virtual gifts, access to Behavioral Matchmaking System, read/deleted message notification

5.OkCupid

ok_cupid

OkCupid

OkCupid wasn’t the first date app, but it has been around for a long time— since 2004. There’s a reason for its longevity. It’s not as superficial and disheartening as the swipe lifestyle of Tinder while not being as serious as eHarmony.

It’s the perfect balance for people aged 25-34 who want more than a casual hookup but still want to have fun. OkCupid also does a great job of matching people you’re actually compatible with.

That’s because it uses a fancy algorithm and your responses to questions like “how long after you meet somebody do you follow them on social media” or “is it okay to answer your cell phone while on a date?” to put the right profiles in front of you.

OkCupid was founded by Harvard math students—who incidentally also created SparkNotes. If SparkNotes saved you a time or two in school, you might owe it to yourself to check out OkCupid for that reason alone.

What makes OkCupid stand out from Tinder and Bumble is the personality assessment questions OkCupid asks you when you sign up. Don’t worry; they’re not too involved nor require serious introspection. It’s actually best if you answer them without thinking too much.

Likewise, you will have to put a little work into personalizing your profile if you want to really attract questions. However, you can start browsing profiles right away and “like” the ones you find compelling. You’ll be able to start messaging as soon as the other person likes you back.

Overall, OkCupid is easy to use, has a lot of great features, and puts a more human touch on the dating process.

Sign up Process

Sign up on OkCupid is straightforward. You enter basic information like your email address, names, location, and birthday, or you can register with Facebook to skip these questions.

After this, you begin the questionnaire that includes questions about your likes, dislikes, personality, sexual orientation, gender identity, and relationship goals. This helps OkCupid’s algorithm connect you with more compatible users. You’ll see this percentage of compatibility in the match suggestion feature later.

After this, you’ll be ready to start browsing. You can immediately add pictures to your profile from Facebook or Instagram. You can also upload photos, but they won’t be posted to your profile until approved by OkCupid’s admin bots (which doesn’t take very long).

How to Locate Potential Matches

After sign-up, you can locate other users through three main ways: Quick Match, Double Take, and Match Search.

Quick Match

Similar to Tinder. You quickly swipe through user profiles.

Double Take

Double Take shows you different profiles one match at a time. It focuses on personality instead of just appearance. You’ll also see members’ interests and key things that match up with your profile.

You’ll also see the types of relationship they’re looking for. When available, they’ll show people who have a higher match percentage with you.

To like a profile, you either swipe right or tap the star icon on mobile and desktop.

Match Search

Match Search filters users to show you what you’re looking for. Aside from age and location, you can search by categories like pet owner, smoker, religion, and others.

After setting your parameters, you’ll see a grid of photo thumbnails. If one catches your eye, you can tap on the profile to see more and like the user if you’re interested.

How to Communicate with Other Members

After you match with another user, you can begin to exchange messages. All initial messages are shown next to the sender’s profile to give members a better idea of who they’re chatting with.

The goal of this was to separate regular messages from crude ones and encourage users to spend more time getting to know different users.

OkCupid is designed toward more substantial conversations. Since you have much more profile information to look at and have a compatibility report right at your fingertips, you have a more solid foundation for communication. You can chat about favorite books or hobbies and get to know each other better.

As with any dating app, it’s best not to spend too much time chatting with someone before meeting up. You don’t want to become overly invested only to discover you can’t stand each other in real life!

Unique Site Features

The most unique feature about OkCupid is the profile questionnaire and the compatibility matchup based on their results and algorithm.

Other excellent free features include:

  • Easy setup and browsing within minutes
  • Free membership still has plenty of features
  • Three different ways to match
  • Social media aspect allows you to discover matches in a more casual and fun setting
  • Basic search filters
  • OkCupid blog: great tips on how to use the platform and dating in general

In addition to the free features, premium membership also unlocks:

  • Unlimited likes
  • Use advanced search filters
  • No ads
  • See who likes you
  • Read receipts on messages
  • Daily auto boost (raises your profile to the top of the queue)
  • Message priority
  • See answers to public questions
  • Incognito Mode: browse anonymously and like profiles or remove your profile from being seen by some users.

What is Included in Each Membership Level

OkCupid has three membership levels: basic, A-List, and Premium A-List.

A-List

  • No ads
  • See who likes you
  • Unlimited like
  • More search filters
  • Sort by attractiveness
  • Incognito Mode

A-List Premium:

  • All A-list features plus:
  • One auto boost per day
  • See public answers to questions
  • See and been seen by more attractive matches

*OkCupid bases attractiveness on the number of users who’ve liked a profile.

Further Reading

  • Worldwide Online Dating Site Reviews: Be sure to check out my country-by-country reviews of the best online dating sites in the world.

  • Worldwide Moving Guide: Everything you need to know in order to plan your move to 65+ countries around the world.

  • Worldwide Jobs Guide: If you are interested in working in this country, be sure to check out my posts on how to find jobs in this country and other countries around the world.

  • Worldwide Apartments Guide: If you are interested in renting an apartment in another country, take a look at my articles on how to find an apartment in various countries around the world.

About Addison Sears-Collins

Hey! I'm Addison Sears-Collins, the founder of Visa Hunter. You can learn more about me here. Connect with me by liking my fan page on Facebook, connecting with me on Twitter, or check out my website Automatic Addison where I build robots and embedded systems.

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