Are you planning a visit to Canada? We’ve put together some helpful tips so that you can prepare for your upcoming vacation in Canada!
Canadian currency is called Canadian Dollars – shortened to CAD, its symbol is $. It can be broken down into dollars and cents. Canadian banknotes or bills are clearly marked and come in a rainbow of colours (often jokingly compared to “Monopoly Money”). They are made of a polymer material, which means they can survive an accidental trip through the laundry and are easily sanitized.
- $5 – Blue
- $10 – Purple
- $20 – Green
- $50 – Red
- $100 – Gold
Our coins also come in a range of denominations (or amounts) and have some fun nicknames to go along with them. You’ll notice a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II of England on the back side of all of our coins.
- $.05- Nickel, they are silver in colour feature a photo of a beaver.
- $.10- Dime, they are silver in colour and feature a photo of a schooner (boat) called the Blue Nose II.
- $.25 – Quarter, they silver in colour and feature a photo of a caribou, or various different drawings to mark special occasions.
- $1 – Dollar, or “Loonie”, they are gold in colour and feature a photo of a loon.
- $2 – Two Dollars or “Toonie”, they are both gold and silver in colour and feature a photo of a polar bear.
Canadian coins are similar size and weight as American coins, with one crucial difference: Canadian coins are magnetic, US Coins are not magnetic. US coins will not work in Canadian vending machines.
Pennies, or 1 cent coins, are no longer in circulation – Cash Transactions are rounded with what is called “penny rounding”, to the nearest 5 cents. Pennies are small, copper-coloured coins and make for a nice souvenir because they have a Maple Leaf insignia. Please take some home with you if you find them, Canadians won’t miss them.
Electricity in Canada
Power plugs and sockets are type A and B. The standard voltage 120 volts and the standard frequency is 60 Hz.
Official Canadian Languages
English and French. The majority of Alberta is English speaking.
Canadian Customs and Immigration
Check out the Government of Canada website.
Driving in Canada
Canadians drive on the right side of the road, and our speed and distance are measured in Kilometers. Click here for the basics of driving in Alberta. Pedestrians have right of way at all times. Please make sure you stop at all intersections so they can cross.
From the end of May to the end of September we use all-season tires on our cars. From October to May we use winter tires on our cars. If you plan on visiting from October to May and want to rent a car, we suggest requesting winter tires when booking with your rental company – they don’t always provide them.
Have you ever heard of a Canadian standoff? It happens when two Canadians approach a door and offer for the other person to go first, it can go on for quite some time. It can also happen at 4-way stop signs, in shops, and when passing each other on the sidewalk. Canadians are known for having pretty outstanding manners and are generally being polite. It is common courtesy to open the door for one another, to help and assist one another, and to take your shoes off before entering someone’s home. Learn more on Canadian Etiquette and tipping.
So Canada gets pretty cold, eh? Have you ever experienced -20C (-4F) or colder? If not, don’t stress! The colder weather can actually be very beautiful, especially here in sunny Alberta. As we northerners like to say, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.” Canada is well equipped for cold and snow. How to dress for the cold differs from person-to-person, you will see some people in warm down jackets at +15C (60F) and others in shorts at -20C (-4F).
All of our homes and buildings are well heated and insulated. Normally it’s around 18 degrees or warmer indoors. Outside? Well, that’s up to mother nature! It’s also worth keeping in mind that because we are in an area that is usually colder most of our properties do not have air conditioning. We’re not known for extended heat waves, so it isn’t worth the expense for the one week of truly hot weather we get a year. If you are visiting us during a rare heatwave, we will do our best to provide tips to help you stay cool.
Quick Clothing Tips for Cold Weather
- Keep a small light toque (winter hat) and gloves in your pack if you are out hiking, as weather conditions can change rapidly. It can snow in Canmore in any month of the year (most likely at higher elevations, but even in the townsite, too).
- Bring at least one warmer layer, a sweater or light jacket, even in the summer. Our town is located in a mountain valley, which can make the weather quite variable. It gets noticeably cooler at night when the sun goes down.
- For those more prone to having cold feet ,you can buy little heat packs called ‘Hot Hands’ for feet and hands. They last at least 5 hours and go in your boots and gloves. They are a great idea when skiing. You can get them from Canadian Tire (the local hardware and sport supply store).
When looking at the weather forecast, always look for the potential of “wind-chill”- it can be a game changer. If it is -20C (-4F) but with the wind-chill, the temperature “feels like” outside will “feels like” -30C (-22F). The wind and the sun really make a big difference at low temperatures. Check out this handy Windchill Chart.
Canada is often shown as “The Great White North” in most popular media. Canmore and Banff are certainly beautiful when wearing a fresh coat of snow. Many of us really do love the winter weather and the coziness of gathering around a warm fire sipping cocoa after a day of playing hockey on a pond. We’re excited for you to experience the beauty of snow-capped mountains – we can’t wait to share it with you!