Horseback riding in Canada

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Equestrian tours in Canada

    Source: World Travel Guide

Few countries in the world offer as many choices to the traveller as Canada. Whether your passion is skiing, sailing, museum-combing or indulging in exceptional cuisine, Canada has it all. Western Canada is renowned for its stunningly beautiful countryside; Eastern Canada mixes the flavour and charm of Europe with the bustle of trendy New York; wildlife viewing is at its best in Northern Canada; and, everywhere, you will be surprised by how much more there is to this country than just maple syrup and Mounties.

However, Canada also has its fair share of unsavoury history. Traces of up to a dozen distinct groups of Inuit (Eskimos – Canada's indigenous peoples) have been discovered across Canada's far northern regions. The Inuit maintain that traditional lands were taken from them by force or subterfuge by previous governments, bearing some resemblance to the plight of the Aborigines in Australia.

However, there have been some small measures to tackle their remonstrations: in 1991, a 350,000 sq km (135,135 sq miles) area of the Northwest Territories was relinquished to the Inuit as the semi-autonomous Nunavut territory; and additional lands and measures of self-government were granted to the territory in 1999. There is certainly room in Canada to accommodate for these peoples: despite Canada's gigantic size, the country is sparsely populated. Most people congregate around urban centres, and venturing into more remote rural areas, you may well have only the country's stunning scenery as your companion.

Indeed, Canada is so beautifully diverse that it makes it that little bit easier to comprehend why so many people fought for possession of it. During the 17th century, the Anglo-French war over Canada ended with the capitulation of the French Canadian capital, Québec, to the besieging forces of the English General Wolfe. The Americans made a number of efforts to seize control of Britain’s Canadian territories after British defeat in the American War of Independence, but failed, and the two countries thereafter evolved along different historical paths. In 1791, Canada was divided between regions occupied by the English-speaking and the longer-established French-speaking community, but the arrangement did not work and was replaced by a unified system.

Canada now promotes itself as a country of peace, most notably in recent times in its opposition to the US-led war against Iraq. Canada happily governs itself independently but still has the British monarch as its head of state, with relatively little dissent. These factors are typical of a country that somehow succeeds in unifying incredible range: whatever your passion, Canada has a place for it. After all, this country spans six time zones and borders three of the world's four oceans.

Canadian High Commission in the UK

Immigration division: 38 Grosvenor Street, London W1K 4AA, UK
Tel: (020) 7258 6600 or (020) 7258 6699 (recorded visa information).
Website: or
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0800-1100 excluding public holidays (personal callers only).
Consular section: Canada House, 5 Pall Mall East, Trafalgar Square, London SW1Y 5BJ, UK
Tel: (020) 7258 6600.

Visit Canada Centre in the UK

PO Box 170, Ashford, Kent, TN24 0ZX, UK
Tel: (0906) 871 5000 (Mon-Fri 0900-1730, recorded information line; calls cost 60p per minute).
Deals with consumer enquiries.

Canadian Tourism Commission in the UK

62-65 Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DY, UK
Tel: (0870) 161 5151 (travel trade only).
Canadian Tourism Commission deals with marketing and trade enquiries only. Consumer enquiries should be directed to the Visit Canada Centre.

Canadian Embassy in the USA

501 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
Tel: (202) 682 1740.

Canadian Consulate General in the USA

1251 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020-1175, USA
Tel: (212) 596 1628.
Consulates in: Anchorage, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Raleigh and San Diego.
Consulates General in: Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, San Francisco and Seattle.

General Information


North America.


Canada spans six time zones. Information on which time zone applies where may be found in the regional entries following this general introduction. The time zones are:

Pacific Standard Time: GMT - 8 (GMT -7 from second Sunday in March to first Sunday in November).
Mountain Standard Time: GMT - 7 (GMT -6 from second Sunday in March to first Sunday in November).
Central Standard Time: GMT - 6 (GMT -5 from second Sunday in March to first Sunday in November). Most of Saskatchewan does not observe DST.
Eastern Standard Time: GMT - 5 (GMT -4 from second Sunday in March to first Sunday in November).
Atlantic Standard Time: GMT - 4 (GMT -3 from second Sunday in March to first Sunday in November).
Newfoundland Standard Time: GMT - 3.5. (GMT -2.5 from second Sunday in March to first Sunday in November).


