Visitor Tips



Canadian dollars and cents form the monetary system in Canada. Although Canadians accept American money, visitors should exchange their travelers cheques or cash for Canadian currency. Visitors will receive the best rate of exchange at

Chartered banks.
Trust companies.
Credit Unions.
Caisse populaires.

Airport and border crossing exchange booths. Some banks charge a fee to cash travelers cheques.

Normal banking hours are Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with extended hours including weekends at many locations.

Automated teller machines marked with the Plus or Interact symbol will accept automated banking cards from outside Canada. Banks charge a fee of 42 for international transactions. The visitors bank sets the exchange rate.

Most venues will accept major national or international credit cards for payment.




Visitors to Canada must pass through customs inspection at airports and at border crossing points. The customs department assesses hourly rates and mileage charges for customs inspections outside of normal business hours.

Entry Regulations

Citizens or permanent residents of the United States, entering or leaving Canada, do not need a passport or visa. However, visitors should carry identification such as a passport, birth certificate, voters registration card, social security card or driver 's license to prove citizenship.

People visiting from other countries must have a valid passport and possibly other documentation. It is therefore important to check with the nearest Canadian Consulate well in advance of a trip to Canada




Visitors can bring non-restricted sporting goods and personal baggage into Canada, duty and tax-free, by declaring them on arrival to customs officials. Register the serial numbers of equipment such as cameras, bicycles, etc.




Visitors 18 years of age and older, may bring into Alberta, duty-free, either:

1.1 liter (40 ounces) of liquor or wine; or 24-355 ml cans or bottles of beer or ale (24pints); or their equivalent.

Duty and taxes, plus provincial fees at the port of entry, apply to any additional alcoholic beverages up to a maximum of nine liters.




Persons 18 years of age or over may bring into Alberta, duty-free, 50 cigars, 200 cigarettes and 1 kg (2.2 lbs.) of manufactured tobacco. Federal duty and taxes apply to additional quantities.




Canadian law prohibits revolvers, pistols, and fully-automatic weapons from entering Canada. A visitor does not need a federal permit to possess rifles, shotguns or fishing tackle but must provide Canada Customs with serial numbers plus a description of each item. Two hundred rounds of ammunition, for hunting purposed, can enter duty free, if the owner is 16 or more years of age.




Friends or relatives living in Canada may receive gifts, Duty and tax-free, from visitors or by mail, if the value of each gift does not exceed $60 (Canadian funds). Tobacco products, alcoholic beverages or advertising material may not be sent as gifts.

Gift packages sent by mail should say UNSOLICITED GIFT and indicate the value. Regular duty and taxes will apply to gifts valued at more than $60 (Canadian funds).

Non gift postal imports (i.e., mail order items) less than $20 Canadian, are duty free, but duty and taxes apply to anything over that amount.




Legal minimum age to purchase liquor in Alberta is 18. In British Columbia and Saskatchewan the legal age is 19.




Canada uses the metric system for weights, measures and distances, although the Imperial system is included in this guide (in parenthesis).

Distance 1km = 5/8 mile

To calculate 1 km X .6 = approximately mileage 1 mi X 1.6 = approximately km

Weight: 1 kilogram = 2.2 lbs, 500 grams = 1.1 lbs

Liquid Volume (used for gas): 4.5 liters = 1 imperial gallon, 3.8 liters = 1 U.S. gallon




Canada uses the Celsius Temperature scale where the freezing point = 0 degrees Celsius

To convert Celsius into Fahrenheit degrees: Fahrenheit degrees = 9/5 X Centigrade degrees + 32




Up to 30 grams within Canada is 48 cents plus GST = 48 cents.

Up to 30 grams to the U.S. is 58 cents plus GST = 53 cents.

0 to 20 grams internationally is 92 cents plus GST =94 cents.

Over 30 grams within Canada and to the U.S., and over 20 grams internationally, is determined by weight and size, plus GST.

