Population – one million
Structure – two provinces – Ontario and Quebec; two cities –
Ottawa and Hull;
Area – 1,800 square miles
Languages – English and French
Ambulance, Fire, Police (Ottawa-Carleton and Hull) - 911
Gasoline: Gasoline is sold by the litre in Canada. Four litters are approximately equivalent to one U.S. gallon.
Headlights: In Ontario, headlight use is mandatory from dusk until sunrise. Exact times are published in the daily newspapers.
Pedestrian Crossings: In Ontario, pedestrian crossings are marked by flashing lights and buzzers over the crosswalk. Warnings are indicated by a large X across the lane approximately half a block ahead. It is mandatory to stop and wait until the pedestrian has completed the crossing.
Right Turn on Red Light: In Ontario, motorists may make a right turn while the light is red, after coming to a complete stop. Oncoming traffic and pedestrians have the right-of-way. Right turns on red lights are not permitted in Quebec.
Seatbelts: In both Ontario and Quebec, the wearing of seatbelts is required by law, and fines for not wearing them are considerable. Small children must wear safety restraints and be seated in approved car seats.
Speed Limits: The speed limit is posted in kilometers. 100km/h equals approximately 60 miles per hour. In the city, the speed limit is 50 km/h (approximately 30 mph), unless otherwise posted. Through rural areas, the speed limit is generally 80 km/h (50 mph), and on highways 100 km/h is the usual maximum. In Quebec, a minimum speed of 60 km/h (approximately 38 mph) is in effect on many highways.
Traffic Accidents: In both Ontario and Quebec, no-fault insurance is in effect. Either municipal or provincial police should be called; in Ontario, police need to called only if there is more than $700 damage or there are injuries or an offence under the Highway Traffic Act or Criminal Code of Canada.
Electricity: Electric current in Canada is 60 cycles, 110 volts. An adapter is required for an electric shaver or other personal appliances using other currents, such as the European 220 volts.
Financial Services and Banking Hours: Regular banking hours are Monday to Friday, 10am to 5:30pm (some branches until 8:00pm). Many banks are open Saturdays until 2 or 3pm, and closed Sundays and holidays. Many have 24-hour instant banking machines. Trust companies and currency exchanges may be open longer, as well as Saturdays.
Traveller’s cheques in Canadian dollars are the best way to carry currency. They are accepted everywhere. Major credit cards are honoured in most business establishments.
The U.S. dollar has a favourable exchange rate in Canada – at the time of printing, $1.00 US = $1.35 CDN. Many stores participate in a Fair Exchange Program, sponsored by AT&T, where a good rate of exchange is offered on the U.S. dollar. Another good idea is to exchange any foreign currency into Canadian Dollars upon arrival in Canada, or prior to coming, for the best exchange rate. This can be done at any bank, trust company or currency exchange. Foreign exchange services are listed here.
Holidays: Most businesses, government offices, banks and liquor stores are closed on the following days in 1999:
Quebec: In Quebec, wines and liquors may be purchased at Société
des alcools du Quebec (SAQ) outlets. Beer and some wines are available
at grocery and convenience stores. The legal drinking age is 18.
Air Service: The West Carleton Municipal Airport [(613) 839-5276] is located west of Ottawa on Highway 17. It is a small airport, used primarily by charter airlines and private aircraft. The regional air ambulance service is also based here.
The Gatineau-Ottawa Executive Airport is across the Ottawa River in Quebec, close to Hull. It is used for private aircraft. Charter sightseeing flights of the region are available; Tel: (819) 663-0737.
Automobile Rentals: Prices vary and change frequently. See here.
Taxis: $2.00 for the first 85 metres and 10 cents for each additional 85 metres. Click here for taxis.
Public Transportation: There are two city bus systems in Canada’s
Capital region. OC Transpo [(613) 741-4390] operates buses in Ottawa-Carleton
on the Ontario side of the Ottawa River, the Société de
transport de l’Outaouais (STO) [(819)770-3242] operates buses in the
Outaouais region on the Quebec side f the Ottawa River. You can transfer
between them along Rideau and Wellington Streets in Ottawa and around
the Portage Bridge area and at Place d’Accueil on Maisonneuve Boulevard
Taxes and Rebates: Goods and Services Tax (GST): Please see
Quebec: In Quebec, there is a 6.5 per cent tax on food, liquor, merchandise and accommodations. Visitors may claim a tax refund by submitting a rebate form, available by calling 1-800- 770-8504 locally. Receipts are required for reimbursement.
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