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Canada

Canada

Canadian Currency 

The Canadian currency system uses dollars ($) and cents (¢) similar to the US, Australia and New Zealand.

Canada now has one- and two-dollar coins, often called the "loonie" and the "toonie" respectively, in addition to 0.01¢, 0.05¢, 0.10¢ and 0.25¢ coins. Paper money comes in different colors and designs. The most common are $5 bills (blue), $10 bills (purple), $20 bills (green), $50 bills (red) and $100 bills (brown).

Most hotels, stores and restaurants will accept US dollars, though sometimes at a lower exchange rate than at banks or airports. Large hotels will usually give you a rate similar to those at the bank. It is always a good idea to convert some of your money to Canadian currency prior to leaving home.

Time zones

Canada encompasses six of the world's 24 time zones. From east to west, they are: Newfoundland Standard Time Zone, Atlantic Standard Time Zone, Eastern Standard Time Zone, Central Standard Time Zone, Mountain Standard Time Zone and Pacific Standard Time Zone. Some provinces and territories encompass two time zones within their borders. 

Pacific Time, Canada's westernmost time zone, is eight hours behind Coordinated Universal Time during the observance of Standard Time; it is seven hours behind during Daylight Saving Time. The easternmost time zone is Newfoundland Time, which is 4-1/2 hours ahead of Pacific Time.

Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time is in effect in Canada (except Saskatchewan) from the second Sunday of March to the first Sunday of November. Saskatchewan observes Standard Time year-round. 

Public holidays

Banks, government offices, schools and some stores in Canada are closed on the following public holidays, also known as federal statutory holidays:

New Year's Day - Jan. 1

Good Friday - Apr. 10, 2009 (varies year to year)

Easter Monday - Apr.13, 2009 (varies year to year)

Victoria Day - the Monday preceding May 25

Canada Day - Jul. 1 (observed on Jul. 2 if Jul. 1 falls on a Sunday)

Labour Day - first Monday of Sept.

Thanksgiving Day - second Monday of Oct.

Remembrance Day - Nov. 11

Christmas Day - Dec. 25

Boxing Day - Dec. 26

Passports & Visas

US Visitors to Canada

Soon Americans returning home via land and sea from any international destination will need to show a passport or other secure travel document.

As of Jan. 23, 2007, a new American law, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), requires anyone, including US citizens, entering or re-entering the United States by air to have a passport or a NEXUS card when used at a NEXUS kiosk at designated airports.

By June 1, 2009, anyone, including US citizens, entering or re-entering the United States by land and sea will need to have a passport or other appropriate, secure document.

International Visitors to Canada

International visitors to Canada (not US citizens or US permanent residents) must carry a valid passport and, if required, a visa. Citizens from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia and others do not require a visa to enter Canada.

Passports & Visas FAQ

1. Do I need a passport to enter Canada?

US citizens only need a document such as a birth certificate and government-issued photo identification (e.g., driver's license) to enter Canada. However, as of Jan. 23, 2007, a new American law, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), requires anyone, including US citizens, entering or re-entering the United States by air to have a passport or a NEXUS card when used at a NEXUS kiosk at designated airports.

By June 1, 2009, anyone, including US citizens, entering or re-entering the United States by land and sea will need to have a passport or other appropriate, secure document.

International visitors to Canada who are not US citizens must carry a valid passport and visa (if required). Citizens from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Mexico, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia and others do not require a visa to enter Canada.

2. What are the requirements for children entering Canada?

If you are traveling with children, you must carry identification, such as a birth certificate, proof of citizenship or student visa for each child under 18 years old. Divorced parents who share custody of their children should carry copies of the legal custody documents and a letter of authorization from the other custodial parent allowing the child to be taken out of the country. Adults who are not parents or guardians must have written permission from the parents or guardians to accompany the children. When traveling with a group of vehicles, parents or guardians should travel in the same vehicle as the children for border crossing.

Customs officers are often looking for missing children and may ask questions about the children who are traveling with you.

3. New US passport rules will come into effect soon. Will these rules affect my trip to Canada?

Yes. As of Jan. 23, 2007, a new American law, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), requires anyone, including US citizens, entering or re-entering the United States by air to have a passport or a NEXUS card when used at a NEXUS kiosk at designated airports.

