Tips for Travellers
Air Access in Canada
Canada has over 100 airports with excellent access to small communities and towns across the country.
There are thirteen officially designated International Airports, located in Canada’s major cities/transportation hubs, the most major of these being: Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. Secondary International Airports exist in: St John's, Gander, Halifax, Moncton, Fredericton, Quebec, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Calgary, and Edmonton.
With hundreds of communities within a few hour drive of major airports Canadian cities and small towns are very accessible for international visitors.
Click here for a list of all Canadian airports from Transport Canada.
Unaccompanied Minors (UMs) Information
Certain airlines require that young passengers travelling alone, (typically aged 5 to 11 years) be designated as an “Unaccompanied Minor”. This is usually subject to a fee determined by the airline which must be paid by the parent(s) prior to arrival in Canada. Airlines will require the name(s) of the contact person(s) receiving the children at the Airport. Students arriving in Canada to attend a MLI programme who require this designation must arrange for all fees (for travel in both directions) to be paid prior to departing from the home country. MLI will advise the name of the MLI staff who will meet the student upon arrival in Canada.
The electrical voltage system in Canada is 110 volts. If travelling from a country outside of North America, you will need a proper voltage converter and outlet adapter in order to operate your electrical appliances.
Canada has very good internet connection in most populated areas. In public libraries and frequently also in Visitor Centers, you can use the internet for free or a small fee. If you carry your own laptop or smart phone, you can use free WiFi at retail chains like Tim Horton’s, Starbucks or Second Cup Coffee.
All phone numbers in Canada contain 7 digits. Additionally, for long distance calls within Canada and for calls inside some bigger cities, you must also dial a 3-digit area-code. To dial out to international numbers you must dial 011, the (Country Code), the (City Code) and then the telephone number. There are many cell phone providers that offer different kinds of affordable plans that can be easily found at shopping mall kiosks or large electronics stores.
Service in restaurants is not included. It is a general practice to give 15% of the amount before taxes on the bill as tip.
Canada has 6 different time zones. In the west coast, the different is -9h, Alberta -8. Ontario and Quebec are Eastern Standard Time -6h, Nova Scotia is -5h, Newfoundland has its own time zone -4 1/2 hours.
Money and Currency
The Canadian currency is the Canadian Dollar (1$ = 100 ct). There are 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100$ bank notes and 5, 10, 25 ct coins and 1 and 2$ coins. Banks are usually open Monday to Friday during regular business hours 9 am to 5 pm, with many open later hours and even on weekends. ATM machines are accessible 24 hours in most areas. Debit cards, VISA and MasterCard are accepted all over Canada even for small amounts.
Most purchases in Canada (except for food) are subject to a general tax GST of 5% which is levied by the federal government. Each province, except for Alberta, also charges provincial sales tax to purchases. The territories of Yukon, Nunavut and Northwest Territories do not have sales tax other than GST. In Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island the GST and provincial sales tax is combined and called the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax), the total amount of tax varies in each province. All taxes are added when you pay at the register and are not included in the prices you read in menus, stores etc.
Usually, stores are open Monday to Saturday 9:30am to 6:00 pm. Larger shopping malls in cities are generally open from 10:00am-9:00pm and on Sundays from 12:00pm-5:00pm. Grocery stores are usually also open at night and during the weekend, and in larger cities there are some open 24 hours.
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.