Since I really love Canada, I thought it would be cool to give you some tips for traveling there, and here they are:
(An old $CA5 bill)
- ATMs usually disperse $CA20 bills only (some also give you the option of $CA50 bills). They usually have a fee of $CA1-5 and can be found pretty much anywhere. Even though I still recommend official bank ATMs for safety reasons. Some don’t take MasterCard (RBC).
- You don’t need any cash in urban areas. Cards are accepted almost everywhere. It also makes your travels safer to not have to much cash with you, because cards can be locked if stolen, cash will be gone forever.
- Have your credit/ debit cards emergency lock number on quick dial.
- If you’re lost, you can always ask. Canadians are usually quite friendly, especially to tourists (be aware of scammers/ pick pockets though). This does not apply to the province of Quebec (or maybe I just ended up with grumpy people).
- Never lie to a police officer.
- Hold doors and help others if you can, treat others like you want to be treated.
(A Toronto streetcar)
- The TTC can suck (Toronto only). And they still use tokens.
- Pay your bus fare in exact change, as bus drivers don’t have change on them (on of the only times you’ll actually need cash in Canada).
- Don’t confuse the subway with subway and the metro with metro. In Toronto the subway is the subway and the sandwich store, while metro is a grocery store chain. In Montreal the subway is called ‘the metro’ and people can get confused if you ask for the subway but you aren’t happy when they direct you to the sandwich store. And in Vancouver it’s called the SkyTrain. Even though it’s partially underground. Toronto (sort of- only two lines) and Montreal have Canada’s only real subway systems.
- There are streetcars in Toronto (I like the old ones better, because they look better) and electric busses in Vancouver (working like streetcars, but with wheels instead of tracks).
(A Nanaimo Bar)
- You should definitely try Poutine. It’s a dish made from French fries and cheese curds covered with gravy. Get it at Smokes or anywhere else. Just leave the Burger King/ McDonalds versions aside.
- Timbits are quite fabulous. They also donut holes coming in different variations. (You can get them at Tim Hortons)
- A Canadian Maple donut is called a ‘Boston Cream donut’ at Tim Hortons locations in Quebec.
- Try a pea meal bacon sandwich in Toronto’s Saint Lawrence Market.
- Visit a public market (Byward Market in Ottawa, Saint Lawrence in Toronto, Granville Island in Vancouver)
- Get yourself some freshly baked Nanaimo Bars. (Made from graham crackers with coconut, custard and chocolate, all layered above each other.)
(Toronto’s skyline from Toronto Island Park)
- Toronto: CN Tower, Kensington Market, Toronto Island, Hockey Hall of Fame, Eaton’s Center
- Montreal: Ile Notre Dam, Plateau Mont Royal
- Ottawa: Byward Market, Parliament Hill
- Vancouver: Canada Place, BC Place, Stanley Park, English Bay, Gastown
- Banff, AB
- Jasper, AB
- Whistler, BC
- Blue River, BC
- Vancouver Island: Victoria, Uclulet, Tofino, Nanaimo
- Algonquin Park, Gros Morne, most other national/ provincial parks.
- Canoeing in Algonquin Park.
- Whale watching on Vancouver Island.
- Bear watching in almost any national park.
- Skiing in the Rocky Mountains.
- Local guided tours anywhere.
- Visit the Toronto International Filmfestival (> TIFF).
- Your passport and other documents like your travel insurance. Also don’t forget your travel authorization (> official website CIC*)
- Some emergency cash.
- A camera and a monopod/ tripod.
- Some waterproof camera if you plan on visiting Niagara Falls)
- Your wanderlust.
- I’m not in any way affiliated with the government of Canada/ Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
- Listen to the authorities.
- Avoid dangerous areas.
- Don’t show your valuables in crowded areas such as the subway in order to avoid pick pockets.
- Stay off the road while taking pictures.
- Don’t stand in the way while talking/ taking pictures. Even though Canadians are very polite, they probably have errands to run.
- Don’t feed wild animals.
- Stay away from weird, yelling people with signs.
- Americans: don’t bring your guns. Guns are generally not welcome with boarder guards.
Have fun on your trip to Canada, but don’t plan to much. You probably only have that many days. Enjoy the good life. Travel save.