Published On: Fri, Mar 1st, 2019

7 Things to Know Before You Travel to Canada

Travelling is one way to learn and understand that people are entirely different all over the world. You will learn different new languages, culture, art and even history. For instance, Canada is a well know tourist destination. Therefore, if you are planning a trip there, you should know some things about it, before leaving your home country.

This land of maple syrup and snow is very big, and uses the Canadian dollar. This means you will have to exchange your currency to this one. You can do it at home before you leave or in Canada. Just look up at different platforms available for money exchange wherever you will be. For instance, if you are within Winnipeg, Canada the currency exchange services Winnipeg can help you locate some viable options.

Nonetheless, you should still know some other things to get you by while traveling. This way you do not experience cultural shock once you land.


  • Canada has two official languages


Most Canadians speak English but about 20% of them speak French. French is Canada’s second official language and the mother tongue of people living in Montréal and Québec.

Moreover, given its multicultural level you are likely to find different accents as well as slang of these two official languages as well as other languages spoken there. So do not expect the Canadian French to be anywhere close to that of a native French speaker.


  • Driving in Canada


If you are planning to drive in Canada, you should be familiar with the speed limits as they are different there. You can do some research on it, to avoid being on the wrong side of the law, as a tourist.

It is also illegal to smoke in a car while with a minor. If you have to use your mobile phone, then you should be hands-free, not multi-tasking between driving and talking on the phone.

Driving in winter as a tourist should be avoided, as it is very hazardous. However, if you have to, then make sure you have an emergency kit as well as a charged mobile phone. Also, rent a car that is equipped for winter driving. Otherwise, do not risk it.


  • You will need health insurance while in Canada


The excellent Canadian healthcare system, you know of is only for Canadians. As a tourist, you will need a proper health or travel insurance.  This is because any health related issue while you are travelling could hit you with huge medical bills. You can also be denied treatment in case you have insufficient funds.


  • You will need ETA or Visa to enter Canada


You will need valid travel documents to travel to Canada, depending on the passport you hold. Of recent, travellers need to have Visa or ETA, electronic travel authorization. This ETA can be applied online. It is very fast and cheap to get.

You can check if you require it before your trip nears, depending on where you are from. It is mandatory to all visa-free countries, except the USA.


  • The legal drinking age is 18 or 19


Depending on where you are in Canada, the legal drinking age is either 18 or 19. This age also applies to buying beer and liquor as well as entering clubs.

Therefore, if you are within Québec, Alberta or Manitoba, expect the legal drinking and partying age to be 18. For the rest of the provinces it is 19. You will have to have official documents like a passport or ID to prove your age.

Take note that you can buy alcohol, only at designated beer and liquor stores and not in convenience and grocery stores.


  • Kilometers, Celsius and liters


In Canada, they use the metric system in theory, but in practice, it is a mix. You can find distance and speed in kilometers. If you happen to ask a Canadian his height, they will answer in feet and inches and the weight will be in pounds.

As for the weather, it will be in Celsius but when they bake, they use Fahrenheit. The gas prices are per liter, not gallon in Canada.


  • Be prepared for the Canadian sales tax


Canada often adds a federal sales tax on all goods and services. In addition to this, most provinces have their own tax system. So depending on where you are your bill can have up to 15% sales tax.

Therefore, whenever you make a purchase, know that it is not the final price. A sales tax will be added depending on the service be it hotel, or restaurant billing.


Being a vast country, Canada has its uniqueness. People are also very polite and friendly.  A bit of research can make navigating it easy.

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