Canada Vacation Tips: 12 Must Know Terms to Make Your Life Easier While Traveling in Canada

Americans and Canadians speak the same language – right?

Well, not quite and if you want to make the most of your vacation in the beautiful and rugged north, you probably want to brush up on a few local terms to feel right at home.

Of course, you will see labels and signs all over in Canada in both French and English. But, through my extensive travels I’ve learned that some Canadian words just don’t translate into American English, and vice versa.

So, here is a handy glossary of 12 Terms You Need To Know When You Visit Canada:

  1. Loonies and Toonies – These cutesy words are far weightier than they sound. They mean money. Loonies are gold colored $1 coins. Where does this term come from? Well the Loon is the national bird appearing on the front of the $1 coin. The lonesome call of the Loon is a familiar sound in the Canadian wilderness.
  2. Toonies -Yes, you guessed it. Toonies are the Loonies $2 cousin.
  3. Tuque – The quintessential winter accessory in Canada. We hear that these winter hats are called “ski hats” or “beanies” elsewhere. But Canadians will keep their tuques, thank you very much.
  4. Tim Hortons – Canada’s favorite coffee and donut shop. Located throughout the country and often referred to as “Timmies”, it’s a staple in the Canadian diet.
  5. Double-double – Often heard at Tim Horton’s, this is the way the “pros” order a coffee with two creams and two sugars
  6. Pop The common word for a soft drink, deriving from “soda pop”. Up here, soda is the fizzy water that’s good for getting pop stains out of clothes.
  7. Washroom – A synonym for bathroom, restroom or toilet. Don’t waste precious time looking for the bathroom when all signs point to the washroom.
  8. Poutine – With all the multi-cultural foods peppering Canada, be sure to try this homegrown favorite on your vacation. This dish of French fries, cheese curds and gravy originated in Quebec has won fans across the country. Trust me, it tastes better than it sounds!
  9. Canuck -This is a term of endearment for “Canadian” as in the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, who can be seen on Hockey Night in Canada. Hockey Night in Canada is a must see TV event for hockey lovers…meaning most of Canada. Ask any Canadian on your vacation to hum the theme song – it’s a catchy one!
  10. Runners – These are casual sports shoes, otherwise called sneakers or tennis shoes. “Runners” can join “sneakers” on my unofficial list of oddly named items.
  11. Click/Kilometer – Kilometer is such a cumbersome word for measuring distance. The slang “click” is a much faster way to share how many kilometers you’ve traveled on your Canadian vacation.
  12. Bill – Although you may run into a few friendly Canucks named Bill, chances are you’ll meet bill more often. In Canada, a bill is what you pay at a restaurant.

So, next time you’re in Canada, counting your loonies and toonies while enjoying your double-double after walking 10 clicks in runners and thinking about asking for the bill …you’ll feel right at home.

Tips Before You Travel to Canada

Gorgeous mountain backdrops, crystal clean lakes and air fresher than anything you’ve ever breathed before. These are three things you can surely expect on your visit to Canada, one of our planet’s most scenic countries. The unspoiled beauty of Canada’s wilderness has been the playground for adventurers and vacationers alike for generations. It’s exactly the kind of natural majesty that continually has visitors returning north of the border.

But, if this is your first trip to Canada, then there are some important things of which you should be aware. In an effort for your visit to be as exciting and fun as possible, here are some tips for planning your Canada vacation.

  • Passport & Visa Application

Start the passport & Visa application process early.

International visitors to Canada must carry a valid passport and, if required, a visa. Visit the Citizenship and Immigration website for a complete listing of countries whose citizens require visas to enter Canada. All visitors should contact their Canadian consulate or embassy to learn what documents are required.

  • Insurance

Having travel insurance can give you that extra peace of mind when travelling away from home that you are covered if your luggage was to get lost or stolen or if you were to fall ill. Travel insurance doesn’t need to be expensive but lost luggage and medical bills certainly can be.

Medical and dental care here is costly, and the government recommends that visitors be adequately insured during their stay in the country.

Insurance usually covers medical expenses, financial or any other losses incurred while traveling. Travel insurance is arranged at the booking of a trip to cover exactly the duration of that trip. Travel policies offer the following coverage:

  1. Student travel
  2. Business travel
  3. Leisure travel
  4. Adventure travel
  5. Cruise travel
  6. International travel

Irrespective of the nature of uncertainties, a suitable coverage fulfilling the requirements can offer the coverage needed while away from home. It may save spending a fortune in any tragic unforeseen incident.

  • Vaccination

No special immunizations or vaccinations are required to visit Canada.

  • Measurement Calculator

Canada uses different measuring systems and for visitors who are unaware, it can be problematic. For example, if you’re driving here, the speed limit is designated in kilometers per hour. These are little differences, but ones that could have an impact on your visit.

  • Weather Conditions

It experiences all the four seasons. The months from October to May are the coldest and you should pack accordingly. Canada’s coastal regions tend to receive plenty of rainfall and in the prairie lands, you should expect some stronger than normal winds.

  • Time Difference

It is important to be able to work out the time difference to know how long a journey will take and also to co-ordinate with the people back home.

  • Language

The language here is a mix of English and French, but you can usually get by with English in most of the tourist spots. If you head into more rural areas, it could help if you know a little French, or at least have a French-American dictionary handy.

  • Currency

Canada commerce runs on the Canadian dollar, which is similar to the U.S. dollar, but visitors are usually better off converting their currency while they are here. This can be done in most major cities at a local currency exchange or at a nearby bank.

Planning for any vacation, whether it’s within or out of the country, is critical. Use the wealth of information available on the Internet to gain a good idea. Everything from the best hotels to famous attractions can be found online.

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