What is Canadian culture for you?

  • Discover the vast country with the big heart.

  • Capital: Ottawa
  • Form of government: Parliamentary monarchy
  • Population: 36,503,097
  • Emergency call: 911
  • Country code: +1
  • Electrical voltage: 120 V

Canada is located on the North American continent. It is that with an area of ​​9,984,670 km² second largest country in the worldwhich makes it fall into 6 different time zones. The country is characterized by its vast uninhabited natural areas, which take up almost 70% of the area. The biggest attractions include Banff National Park in the Rocky Mountains and Niagara Falls on the border with the United States.

The culture will shaped by the European immigrants, most of them were from Great Britain, France and Ireland. In the last few decades there have also been large flows of immigrants from Asia, the Caribbean and Africa. The immigrants brought their traditions with them to their new homeland and kept them, including food, language, stories, holidays and sports. For example, the Chinese New Year festival is celebrated in Vancouer and the Caribana parade in Toronto.

The biggest cities of Canada are next to the Capital Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Montréal and Quebec. There are also eighteen UNESCO World Heritage Sites. To make your trip to Canada an unforgettable experience, we have summarized the most important information for you in our travel guide.

General information about Canada

Canada is the second largest country in the world and has an area of ​​9,984,670 km². The country stretches on the North American continent between the Atlantic in the east, the Pacific in the west and northwards to the Arctic Ocean. It borders the United States in the south and northwest.

Canada has 6 different time zones. Depending on where you are, the time difference can be 4½ hours or up to 9 hours. The time difference to Ottawa, Toronto and Montréal is 6 hours, to Calgary 8 hours and to Vancouver and Victoria even 9 hours.

Since Canada is very large, it has a variety of different climates. There is a polar climate, a maritime climate, a continental climate and a cool, temperate climate with correspondingly very different amounts of precipitation and average temperatures.
The best travel time for Canada is difficult to define due to the different climates. In the north of Canada it can get cold down to -40 degrees Celsius in winter. In summer, on the other hand, temperatures of up to 30 degrees are to be expected. The Okanagan Wine Valley is one of the warmest regions in all of Canada, located in the state of British Columbia.

Travel preparations for Canada

All travelers without a visa requirement must apply for an online-based travel permit, the "eTA" (Electronic Travel Authorization), before starting their journey. We recommend completing the application up to 72 hours before departure. In the case of later registrations, timely processing of the application by the Canadian authorities can no longer be guaranteed. The cost is 7 CAD per person. The "eTA" is valid for 5 years.
A valid passport, an email address and a credit card (Mastercard, Visa, American Express) are required to pay the fee. The online form is currently only available in English or French. However, there is a German manual.

The currency in Canada is the Canadian dollar (CAD, symbol: $).
One Canadian dollar is 100 cents. There are 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 dollar bills and 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 cents and 1 and 2 dollar coins. There used to be a $ 1,000 bill, but it was confiscated, but is still an official means of payment.
How much you get for one euro depends on the current exchange rate and can fluctuate a bit from time to time. Click here for the currency converter.

Health care

Canada has a very good health system with adequate medical facilities and trained specialists. The supply of medicines is good. Special drugs from Germany can also be taken into the country on presentation of the prescription.
The hospital fees for foreign visitors are calculated either according to daily rates or according to illness and the length of the hospital stay, but are very high. Before you travel, you should therefore clarify whether your health insurance cover also covers non-European countries or whether you should take out appropriate travel health insurance.
TIP: Pay by credit card, take the bill with you and later hand it in to the insurance company at home. Saves you and the hospital staff a lot of time and stress!

The West Nile fever season begins in June. This flu-like virus disease is transmitted by mosquitoes. Since the disease can lead to serious complications, special protection against mosquitoes is recommended during this time. Otherwise, the standard vaccinations are sufficient for a trip to Canada. With the exception of meningitis vaccination (vaccination against meningitis). This is one of the standard vaccinations in Canada and is also recommended.

Please also note the medical information for Canada on the website of the Federal Foreign Office.

So that you are perfectly prepared, we have put together a luggage checklist for you.

Society & everyday life in Canada

Canada is a country without a state region. Three quarters of the population are of the Christian faith, the remainder of the population are of the Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist faith. Up to 16% do not belong to any religion.

Canada is officially a constitutional monarchy as it belongs to the Commonwealth of Nations with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. But Canada is also a representative parliamentary democracy organized as a large federal state. The constitution consists of written sources of law and unwritten customary law.

National language and communication

There are two official languages: English and French. Bilingualism is officially enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Official Language Act and the Official Language Ordinances. All citizens can avail of federal services of any kind in English or French. In all provinces, students are guaranteed classes in their mother tongue and in their own schools.
Canadians are known to be very friendly and polite. Use the words "please" and "thank you" as often as possible. The greeting is often "Hi, how are you?" addressed. You don't have to answer honestly, a casual "I'm fine, thanks. And you?" is completely sufficient.

Public transportation

In the east of the country, the main traffic route runs along the Saint Lawrence River through Ontario and Québec and connects the cities of Toronto, Montreal, Québec and Ottawa. The entire north is hardly developed because it is not needed. In the west, major cities near the American border are connected by transportation systems. The Canadian government wanted to connect the widely separated provinces with one another, which was done with the help of three transcontinental railroad lines and several branch lines. Domestic flights, offered by 75 different airlines, are suitable for longer distances.