By June 1, 2009, anyone, including US citizens, entering or re-entering the United States by land and sea will need to have a passport or other appropriate, secure document.

4. When the new US passport rules come into effect, will my children require passports?

Currently, all children, regardless of age (including newborns and infants), must have their own passport to enter the United States by air. US travelers to Canada are reminded that divorced parents who share custody of their children should carry copies of the legal custody documents and a letter of authorization from the other custodial parent for children less than 18 years old. Adults who are not parents or guardians must have written permission from the parents or guardians to accompany the children. When traveling with a group of vehicles, parents or guardians should travel in the same vehicle as the children for border crossing.

5. Where can American travelers get a US passport?

First-time passport applicants need to apply in person to one of 8,000 passport acceptance facilities located throughout the United States. Applicants should bring two regulation-size photographs of themselves, proof of US citizenship and a valid form of photo identification, such as a driver's license.

US passport renewals can be done by mail if the recent passport is available to submit, is not damaged, was issued within the past 15 years and you were over age 16 when it was issued.  Applicants must either still have the same last name or can show legal proof of name change.

Mail, Phone & Internet

Local & Long-distance Calling

The Canadian phone system operates much like the United States phone system. Phone numbers in Canada have 10 digits. The first three digits are the area code followed by the seven-digit local number (e.g., 555-555-5555). When making a long-distance call out of the local area, dial "1" followed by the three-digit area code and the seven-digit local number.

To make international (non-US) calls from Canada, first dial 011 and then the country code (e.g., France, 33). Next, dial the area code and number.

Phone books provide a listing of North American area codes and frequently called international country codes.

For long distance directory assistance, call 1 + the area code + 555-1212. Directory assistance is free from pay phones. Instructions for local and long distance dialing are also listed on pay phones and found in the front pages of the phone book.

For operator assistance, dial 0. Dial 411 for directory assistance. To reach police, fire and ambulance services in an emergency, dial 911.

Pay Phones 

You'll find pay phones at airports, bus stations, hotels, shopping malls, as well as on some street corners. Many pay phones accept calling cards and credit cards. Local calls throughout Canada vary from $0.25-$0.35 CDN for three minutes at a pay phone. Instructions for local and long-distance dialing are usually listed on the phone as well as in the front pages of the phone book.

To reach directory assistance, dial 411. For long distance directory assistance, call 1 + the provincial or territorial area code + 555-1212. Directory assistance is free from a pay phone.

Using Your Mobile/Cell Phone in Canada

Mobile phone coverage in Canada varies depending on the type of cell phone you use, your local mobile service provider and plan, and the system upon which your phone operates. Many companies in the US and abroad have partnerships and programs available to provide roaming coverage in Canada.  

Contact your mobile service provider to learn about its international roaming coverage services and to determine if your phone is compatible with Canadian networks and frequencies.

Postal Services

You'll find post offices in most communities across Canada. Retail postal outlets are also conveniently located in many drugstores, convenience stores and at shopping malls. 

The cost to mail a standard postcard or letter within Canada is $0.54 CDN. The rate to the US is $0.98 CDN and $1.65 CDN for all other international destinations. All postage rates are calculated according to the size and weight of your letter or parcel.

Internet & E-mail

You'll rarely be out of touch by e-mail or without internet access while visiting Canada. Most Canadian cities have cybercafés and coffee shops that offer wireless internet access to their patrons. Hotels often have an internet terminal or wireless internet available for guests and public libraries offer free access to the internet for limited periods of time.

Public transportation

Many Canadian cities have clean and efficient public transit systems that make it easy and exciting to explore cities on a flexible schedule.

Buses account for most of the fleets, but there are also streetcars, trolleys, sea buses, and trains. Major Canadian cities that offer subway, metro or light rapid transit service include Vancouver (SkyTrain), Calgary (CTrain), Edmonton (LRT), Toronto (subway), Ottawa (O-Train) and Montréal (metro).

One-way fares average around $2-$2.75 CDN per adult and can be purchased from subway/metro stations and some convenience stores. Cash fares can usually be substituted for transit tickets. Some cities also offer flexible transit passes so you can enjoy unlimited all-day, multi-day, or monthly travel.

Information Courtesy Of Canada Tourism

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