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  • Overview

    The second largest country in the world, Canadaoffers visitors a range of experiences as varied as the landitself. It provides something to suit the taste of every traveller:large cosmopolitan cities; frozen northern tundra and snowymountain peaks; rugged coastlines; rich farmlands; and pioneeroutposts.

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

    The cities have been carefully designed to preservemetropolitan green belts and parklands, ensuring that Canadians arenever far from their natural heritage. The country has a French andBritish colonial history, reflected in its cuisine, culture, andcustoms. Canadian identity is mixed in with the legacy of thecountry's own aboriginal First Nations history.

    In the south, the Rocky Mountains separate Canada'stwo main tourist provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. Themountains abound with winter sports resorts, with the most popularvenues for outdoor pursuits being the country's huge nationalparks. There are more than 41 national parks in Canada, with theWood Buffalo National Park in Alberta being larger thanSwitzerland. Canadian national parks are unique in that they havecities and towns within the protected areas, providing comfortablebases for exploring the natural and manmade attractions.

    Canada has an abundance of things to see and dowithin its vast borders. After all, few countries are blessed withsuch a rich endowment of natural beauty and astounding physicalattractions. Complementing these are world-class cities such as thewest coast gem of Vancouver, the vibrant metropolis of Toronto, andelegant Montreal. Alberta and British Columbia attract the mosttourists, and the majority of travellers choose to develop theiritineraries around one of the major cities.

    Canada is certainly a year-round destination: thewarm summer months (June to August) are perfect for sightseeing andoverland travel, while the admittedly icy winters (December toFebruary) provide for some incredible skiing and beautifulsnow-covered vistas. Visitors to Canada generally choose to focuson one particular region, as there are major distances to travel ifyou want to see everything. Canada is vast enough to fill alifetime of holidays.

    Canada's attractions are as diverse as the travellersthey appeal to. Sporting enthusiasts flock here for the skiing andback-country hiking, while families arrive for the laidback charmand warm welcome of the urban centres.

    Phrase Book

    English Pronounciation

    Being such a large country, Canada's climate variessubstantially depending on which area one visits. The wholecountry, however, has very distinct seasons. The warmest months areJune, July, and August, and in winter (December, January, andFebruary) it is very cold, with heavy snowfalls in most provinces.Autumn is a beautiful season with crisp air and brilliant fallfoliage, while in some areas spring brings the emergence of carpetsof wild flowers.