9,984,670 sq km (3,855,101 sq miles).


32 million (2005, UN).

Population Density

3.2 per sq km.


Ottawa. Population: 1.14 million (2004, including Gatineau).


Canada is bordered to the west by the Pacific Ocean and Alaska, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the northeast by Greenland, and to the south by the ‘Lower 48’ of the USA. The polar ice cap lies to the north. The landscape is diverse, ranging from the Arctic tundra of the north to the great prairies of the central area. Westward are the Rocky Mountains, and in the southeast are the Great Lakes, the St Lawrence River and Niagara Falls. The country is divided into 10 provinces and three territories. A more detailed description of each province can be found under the separate provincial entries.


Constitutional Monarchy.

Head of State

HM Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Michaëlle Jean since 2005.

Head of Government

Prime Minister Stephen Harper since 2006.

Recent History

Long-serving Jean Chrétien stepped down as Prime Minister in late 2003, replaced by Paul Martin. It seemed as if restoring relations with the USA was a primary concern of Martin's since the USA had barely concealed their frustrations with their neighbour for the refusal to support the 2003 war against Iraq.

However, soon after being sworn in, Martin's liberal government became embroiled in a scandal concerning the misappropriation of millions of dollars of public money, with the Liberal Party supposedly receiving kickbacks from advertising contracts awarded in Québec in the late 1990s. Martin barely survived a confidence motion in parliament in May 2005: just one vote saved him. However, in November 2005, his government lost a confidence vote, Parliament was dissolved and an election was called for January 2006.

After 12 years of Liberal rule, Canada swung to the right in the 2006 general election with conservative Stephen Harper succeeding Paul Martin as prime minister. Conservative leader Stephen Harper has pledged to cut taxes and tackle violent crime and corruption.

Executive power is vested in the British Monarch, the Head of State, who is responsible for appointing the governor general, currently Michaëlle Jean. The prime minister, elected cabinet ministers, a 104-member Senate and a House of Commons make up the Federal Parliament. Members of the House of Commons are directly elected, while members of the Senate are appointed by the prime minister. The ten provinces of Canada each has a lieutenant governor and a local legislature, in power for up to five years. There are also three territories (Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut) constituted by Acts of Parliament. Several recent attempts to amend the constitution have been rejected by popular referendum.


Bilingual: English and French. The use of the two languages reflects the mixed colonial history – Canada has been under both British and French rule.


75% of the population belong to the Christian faith: Anglican, Roman Catholic and United Church of Canada. There are numerous other active denominations and religions.


110-120 volts AC, 60Hz. American-style (flat) two-pin plugs are standard.

Social Conventions

Handshaking predominates as the normal mode of greeting. Close friends often exchange kisses on the cheeks, particularly in French areas. Codes of practice for visiting homes are the same as in other Western countries: flowers, chocolates or a bottle of wine are common gifts for hosts and dress is generally informal and practical according to climate. It is common for black tie and other required dress to be indicated on invitations. Exclusive clubs and restaurants often require more formal dress. Smoking has been banned in most public areas. Most restaurants, theatres and cinemas, if they permit smoking, have large ‘no smoking’ areas.


Passport Required?









Other EU


Visa Required?









Other EU


Return Ticket Required?









Other EU




To enter Canada, a valid passport is required by all nationals referred to in the chart above, except the following:

1. Citizens of France who are residents of, and entering from, the French overseas territory Saint Pierre and Miquelon; and persons entering from Saint Pierre and Miquelon.
2. Citizens of the USA holding a birth certificate, certificate of citizenship or naturalization, US permanent resident card, or certificate of Indian status along with photo ID. However, it is recommended that you carry a valid passport. US citizens re-entering the USA from Canada via air, land or sea require a valid passport or passport card.

Passport Note

The following are unsuitable for travel to Canada: any passport claiming to have been issued by Somalia; non-machine readable passports issued by the Czech Republic; temporary passports issued by the Republic of South Africa; and provisional passports issued by Venezuela.
Children under 18 years must have their own passports.


Visas are not required by nationals referred to in the chart above for stays of up to six months, except the following:
• Nationals of (3) Bulgaria and Romania.
• Nationals of Lithuania and Poland require a visa if their passport is not biometric. 

