Practical information

Canada’s currency is based on dollars and cents.

Coins Name

100¢= $1.00 CAD

5¢ (nickel or five cents)

10¢ (dime or 10 cents)

25¢ (quarter or 25 cents)

$1.00 (Loonie, or one dollar)

$2.00 (Toonie or two dollars)
The 1¢ (penny/cent) has recently been decommissioned. Stores now either round up or down to the nearest 5¢


$5.00 bill

$10.00 bill

$20.00 bill

$50.00 bill

$100.00 bill

Most retailers accept all denominations up to $50.00. Larger denominations may not be accepted at all retailers, check before purchasing.

Taxes on goods and merchandise

Most provinces require the addition of two sales taxes be applied to all goods purchased: (1) the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which is a federally mandated tax and (2) a Provincial Sales Tax (PST), which is a provincially mandated tax.

When both GST and PST are applicable to a sale, the amounts of each should be shown separately on the cash register tape or invoice.

The provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick now charge a Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). Instead of charging a provincial retail sales tax as well as GST, only the HST is charged.

Province     GST        PST        HST    
Alberta 5% none
British Columbia 13%
Manitoba 5% 7%
Ontario 13%
Quebec 5% 7.5%
New Brunswick 13%
Newfoundland 13%
Nova Scotia 13%
Prince Edward Island 5% 10%
Saskatchewan 5% 5%
Northwest Territories 5% none
Nunavut 5% none
Yukon 5% none
The Canadian Seasons and Climate

Most cities in Canada experience a four-season year, each season offers its own character and appeal.

Winter: December 21 – March 20 
Characterized by cold temperatures, snow, and other precipitation. Temperatures often dip below freezing and wind chill factors make it feel much colder than the temperatures reveal. This season has the shortest days and longest nights of the year. Common outdoor sports include skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, tobogganing, and hockey.
Common holidays and observances in winter: Christmas (December 25), Boxing Day (December 26), New Year’s Day (January 1), Valentine’s Day (February 14)

Spring: March 20 – June 21 
Characterized by warmer temperatures causing flora to bloom. In some parts of Canada (e.g., Victoria, British Columbia), this occurs very early in spring. Frost is still a risk, but most people enjoy the general awaking of this season. Sports include: golf, fishing, and jogging.
Common holidays and observances in spring: Easter (March – April, depending on the year), Mother’s Day (May), Victoria Day (3rd week of May), Father’s Day (June)

Summer: June 21 – September 22 
Characterized by warm, often hot, temperatures, long days (sunsets as late as 9:00 p.m.), and a preference for outdoor activities. Sports include: swimming, boating, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, golf, rock climbing, jogging, and much more.
Common holidays and observances in summer: Canada Day (July 1), BC Day (August), Labor Day (September)

Autumn (Fall): September 22 – December 21
Characterized by cooler temperatures, a crispness in the air, and the changing in the colors of the leaves on trees. In some areas, the end of September and the beginning of October can bring a return to very warm, even hot temperatures for a week or two. Autumn is considered by many to be the most beautiful season because of the beautiful colors of the leaves on the trees at this time of year.
Common holidays and observances in autumn: Thanksgiving (October), Halloween (October 31), Remembrance Day (November 11)

Average temperatures in Celsius

The average temperature in Vancouver during summer is of 23°C and a winter the average is 7°C.

Electrical Voltage

The electrical voltage system in Canada is 110 volts. If traveling from a country outside of North America, you will need a proper voltage converter and outlet adapter in order to operate your electrical appliances.

Taxi service

Taxi service is available in all cities, and is generally considered a safe mode of transportation. Taxis are regulated, so fares are set and posted in each car. The fare rates vary depending on the location, but generally begin with a set amount and increase per kilometer. In cases of specific routes (from a city center to the airport), many taxis have pre-set rates that can be established prior to setting out. Tipping a taxi driver is common though not mandatory.

Public Transportation

Vancouver as well as other cities offers a public transportation system, which may include: subway, sky train and bus.  Most systems are comprehensive, allowing a visitor to reach most major attractions and extending into the residential suburbs. Public transportation is considered a safe mode of transit, but riders should always be vigilant about their personal property. Tickets or passes are required prior to boarding. In most cities, visitors staying for one week or longer can purchase a transit pass valid for either a specific number or an unlimited number of rides.


Tipping for services received is a common practice in Canada. This includes service in restaurants, bars, pubs, hair salon, spa, and even taxis. Tipping in a restaurant is the most common and expected. Typically, patrons tip 15% in an average establishment, excluding taxes, provided the service was good. In finer restaurants, the tip is already included in your bill and it is around 20% the normal. The tip is usually left on the table if paying by cash, or included in the final amount of the bill if paying by credit card. In the case of a group reservation, the restaurant may add the service/gratuity to the bill automatically (patrons should check this before paying). In a pub or bar, a tip is usually given at the time that the drink is delivered if paying on a per-drink basis. The amount given per drink is not standard, with most patrons either rounding up to the nearest dollar or giving the equivalent of approximately 10%. Tipping in fast food or self-service restaurants is not expected.