- 1 Regions
- 2 Transport
- 3 Accommodation
- 4 Food
- 5 Connectivity
- 6 Busking
- 7 Visa
- 8 Cities
- 9 Travel destinations
Canada is comprised of ten provinces and three territories. English and French are the two official languages of the country. English, being spoken by 3/4 of the population, is the majority language in most provinces. French is the main official language in the province of Quebec, but also widely spoken in New Brunswick and some areas of Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Manitoba. Inuktitut is the main language in Nunavut and has official status there but English is still widely spoken. For the convenience of the common hitchhiker the provinces and territories are discussed in detail, along with their capitals, in separate pages.
- Atlantic Provinces (New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island)
- Prairies (Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan) ===
- British Columbia, the westernmost province in Canada (FB discussion about sea punks in British Columbia)
- The North (Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Yukon)
For a journey across the country, the Trans-Canada Highway is the main road crossing the country east to west. However, the highway system numbering system is specific to every province.
The best and cheapest way is to contact people in the area you are is to find the nearest phone booth. There are plenty within the cities and even the in country side; usually you will find one by every petrol station, or by shops or restaurants. Unlike many countries, they are usually in good condition, so always make sure to have a pre-paid phone-card or a few 'quarters' available. Local calls cost two quarters (50 cents), but in some areas what seems to be a local call will in fact be a 'long distance call' and the phone will request an higher amount. It's simplest to call using pre-paid calling cards. You can make calls from public phones without using coins when you dial the card's toll-free "1-800" number, and, for many of these cards, there is no extra fee for making the call from a public phone. Credit is deducted from the card at the same rate as with calls from land-lines. Most cards will cost somewhere between 2 and 10 cents per minute for calls to anywhere in Canada. The same, or similar, rates will often apply to calls to the United States and parts of Europe as well.
If the person you are trying to contact is expecting a call from you, and you don't have a pre-paid phone card, you can also try to call them 'collect'. It usually costs less than the amount requested by the booth and it is normal practice (does not apply for mobile phones!) to receive and accept collect call. To do a collect call, simply dial '0' and follow the instructions of the operator.
Mobile phone networks have improved dramatically over the years, and most people carry a cellular phone with them. "Roaming" charges will usually apply when outside of your local coverage area.
Internet cafés are rare and will only exist in main urban and touristic centres. They are not frequented by locals, so it is possible that nobody knows if there is one in the surrounding area. In rural areas, Internet may be limited to dial-up only. In most Canadian cities and towns of significant size, there are public libraries which offer free internet access to the general public - regardless of where you are from. This is generally the best bet for travelers without their own computer or access to a friend's. If there are several people waiting to use them though, you may have to wait a while for one to be available. You'll usually be given a time block of anywhere from 15 minutes to one hour. Many college and university libraries also provide free internet access to the public. Ask the circulation desk staff. College and university guest accounts will let you use the Internet as much as you like, but only for the current day.
Visitors from most countries will be required to apply for a tourist visa in advance before travelling to Canada.
Canada has only one neighbour, the United States, and even if this border is known as the longest unprotected border in the world, entering the country as a backpacker, hiker or hitchhiker might be a hard, especially since 2001. The border control is quite tight, especially since the unproven allegation that some terrorists came from Canada. Questions might be asked about the relations between passengers in a car.
Because of these strong security measures, a hitchhiker probably will have to cross the border by foot and start again once the control is done. You might also discuss with your driver beforehand in the matter to get to know each other and to ensure that everything will be alright with the crossing and that s/he is fine with the hassle (or fine waiting for you if you are being interrogated). The vast majority of the drivers will be frisky at helping a stranger to cross from Canada to the States in their car. The best way to be at a border control is too remain calm, be confident, do not lie and simply answer the questions as asked without being witty or vague. Just remember that you do not have to tell that you are bumming around and bring some suspicious travelling plan (yes, hiking and hitching around in a blown by the wind way is a suspicious thing! Especially for the the average citizen!). So just be reliable, show enthusiasm and that your adventure is part of a life plan holiday... not a way to escape reality.
It is custom to be asked to prove that you have the means to sustain your holiday (money) and that your holiday is part of a plan (a return ticket). Also bear in mind that most Canadian and American land crossing control are separated from each other by a no man's land short distance between the two borders in which you will only be controlled by the welcoming country. So if you get denied entrance by one, you will have further enquiry to enter back into the country you came from.
Passports for U.S. and Canadian citizens
Tourists must hold a passport valid for a least six months prior to arrival in Canada. United States citizens travelling by land or sea do not need to show a passport until at least 2009, and can use a birth certificate and government-issued photo identification card (such as a current driver's license) in lieu of a passport. U.S. citizens travelling to Canada by air must hold a passport.