However, as of 15 March 2016, all visa-exempt nationals (other than US citizens) are required to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) if travelling to Canada by air. You need to apply online at An eTA costs C$7 and is valid for five years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. Note that Bulgarians and Romanians who hold a valid US non-immigration visa or have held a Canadian visa within the past 10 years may also be eligible to apply for an eTA from March 2016. Most eTAs are authorised within minutes.

Note: Nationals not referred to in the chart above are advised to contact the high commission to check visa requirements (see Contact Addresses).

Visa Note

Persons wishing to attend a course of six months' duration or less, at any level, do not require a study permit. However, if there is the possibility that you will extend your period of study in Canada, or if you are a full-time student and wish to work part-time, you may apply for a study permit.

Depending on circumstance and nationality, certain applicants may need to undergo a medical examination in order to receive their visas; this must be carried out by a doctor on Canada's list of Panel Physicians.

Visa applicants from some countries need to provide biometrics (photo and fingerprints).

Types of Visa and Cost

Single- or multiple-entry visitor visa: C$100 (£56); family visitor visa: C$500 maximum (£279); transit: free; study permit: C$150 (£84). 


Single-entry visa: up to six months; multiple-entry visa: up to six months at a time for up to 10 years. All applicants are considered for a multiple-entry visa.
The determination regarding length of stay in Canada can only be decided by the examining officer at the port of entry. It is usually six months, but in some cases the officer may limit the permitted time in Canada depending on the purpose of your trip.
Visitors must leave Canada on or before the date authorized by the examining officer on arrival.

Applications to:

Consulate (or consular section at embassy or high commission); see Contact Addresses. Some applicants are eligible to apply online ( Applicants resident in the UK either need to apply online or through VFS Global's Canada Visa Application Centre ( which charges a £20.90 processing fee.

Working Days Required

Visa processing time varies according to your nationality and your country of residence. In the UK, applications for visitor visas are usually processed within 11 days if you apply online or through VFS Global.



Canadian Dollar (CAD; symbol C$) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of C$100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of C$2 and 1, and 25, 10, 5 and 1 cents.

Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs

Major credit cards are widely accepted.

Traveller's Cheques

To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in Canadian Dollars; these are widely negotiable.

Banking Hours

Mon-Fri 0930-1600/1700 with extended hours in some locations. Business accounts can only be set up on presentation of a letter of credit from a home bank.

Exchange Rate Indicators


June 2016

£1.00 =


$1.00 =







Special Precautions

Certificate Required?

Yellow Fever






Typhoid and Polio






Inoculation regulations can change at short notice. Please take medical advice in the case of doubt.

Visitors intending to stay in Canada for more than 6 months - either as tourists, students or employees - may be required to take a medical examination. Visitors working in an occupation in which protection of public health is essential may be required to undergo a medical examination even if employment is only temporary. Check with the Canadian Consulate or High Commission for further information.

Other Risks

In the summer months, extremely high temperatures can be reached, so visitors at this time may wish to guard against the problems of heat and sunstroke.
Rabies is present in animals. For those at high risk, vaccination before arrival should be considered. If you are bitten, seek medical advice without delay. For more information, consult the Health appendix.

Health Care

There is no reciprocal health agreement with the UK, but doctors will continue medication for prescriptions issued in Europe. Private health insurance of up to C$50,000 is absolutely essential as hospital charges are very high (from US$1000-2000 a day, often with 30 per cent surcharge for non-residents imposed in some provinces). Health facilities are excellent (similar to the USA). Personal first-aid kits should be carried by travellers to more remote northern areas. Dial 911 for emergencies.

Top Things To See & Do

For a detailed description of the historic sites and natural attractions of each region, see Top Things To See and Top Things To Do in the individual Provinces/Territories sections.

Embassies and tourist offices

Canadian Embassy in the USA

Telephone: (202) 682 1740. Website: Opening times: Mon-Fri 0900-1700; 0900-1200 (consular services).

Canadian High Commission in the UK

Telephone: (020) 7258 6600. Website: Opening times: Mon, Wed and Fri 0800-1030 (immigration and visa section).

