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  • Overview

    The second largest country in the world, Canada offers visitors a range of experiences as varied as the land itself. It provides something to suit the taste of every traveller: large cosmopolitan cities; frozen northern tundra and snowy mountain peaks; rugged coastlines; rich farmlands; and pioneer outposts.

    Canada is bound to the west by the Pacific Ocean and Alaska, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the north by the polar ice cap, and to the south by the United States of America. It's a country renowned for its natural beauty, making it a favourite destinations for lovers of the outdoors.

    The cities have been carefully designed to preserve metropolitan green belts and parklands, ensuring that Canadians are never far from their natural heritage. The country has a French and British colonial history, reflected in its cuisine, culture, and customs. Canadian identity is mixed in with the legacy of the country's own aboriginal First Nations history.

    In the south, the Rocky Mountains separate Canada's two main tourist provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. The mountains abound with winter sports resorts, with the most popular venues for outdoor pursuits being the country's huge national parks. There are more than 41 national parks in Canada, with the Wood Buffalo National Park in Alberta being larger than Switzerland. Canadian national parks are unique in that they have cities and towns within the protected areas, providing comfortable bases for exploring the natural and manmade attractions.

    Canada has an abundance of things to see and do within its vast borders. After all, few countries are blessed with such a rich endowment of natural beauty and astounding physical attractions. Complementing these are world-class cities such as the west coast gem of Vancouver, the vibrant metropolis of Toronto, and elegant Montreal. Alberta and British Columbia attract the most tourists, and the majority of travellers choose to develop their itineraries around one of the major cities.

    Canada is certainly a year-round destination: the warm summer months (June to August) are perfect for sightseeing and overland travel, while the admittedly icy winters (December to February) provide for some incredible skiing and beautiful snow-covered vistas. Visitors to Canada generally choose to focus on one particular region, as there are major distances to travel if you want to see everything. Canada is vast enough to fill a lifetime of holidays.

    Canada's attractions are as diverse as the travellers they appeal to. Sporting enthusiasts flock here for the skiing and back-country hiking, while families arrive for the laidback charm and warm welcome of the urban centres.

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    English Pronounciation

    Being such a large country, Canada's climate varies substantially depending on which area one visits. The whole country, however, has very distinct seasons. The warmest months are June, July, and August, and in winter (December, January, and February) it is very cold, with heavy snowfalls in most provinces. Autumn is a beautiful season with crisp air and brilliant fall foliage, while in some areas spring brings the emergence of carpets of wild flowers.

