Canada is situated north of the USA, between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, Canada is the world’s second largest country. It extends some 7700km (4775mi) east to west and 4600km (2850mi) north to south. Nearly 90% of Canadians live along the 6379km (3955mi) southern border with the USA. Though much of the land is lake and river-filled forest, there are mountains, plains and even a small desert. The Great Plains, or prairies, cover Manitoba, Saskatchewan and parts of Alberta.
Western Canada is renowned for its stunningly beautiful countryside and infamous Rocky Mountains, while the east combines the essence and charm of Europe with the bustle of trendy New York. The East is also home to Canada’s most visited geographic feature, Niagara Falls. Northern Canada offers a completely different perspective and to visit here is to experience a part of Canada that is a world of its own.
There are two natural phenomena that you can experience in Canada’s north. One of them is the midnight sun – in mid-summer here it never gets dark, there are various festivals held at this time to celebrate this. The other one can be experienced best between late August and January and this is the Aurora Borealis also known as the Northern Lights.
Canada offers a remarkable array of cultures, a combination of immigrant groups who supplanted the continent’s many native people’s. French and British majorities live amongst a host of communities who maintain the traditions of their homelands – Chinese, Ukrainians, Portuguese, Indians, Dutch, Polish, Greek and Spanish, to name just the most numerous. For the visitor, this cultural diversity is an exhilarating experience.
Accommodation in Canada
In general there is a wide range of accommodation from Hotels to Hostels. Standards are high, with full facilities.
International hotel chains are represented in major cities. Guest-houses, farm vacations, bed & breakfast establishments and self-catering lodges are available throughout the country. There is no national system of accommodation grading. Some provinces operate their own voluntary grading programmes. Canada is big and empty. If you’re heading into remote parts of the country, always check the availability of accommodation before setting off. Places that look large on the map often have few facilities at all.
Cuisine in English Canada was long based on the British tradition, but while there are no distinctive national dishes or unique culinary delights, good food is certainly plentiful. In most cities it is not difficult to find decent Greek, Italian, East Indian or Chinese restaurants. Tips or service charges are not usually added to restaurant bills in Canada. If you are satisfied with the service received, a tip of 15 % is the usual amount given. Some restaurants will place a mandatory service charge on a bill for a large party. Your waiter or waitress should explain this to you before you order.
Honeymoons in Canada
Canada offers a wide choice of activities for a honeymoon holiday. Depending on what time of year it can be twined with ski and beach in the Caribbean or take a train journey through the Rockies and finish in one of the beautiful cities of Vancouver or Montreal. Visit the East coast cities of Toronto or Calgary and twin it with the vibrant city of New York or Boston.
Weddings in Canada
Each province in Canada has its own laws on marriage in Canada. However they all have similar legal requirements as follows; couples must be aged 18 and over, a marriage license must be applied for at least 6 weeks in advance and you will need your passports and birth certificates. Anyone that has been married before will need their original decree nisi and for widowers the original marriage certificate.
Once the license is applied for, you just need to decide on a location. whether it’s up in the Rocky Mountains on a ski slope, down by one of the beautiful lakes such as Lake Louise or in one of the cities such as Vancouver or Montreal.
Golfing in Canada
If golf is your game then there are many golf courses to choose from in Canada. Choose from golf courses near to the cities or up in the mountains with beautiful backdrops.
Skiing in Canada
If you love skiing and love powder skiing then save up your pennies and head to the country made for heli-skiing. For a trip of a life time head to Whislter ski resort and sign up for some heli skiing days. The Whistler Heli-ski company will guarantee to find you fresh powder when you book the 5 man heli which is basically you, four friends and a guide. The helicopter drops you at the tops of mountains never been skied before and allows you the opportunity to ski all day in fresh un-skied powder. To get a taste for heli-skiing in Canada, check out the Heli Skiing Video
Events in Canada
Every major provincial capital in the more populated areas has nightclubs, and hotel dinner/dancing. Ottawa, Toronto, Montréal, Winnipeg and Vancouver are centres for ballet, opera and classical music, with visits from leading orchestras and internationally-renowned performers.
The Quebec City Winter Carnival, takes place during the last two weeks of February, features parades, ice sculptures, a snow slide, dances and music. Ottawa’s three-week Winterlude in February. The Montreal Jazz Festival in June and the Ottawa International Jazz Festival in July; both attract international and local players. A major event in Toronto held in June is Caribana, a cultural exchange offering ethnic music, dance and food. In September, there’s the Toronto International Film Festival. Calgary hosts the popular Calgary Stampede in July, the highlight of which is the chuckwagon race and rodeo. In the west, Victoria celebrates the First Peoples’ Festival in August with traditional craftwork, dancing and war-canoe rides.
Weather in Canada
As Canada is so large, the climate varies widely. The southernmost part of Canada, Point Pelee, is on the same latitude as northern California, while the Canadian northland extends deep into the Arctic. Contact one of the tourism offices for more detailed information on the climate of the area you are planning to visit.
Basically the summer in Canada is similar to that of the northern half of the U.S., with warm-hot weather from May to October, while residents of Vancouver Island can play golf 12 months of the year. Ski season runs from December until the end of March in the east, until the end of May in the west (later in some resorts). The spectacular colors of Autumn are best viewed (in eastern Canada) in late September or early October.
Calling Home from Canada
Country code: 1. Outgoing international code: 011. Coin-operated telephones are available in most public places.
In case of an Emergency
Most Canadian cities have “911” emergency services. 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 payphone.
Driving in Canada and Car hire Canada
Drivers from outside North America are advised to apply for an International Driving Permit from the automobile association in their country of origin which will allow them to drive in Canada. This will usually be required in order to rent a car. Traffic rules are similar to those in Europe.
Driving is on the right in Canada. Distances and speed limits are posted in metric. The speed limit is usually 100 km/h (60 mph) on highways and 50 km/h (30 mph) in towns and cities. Seat belts are compulsory. Right turns on red lights are permitted everywhere except in the province of Québec. Canada’s excellent highway system includes the Trans-Canada Highway, which goes all the way from downtown St. John’s, Newfoundland, to down-town Victoria, British Columbia. The United States border is no more than an hour or two by road from many major Canadian cities. Check out our online car hire deals
Banks in Canada and Currency
The currency system in Canada uses Canadian dollars and cents similar to the U.S. system.
Banking hours are Monday to Thursday 10am to 3pm, and until 6pm on Fridays; the trend is increasing to longer hours and Saturday morning opening. But don’t rely on finding a bank open outside these core weekday hours.
Essential Facts about Canada
Capital City – Ottawa
Language – english and French
Currency – Canadian Dollar
Flying time from the UK approximately 10 hours
Time difference – GMT -3 hours to GMT -8
For more information go to the Canadian Tourist Board
Visa requirements European passport holders require an evisa to visit Canada. All you need is a valid passport, a return ticket and sufficient funds to support yourself and your dependent during your stay in Canada. European visitors to Canada who wish to also visit the United States must possess valid passports to be admitted; residents of Portugal are further required to have a visa.