British High Commission in Canada

Telephone: (613) 237 1530. Website: Opening times: Mon-Fri 0830-1700.

Getting There

Getting There by Air

The principal national airline is Air Canada (AC) (website:


An Air Travellers Security Charge (ATSC) helps to pay for the additional security following 11 September 2001. This charge is levied on all passengers departing from any Canadian airport for domestic, national and international flights. The charge is currently C$17 per person for national and international departures and C$5-17 per person per flight for all domestic services.

Flight Times

From London to Calgary is 9 hours, to Halifax is 7 hours, to Montréal is 7 hours 20 minutes, to Toronto is 8 hours and to Vancouver is 9 hours 45 minutes.

From New York to Montréal is 1 hour 15 minutes, to Toronto is 1 hour 30 minutes and to Vancouver is 5 hours.

Main Airports

Canada has 13 international airports. All have full banking and catering facilities, duty-free shops and car hire. Airport-to-city bus and taxi services and, in some cases, rail links, are available.

Calgary (YYC) (website: is 20km (12.5 miles) from the city (journey time – 45 minutes).

Montréal (YUL) (Dorval) (website: is 25km (16 miles) from the city (journey time – 25 minutes).

Ottawa (YOW) (Macdonald-Cartier) (website: is 15km (8 miles) from the city (journey time – 20 to 45 minutes).

Toronto (YYZ) (Lester B Pearson) (website: is 27km (17 miles) from the city (journey time – 30 minutes).

Vancouver (YVR) (website: is 13km (8 miles) from the city (journey time – 20 to 45 minutes).


Getting There by Water

Main ports: Canada has many ports which are all served by international shipping lines.
Montréal (website: is the only port for passenger liners from Europe.
Toronto’s port (website: is on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario.
Halifax, Nova Scotia, (website:, St John, New Brunswick (website: and St John’s, Newfoundland (website: are the principal ports on the Atlantic Ocean.
The port of Vancouver (website: is on the west coast.

Getting There by Rail

The Canadian rail system connects to the USA at several points. Major routes are: New York–Montréal, New York–Buffalo–Niagara Falls–Toronto, Chicago–Sarnia–London–Toronto, Cleveland–Buffalo–Niagara Falls–Toronto and Detroit–Windsor–Toronto.

Rail Passes

VIA Rail Canada, the country's main rail operator, issues a discount pass for rail travel within Canada and the USA: The North American Rail Pass (available to anyone) is valid for 30 days and allows 12 days unlimited travel within that 30-day period on VIA trains in Canada and practically any Amtrak train in the USA, with direct access to over 900 Canadian and US cities and towns. For details of ticket prices and reservations, contact VIA Rail in Canada (tel: 1 888 842 7245; website: or their UK representative 1st Rail (tel: 0845 644 3552/3; website:

Getting There by Road

The only road access to Canada is through the southern border with the USA or from the west through Alaska. Apart from private motoring, the most popular way of travelling by road is by bus. The biggest coach company in the world is the Greyhound Bus Company (see Getting Around) and this is one of the most common routes to Canada from the USA. There are many crossing points from the USA to Canada, but some of the most common are: New York to Montréal/Ottawa; Detroit to Toronto/Hamilton; Minneapolis to Winnipeg; Seattle to Vancouver/Edmonton/Calgary.

Getting Around

Getting Around by Air

Air Canada has a low-cost airline called Tango that offers reduced flights from most Canadian provinces and Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa in Florida, USA to a number of internal destinations. For further information about Tango services contact Air Canada, PO Box 64239, Thorncliffe Outlet, 5512 Fourth Street, NW, Calgary, Alberta, T2K 6JO (tel: (800) 315 1390 (toll-free in Canada); website:
There are also around 75 airlines operating local services, the principal ones being: Air Nova (for eastern Canada) (website:, Air Alliance, Air Ontario and WestJet (website: (for central Canada). Reductions are available for those aged 13 to 21, with substantial reductions for those under 12.


An Air Travellers Security Charge (ATSC) was introduced in 2002, which helps to pay for the additional security following 11 September 2001. This charge is levied on all passengers departing from any Canadian airport for domestic, national and international flights. The charge is currently C$17 per person for national and international departures and C$5 per person per flight for all domestic services to a maximum of C$17 per person per ticket.