    Vancouver International Airport
    Location: The airport is located eight miles (12km) south of Vancouver.
    Time: GMT -8 (GMT -7 from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November).
    Transfer Between Terminals A courtesy shuttle is available to the Airport South terminal.
    Getting to the city: The Canada Line connects the airport to downtown Vancouver in about 25 minutes. The service runs every 8-20 minutes. Scheduled buses are available to downtown Vancouver, Whistler, Vancouver Island and Washington State. Courtesy shuttles transport passengers to the Long-Term Parking Lot, South Terminal, local hotels and other destinations near the airport. Public bus services to Vancouver, Richmond and further afield are available at the Airport Station Bus Terminal.
    Car Rental: Car hire companies Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, National, and zipcar are represented next to the terminal building on the ground floor.
    Airport Taxis: Metered taxis are available around the clock outside the terminals. Look for the green signs which indicate a taxi pick-up position. Prices and journey times are higher during rush hour. A tip of 10 to 15 percent is expected.
    Fascilities: The main terminal has ATMs, bureaux de change, and a bank. There is a selection of bars, restaurants, and fast food outlets scattered throughout the airport, as well as a variety of shops, including duty-free, baggage storage, and a medical centre. Children's play areas are also available.
    Parking Vancouver International Airport offers a range of parking options in the parkade directly opposite the terminals. Hourly parking starts at C$9.50 per hour but reduced daily and weekly rates are also available.
    Calgary International Airport
    Location: The airport is 6 miles (9km) northeast of downtown Calgary.
    Time: GMT -7 (GMT -6 from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November).
    Getting to the city: There are a number of bus services running between the airport, the city centre and other Alberta destinations. Calgary Transit provides a public bus service to and from the airport. There is also an Airport Shuttle Express, which services most hotels in the Calgary area, and several hotels offer a courtesy shuttle service. Airport taxis are available outside Arrivals.
    Car Rental: Alamo, Budget, Avis, Hertz, National, Alamo, and Thrifty are all represented at the airport and can be found in the Rental Car Centre opposite the main terminal building. There are also offsite car rental companies.
    Airport Taxis: Airport taxis are available outside Arrivals.
    Fascilities: There are shops and duty-free shopping, restaurants and bars, ATMs, a foreign exchange, and an information booth within the terminal. There are also business centres. Disabled passengers are well catered for and there are plenty of children's entertainment facilities.
    Parking All parking lots are within walking distance of the terminal. Short-term parking starts at C$8.50 for the first hour with a daily limit of C$54.95. Long-term parking is available for around C$27 per day, with discounts for Economy Lots.
    Website: www.yyc.com
    Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport
    Location: The airport is situated eight miles (13km) south of Ottawa.
    Time: GMT -5 (GMT -4 from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November).
    Getting to the city: Hotel-shuttle and limousine services to downtown Ottawa are available. Bus Route 97 departs from outside the Arrivals area. Taxis are also an option.
    Car Rental: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise and Hertz are all represented at the airport.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are available outside the terminal.
    Fascilities: There are a number of bars, cafes and restaurants, as well as retail outlets, duty-free shopping, ATMs and currency-exchange services located throughout the airport. Internet access is also available.
    Parking Short-term and long-term parking are available.
    Website: www.yow.ca/en
    Toronto Pearson International Airport
    Location: The airport is located 17 miles (28km) northwest of downtown Toronto.
    Time: GMT -5 (GMT -4 from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November).
    Transfer Between Terminals The Terminal Link train system operates a 24-hour free service between Terminals 1 and 3, as well as to the Sheraton Gateway Hotel, ALT Hotel, the Value Park Garage and Value Parking Lot.
    Getting to the city: The Terminal Link train offers free transportation between Terminals 1 and 3, the Sheraton Gateway Hotel, ALT Hotel, the Value Park Garage and Value Park Lot. Several companies provide bus and shuttle transit services to and from the airport into Toronto and surrounding areas. The Union Pearson Express train links the airport to Downtown Toronto in just 25 minutes. The airport is also easily accessible on various public transportation routes with providers such as Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and GO Transit.
    Car Rental: Rental companies include Avis, Budget, Dollar, Thrifty, Hertz and National/Alamo.
    Airport Taxis: There are authorised taxis available outside the arrivals halls.
    Fascilities: All terminals are well-supplied with facilities, including bureaux de change and ATMs, wifi, shops and duty-free outlets, hotel-reservation services, bars and restaurants.
    Parking Parking at Toronto Pearson International Airport ranges from C$5 for 30 minutes or C$50 per day in the Express Car Park, to C$20 per day or C$105 per week in the Value Park Lot. The Daily Park Lot costs C$30 per day and is within walking distance of Terminals 1 and 3.
    Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport
    Location: The airport is located 12 miles (20km) west of Montreal.
    Time: GMT -5 (GMT -4 from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November).
    Getting to the city: The 747 Express is an airport bus service, taking passengers into the centre of Montreal and to the major downtown hotels. A shuttle takes people from the airport to the train station, while there are also hotels shuttles and regional shuttles. Uber and taxi services are also available.
    Car Rental: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, and Thrifty are represented on site.
    Airport Taxis: Metered taxis are readily available and can be found waiting outside the baggage reclaim area on the ground level. There are also Uber services available.
    Fascilities: The Departures Level offers ATMs and bureaux de change, as well as duty-free and other shops. A variety of restaurants, bars, and cafes are available on both levels and wifi access is available from anywhere in the terminal. Business facilities are available in the VIP lounges. Disabled travellers are well catered for and passengers with special needs should contact their airline in advance.
    Parking Short-term parking is charged at C$6 for the first 20 minutes and C$37 per day; and indoor parking is available in HotelParc, charging C$8 for 20 minutes and C$39 per day. Long-term parking is cheapest in Econoparc at C$18-C$25 per day and C$120-C$150 per week, and the lot is connected to the terminal by a free shuttle service. Valet parking is also available; the reception area is next to the terminal.
    Website: www.admtl.com
    Halifax Robert L. Stanfield International Airport
    Location: The airport is 19 miles (30km) north of Halifax.
    Time: GMT -4 (GMT -3 from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November).
    Getting to the city: An airport shuttle service serves the main hotels in the metro area, and a variety of other bus services connect to various destinations in the region. Taxis are available outside the airport building.
    Car Rental: Several major car rental companies are represented at the airport: Avis, Budget, Enterprise, National, Alamo, Thrifty, Dollar, and Hertz.
    Airport Taxis: Taxi services are available curbside in the arrivals area.
    Fascilities: There are a number of shops, cafes and restaurants at the airport, as well as duty-free shopping, internet access and children's play areas. ATMs are located in Arrivals and Departures, and a currency exchange booth is available for international travellers. Tourist information is available in Arrivals. Disabled passengers are well catered for.
    Parking Hourly parking is located in lots P1 and P2. Visitors will find daily parking in lots P1, P2, P3 and P4.
    Money:

    The currency used is the Canadian Dollar (CAD). Banks and bureaux de change will change cash, as will some hotels. Major credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are widespread. US Dollars are widely accepted.

    Language:

    The official languages are English and French (spoken predominantly in Quebec).

    Electricity:

    Electrical current is 120 volts, 60Hz. American-style flat two-pin plugs and a plug with a third round grounding pin are standard.

    Entry Requirements:

    US travellers should have a valid passport if departing from the USA, otherwise other proof of citizenship is accepted in the form of a birth certificate, a US certificate of citizenship, or US certificate of naturalisation. More suggestions would include a NEXUS card. A visa is not required for a stay of up to six months.

