Important Things to Know When Visiting Canada - The Traveller

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Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Important Things to Know When Visiting Canada

Canada is a big and beautiful country! From the wide-open spaces up north to the metropolitan city life of Toronto or Vancouver, there’s a destination for every type of vacationer. Like all international travel, however, there are guidelines and laws you should learn and consider before planning your trip.

Visa Rules


If you’re not planning on becoming a citizen, you don’t need to have in-depth knowledge of programs like parent super visa health insurance. Still, you need to have the proper paperwork to visit. If you are a U.S. Citizen, a passport or a photo ID is enough when presented after you cross the border or get into customs at the airport. People traveling from other countries will need a visa or Electronic Travel Authorization. Also, be aware that certain criminal convictions can make a person inadmissible to the country.

Local Laws


As with any international trip, you are bound by the laws of the country you are visiting. If you’re coming from the U.S., you won’t find anything too drastically different, other than the lower drinking age of 18 or 19. It’s still important to remember that Canada is a huge country comprised of ten provinces, each with local ordinances. Research each place you will be traveling specifically. You can find information and submit questions at the Canadian Government’s Travel Website.

Sales Tax


This likely won’t come as a huge surprise to you, but if you’re traveling in Canada, you’re responsible to pay taxes on anything you buy. What may surprise you is that every item has both a 15% federal tax associated with it, and local taxes on top of that, which vary by province. This can lead to a little bit of sticker shock, but it’s balanced by the fact that the U.S. dollar is usually pretty strong against the Canadian dollar, making for favorable exchange rates.

The Metric System and Bilingual Signage


For American travelers, it’s crucial to remember that most countries use the metric system, and Canada is one of them. This is most critical when driving, as speed limits will be listed in kilometers per hour rather than miles per hour. Keep a metric conversion chart handy. Also remember that Canada is a bilingual country, so in some provinces you’ll see signs in both English and French.

When traveling abroad, always have hard copies of your emergency contacts and insurance information, as well as a contact for your country’s state department, in case of a legal issue or dispute. After you’ve prepared this, enjoy all that Canada has to offer!

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