All mail in Canada must include the postal code for each address. Hotel front desks and postal outlets have postal code directories or dial 1-800-267-1133 in Canada for postal code information.




Alberta has a five per cent hotel tax but no provincial sales tax.

Goods and Services Tax (GST) The seven per cent federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) applies to most goods and services. Foreign visitors may claim a full rebate of the GST on non-consumable goods (items purchased in Canada that they take out of the country within 60 days of purchase), and on short-term accommodation. There is no rebate on consumable items such as meals, liquor, tobacco, and gasoline.

To apply for a refund

Present your original receipts at a participating Canadian Duty Free shops for a total cash refund of up to $500 Canadian when leaving Canada.

Mail a Completed refund application along with the original receipts to the address on the application. Allow six to eight weeks for a refund.

For further information contact

Revenue Canada, Customs & Excise Visitor Rebate Program Ottawa, Canada K1A 1J5

Toll free in Canada 1-800-668-4748 Outside Canada: (613) 991-3346




Duty Free Shops at border crossings and airports have tax-free items for sale to departing visitors. For questions regarding restrictions, licenses or controls, check with customs officials.




The Provincial Ministry of Environment issues freshwater fishing licenses at spotting goods stores, department stores, marinas, and Canadian Parks Service Information Centers. The Federal Department of Fisheries issues saltwater fishing licenses at the same outlets as freshwater licenses.

Hunters obtain licenses and any other details from the Ministry of Environment, Government Agents or licensed offices. There is no hunting within National Parks and Provincial Parks in Alberta.




Visitors to Canada should obtain travelers' health insurance before leaving home because most health insurance coverage does not extend outside the country of residence. Visitors may find they have either no health insurance or inadequate coverage when in Canada.

Daily rates for hospital care vary from hospital to hospital and province to province. Charges for adult in-patient care can start at $900 per day; charges for children in specialized hospitals can be higher still. In addition, some provinces impose a surcharge of up to 30 per cent on care for non-residents. Visitors taking prescription medication should bring a copy of the prescription for renewal in Canada.




Canadian hospital and medical services are excellent. Alberta hospitals will not refuse treatment to those requiring care, regardless of their financial status or health care coverage.




New Years Day Jan. 1Jan 1
Good FridayMar 29Apr. 2
Victoria DayMay 20May 22
Canada DayJul. 1Jul. 1
Heritage DayAug. 5Aug. 5
Labor DaySept.2Sept. 2
Thanksgiving DayOct. 14Oct. 14
Remembrance DayNov. 11Nov. 11
Christmas DayDec. 25Dec. 25
Boxing DayDec . 26Dec. 26




Daily permit: $5 per person, Groups of 2 to 10 - Total of $10
Annual Permit for up to 10 people: $70 per year
(April 1 to March 31)
Tourists on group trips: $2 per day
Senior Citizens: Free annual permit to Canadian citizens.

Backcountry fees and permits

All persons staying overnight in the backcountry areas of the National Parks require a permit.
During the summer season, each person pays $5 per night.

Fees apply to all the National Parks within Canada, except Pacific Rim National Park in B.C., which has a different fee system.




Direct international dialing uses the following scheme in Canada:

Dial 011 + Country Code (1-5 digits) + Routing Code (1-5 digits) + Local Number (2-9 digits). The operator (Dial 0) can give you the Country Code and Routing Code for all international centers. Remember the changes in time zones and connection may take up to 45 seconds.

Telephoning - Provincial Dialing Procedures

To dial within Canada between provinces, use the following method. Dial 1 + Area Code (3 digits) + Local Number (7 digits).

To dial within Alberta: dial 1 + 403 + Local Number




Tips or service charges are not usually added to a bill in Canada, except for large parties or banquets. In general, tip 15 per cent of the total amount. This applies to service attendants including waiters, waitresses, barbers, hairdressers, taxi drivers, etc. pay bellhops, doormen, redcaps (porters) etc. at hotels, airports and railway stations $1 per item of luggage.


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