Canadian Vacation Travel Tips
Don’t get me wrong, I love living in the USA but if for some reason I got kicked out, Canada would be my second choice. Okay, maybe my third after Australia. The friendliness of the people, the lifestyle and the variety of cultures would make me feel right at home. However if you visit our neighbors to the north–even for just a few days like I just did–be prepared for some differences and a ounce or two of confusion. I came up with a little list of things to prepare for.1) If you are taking the western route through Niagara Falls try to avoid Fridays and Sundays. A lot of folks take quick trips across the border from each direction every weekend which could hold you up at the checkpoints. We sat on the bridge coming from Canada to the USA for an hour and a half Friday. Not fun.
2) Exchange rate is about $1.00 American to $.92 Canadian. In other words bring more money than you thought you would need. Toronto in particular is very expensive.
3) Bank charges. Check with your bank before you leave. Using your credit/debit card could result in something called an “International Transaction Fee” that may run from a few cents to a few dollars. Got to love those banks.
4) Metrics. When I got on the QEW–Canada’s version of the thruway without the tolls–I saw a sign that said “Speed Limit 100″ WHOO! Don’t go crazy on the gas pedal however. They do metrics up there so “100″ is 100 kilometers per hour or 62 MPH. And a gas station may advertise a price of $1.33. GREAT! Not really. That’s $1.33 per litre, not per gallon. A litre is .351 gallons. You can do the math from here.
5) Currency. They don’t do $1 bills. Be careful to distinguish between the $2 coin and the $1 coin as they are somewhat similar. A good look of each and you shouldn’t have a problem.
Otherwise, have a great trip and try some poutine. (That’s per Pollywogg, a native born Canadian)