    UK nationals must have a passport valid for the period of intended stay. A visa is not required for a stay of up to six months. However, the individual must have Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

    Australians must hold passports valid for period of intended stay. Nationals of Australia with an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) are visa exempt for a maximum stay of 6 months.

    South African nationals must be in possession of a passport valid for the period of intended stay. A visa is required. South African temporary passports are not recognised. Passports, identity or travel documents of Bophuthatswana, Ciskei, Transkei and Venda are not accepted.

    Irish nationals must hold a passport valid for the period of intended stay. A visa is not required for stays of up to six months. However, the individual must have an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

    US travellers should have a valid passport if departing from the USA, otherwise other proof of citizenship is accepted in the form of a birth certificate, a US certificate of citizenship, or US certificate of naturalisation. More suggestions would include a NEXUS card. A visa is not required for a stay of up to six months.

    New Zealanders require a passport valid for the period of the intended stay. No visa is required for stays of up to 6 months. However, the traveller requires an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

    Passport/Visa Note:Visa:

    All visitors must hold a valid passport. We recommend that passports always be valid for six months after intended period of travel. Visitors are required to hold onward or return tickets, all documents needed for the next destination and sufficient funds to cover the period of intended stay.

    Travellers from most visa-exempt countries arriving in Canada by air need to fill in an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) form online prior to travel to Canada. This is a new requirement implemented on 28 September 2016 and is applicable to all but U.S citizens and travellers with a valid Canadian visa. Canadian citizens, including dual citizens, and Canadian permanent residents cannot apply for an eTA. As part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), all travellers travelling between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean region are required to present a passport or other valid travel documents to enter or re-enter the United States. If departing from the USA a valid passport will be required by immigration authorities.

    Travel Health:

    No vaccinations are necessary for travel to Canada. Medical care is excellent but expensive, so medical insurance is advised.

    Tipping:

    There is no service charge added to restaurant bills in Canada and staff expect a tip of around 15 percent. Hairdressers and taxi drivers are also usually tipped at the same rate, while bellhops, doormen, porters, and similar service providers at hotels, airports, and stations are generally paid at the customer's discretion. It has become more common for places with counter service to display tip jars, but in such cases tipping is not necessary.

    Safety Information:

    Most visits to Canada are trouble-free. The country is politically stable but does share the common international risk of terrorism. The crime rate is low but travellers are advised to take sensible precautions to safeguard their belongings, as they would anywhere. Canada is prone to tornadoes between May and September.

    Local Customs:

    Smoking bans have been implemented in Canada in enclosed public places such as restaurants, bars, and shopping malls.

    Business:

    Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal are the main business centres. English is the language of business except in French-speaking Quebec, where all written material and business cards should be in French. Business cards are not traditionally exchanged during an initial meeting, but at some appropriate time thereafter; it is best to wait for the host to offer theirs first.

    A firm handshake is used by way of greeting, and meetings tend to begin on time so punctuality should be taken seriously, as should appearance. Canadians dress conservatively and smartly for business meetings and suits are the norm. Gifts can be given in conclusion to celebrate a deal, but should be understated; taking someone out for a meal is a popular way to conclude business dealings.

    Canadians are reserved and frown on emotional outbursts. Business is based on facts and figures rather than relationships, so it is best to be as prepared as possible for meetings. Hours of business are usually 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

    Communications:

    The international access code for Canada is +1. The outgoing code is 011 followed by the relevant country code. The outgoing code is not necessary for calls to the US and the Caribbean. Hotels, cafes and restaurants offering free wifi are widely available. As international roaming costs can be high, purchasing a local prepaid SIM card can be a cheaper option.

    Duty Free:

    Travellers to Canada are allowed to enter the country with the following items without incurring custom duties: gifts to the value of C$60 per recipient (excluding advertising material, tobacco and alcoholic beverages); 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or cigarillos and 200g of tobacco or 200 tobacco sticks; 1.14 litres of liquor or wine or 24 x 355ml bottles or cans of beer or ale. There are strict regulations governing the import of the following: explosives, endangered animal and plant species, items of heritage, fresh foodstuffs and weapons. The plant Qhat (Khat) is illegal in Canada and prison sentences are heavy.

    Useful Contacts:

    Canadian Tourism Commission, Vancouver: +1 604 638 8300 or www.travelcanada.ca

    Canada Embassies:

    Canadian Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 682 1740.

    Canadian High Commission, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0)20 7258 6600.

    Canadian High Commission, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 422 3000.

    Canadian High Commission, Canberra, Australia: +61 (0)2 6270-4000.

    Canadian Embassy, Dublin, Ireland: +353 (0)1 234 4000.

    Canadian High Commission, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 (0)4 473 9577.

    Foreign Embassies in Canada :

    United States Embassy, Ottawa: +1 613 688 5335.

    British High Commission, Ottawa: +1 613 237 1530.

    South African High Commission, Ottawa: +1 613 744 0330.

    Australian High Commission, Ottawa: +1 613 236 0841.

    Irish Embassy, Ottawa: +1 613 233 6281.

    New Zealand High Commission, Ottawa: +1 613 238 5991.

    Canada Emergency Numbers : 911 (all emergencies)
    Canada