Canada covers six of the 24 time zones around the world. Newfoundland and Labrador, on the east coast, is four and a half hours ahead of British Columbia on the west. Canada is GMT-5 in Montreal and GMT-8 in Victoria.
Between March and November, Canada observes daylight saving time (DST) but there are a few places that don’t, most notably Saskatchewan, parts of Quebec and some areas of British Columbia.
The currency used is the Canadian dollar, which is available in five, ten, 20, 50 and 100 dollar notes. Canadian dollars are widely available in the UK should you wish to buy money before travelling. If you want to exchange money out in Canada, always do so at a reputable financial institution such a bank or bureau de change. Traveller's cheques are widely accepted.
All major credit and debit cards, including American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and VISA are accepted almost everywhere in Canada. ATMs are also widely available across the country. Do not leave the hotel without having recovered the imprint of your card and checked the amount debited. Ditto for car rental. Banks are generally open from 09:00 to 15:00, Monday to Friday.
Prices are (usually) displayed without tax so a federal tax (GST) of five percent and a variable provincial sales tax (PST) of five to 10% depending on location, will be added. Alberta does not practice PST. Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick apply a single combined tax of 13%. To summarise, you will pay between five and 15% more than the advertised price.
Electricity and Plugs
110/115 volts so take an adapter.
Generally, in larger cities, shops are open Monday to Wednesday from 10:00 to 18:00, Thursday and Friday from 10:00 to 21:00, Saturday from 10:00 to 17:00 and Sunday from 11:00 to 17:00.
The Globe, Mail and The National Post have national distribution but the best-selling daily is, however, The Toronto Star. The radio and TV options are also abundant.
Post offices are open (in general) from Monday to Friday, from 09:00 to 17:00 and frequently on Saturday morning. Many pharmacies also sell stamps and some have a postal outlet (some hotels and department stores also offer postal services).
To phone Canada from the UK, add 00 1 to the front of the number you’re dialling (removing the first zero from the number you’re dialling). To call the UK from Canada, use 00 44 before dialling the number (again, without the first zero).
Internet and Mobile Coverage
WiFi, 3G and 4G are widely available and mobile phone reception is generally good.