In most major cities, there are several newspapers and free publications with advertisements for rental apartments and other properties. Ads run for different periods of time including, daily, weekly, bi-weekly and monthly depending on the condition of the rental market and the availability of advertising options with the publications.
Free rental newspapers (such as Rental News in Toronto) can be found in distribution boxes in front of most subway/metro/bus stations. They contain hundreds of pages and thousands of advertisements for rental apartments. Get hold of as many different newspapers, local community and free publications as soon as possible. This is a quick way to start your research and get a feel for what is available. As there is good supply, do not take the first apartment you see!
Placing your own advertisement
You can place your own ‘accommodation wanted’ ad in the newspaper, however, it may not get much response as landlords usually wait for the potential tenants to approach them rather then searching for them. This is a way to find people to share with and a good free alternative is to place a free classified at Just Landed. If you still want to place your own ad for accommodation, bear in mind that advertising in some publications is expensive and will reach a limited audience of people looking to rent.