NEED TO KNOW
Language: English and French
Capital City: Ottawa
Population: 32.8 million
Area: 3,850,000 square miles
Telephone Calling Code(s): 1
Electricity: 120V, 60 Hz
Currency: As of Nov 22, 2011:
1 Canada Dollars = $0.96 US Calculate Other Amounts
Canada does not require visas for citizens of the United States. A valid passport is sufficient for a six-month stay.
GOOD TO KNOW
Books and Movies
As shows like SCTV and The Kids in the Hall suggest—and as hometown funnymen Mike Myers, Jim Carrey, and Dan Aykroyd prove—Canadians can have a humorous take on the world. But though these comedians make many of their movies in Hollywood, a new moviemaking culture has been flourishing in Canada over the past decade. Canadian directors like Atom Egoyan and Alison Maclean began using their home country as a backdrop for their films, and so many American moviemakers followed suit that Vancouver is now often referred to as "Hollywood North."
Some of North America's best-known (and bestselling) authors are Canadian. The hall of fame includes Alice Munro, Saul Bellow, Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, and Pulitzer-prizewinner Carol Shields.
As the Western Hemisphere's largest country, it's no surprise that Canada has an extremely diverse culinary tradition, with influences from across the globe. In the west, Vancouver is known for its Pan-Pacific-Northwest fusion, while the restaurants in the east (particularly in Québec) have a distinctly French flair. Seafood is big throughout the country, although dishes vary from region to region: The Inuit serve whale blubber and seal liver in Nunavut; Newfoundlanders love their dried squid; Nova Scotia is known for its smoked salmon; and Vancouver goes for high-end sushi. Food aside, Canada's major culinary contribution to the world table has been great beer. The major brands, Molson and Labatt, are available everywhere, but they go down best while watching a Leafs game in Toronto.
Canadian shopping opportunities vary by region, although you'll find amazing maple syrup and hockey equipment just about everywhere. Québec City's winding lanes are filled with Parisian-style clothing boutiques; Montreal is best known for Inuit carvings and exquisite furs. Cosmopolitan Vancouver and Toronto are the best destinations for true shopoholics, with hip malls and some of the same high-end clothing stores you might see in New York.
Various sales taxes throughout Canada can be as high as fourteen percent. When it comes to tipping, Canada is pretty much the same as the United States; waiters and other service employees expect a fifteen to twenty percent gratuity.
January: 1, New Year's Day
May: Monday before 25, Victoria Day
July: 1, Canada Day
September: First Monday, Labor Day
October: First Monday, Thanksgiving
November: 11, Remembrance Day
December: 25, Christmas Day; 26, Boxing Day
Spring: Friday before Easter, Good Friday; Easter; day after Easter, Easter Monday