A country of superlatives, the main problem with Canada is knowing where to start. Do you go with the vast national parks, crammed full of ice-capped peaks, majestic glaciers, crystal lakes and a host of unique and exciting wildlife? Or maybe head to the coast and explore the spectacular fjords and make friends with a curious whale? Perhaps you just stick to the cities and sample the night-life in Toronto or explore the enchanting old town of Quebec City.
That’s not to mention the endless opportunities for extreme sports, such as climbing, kayaking, bungee jumping and mountain biking over some truly stunning terrain. With the longest coastline, the most lakes and the largest land mass after China, the opportunities for exploration are almost without bound.
It may also be the coldest nation on earth but that doesn’t stop the locals from smiling. That’s because they have the highest quality of life; a health service that’s free to all and cities like Vancouver and Montreal which combine idyllic coastal locations with liberal, crime free environments where everybody has their place. It’s no wonder that a quarter million people move to Canada every year.
Canada is a vast country with over 500 airports; most major cities are served internationally. There are numerous buses, trains and ferries providing land and sea crossings to the USA.
There’s a lot of water in Canada and boats are a staple of the public transport system. Greyhound offers an extensive bus network, though trains and planes are often quicker for long distance intercity travel.
Language: English, French
Time: UTC-3.5 to UTC-8
Climate: Cold continental, though varies with region. Warm summers, cold winters, rainfall throughout the year. Temperature (Ottawa): Max 26°C (July), Min -10°C (January). Rainfall (Ottawa): Max 105mm (June), Min 35mm (February).
Currency: Dollar (CAD)
Business etiquette: Greet with a firm handshake and eye contact. Business suits are the norm, though practices may vary between regions and companies. Business in Quebec is conducted in French; elsewhere English is used. This is a largely transactional culture and relationships are not required to do business.
Tipping: 15-20 percent
Duty free: 200 cigarettes; 50 cigars; 1.5l wine or 1.14l liquor or 24 bottles or cans of beer or ale; gifts to C$60 per gift (excluding advertising matter, business-related materials, tobacco or alcoholic beverages).
Safety: Extreme cold weather can make driving dangerous and pose a severe health threat if caught outdoors. The crime rate is low; petty crime and theft are more likely in cities.
Laws: Possession of the plant Qhat (or Khat) may result in up to 10 years imprisonment.
Healthcare: Excellent medical facilities are available but costs are very high. Medical insurance is essential. First aid kits should be carried in remote northern areas.
Socket type: Type A