    Vancouver International Airport
    Location: The airport is located eight miles (12km) south ofVancouver.
    Time: GMT -8 (GMT -7 from the second Sunday in March tothe first Sunday in November).
    Transfer Between Terminals A courtesy shuttle is available to the Airport Southterminal.
    Getting to the city: The Canada Line connects the airport to downtown Vancouver inabout 25 minutes. The service runs every 8-20 minutes. Scheduledbuses are available to downtown Vancouver, Whistler, VancouverIsland and Washington State. Courtesy shuttles transport passengersto the Long-Term Parking Lot, South Terminal, local hotels andother destinations near the airport. Public bus services toVancouver, Richmond and further afield are available at the AirportStation Bus Terminal.
    Car Rental: Car hire companies Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, National,and zipcar are represented next to the terminal building on theground floor.
    Airport Taxis: Metered taxis are available around the clock outside theterminals. Look for the green signs which indicate a taxi pick-upposition. Prices and journey times are higher during rush hour. Atip of 10 to 15 percent is expected.
    Fascilities: The main terminal has ATMs, bureaux de change, and a bank. Thereis a selection of bars, restaurants, and fast food outletsscattered 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 parkingoptions in the parkade directly opposite the terminals. Hourlyparking starts at C$9.50 per hour but reduced daily and weeklyrates are also available.
    Calgary International Airport
    Location: The airport is 6 miles (9km) northeast of downtownCalgary.
    Time: GMT -7 (GMT -6 from the second Sunday in March tothe 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 Transitprovides a public bus service to and from the airport. There isalso an Airport Shuttle Express, which services most hotels in theCalgary 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 allrepresented at the airport and can be found in the Rental CarCentre opposite the main terminal building. There are also offsitecar 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 theterminal. There are also business centres. Disabled passengers arewell catered for and there are plenty of children's entertainmentfacilities.
    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 dailylimit of C$54.95. Long-term parking is available for around C$27per day, with discounts for Economy Lots.
    Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier InternationalAirport
    Location: The airport is situated eight miles (13km) south ofOttawa.
    Time: GMT -5 (GMT -4 from the second Sunday in March tothe first Sunday in November).
    Getting to the city: Hotel-shuttle and limousine services to downtown Ottawa areavailable. 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 atthe airport.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are available outside the terminal.
    Fascilities: There are a number of bars, cafes and restaurants, as well asretail outlets, duty-free shopping, ATMs and currency-exchangeservices located throughout the airport. Internet access is alsoavailable.
    Parking Short-term and long-term parking are available.
    Toronto Pearson International Airport
    Location: The airport is located 17 miles (28km) northwest ofdowntown Toronto.
    Time: GMT -5 (GMT -4 from the second Sunday in March tothe first Sunday in November).
    Transfer Between Terminals The Terminal Link train system operates a 24-hour free servicebetween Terminals 1 and 3, as well as to the Sheraton GatewayHotel, ALT Hotel, the Value Park Garage and Value Parking Lot.
    Getting to the city: The Terminal Link train offers free transportation betweenTerminals 1 and 3, the Sheraton Gateway Hotel, ALT Hotel, the ValuePark Garage and Value Park Lot. Several companies provide bus andshuttle transit services to and from the airport into Toronto andsurrounding areas. The Union Pearson Express train links theairport to Downtown Toronto in just 25 minutes. The airport is alsoeasily accessible on various public transportation routes withproviders such as Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and GOTransit.
    Car Rental: Rental companies include Avis, Budget, Dollar, Thrifty, Hertzand National/Alamo.
    Airport Taxis: There are authorised taxis available outside the arrivalshalls.
    Fascilities: All terminals are well-supplied with facilities, includingbureaux 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$5for 30 minutes or C$50 per day in the Express Car Park, to C$20 perday or C$105 per week in the Value Park Lot. The Daily Park Lotcosts C$30 per day and is within walking distance of Terminals 1and 3.
    Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau InternationalAirport
    Location: The airport is located 12 miles (20km) west ofMontreal.
    Time: GMT -5 (GMT -4 from the second Sunday in March tothe first Sunday in November).
    Getting to the city: The 747 Express is an airport bus service, taking passengersinto the centre of Montreal and to the major downtown hotels. Ashuttle takes people from the airport to the train station, whilethere are also hotels shuttles and regional shuttles. Uber and taxiservices are also available.
    Car Rental: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, andThrifty are represented on site.
    Airport Taxis: Metered taxis are readily available and can be found waitingoutside the baggage reclaim area on the ground level. There arealso Uber services available.
    Fascilities: The Departures Level offers ATMs and bureaux de change, as wellas duty-free and other shops. A variety of restaurants, bars, andcafes are available on both levels and wifi access is availablefrom anywhere in the terminal. Business facilities are available inthe VIP lounges. Disabled travellers are well catered for andpassengers with special needs should contact their airline inadvance.
    Parking Short-term parking is charged at C$6 for the first 20 minutesand 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 ischeapest in Econoparc at C$18-C$25 per day and C$120-C$150 perweek, and the lot is connected to the terminal by a free shuttleservice. Valet parking is also available; the reception area isnext to the terminal.
    Halifax Robert L. Stanfield InternationalAirport
    Location: The airport is 19 miles (30km) north ofHalifax.
    Time: GMT -4 (GMT -3 from the second Sunday in March tothe first Sunday in November).
    Getting to the city: An airport shuttle service serves the main hotels in the metroarea, and a variety of other bus services connect to variousdestinations in the region. Taxis are available outside the airportbuilding.
    Car Rental: Several major car rental companies are represented at theairport: 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 theairport, as well as duty-free shopping, internet access andchildren's play areas. ATMs are located in Arrivals and Departures,and a currency exchange booth is available for internationaltravellers. Tourist information is available in Arrivals. Disabledpassengers are well catered for.
    Parking Hourly parking is located in lots P1 and P2. Visitors will finddaily parking in lots P1, P2, P3 and P4.

