Information


Population of Canada:

2010 anticipated: 34.3 million

>>To put that number in perspective: the entire population of Canada is less than the population of the state of California in the U.S.A.

>>Click here to see an interactive map of Canada.

Passports and visas:

Everyone requires a passport (or other valid travel document) to enter Canada. Depending on where you’re from and the reason you are visiting, you may also need a visa.

>>For complete entry requirements, see the Government of Canada’s “Visiting Canada” page.

Immunization:

No specific shots are required for travel to Canada.

>>See the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention’s health recommendations for visitors to Canada.

Money:

The Canadian dollar is worth 100 cents. The $1 dollar coin is known colloquially as a “loonie” and the $2 coin is a “toonie”.

Banks and ATMS (aka cash machines) are easy to find across Canada. ATM keypads include numbers and letters.

PIN-type and signature-only credit cards are widely accepted across the country. Debit cards from American banks are accepted at many retail outlets.

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Tipping is customary.

>>Click here for a helpful currency converter.

Time zones:

The world’s second-largest country by land mass, Canada spans six time zones. From West to East, Standard Time Zones are:

  • Pacific (Greenwich Mean Time minus 8 hours)
  • Mountain (GMT -7)
  • Central (GMT -6)
  • Eastern (GMT -5)
  • Atlantic (GMT -4)
  • Newfoundland (GMT -3.5)

Canada observes Daylight Savings: across most of Canada, clocks are moved ahead by one hour at 2 a.m. local time on the second Sunday in March. Daylight Savings ends on the first Sunday in November when clocks move back an hour at 2 a.m. local time.

>>During Daylight Savings, the names of time zones change from Pacific Standard Time to Pacific Daylight Time, etc.

>>A useful mnemonic for remembering which way the clocks move is “Spring forward; fall back.”

Exceptions:

In Newfoundland and Labrador, Daylight Savings begins one minute after midnight local time on the second Sunday in March and ends at one minute after midnight on the first Sunday in November.

A few areas remain on Standard Time year-round, including parts of British Columbia and most of Saskatchewan.

Capital city:

In 1857, Queen Victoria chose Ottawa, Ontario as Canada’s national capital allegedly because it was near the geographic centre of Canada.

Language:

Canada is an officially bilingual country meaning that federal government services must be offered in both French and English. Although French-immersion school programs are popular across Canada, most Canadians have barely enough French to read the back of their bilingual cereal boxes.

English is the dominant language in Canada except in the province of Quebec, which is officially unilingual (French). The province of New Brunswick is Canda’s only officially bilingual province. French is most widely heard in the provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick, and the capital city of Ottawa in the province of Ontario.

Canada is a linguistically diverse country: more than 20 per cent of the population claims a language other than French or English as their first language.

Weights, measures and temperature

Canada uses the metric system. Environment Canada reports temperatures in degrees Celsius.

Electricity:

120V 60Hz. Types A and B: flat, two- or three-prong “American” style plugs

Telephones:

With the increasing popularity of cellular phones, public telephones are hard to find in Canada these days. They can still reliably be found in major transportation centres such as airports and train stations. All accept coins–a local call is 25 cents–and many also take credit cards.

The International Country Code is: +1 followed by the area code.

Area codes are always used when calling internationally. When calling locally within major centres such as Toronto and Vancouver, you must use the three-digit area code followed by the seven-digit local number. In smaller centres the area code isn’t necessary when calling locally.

>>In major centres and many smaller communities, 911 is the universal emergency number.

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