To start, Amazon Echo works almost completely the same in Canada as it does in the states. You can use almost all of the same apps (called ‘skills’) and there’s no major functionality that you’ll miss out on. You can stream music, get your news, weather reports, control your home and order your pizza mostly in the same way you would do if you lived in the US. Read on to learn about the few differences that you’ll want to be aware of should you decide to buy an Echo in Canada.
Setting up the Amazon Echo in Canada
As previously discussed, there are essentially 3 ways to set up your Amazon Echo. The simplest is to visit http://alexa.amazon.com, log in with your Canadian Amazon credentials and follow the set up instructions. Note: you can use your Canadian Amazon account for this set up and it’s pretty seamless.
There is also an iOS and Android app that aren’t officially available in Canada but can nonetheless be installed with a little bit of effort (again, see this discussion).
Installing the Amazon Echo Alexa app in Canada
Amazon doesn’t offer the app for download on the Canadian Google Play Store or the Apple App Store there are ways of getting it. Read this discussion about how to get and install the Alexa app in Canada.
Setting location on a Canadian Echo
When setting up your echo you’ll need a US address (this can be invented as long as it aligns to a real location!). This will be the home location of your device so when you ask “What’s the weather” it will refer to whatever address you entered at set up. We recommend that you choose a location that’s as close as possible to wherever you are in Canada. This is really only a minor inconvenience with a simple fix, simply ask “Alexa, what’s the weather in Ottawa/Toronto/Vancouver etc.” to get a local weather report. It’s that simple!
Amazon echo music services in canada
The Echo has some functionality that relies on having an Amazon Prime account, the major one is listening to music. If you don’t have an US based Prime account, sign up for a free one for a month and see what you’re missing/not missing. Unfortunately, Canadian Prime accounts do not work with the Echo however it won’t effect you on any practical level. The Echo has support for plenty of other music providers including Pandora (you’ll need to use VPN) and Spotify, which does work in Canada. Remember that at its heart, the Echo is a bluetooth speaker so you can always just pair your phone or computer by bluetooth to play whatever music you feel like.
Getting local results from Alexa
A couple of other minor points you might run up against are the result of the Echo being a US device. These are easily fixed in settings; you can change measurement units to whatever makes sense to you and get local news to hear what’s going on near you.
Of course most of these nuances will go away once Amazon officially releases Echo in Canada. For now, Echo still remains almost completely functional in the Great White North.