Departure Tax

From C$5 to C$28, depending on the airport of departure and the destination.

Getting Around by Water

Canada has many thousands of miles of navigable rivers and canals, a vast number of lakes and an extensive coastline. The whole country is well served by all manner of boats and ships, particularly the east and west coasts, where the ferries are fast, frequent and good value. The St Lawrence Seaway provides passage from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. For further details, see individual regional entries or contact the Visit Canada Centre (see Top Things To See & Do).

Getting Around by Rail

VIA Rail Canada operates extensive services across Canada. The regional railways are Algoma Central, British Columbia Railway, Great Canadian Railtour Company, Ontario Northland, Québec North Shore & Labrador, Toronto Hamilton & Buffalo Railway and White Pass & Yukon Route. Children under two years of age not occupying a separate seat may travel free (one per adult) and children two to 11 years of age pay half fare. Persons over 60 years of age and students carrying an International Student Card (ISIC), will receive a 10 to 50 per cent discount (depending on the type of ticket); student discount fares also apply to young people aged 12 to 17.
VIA Rail operates a Western transcontinental service (the Canadian) between Toronto (Ontario) and Vancouver (British Columbia), running three times weekly east and west, transiting Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton and Jasper. Passengers are drawn to this route by the spectacular scenery of the three mountain ranges which are passed en route – the Rockies, the Selkirks and the Coastal. The route also features views of ancient glaciers, large lakes and waterfalls. The journey takes three days and all trains operating on this route include showers in the sleeping cars. The transcontinental service can be accessed by regular services from the Atlantic provinces and from Québec City and Montréal. Rapid intercity services are available between Québec, Montréal, Halifax, Toronto, Windsor and Ottawa. On these journeys, the fare price includes a meal, snacks and drinks. VIA Rail also operates an overnight Eastern transcontinental service (the Ocean) between Montréal (Québec) and Halifax (Nova Scotia). Long-distance trains are extremely comfortable, with full restaurant services, air conditioning and spacious reclining seats.
The Rocky Mountaineer service (website: runs from April to October and offers the opportunity to travel between Calgary, Banff, Jasper and Vancouver during daylight hours, enabling passengers to view the extraordinary passing scenery. Customers can purchase either a one-way or round-trip fare. A one-way trip takes two days and covers approximately 442km (275 miles) each day. Included in the price is a one-night stopover in Kamloops, bus transfer from train to Kamloops hotel, two continental breakfasts, two light lunches and complimentary beverages (coffee, tea, fruit juices and soft drinks). Alcoholic beverages, films and souvenirs are available on board at an additional cost.
For visitors seeking a route into the Canadian wilderness, the Polar Bear Express (, Toronto–North Bay–Cochrane– Moosonee, runs daily (except Monday) from late June to early September. Passengers are advised to make hotel reservations in Moosonee in advance. Particularly scenic routes include Sault Ste. Marie–Eton–Hearst (with superb views of the Montréal River and hundreds of lakes), Winnipeg–Hudson Bay–Churchill, Jasper–Prince George–Prince Rupert (with exceptional scenery between Burns Lake and Prince Rupert), Victoria–Courtenay (along sheer cliffs to Malahat Summit with good views of Vancouver Island) and Vancouver–Whistler (along the fjord-like coast of Howe Sound, then the craggy cliffs and rushing white-water streams in the heavily forested Cheakamus Canyon to Alta Lake) (website:
VIA Rail also offers tailor-made adventure rail trips (VIA Adventures) to far-flung destinations, some of which are inaccessible by road, offering drop-off and pick-up services and special facilities for carrying bulky items such as canoes and bicycles.


Discount Rail Passes

The Canrailpass must be purchased outside Canada and a valid passport presented at time of purchase; it allows unlimited journeys on the Canadian railway system (except for the Bras d’Or tourist train) for 12 days (up to three extra days can be added to the pass at any time) within a 30-day period, and is only valid on VIA Rail trains. There is also a Student Canrailpass available to holders of International Student Cards (ISIC) and a Senior Canrailpass available to persons aged 60 and over. There is a reduced fare for children. The Alaska Pass (website: offers eight-, 12-, 15- and 21-day travel within Alaska and British Columbia, including travel on Alaska Ferry, Alaska Railroad, Holland America Motorcoaches and White Pass & Yukon Railroad.
For more information on rail itineraries, timetables, fares and special discounts, contact VIA Rail in Canada (tel: (416) 366 8411; website:; or the Visit Canada Centre (see Top Things To See & Do).

