Located in North America, Canada ranks as the second-largest country in the world. Canada has no shortage of beautiful landscapes… the country boasts mountainous terrain, frozen glaciers, forests, lakes, and swamps. Adventure seekers flock to Canada as it’s known for being a hub for many extreme outdoor activities. You might also find yourself in one of Canada’s famous cities; such as Toronto, Montreal, Quebec, or Vancouver… to name a few. Each city offers a unique vibe with welcoming locals and delicious hearty cuisine.
Basic Things to Know When Planning a Trip to Canada
There are two official languages in Canada: English and French. English is the most widely spoken, followed by French.
When to Visit
The best time to visit Canada is during the fall months, from September through November when the weather is cool and there are not too many tourists. May to August is also a good time to visit as there will be warmer weather but more tourists and higher prices.
Currency & Payment
The official currency of Canada is the Canadian dollar. The U.S. dollar is often accepted by established businesses but it is best to pay with Canadian dollars for a better exchange rate. Credit cards are also a widely accepted form of payment in Canada.
Major cities in Canada have great public transportation systems and it will be easy to get around with buses, trams, and trains. Car rental is advised in the smaller towns. Trains and planes are a good way to transport to different regions within the country.
What to Pack for a Trip to Canada
Here’s a list of suggested items to pack for Canada…in addition to what you’d automatically think to bring.
Power adaptor: Electrical outlets in Canada are types A and B… and are 60 cycles / 120 volts which is compatible with all USA devices. If coming from another country, you will need a two-pin flat adapter and a 220-volt converter.
Small backpack: If you’d like to go hiking or on an excursion, bring a small backpack that you won’t mind getting dirty to easily carry your things in.
Comfortable shoes: You’ll do a lot of walking in Canada and will also likely participate in many outdoor activities, so bring some comfortable shoes.
Things to Do in Canada
Here’s a list of some top things to experience in Canada:
Go to Niagra Falls: Straddling both New York in the USA and Ontario in Canada, these falls are enormous and spectacular.
Visit Banff National Park in Alberta: There are seemingly endless natural wonders in this park; from Rocky Mountain peaks, turquoise glacial lakes, an adorable town, and tons of wildlife.
Spend time in Montreal and Old Quebec City: Rich in historic landmarks and museums; the areas of Montreal and Old Quebec City are quaint and is heavily influenced by French culture. While you’re there, be sure to eat some Poutine – a Canadian dish that originated in this region. It’s made of fries, cheese curds, and brown gravy.
Go to Vancouver: This is Canada’s densest and most ethnically diverse city. It’s got a beautiful and charming town and is closely located to Mount Whistler, which hosted the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Watch Hockey: Hockey is the national winter sport of Canada and Canadian’s take a lot of pride in their success with it. Games are often full of passionate fans and lots of fun.
See the Northern Lights: You can see the Northern Lights in Northern Canada from October to March.
Check out Newfoundland & the Maritimes
Spend a night in Hôtel de Glace: This hotel is made of snow and ice. Depending on the weather, it’s usually open between January and March.
Go to Sable Island: This remote national park is only accessible by small plane or boat but once there, visitors can see over 500 wild horses grazing over towering sand dunes.
Sip Wine in Okanagan Valley: Enjoy wine in one of the area’s 160 wineries and while surrounding yourself with beautiful clear lakes and majestic mountains.
Fast Facts About Canada
Here are some facts about Canada that you may have not already known!
- The lowest temperature ever recorded in Canada was -81.4 F in 1947 and is as cold as the surface of Mars.
- Santa Claus is Canadian… he has a Canadian passport and is legally considered a Canadian citizen.
- A small town in Canada, called Manitoba, is known as the Polar bear capital of the world.
- Canada is prepared for aliens. They built a UFO landing pad in the town of St. Paul.
- The famous Canadian interjection “eh” is listed in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary as a real word.
- More than 80% of Canadian land is uninhabited!
- 10% of the world’s forests are in Canada.
- There are over 30,000 lakes in Canada.
- The name Canada is from the Huron-Iroquois Indian word Kanata, which means village or settlement.
- Quebec manufactures more than 77% of the world’s maple syrup.
Budget Suggestions for a Trip to Canada
Here’s a look at what you might spend on the basics during a trip to Canada. Costs may fluctuate based on the region that you visit or the time of year that you go. This estimate is based on what it would cost to go to Montreal, Canada.
$15 - $30/Night (Hostel Dorm or Shared AirBNB)
$45 - $100/Night
(AirBNB or Hotel)
$100 - $300/Night
There are a wide range of accommodations available in Montreal. Hostelworld.com, Booking.com & Airbnb are good resources for affordable accommodation.
$7 - $10/pp/meal
$10 - $25/pp/meal
$25 - $100+/pp/meal
Poutine is a famous dish in Montreal and can be eaten as a budget-friendly meal substitute.
$5 - $6
$6 - $10
(Cocktails, Wines, Etc.)
$3.50/each way (Public Transportation)
$2.56/Minimun + $1.30/KM (Public Taxi)
Explore Canada Virtually From Home
Due to COVID-19, it’s not as possible to travel freely. Because of this, I wanted to share some resources for experiencing the country virtually.