Kevin Eagan - Apr 12, 2021
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Canada is an awesome country to visit. The beauty of the cities as well as landscape is overwhelming. To make your holiday smooth and memorable, it is essential to plan well. Byevisa, an e-visa expert, compiled a list of facts any visitor should know when getting ready to travel to Canada. How to get the eTA Canada Visitor Visa? Is it necessary to have travel health insurance? What kind of transport to use around the country?

Getting a Canadian Tourist Visa

The eTA Canada Visitor Visa means the Electronic Travel Authorization, which any visitors are required to obtain if they travel to Canada by air. This is a mandate from the Canadian government for all eligible countries such as France, UK, Japan, Germany, and Australia. US citizens are excluded because the Canada eTA is not required if the travelers go by sea or land.

Nonetheless, you should note that the eTA is only valid for five years beginning from the date of issue or in the event of passport expiration. The eTA is your first step when planning a journey to Canada. To get the authorization you will need to present a valid passport.

The Infamous Canadian Weather

When you tell a friend or neighbor that you are planning a trip to the Great White North, be prepared for a range of comments on Canadian weather. Here is the fact: Canada is an incredibly vast country, so the weather varies based on the region you are to visit. The best advice is to prepare for the cold, even if you are visiting during the summer. There can be thunderstorms on the prairies. And during winter, the stereotype is usually on the mark – it gets notoriously cold!

Travel Health Insurance

Are you traveling to Canada without travel insurance? Hopefully, that is a no! Traveling to Canada without travel health insurance won’t stop you from getting there, but it is totally unadvisable. As a non-Canadian, without travel insurance, if you become ill or injured, the costs for medical help could be enormous.

However, if you already have a health insurance policy or about to choose one, ensure to read the policy to be sure it covers all the activities you want to engage in while in Canada. Check for coverage for activities like snowboarding, skiing, whitewater rafting, etc. Nevertheless, eTA Canadian Visitor Visa doesn't exclude visitors without a travel health insurance policy.

Enormous Distances

It is important to be reminded that Canada is the second-largest country in the world, with a population of just about 37.6 million (in 2019). The country's population is no match for its vastness. This implies that aside from the major cities like Ontario, Ottawa, and Montreal the distance between towns and cities is incredible.

Canadian Public Transport

Regarding transport, a significant difference between Canada and European countries is that they use public transport in completely different ways. The bottom line is you will not find regional trains in Canada. This is mostly because the size of the country makes its regions very spaced out.

However, there is normally a bus and metro system in the cities that work excellently to take you around the entire city. If you are not visiting the city, or you have somewhere to stay outside the cities, you need to be prepared to spend hours between towns. The countryside is mostly made up of forest, farmland, and other landscape. Renting a car is thus the best option.

Driving & Renting a Car in Canada

Note that in Canada, cars are driving on the right side of the road. So, when renting a car, you need a right-handed one. When on highways, the speed limit is set at 100 km/hr. For smaller highways, the limit ranges from 60km/hr to 80km/hr, while in the cities and residential neighborhoods, the limit is set at 40 km/hr and 25 km/hr for school areas.

The minimum age permitted to rent a car is typically 21 or, in some regions, as high as 25. To rent a car, you can find car rental firms at the airport. Details on driving should be included in the eTA Canada Visitor Visa.

Ask for Tim Hortons

If you need coffee, food, or some essentials, ask about Tim Hortons – almost every town in the country, regardless of size, has one of these chain shops. It offers sandwiches, coffee, donuts and much more. It was named after a famous hockey player and is remarkably popular among Canadian folks.

Canadians Are Very Polite

Canadians are known to be extremely polite and sometimes unnecessarily so. You could get so many, "are you okay?" and "so sorry" for bumping into someone. To some extent, it might seem as though there is a national handbook on politeness distributed to all residents. 

They can also be very chatty, either at the ATM, gas station, register, or just about anywhere. This doesn't imply, in any way, that Canadians are talkative. They are very welcoming and well-mannered, which is why they frequently see a reason to engage even strangers in a chat.

Canadian Languages

There are two official languages spoken in Canada – English and French. While you wouldn't have to speak French in parts of Toronto, in some rural areas in Quebec, you can't communicate with locals in English. However, Montreal is one of the country's bilingual cities, which means you can flow in English.

Canadian Slang

Don't expect to be exempted from the Canadian jolly slang because you're not a native. Don't be surprised if your first conversation with a local hit you with slang. This is why you need to be fully prepared for possible unknown words to come your way. Here are some typical Canadian slang words:

Toque: A winter hat that comes with a pom-pom, also called beanie.

Double Double: Meaning a cup of coffee with two sugars and two creams at Tim Hortons.

Clicks: Meaning kilometers.

Timbit: Tim Horton’s small donut.

Pop: Refers to soft drinks or soda.

Timmies: This is what you hear when they are referring to Tim Hortons.

Loonie/Toonie: Loonie means a one-dollar coin, while toonie means a two-dollar coin.

Kerfuffle: This is an argument or a disagreement.

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