Getting Around by Road

The Canadian road network covers vast distances as the country is over 7600km (4800 miles) from west to east and 4800km (3000 miles) from north to south. The longest road is the Trans-Canada Highway (website:, running west to east for 8000km (5000 miles) from Victoria, British Columbia to St John's, Newfoundland. On country roads, visitors should be mindful of wild animals that may be roaming, such as deer or moose. Petrol and oil are sold by the litre, and costs per litre should be obtained at time of travel. The Canadian Automobile Association (tel: (613) 247 0117; website: is affiliated to most European organisations, giving full use of facilities to members. Road signs are international. Right turns on red lights are not permitted in some parts of Québec. Traffic drives on the right. Road speeds (per hour) and distances are in kilometres, and speeds are: 100kph (60mph) on motorways, 80kph (55mph) on rural highways and 50kph (30mph) in cities. Many road signs throughout the country are bilingual (English and French). Seatbelts are compulsory for all passengers. Radar detection devices are strictly prohibited in many states and may not be carried in automobiles. Studded tyres are illegal in Ontario, but are permitted, without seasonal limitations, in the Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan and Yukon, and are allowed only in winter in other provinces. Many provinces require drivers to keep headlights on during the day. International Driving Permits are recommended - car hire companies may want to see one as well as a passport and air tickets.
Note: The official date on which winter begins, for this and other purposes, will vary from province to province.



One of the cheapest and most convenient ways of travelling the country apart from private motoring is by coach. Each region is well served by a large network of coach lines, the most extensive being the Greyhound Bus Company, which covers more than 193,000km (120,000 miles) of North America. Greyhound’s International Discovery Pass system offers a variety of options to travellers from outside Canada and the USA. The ticket must be purchased outside of North America and entitles the holder to unlimited travel in the region specified on the pass. The International Canada Pass offers travel over periods of seven, 10, 15, 21, 30, 45 and 60 days in Canada. The International North America CanAm Pass offers travel over periods of 15, 21, 30, 45 and 60 days in Canada and the USA. The International Eastern CanAm Pass offers 10 or 21 days in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and the eastern coast of the USA. The International West Coast CanAm pass offers 10 or 21 days travel in British Columbia, Whitehorse, Yukon, Alberta and the western coast of the USA. The Greyhound Discovery Passes include all scheduled routes on Greyhound plus Greyhound Lines Inc: Montréal to New York and Vancouver to Seattle; Voyageur Colonial: Toronto to Montréal/Ottawa and North Bay to Montréal; Brewster Transportation: Banff to Jasper; Adirondack Trailways: New York to Buffalo to Toronto; Canada Coach Services: Toronto to Niagara Falls and Buffalo and Toronto to Detroit; Grey Goose Bus Lines: routes between Manitoba and Ontario; Laidlaw Coach Lines: services on Vancouver Island; Saskatchewan Transportation Co: Alaska to Saskatoon; and VIA Rail: Toronto to Ottawa to Montréal. For further information, contact Greyhound Canada (tel: (403) 265 9111 or (800) 661 8747 (toll-free in USA and Canada); website:
Gray Line is another bus company that offers excursions to major Canadian resorts (website:
Canada also has regional bus services, the most important of which are:
Atlantic Canada: Acadian Lines, CN Roadcruiser, SMT Eastern and Terra Nova Transport.
Central Canada: Canada Coach Lines, Grey Goose Bus Lines Limited, Orleans Express, Saskatchewan Transportation, Voyageur and Voyageur Colonial.
West Canada: Brewster Transport and Vancouver Island Coach Lines.
Other coach companies operating in Canada include: Gray Coach: Toronto to Niagara Falls and Buffalo; Arctic Frontier Carriers: Hay River to Yellowknife. Discounts are available for children under 16, persons over 62 years and students.
The Moose Travel Network (website: offers a 'jump on, jump off' service for backpackers and independent travellers.
Besides long-distance travel, all these companies operate a range of services, such as regional tours and escorted sightseeing for groups. RoutPass ( runs between May and December. It offers 14-, 15-, 16- and 20-day passes for unlimited bus travel in Ontario and Québec. Children are not charged if under five years old; half the adult fare is charged for children aged five to 11 years old. Contact individual operators for details.


