Hello, are you thinking of going to Canada in the near future? is it already in your travel plans or you are still dreaming of the country, whatever be the case, here are ten things to know about the country before traveling.
- Canada is a wide country: Canada is the second-largest city, right after Russia and so, when you go there, don’t expect to be able to cover most of the country in just a few weeks. Canada is huge and traveling from one city to the next means traveling long distances.If you only have a limited amount of time you are better off choosing one or two provinces of Canada and focusing on all the things there are to see there. Just to emphasize how big Canada really is: the country spans 6 time zones! Canada is made up of 10 provinces and three territoriesAlso, keep in mind that Canadian cities are very spread out. So when you are booking a hotel or Airbnb that seems to be close to the main sights or a bus or train station, double-check the distances. And yes, a hotel in one of the suburbs might be much cheaper, but keep in mind that those suburbs often feel like a separate city with their own shopping malls, parks, supermarkets.
- Canada has severe weather conditions, be prepared for them: When packing for Canada, add thick clothes, that’s my travel advice.One of the important things to know before going to Canada is that even if you are visiting Canada in summer it can get chilly at night in the mountains. And the weather just varies a lot from place to place.The British Columbia Coast (Canada’s western coastline) has milder temperatures in winter but if you are anywhere else in Canada in winter, expect it to get cold… Very cold! Bring a warm woolen hat (Canadians call it a toque), thick gloves and a scarf to wrap around your face.
Canada’s lowest recorded temperature was -81.4 degrees Fahrenheit (-63 C) in 1947!
- Sales taxes are added to all your bills, deal with it: Canada adds a federal sales tax to all goods and services. And on top of that most provinces also have their own tax. This means that, depending on where you are in Canada, your bill could come with up to about 15% taxes.So when you buy something in a store, the price you see on the label is not the final price. But also expect these taxes to be added to your restaurant bills, hotel bills, etc.Just like the Americans, Canadians love their promotions, sales, and special offers. Therefore always compare prices before you buy! For example, gas prices can vary significantly from station to station and they change almost daily. Note: There once was a tax refund program for visitors. This program, however, was dropped in 2007, so the taxes you pay while you’re in Canada stay in Canada.
- Canadians are friendly and overtly polite people:Canadians have a reputation for being polite. They generally behave very well in public and anything considered “disruptive” or “offensive” is frowned upon. Cutting in line, making a scene, catcalling, loitering, littering, being drunk in public… just don’t do it anywhere, but definitely not in Canada!Canadians are known for their tolerance and are very nonconfrontational. To some, they might come across as somewhat reserved and they will say sorry even if there is absolutely no need to apologize for anything! Nigerians will love these ones, lol.
- Customers are treated like Kings in Canada:Similar to the USA Canada is a consumer society and that does mean that the customer is normally king.Most stores open seven days a week and close late at night. Restaurants cater to every possible diet and waiters tend to be friendly and attentive.
There are toll-free numbers to talk to customer service representatives and whatever service you need will usually work just fine and you as the customer can be rest assured that you will be treated with utmost care and respect, ah Nigerians will love this.
- You will need Health Insurance:Canada might be well known for its excellent healthcare system, but that’s only for Canadians.If you get injured while visiting Canada and don’t have adequate health insurance you can be presented with huge medical bills.
So before you travel to Canada make sure you have travel insurance that covers any medical expenses in Canada!
- Ensure you have the right travel documents: Unless you are a US citizen you will normally need either a visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) to enter Canada. What you need depends on what passport you hold so make sure to check this long before your travel date. A Canada ETA is mandatory for all visa-free nationals except Americans. You will need to get this before you board your flight to Canada. Getting your ETA is a simple online process through which takes only a few minutes to complete.
- Emergency Information:Hopefully, you won’t need this, but it’s definitely one of the things to know before going to Canada.The phone number for contacting emergency services, including the police, medical services, and firefighters in Canada is 911.
- Take in Canada’s Nature:Yes, Canada has cool, modern and popular cities such as Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. With lots of cultures, good food and plenty of things to do they make for good destinations, but Canada’s true beauty is outside of its cities.Because of Canada’s size and relatively small population, most of the country is wild and unspoiled. Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world’s lakes combined.
There are huge areas of pristine, unspoiled wilderness waiting to explore when you go to Canada. Whether it is tramping across a glacier in the Rocky Mountains, hiking through coastal rainforests on Vancouver island or canoeing through Ontario’s lakes – Canada’s great outdoors can’t be missed!
- If you love outdoor sports such as hiking, camping, canoeing, skiing, fishing, bird watching, etc. you will be in your element in Canada.
Canada has so many national parks that offer great activities and incredible views. So at least try to fit in one or two of them when traveling to Canada!