From Summer 2009 on, U.S. and Canadian citizens are required to show a passport to cross the border.
Also, if you are a U.S. citizen going into Canada or a Canadian going into the U.S., a guard can deny you entry for a number of reasons (usually because of a criminal record or you don't look like you have enough money for lunch at a fast-food restaurant).
Every border crossing point will usually be discussed in greater details in the appropriate province page.
Many people do not require visas to enter Canada, including:
- Citizens of Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Botswana, Brunei, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel (National Passport holders only), Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, ]]Malta]], Mexico, Monaco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, San Marino, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, United States and Western Samoa.
- Persons lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence who are in possession of their alien registration card (Green card) or can provide other evidence of permanent residence.
- British citizens and British Overseas Citizens who are re-admissible to the United Kingdom;
- Citizens of British dependent territories who derive their citizenship through birth, descent, registration or naturalization in one of the British dependent territories of Anguilla, Bermuda], British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena or the Turks and Caicos Islands.
- Persons holding a valid and subsisting Special Administrative Region passport issued by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China;
Types of visa and cost
There are three main types of temporary resident visas:
- Single-entry visas allow one entry only to Canada within the validity of the visa.
- Multiple-entry visas allow unlimited entries to Canada within the validity of the visa.
- Transit visas allow for a short stop-over (maximum 48 hours) entry to Canada en route to another country. It can be granted for a single or multiple entries, depending on the applicant’s travel requirements. Example: If your return travel is also through Canada, you should request a transit visa valid for two entries.
The validity of a visa is determined by a visa officer. Single-entry visas are normally valid for six months, and multiple-entry visas may be valid for longer periods. The validity date is the period by which you may enter Canada.
A single-entry visa is $75 and a multiple-entry visa is $150. If your whole family is applying together for either single-entry or multiple-entry visas, the fee is $400. There is no fee for a transit visa.
- The vast majority of tourist visa applications are processed within 2 weeks, however wait times vary from one embassy/consulate to another. Consult the following website to gauge the processing times at your nearest embassy/consulate: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/times/international/13-temp-visitors.asp
- In most cases, you will be required to show documented proof of ties to your home country, such as letters from your employer, salary receipts, deeds on properties, bank and credit card statements, old passports bearing proof of previous travel abroad, and letters of invitation.
While Crossing the Border
Don't panic! Just because a border guard treats you like a scumbag doesn't mean you are one. Armed with this attitude try and maintain your dignity and self-confidence throughout the encounter and the guard will more likely respect you (even if he or she doesn't show it). Trust me, things will go more smoothly. If you're passing the border inside a car, don't advertise the fact that you are a hitchhiker. But if it becomes obvious, don't try and deny it, either. Remember, there's no shame in hitching.
Canadian embassies and/or consulates
A complete listing of Canadian embassies abroad can be found at: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/main/foreign/fordest/foreign_view_client-en.asp
Canadian Embassy - Buenos Aires Tagle 2828 C1425EEH Buenos Aires Argentina Tel: 54 (11) 4808-1000 Fax: 54 (11) 4808-1111
Canadian High Commission - Canberra Commonwealth Ave Canberra ACT 2600 Australia Tel: 61 (2) 6270-4000 Fax: 61 (2) 6270-4081
Canadian Consulate General - Sydney Level 5, Quay West Building 111 Harrington Street New South Wales 2000 Australia Tel: 61 (2) 9364-3000 Fax: 61 (2) 9364-3098
Canadian Embassy - Brasilia Av das Nações, Quadra 803, Lote 16 70410-900 Brasilia DF Brazil Tel: 55 (61) 3424-5400 Fax: 55 (61) 3424-5490