Metropolitan buses operate on a flat-fare system (standard fares, irrespective of distance travelled). Fares must be paid exactly, which means that drivers do not carry change or issue tickets. Transfers should be requested when boarding a bus.

Car Hire

Available in all cities and from airports to full licence holders over 21 years of age. For some rental companies drivers may need to be at least 25 years old. Major companies from which cars can be booked in the UK for use in Canada are Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, Holiday Autos, Pelican Car Hire and Thrifty.


It is advised to apply for an International Driving Permit. Visitors may drive on their national driving licences for up to three months in all provinces, with the following exceptions: Yukon – one month; Prince Edward Island – four months; British Columbia, New Brunswick and Québec – six months.

Journey Times

The following chart gives approximate travel times from Ottawa (in hours and minutes) to other major cities/towns in Canada.






















Country code: 1. Most public telephones operate using 25-cent coins. There is a reduced rate Mon-Fri 1800-0900, Sat 1200 to Mon 0900. For long-distance calls, telephone cards are available. Credit card telephones are to be found in larger centres.

Mobile Telephone

Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies. Coverage is good.


Available throughout Canada, as are Internet cafes.


All mail from Canada to outside North America is by air. Stamps are available in hotels, some pharmacies and local stores, or in vending machines outside post offices and shopping centres.

Post office hours: generally Mon-Fri 0930-1700, Sat 0900-1200, but times vary according to province and location; city offices will have longer hours.


Canada has a long history of public broadcasting. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) was set up in the 1930s in response to the growing influence of American radio. Broadcasting is in both French and English. The corporation also operates two national TV channels, TV and radio services for indigenous peoples in the north, plus the international broadcaster, Radio Canada International.
There is freedom of speech in media throughout Canadian media. The broadcasting regulator rules that quotas of Canadian material - usually 30 or 35% - must be carried by TV and radio stations.


• The main national daily newspaper is The Globe and Mail. The National Post also has national distribution.
• Daily newspapers published in the larger population centres have a wide local and regional circulation.
• French-language dailies are published in seven cities, including Montréal, Ottawa and Québec.
• In Alberta, the main English-language newspapers are the Calgary Herald, The Calgary Sun, The Edmonton Journal and The Edmonton Sun.
• In British Columbia, the Vancouver Sun; in Manitoba, the Winnipeg Free Press and The Winnipeg Sun.
• In New Brunswick, the Daily Gleaner and The Times and Transcript; in Newfoundland & Labrador, the Telegram and The Western Star.
• In Nova Scotia, The Chronicle-Herald and The Daily News.
• In Ontario, The Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Sun, The Toronto Star and the The Toronto Sun.
• In Prince Edward Island, the Guardian and the Journal Pioneer.
• In Québec, The Gazette (daily).
• In Saskatchewan, the Daily Herald, Leader Post, Star-Phoenix and the Times-Herald.
• In Yukon, The Whitehorse Daily Star.


CBC owns the English-language cable news channel CBC Newsworld.
• Société Radio-Canada is another public broadcaster that operates the French-language network and cable news channel RDI.
• CTV is a major commercial network, whilst TVA is a major French-language commercial network.
CPAC is the parliamentary and political channel.


CBC operates English-language Radio One and cultural network Radio Two.
Société Radio-Canada operates French-language Première Chaîne and Espace Musique.
CBC runs the external service Radio Canada International.


Climate graphs for the various provinces and territories may be found in the relevant entries below.

Summer thunderstorms are common throughout Canada. Occasionally, these may become 'severe'. Tornados also occur throughout Canada, with May to September being prime months. The peak season is June and early July in southern Ontario, Alberta, southeastern Québec, and a band stretching from southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba, through to Thunder Bay. The interior of British Columbia and western New Brunswick are also tornado zones. Earth tremors occur in the western mountains. Forest fires can occur at any time, regardless of the season, particularly in the grasslands and forests of western Canada.

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