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Travel & Tourism . Tourist Guide to the Country

Canada Travel Requirements

Service charges/gratuities are not usually added to restaurant bills in Canada. Salary levels in many restaurants are based on the assumption that staff will receive a propotion of their income in tips. If satisfied with the service received, a tip of 10-15% is the usual amount. Barbers, hairdressers and taxi drivers are also usually tipped. Bellhops, dooormen and similar staff at hotels, airports and railway stations are generally tipped as well.

Currency & Credit Cards
Canada's currency is based on the decimal system with 100 cents to the dollar. Coints are minted in denominations of 1 cent(penny), 5 cents(nickel), 10 cents(dime), 25 cents(quarter), along with $1 and $2 coins (known to Canadians as the 'loonie' and 'toonie' respectively). Paper money includes bills of $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $500 and $1000. Check with your bank regarding daily exchange rates. Changing all money prior to your trip is suggested.

Major credit cards such as Visa, American Express and MasterCard are recognized in Canada.

Time Zones
Canada has six time zones. The easternmost in Newfoundland, is three and 1/2 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time(GMT). The other time zones are the Atlantic, Eastern, Central, Mountain and farthest west, Pacific that is eight hours behind GMT.

Local Transportation
By Car
Traveling to Canada by car is convenient. Many north or south American interstates and major highways lead directly to the Canadian border. If your vehicle is rented or borrowed, you should have permission to use the vehicle and or trailer.

By Bus/Train
Bus and train remain popular and comfortable ways to see Canada. As well, AMTRAK connects several cross-border crossings with the Canadian VIA Rail System.

Visa & Passport
Permanent residents of the United States (anyone with a Green Card) do not need to carry a passport or travel documents to enter Canada. Just make sure you carry identification to establish your citizenship such as a Birth Certificate and least one ID card with photo. If you are a naturalized U.S. citizen, you should carry this certificate. Permanent residents of the U.S.A. must bring their "Green Card".

Temporary residents of the United States (anyone who carries a Temporary Resident Card, Form 1-688, or Employment Authorization Card, 1-688A or 1-688B) must carry a passport and may also require a visa depending on their country of citizenship.

Citizens of other countries who wish to enter Canada through the United States must also carry a valid passport and may require a visa, which they should obtain from a Canadian Embassy or Consulate outside Canada.Those in this should check with an office of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service before they enter Canada.

Most Canadian cities have "911" emergency service. If this does not work, simply dial "0" and ask the operator to connect you to the police or medical services. There is no charge for emergency calls placed from a public pay phone.

When to go
Spring, summer and autumn are all ideal for touring, though if you want to ski you'll naturally have to come in winter or early spring. For campers, and those who want to visit the far north, the summer months of July and August are best. Note that the peak tourist season is between mid-June and mid-September.

Although spring and autumn have less crowds, lower prices and a more relaxed pace than the summer months, some visitor-oriented facilities and attractions may be closed during these shoulder seasons.

Getting There
If you want to fly direct to Canada, its main international airports are in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax. Departure tax: Vancouver has an airport improvement fee which is C$15 for international departures and approximately C$10 for departures to other North American destinations, including Hawaii and Mexico. Montrιal (Dorval) has a departure tax of C$10 for international departures and C$7.50 for departures to other North American destinations. Transit passengers and children under two years of age not occupying a seat are exempt. Many visitors enter Canada from major continental US cities by plane, train, bus, and car. There are three main rail routes from the USA: New York-Montreal, New York-Toronto and Chicago-Toronto. The Greyhound network in the USA connects with most major destinations in Canada, but involves a bus transfer at the border. There are numerous road border crossings. Note that popular crossing points (such as Niagara Falls) can have lengthy queues on weekends.

Getting Around
Land travel is much cheaper and, if you don't mind long distances, much more interesting than flying. The bus network is the most extensive public transportation system and is generally less expensive than the now limited train service.

The longest, continuous train route in the country runs from Toronto to Vancouver. The train that does the trip, the Canadian, looks like the classic 1950s stainless steel original, complete with the two-storeyed windowed `dome car' for sightseeing. Air fares are fairly expensive but if you're strapped for time, the distances you may need to travel are so great that you'll probably have to fly. Air Canada and Canadian Airlines are the major domestic airlines. In many ways, the best way to experience the country is to hire a car. Canadians drive on the right side of the road, as in the USA. A valid driver's license from any country is good in Canada for three months.


Acknowledgements: ASIATRAVELMART.COM

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