Culture & History of Canada

The first residents of Canada were the Indianswhich dates back to 12,000 BC. Populated the land. Then came about 5000 BC. The Inuit. The Vikings were the first Europeans to live around 1000 BC. Lived on Newfoundland. The French Jacques Cartier first raised areas in Canada as French land holdings in 1534. At the beginning of the 16th century, Samuel de Champlain founded the city of Québec. In the years that followed, more and more French people moved to Canada. British settlers also came to the country in 1670.
After decades of peacefulness, a seven-year war between the English and the French finally began in 1745. Finally England won. In 1763 the Paris Peace decided and France had to cede its ownership claims to Great Britain. Canada experienced the first after the US War of Independence (1775-1783) Immigration wave from British loyalists. From 1812 to 1814 the British-American War followed, which ended with no results and with the Peace of Ghent was adopted.

In 1867 the Canadian Confederation took place and Canada was declared a federal state by Great Britain, which was now independent from Great Britain. By 1912 (with the exception of Newfoundland in 1949) all provinces had joined the confederation. Canada became a volunteer in 1931 Member of the Commonwealth.

After the Second World War, Canada experienced a large wave of immigration from Europe, India, the Far East, Arabia and the Caribbean. An economic upswing and a certain prosperity followed. Land contracts were signed with the indigenous people who got back parts of land in the north. There were also tensions between English-speaking Canada and the French province of Québec, which demanded more independence. However, this was rejected by a narrow majority.

Winterlude: (January - February) An annual festival that celebrates winter and is also a real crowd puller with almost 600,000 visitors. The Winterlude is free.

Canadian Music Week: (March) One of Canada's largest and most influential music festivals and conferences takes place in Toronto for 10 days. Over 1000 live bands play on 60 stages in downtown Toronto, whether in a pub, bar, café or clothing store. In addition to the music festival, the music business is discussed in conferences and the best musicians are honored in award shows.

Tim Horton's Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival: (June) The largest dragon boat festival in North America with over 200 teams, 5000 paddlers and 75,000 spectators. There are also concerts and other cultural performances. Best of all, it's completely free.

Fireworks Festival: (June) The annual international fireworks competition is best seen from Parc Jean-Drapeau (Montréal). The park itself also offers a lot of entertainment: With a huge range of music, dance and theater shows, sporting events and leisure activities, there is no way to get bored.

Beaches International Jazz Festival: (July) For one month, Beaches Jazz Festival presents various concerts and events such as the Streetfest or Sounds of Riverside. In addition to jazz, visitors are also offered salsa, swing, Afro-Cuban, fusion, ska, soul and much more. Standing still is definitely made impossible!

Just for Laughs Festival: (July) Do you really want to laugh again? The world's largest comedy festival has been held in Montréal every year since 1983. A selection of the most famous comedians and newcomers appear here under the motto "Make People Happy".

International Chalk Art Festival: (September) Canada's largest street art festival presents the cultural diversity of Downtown Victoria at Victoria Harbor. Chalk works of art (also in 3D!) By professional artists can be admired free of charge. In addition to the chalk paintings, visitors can also enjoy live music outside.

Eastside Culture Crawl: (November) 25,000 visitors are drawn to the Cultural Crawl Event each year to see the design and craftsmanship of over 480 artists. The aim of the festival is to promote artists and, in addition to the exhibitions, to raise public awareness of art with workshops and seminars. The festival is free of charge.

At the Monday before or on May 24th is Victoria Day (Fete de la Rein), the celebration of the reigning British monarch's birthday.
At the July 1 becomes Canada Day (Fête du Canada) celebrated and commemorates the formation of Canada as a state of the British Commonwealth by the British North America Act on July 1, 1867.
The first Monday in August isCivic Holiday (Premier lundi d’août), the holiday has different meanings and sometimes names depending on the province.
The first Monday in September marks the Labor Day (Fete du Travail). The day is a national holiday and is celebrated in memory of the labor movement.
At the second Monday in October becomes Thanksgiving (Action de grace) celebrated. On this day the Canadians, just like the USA, celebrate how the Pilgrim Fathers landed in Plymouth Rock and were welcomed there by the Wampanoag Indians and celebrated a festival together. The history is not documented, but is seen by many as the origin.
At the November 11thCanadians celebrate Armistice Day in World War I Remembrance Day (Jour du Souvenir). It is supposed to remind of the war veterans.

A large selection of culinary delights awaits you in Canada! The Canadians adhere to the natural conditions when producing food. On the Atlantic coast mainly lobster (and lobster-like) is caught, while on the west coast wild salmon was in the foreground, but this was almost completely displaced by salmon farms.
Cultural differences also influence Canadian cuisine. In Québec, the French influence cannot be overlooked. In contrast, the influence of the mid-west of the USA is strongly noticeable in the prairie provinces and, in the far west, especially the British influence.
Canada also has wine-growing areas, e.g. on the Niagara Peninsula and in the Okanagan area, as well as in the southeast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Wine growing has a tradition that goes back over 200 years. In 1974 new viticulture licenses were issued and the viticulture associations focused on higher quality, which led to an upswing. Canadian wines account for about half of the country's total consumption.

Interesting facts about Canada

If you plan to camp in Canada, be aware that wild camping is forbidden in the national parks and not so popular in more densely populated areas. You should also watch out for wild bears. All food should be stowed in the car so that it is odor-proof or hung up at least 4 m high on a tree.

Canada has a sales tax of 5%, plus regional taxes of up to 8%. All products are priced without taxes, these are only added when they are sold. All prices on menus are also without taxes!

The purchase and consumption of alcohol is from 19 years of age (exception: 18 years in Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec). Drinking alcohol in public is strictly prohibited. Alcohol may only be consumed within the licensed bars or at home.

Just like in the USA, tips are not included in Canada, so around 15 percent of the invoice amount is given as a "tip".

You can get a coffee for € 1.50-2.00 and a beer for € 3.00-5.00. So don't get ripped off!

Where is the toilet / pharmacy?
Where is the toilette / the pharmacy?
Où se trouvent les toilettes? Où se trouve la pharmacie?

Download dictionary as PDF

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