Travelling to Canada
You’d be surprised how affordable a trip to Canada is. Whether you want to explore the great outdoors, soak up the cultural highlights of cities like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, or relax on the beaches of New Brunswick, you’ll find that your money goes a long way thanks to the great exchange rate on the Canadian dollar.
If you’re travelling on a budget it’s possible to get a taste of the Canadian way of life for around C$75 per day by visiting out of peak season, staying in hostels, self-catering and taking public transport wherever possible.
Mid-range and luxury travellers
Visitors wishing to stay in hotels or B&Bs, hire a car and eat out at least once a day can expect a daily spend of between C$150 to C$200 and upwards.
Prices are approximate and subject to change.
Canadian dollar – currency tips
- To get competitive rates on Canadian dollars head to the Post Office and change your money before you get to the airport.
- There are 100 cents to the Canadian dollar and coins are available in denominations of 5 cents (a nickel), 10 cents (a dime), 25 cents (a quarter), 50 cents, one dollar and 2 dollars. 1 cent coins are still in circulation but are no longer being minted.
- Canadian bank notes are available in denominations of 5 dollars, 10 dollars, 20 dollars, 50 dollars and 100 dollars.
- When you order your currency ensure make sure you ask for a few notes in lower denominations as some businesses may be unwilling to accept larger notes. This will not usually be a problem in larger cities, but it is best to err on the side of caution.
- Tipping is widespread and a 15% tip in bars and restaurants, hotels and in cabs is usual, so factor this into your daily budget.
- It is no longer possible for visitors to Canada to get their Goods and Services Tax (GST) refunded, except in the case of accommodation that has been booked through a tour operator along with flights or car rental where a 50% discount on GST may be possible.
- If you’re travelling to the US after Canada remember that it is sometimes possible to use Canadian dollars in American towns near the border and receive change in US dollars, although this may not be at a favourable exchange rate.
Want to keep track of your spending?
Keep track of your holiday spending and instantly convert local prices into pounds with our free smartphone apps. There are three handy apps to download for iOS and Android, including Travel Essentials, Travel Money Card & Currency Converter. You can also download an instant currency converter for your Apple Watch.
Canadian currency facts
- The Canadian dollar is the official currency in Canada.
- The 1 dollar coin is commonly known as the ‘loonie’, because it features a picture of the common loon (an indigenous bird), and the 2 dollar coin as the ‘toonie’ – short for ‘two loonies’. You will sometimes also hear people refer to the entire Canadian currency as the ‘loonie’, in order to distinguish it from the neighbouring US dollar.
- Canada is in the process of phasing in synthetic polymer (‘plastic’) bank notes; currently paper notes are still in circulation for the 10 dollar and 5 dollar bills, but these will be phased out over the next few months.
Get your Canadian currency from us
- Order online or in your local Post Office branch, up to five days in advance - minimum order value of £400 applies online
- Have your holiday currency delivered to your door – free of charge when you order online
- Order before 3pm on a working day for next-day delivery to your home or your nearest Post Office. There is free delivery for orders to branch or home delivery orders of £500 or over. There is a small delivery charge of £4.99 for home delivery orders of under £500.
- Orders placed before 3pm, on a working day, can generally be delivered the next working day. Where an order is placed on a Friday and delivery to your home is required on a Saturday, there will be a charge of £1.50
- 0% commission, competitive rates up to 70 foreign currencies
- Show us your Post Office Money receipt, and we’ll buy back your leftover Canadian bank notes commission-free