Canadian Consulate General - Rio de Janiero Av Atlântica 1130 - 5th Floor Atlântica Business Center Copacabana 22021-000 Rio de Janeiro RJ Brazil Tel: 55 (21) 2543-3004 Fax: 55 (21) 2275-2195
Canadian Consulate General - São Paulo Av das Nações Unidas 12901 - 16th Floor 04578-000 São Paulo SP Brazil Consular Services Tel: 55 (11) 5509-4321 Fax: 55 (11) 5509-4260 Visa and Immigration Tel: 55 (11) 5509-4343 Fax: 55 (11) 5509-4262
Canadian Embassy - Beijing 19 Dongzhimenwai Dajie Chao Yang District Beijing 100600 China Tel: 86 (10) 6532-3536 Fax: 86 (10) 6532-5544
Canadian Consulate - Chongqing Metropolitan Tower, Suite 1705 Wu Yi Lu, Yu Zhong District Chongqing 400010 China Tel: 86 (23) 6373-8007 Fax: 86 (23) 6373-8026
Canadian Consulate General - Guangzhou China Hotel Office Tower, Suite 801 Liu Hua Lu Guangzhou 510015 China Tel: 86 (20) 8666-0569 Fax: 86 (20) 8667-2401
Canadian Consulate General - Hong Kong 11-14th Floors, Tower One Exchange Square 8 Connaught Place, Central Hong Kong SAR China Tel: (852) 3719 4700 Fax: (852) 2847 7561
Canadian Consulate General - Shanghai American International Center West Tower, Suite 604 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu Shanghai 200040 China Tel: 86 (21) 6279-8400 Fax: 86 (21) 6279-8401
Canadian High Commission - New Delhi 7/8 Shantipath, Chanakyapuri New Delhi 110 021 India Tel: (91-11) 4178-2000 Fax: (91-11) 4178-2020
Canadian Consulate General - Chandigarh SCO #54-56, Sector 17-A Chandigarh 160 017 India Tel: (91-172) 505-0300 Fax: (91-172) 505-0320
Canadian Consulate - Chennai 18 (Old 24), 3rd floor YAFA Tower Khader Nawaz Khan Road, Nungambakkam Chennai 600 034 India Tel: (91-44) 2833 0888 Fax: (91-44) 5215 9393
Canadian Consulate General - Mumbai 4th Floor, 41/42 Maker Chamber VI Jamnalal Bajaj Marg, Nariman Point Mumbai 400 021 Maharashtra, India Tel: (91-022) 2287-6027-30 Fax: (91-022) 2287-5514
- South Africa
Canadian High Commission - Pretoria 1103 Arcadia Street Private Bag X13 Hatfield 0028, Pretoria South Africa Tel: 27 (12) 422-3000 Fax: 27 (12) 442-3052
- United Kingdom
Canadian High Commission - London Canada House Consular Services Trafalgar Square London SW1Y 5BJ England, United Kingdom Tel: 44 (20) 7258-6600 Fax: 44 (20) 7258-6533
- United States
Canadian Embassy - Washington 501 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC USA 20001 Tel: 1 (202) 682-1740 Fax: 1 (202) 682-7726
Canadian Consulate General - Atlanta 1175 Peachtree Street 100 Colony Square, Suite 1700 Atlanta, Georgia USA 30361-6205 Tel: 1 (404) 532-2000 Fax: 1 (404) 532-2050
Canadian Consulate General - Boston 3 Copley Place, Suite 400 Boston, Massachusetts USA 02116 Tel: 1 (617) 262-3760 Fax: 1 (617) 262-3415
Canadian Consulate General - Buffalo HSBC Center, Suite 3000 Buffalo, New York USA 14203-2884 Tel: 1 (716) 858-9500 Fax: 1 (716) 858-9562
Canadian Consulate General - Chicago Two Prudential Plaza 180 North Stetson Avenue, Suite 2400 Chicago, Illinois USA 60601 Tel: 1 (312) 616-1860 Fax: 1 (312) 616-1878
Canadian Consulate General - Dallas St Paul Place 750 North St Paul Street, Suite 1700 Dallas, Texas USA 75201 Tel: 1 (214) 922-9806 Fax: 1 (214) 922-9815
Canadian Consulate General - Denver 1625 Broadway, Suite 2600 Denver, Colorado USA 80202 Tel: 1 (303) 626-0640 Fax: 1 (303) 572-1158
Canadian Consulate General - Detroit 600 Renaissance Center, Suite 1100 Detroit, Michigan USA 48243-1798 Tel: 1 (313) 567-2340 Fax: 1 (313) 567-2164
Canadian Consulate General - Los Angeles 550 South Hope Street, 9th Floor Los Angeles, California USA 90071-2627 Tel: 1 (213) 346-2700 Fax: 1 (213) 346-2767
Canadian Consulate General - Miami 200 South Biscayne Boulevard, Suite 1600 Miami, Florida USA 33131 Tel: 1 (305) 579-1600 Fax: 1 (305) 374-6774
Canadian Consulate General - Minneapolis 701 Fourth Avenue South, Suite 901 Minneapolis, Minnesota USA 55415-1899 Tel: 1 (612) 332-7486 Fax: 1 (612) 332-4061
Canadian Consulate General - New York City 1251 Avenue of the Americas Concourse Level New York, New York USA 10020-1175 Tel: 1 (212) 596-1628 Fax: 1 (212) 596-1790
Canadian Consulate General - San Francisco / Silicon Valley 580 California Street, 14th floor San Francisco, California USA 94104 Tel: (415) 834-3180 Fax: (415) 834-3189
Canadian Consulate General - Seattle 1501 4th Ave., Suite 600 Seattle, Washington USA 98101 Tel: 1 (206) 443-1777 Fax: 1 (206) 443-9662
Immigration to Canada
Immipedia.ca is an active wiki about immigration into Canada.