Summary: Located in northern North America, and bordering the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans, Canada is the second largest country in world behind only Russia with 90% of the population concentrated within 160 km of the US border. With a terrain that is mostly lowlands in the east, plains in the central provinces, and mountains in the west, Canada's abundant natural resources and close relationship with other countries have helped it to become a high-tech industrial society.
Time Zone: DST -0400 UTC
Transportation: Canada has international airports servicing most major centers of the country, and the eastern and western coasts are ports of call as well. Due to its large size, renting a car or taking a train are the best ways to travel the long distances between coasts and provinces.
Languages: English, French
Power: 120 V, 60 Hz
Currency: Canadian Dollar
- Currently 1 CAD = 0.9443 USD $
Climate: Canada's climate varies due to its size and geography. From temperate in the southern regions of the country through to subarctic and arctic in the very northern territories. Summers tend to be very hot and humid and winters tend to be cold and snowy.
- Currently -8º, var t
Canada seeks climate pact with USA - USA Today - Nov 07 1:19 PM
Canada cautiously cracks open door to auto aid - Reuters via Yahoo! News - Nov 07 1:04 PM
Canada tempers hopes for G20 crisis talks - AFP via Yahoo! News - Nov 07 10:47 AM
Germany eliminates Canada at FIFA U17 women's soccer tournament - Canadian Press via Yahoo! News - 48 minutes ago
Honduras, fresh off win vs Canada, faces Jamaica in World Cup qualifier - Canadian Press via Yahoo! News - Sep 09 12:45 PM
| Ottawa: The capital of Canada is one of the world's most beautiful and green capitals, made more scenic by the Ottawa River separating the city from the French-speaking Hull and Gatineau in Quebec. Many of the city's sights are closely grouped to make this a very walkable city, from Parliament Hill and its grounds, where the country's political power rests, to the Rideau Center and the Byward Market, for shopping and lunch, and on to the Rideau Canal, which is beautiful to walk along during the summer, and becomes the world's longest skating rink in the winter. Ottawa has officially applied to have the Rideau Canal marked as a UNESCO world heritage site. The Museum of Civilization and the National Art Gallery are both nearby and are a great way to while away a day.|
| Toronto: Canada's largest city at 5 million, including its environs, Toronto is a bustling city full of distractions. The downtown core is very walkable, although your feet could get tired walking from the Eaton's Center, a large shopping complex inter- connected with many other sights of the city by underground paths, to the CN Tower, the world's tallest freestanding structure, and Rogers Centre, a convertible stadium home to baseball and football games. While you're here, go and see the Greek community on the Danforth, and have a picnic on Toronto Island, from where you can get a great view of the city.|
| Montreal: Montreal has been at the heart of the English and French debates, and is still one of the largest cities in Canada. While you're here, enjoy the shopping and bistros along Saint Catherine Street, the old cobblestone streets and charm of Vieux Port, the old waterfront square, the view from Mont Royal, after which the city is named, and La Ronde, a large amusement park complex. Less than three hours away by car is Quebec City, known for its charm, cobblestone streets, and the Hotel Frontenac, which has become symbolic of the old city.|
| Vancouver: Vancouver has milder weather in the winter, and hot summers inland. Walk, bike or drive around the nearly 1000 acre Stanley Park and see the Vancouver Aquarium, or visit the heritage areas of Vancouver's Chinatown and Gastown, featuring the world's first steam clock on Water Street. The Museum of Anthropology on the University of British Columbia's grounds gives a visitor an appreciation of the local aboriginal cultures. Of course, there are few skiing destinations in the world as fine as the Rocky Mountains. Four hours away to the west by car/ferry is the picturesque and British-influenced Victoria on Vancouver Island.|
| Halifax: The biggest city in Canada's maritime region is the gateway to the island provinces and a city into which many international flights arrive. Halifax Citadel National Historical Site is a fort on a hill overlooking the city and is one of the country's most visited historic sites. Walk your way through the Point Pleasant Park, which may take a while, and head up the waterfront to visit the large Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Tucked in behind the Via Rail Train Station is Pier 21, the landing spot for Canadian immigrants through most of the 19th and 20th centuries.|
Toronto - Ottawa - Montreal: While the train is an easy way to travel the country easily, it is less than a five hour drive from Toronto to Ottawa, and less than two from Ottawa to Montreal. By this path, you can easily reach three of Canada's top destinations.
Downtown Driving: Most Canadian city centres can be interesting to navigate, with one-way streets bisecting the core.
Surprising Weather: Contrary to popular opinion, although it can be very cold in winter, with the exception of the Vancouver area which is tempered by the Pacific Ocean, summers are generally very hot, and can go over 30 degrees Celsius, and 40 degrees with the humidity.
Hockey: Although lacrosse is the national sport, most Canadians are fanatical about their hockey. Whether a game is in the professional NHL or a junior league, it is worthwhile to watch at least one game while you're in Canada.
When To Visit: Canada is a good destination year-round. Winter holds great skiing in the Rocky Mountains, and the Winterlude festival in Ottawa with skating on the Rideau Canal. Summer offers blues and jazz festivals in Ottawa and Montreal and the Gay Pride Parade and Caribana in Toronto.
Food: Because of the international culture of Canada, Canadian foods tend to be a fusion of other styles of cooking, including English, French and Italian. Among some uniquely Canadian foods are poutine, french fries drenched in cheese curds and gravy, and tire d'erable, a taffy made from boiled syrup poured on snow.
Tipping: As service charges are normally not included in restaurant bills, normal tipping rules apply for 10% - 15% for great service. A 10% tip on a taxi fare is acceptable.
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