Top tips for visiting Canada

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Canada is the second biggest country in the world in terms of land size. For some reason, it often gets downplayed as a tourist destination. People tend to dream of visiting America as they have seen it on television and often see Canada as an afterthought or a potential stopover. Canada is so much more. Canada is the perfect harmony of nature, vibrant communities, wildlife, entertainment, and sports. If you have decided to pay Canada a visit then here are some things you need to know.

The provinces

Canada is so big that it is split into three territories and ten provinces. The country spans six time zones so if you are planning a trip there you need to prioritize what parts of Canada you want to see and how you will travel within the country. If you are traveling across provinces then it is important to keep in mind that each province can have slightly different laws in place. The legal drinking age in the majority of territories is 19. In Quebec Albert and Manitoba, you only have to be 18 years old to get a drink. The speed limit also changes depending on what province you are in so it is important to know your province and know what you are dealing with.

A little bit of everything

Canada has lush lakes, green forests, busy cities, beautiful mountains and much much more. Depending on the purpose of your trip you have a wide variety of places to see and things to do. If you love city life then Tronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Ottawa all offer something unique. If you are looking for something more rural then Cape Breton is incredible. While if you want to answer the call of the mountains then British Columbia and Alberta are incredible places to visit. Banff, for example, is a town in Alberta that hosts a film festival every year and is surrounded by incredible beauty.

Money matters

As in America tipping is customary in Canada. It is common to tip between 15% and 20% in most restaurants while for other services like taxis and bars around 10% is perfectly fine. Money can get a little confusing in Canada because often things you purchase cost more than the sticker says. In Canada, a sales tax is charged but it is not listed in the initial price. 

You can work out the sales tax by adding both the national and provincial tax to any item you buy. To make things more confusing the provincial tax rate varies across provinces and over time. This means it is best to check what it is when you are in each province. Or always ensure you have a little bit extra cash so that there are no awkward moments at the till.

Sports matter

Canada is famous for its love of hockey and you should try to see a game if you visit. The NHL runs from early October to early April with 82 games being played. This means there is plenty of opportunities to see a game. 

During the summer lacrosse is the biggest sport but in general, Canadians just love sports. One of the best cafes in the country is a chain called Tim Hortons after a famous hockey player. If you want to get lunch, meet friends, or just grab a quick energy boost then Timmys is likely the best place to go.

The Canadian cuisine

While Canada doesn’t really have a cuisine it does have some delicious food. Our favorite dish is poutine which is french fries, cheese curds, and gravy. It is delicious. In general, though the food in Canada is great. Although like America they add copious amounts of sugar to everything. If you are trying to avoid putting on weight while in Canada, be careful.