Travel Tips

Weather

Daytime summer temperatures can range from 15-25 degrees centigrade (60-75 F), while nights may go a few degrees lower. The weather is quite changeable, so be prepared.

Average winter temperature is minus 5 degrees centigrade.

What Should I bring for Summer?

Along with the clothing you would regularly bring, bring clothes that layer easily – a warm sweater, fleece, raingear & light walking boots. Also bring sunscreen, Mosquito Repellant and (very important) your camera and binoculars.

Will I see Whales ?

Not guaranteed. But in season in Newfoundland, usually late June to early August you will see humpback whales. Often other whale species minke, dolphin, fin are also seen. In Nova Scotia and New Brunswick the season is often extended into September.

Will I see Icebergs ?

Not guaranteed. But in season in Newfoundland & Labrador, usually Mid June to End July.

Alcohol

You must be 19 years of age to consume or purchase alcohol in the provinces of Atlantic Canada. Drinking alcohol in public is prohibited by law in all of Canada.

Electricity

Residential Canada uses 110 volt electrical systems at 60 hertz. You will need a voltage transformer/ converter for your electrical appliances if they operate on a different voltage. There are different types of converters for different types of appliances. Small electronics, razors and non-heating appliances can operate with a 50-watt converter. Heating appliances such as hair dryers, irons, coffee makers and other high-power electrical appliances need a 1600-watt converter. You can also purchase combination converters for both types. Mains wall sockets and plugs for 110 volts are two parallel flat blades. If those sockets are different from the ones used in your country then you will need a socket converter.

Holidays

  • New Year’s – Day January 1st
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • Victoria Day – Around May 24th
  • Canada Day – July 1st
  • Labor Day – First Monday in September
  • Thanksgiving – Second Monday in October
  • Remembrance Day – November 11
  • Christmas Day – December 25
  • Boxing Day – December 26

Businesses, including banks, that would normally be closed on a Sunday will be closed on these generally observed holidays. The main exception is Boxing Day which is a big day for the retail sector. Businesses might also be open on Remembrance Day. Banks are open on Good Friday but closed Easter Monday.

When a fixed-date holiday falls on a day that a business would normally close (e.g. Christmas on a Sunday), then the Friday or Monday of that weekend is taken as a holiday.

Office hours are usually from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Banking hours are usually:

10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Thursday

10:00 a.m. to 5:00 or 6:00 p.m., Friday.

Many banks are also open 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, Saturday

Post offices are usually open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Core opening hours for shops are 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday to Friday. Extended hours vary and can include late nights and weekend hours.

Language

Canada is officially bilingual (English and French), however the working language in the provinces of NL, NS & PEI is English. New Brunswick is Bilingual (English & French).

Money

1 Canadian Dollar (Can$) = 100 cents.

Note denominations:

  • Can$1000 (uncommon)
  • Can$100
  • Can$50
  • Can$20
  • Can$10
  • Can$5

Coin denominations:

  • Can $2 (toonie)
  • Can $1 (loonie)
  • 50 cents (uncommon)
  • 25 cents (quarter)
  • 25 cents (quarter)
  • 10 cents (dime)

Measures

Canada uses the metric system. Distance is measured in kilometers, speed signs are in kilometers per hour. Petrol/gas is sold by the litre and temperature is measured on the Celsius scale. Most weight measurements are in kilograms or grams.

Smoking

In Atlantic Canada, smoking is banned on all public transport, in public buildings, including restaurants and bars, and workplaces.

Tax

Each Province has the following taxation:

  • Newfoundland & Labrador (HST) 15%
  • Nova Scotia (HST) 15%
  • New Brunswick (HST) 15%
  • Prince Edward Island (HST) 15%)
  • Some cities also apply a hotel levy (2 – 4%)

It is added to most purchases and services (including postage stamps) with the exception of basic groceries.

Telephone

Dialing into Canada from North America is: 1 + area code + local number

Area codes:

  • NL is 709
  • NB is 506
  • NS is 902
  • PEI is 902

Dialing out of Canada: 011 + country code + area code + local number

Emergencies: dial 911 (police, ambulance, fire), free call

Emergencies: dial 911 (police, ambulance, fire), free call

Toll free: numbers begin with 1-800, 1-888 or 1 – 877

Pre-paid plastic calling cards are available from convenience stores.

Cell Coverage

Some rural areas within Atlantic Canada do not have cell coverage. Please check with your carrier to see if coverage is available.

Tipping

Like the USA, in Canada it is customary to tip for services such as restaurants, bars and pubs, taxis and hairdressers. Usually 15%, although the amount can range from 10% to 20% at the discretion of the person paying the bill. Always check whether a service charge was included in a restaurant bill, especially if paying by credit card, as this is the tip.