    The currency used is the Canadian Dollar (CAD). Banks andbureaux de change will change cash, as will some hotels. Majorcredit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are widespread. USDollars are widely accepted.


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


    Electrical current is 120 volts, 60Hz. American-styleflat two-pin plugs and a plug with a third round grounding pin arestandard.

    Entry Requirements:

    US travellers should have a valid passport if departing from theUSA, otherwise other proof of citizenship is accepted in the formof a birth certificate, a US certificate of citizenship, or UScertificate of naturalisation. More suggestions would include aNEXUS card. A visa is not required for a stay of up to sixmonths.

    UK nationals must have a passport valid for the period ofintended stay. A visa is not required for a stay of up to sixmonths. However, the individual must have Electronic TravelAuthorization (eTA).

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

    South African nationals must be in possession of a passportvalid for the period of intended stay. A visa is required. SouthAfrican temporary passports are not recognised. Passports, identityor travel documents of Bophuthatswana, Ciskei, Transkei and Vendaare not accepted.

    Irish nationals must hold a passport valid for the period ofintended stay. A visa is not required for stays of up to sixmonths. However, the individual must have an Electronic TravelAuthorization (eTA).

    US travellers should have a valid passport if departing from theUSA, otherwise other proof of citizenship is accepted in the formof a birth certificate, a US certificate of citizenship, or UScertificate of naturalisation. More suggestions would include aNEXUS card. A visa is not required for a stay of up to sixmonths.

    New Zealanders require a passport valid for the period of theintended 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 thatpassports always be valid for six months after intended period oftravel. Visitors are required to hold onward or return tickets, alldocuments needed for the next destination and sufficient funds tocover the period of intended stay.

    Travellers from most visa-exempt countries arriving in Canada byair need to fill in an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) formonline prior to travel to Canada. This is a new requirementimplemented on 28 September 2016 and is applicable to all but U.Scitizens and travellers with a valid Canadian visa. Canadiancitizens, including dual citizens, and Canadian permanent residentscannot apply for an eTA. As part of the Western Hemisphere TravelInitiative (WHTI), all travellers travelling between the UnitedStates and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean region arerequired to present a passport or other valid travel documents toenter or re-enter the United States. If departing from the USA avalid passport will be required by immigration authorities.

    Travel Health:

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


    There is no service charge added to restaurant bills in Canadaand staff expect a tip of around 15 percent. Hairdressers and taxidrivers 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'sdiscretion. It has become more common for places with counterservice to display tip jars, but in such cases tipping is notnecessary.

    Safety Information:

    Most visits to Canada are trouble-free. The country ispolitically stable but does share the common international risk ofterrorism. The crime rate is low but travellers are advised to takesensible precautions to safeguard their belongings, as they wouldanywhere. Canada is prone to tornadoes between May andSeptember.

    Local Customs:

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


    Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal are themain business centres. English is the language of business exceptin French-speaking Quebec, where all written material and businesscards should be in French. Business cards are not traditionallyexchanged during an initial meeting, but at some appropriate timethereafter; it is best to wait for the host to offer theirsfirst.

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

    Canadians are reserved and frown on emotionaloutbursts. Business is based on facts and figures rather thanrelationships, so it is best to be as prepared as possible formeetings. Hours of business are usually 9am to 5pm Monday toFriday.


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

    Duty Free:

    Travellers to Canada are allowed to enter the country with thefollowing items without incurring custom duties: gifts to the valueof C$60 per recipient (excluding advertising material, tobacco andalcoholic beverages); 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or cigarillos and200g of tobacco or 200 tobacco sticks; 1.14 litres of liquor orwine or 24 x 355ml bottles or cans of beer or ale. There are strictregulations governing the import of the following: explosives,endangered animal and plant species, items of heritage, freshfoodstuffs and weapons. The plant Qhat (Khat) is illegal in Canadaand prison sentences are heavy.

    Useful Contacts:

    Canadian Tourism Commission, Vancouver: +1 604 638 8300

    Canada Embassies:

    Canadian Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 6821740.

    Canadian High Commission, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0)20 72586600.

    Canadian High Commission, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 4223000.

    Canadian High Commission, Canberra, Australia: +61 (0)26270-4000.

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

    Canadian High Commission, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 (0)4 4739577.

    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)