- Will I have any problem exchanging my money for Canadian currency?
(A) - Although U.S. money is usually accepted at stores in Canada, you will be better off exchanging it for Canadian dollars at a financial institution. Financial institutions offer the daily exchange rate. ATMs are the best bet. See below.
- Will my ATM card (automated teller machine card) work in Canada?
(A) - Check with your local bank branch and see what they say about your ATM card and/or cash advance on a Credit Card. Most of the major Canadian banks and trust companies are on the Plus or Cirrus networks. You get Canadian dollars back and generally the exchange rate is good. The Canadian bank, as well as your bank may levy a service charge for each withdrawal. ATM machines in stores, gas stations, etc. usually have even higher fees. Use bank branch machines where possible.
- What credit cards are accepted in Canada?
(A) - Visa and Mastercard are generally accepted everywhere (restaurants, hotels, stores, etc). While American Express is widely accepted you may find that many restaurants, stores and cafes will not accept it. Any charge to a credit card will reflect the currency exchange rate of the day and will appear on your monthly statement as such.
(A) - It is advised to tip 10-20% of your bill at most restaurants, pubs, etc. when served by a waiter, waitress or bartender. In Eastern Canada these employees are paid minimum wage and rely almost totally on tips for their income. Tips/Gratuities are NOT built in to the prices. Hotel staff such as bell boys and maids also expect a gratuity. There are some exceptions, such as certain hotel meals and packages that may include a gratuity. Check to make sure, as most items that include gratuities are labeled to indicate this. Or just ask.
- Sales Tax
In some bars and restaurants alcoholic drinks may be priced "tax in". Others may charge the Taxes over and above the advertised price. This is the same for hotels, tours, attractions, etc. Check to see if the price includes the taxes, in most cases it does not.
(A) - There is a Sales Tax on almost every purchase in Eastern Canada. It is calculated differently in Prince Edward Island than it is in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. There are actually two separate taxes charged. One is a National Tax (known as GST) of 7% and a Provincial Tax of 8%. In Nova Scotia and New Brunswick these are combined in to a Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) of 15%. In Prince Edward Island they are charged separately and the Provincial Tax is 10% and the GST of 7% is charged on top.
(A) - Most of Nova Scotia has excellent cell phone coverage. The lesser populated areas may not be as well covered. Non-Canadian cell phone companies have agreements with one of the 3 major Cell Phone Carrier Companies in Canada - Bell, Rogers & Telus. Consult with your local Cell Phone Provider as to coverage areas and applicable charges for cellular phone usage in Canada.
(A) - The electrical voltage in Canada is the same as the United States, 120 V. No special adapters are necessary if you are traveling from within the U.S. Visitors from other parts of the world may require adapters and/or may not be able to use certain electrical devices.
- Do tourists in Canada get free health care?
(A) - Only Canadian citizens and landed immigrants (i.e. permanent residents) can be covered by the governmental health insurance. U.S. medical and auto insurance may not be valid in Canada. US Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. It is recommended that you get supplemental medical and auto insurance when you travel to Canada. For additional information contact you insurance company.
- What is the drinking age in Eastern Canada?
(A) - The legal drinking age in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick is 19 years old. Children and young persons under the legal drinking age are allowed in to certain licensed restaurants and pubs up to 8 or 9 o'clock in the evening so that they can have a meal with their parents or other adult. Ask the establishment for their specific rules. There is zero tolerance or sympathy for drunk drivers in Nova Scotia.
- What are the emergency numbers in Nova Scotia?
(A) - Fire, Police, Medical, and RCMP are all 911.
- Do you recycle in Nova Scotia?
(A) - Reduce-Re-use-Recycle In Nova Scotia we work to protect our province's clean and beautiful environment. In doing so we have become world leaders in recycling and composting. We have a progressive waste-management program, and in 2000 we became the first province in Canada to recycle 50% of our waste.
Blue bins for recyclables (paper, glass, plastic, metal) and green carts for organics (food waste, soiled napkins, etc.) are used in most locations around the province. Please help us preserve our natural beauty by tossing your waste into these receptacles.
Beverage containers are subject to a $ .10 charge; when the empty containers are taken to an EnviroDepot, half of that charge is refunded. Many coffee shops give a discount to customers who bring their own mugs. For more information on recycling in Nova Scotia, call 1-877-313-7732.
- How do I claim a tax refund?
(A) - The Government of Canada has eliminated the Visitor Rebate Program so that taxes paid on travel expenses and goods purchased in Canada for tourists to bring out of the country are no longer eligible for a tax refund. See Canada Revenue Agency's Questions & Answers.
- Are public places within Nova Scotia smoke free?
(A) - Yes as of December 1, 2006 the Smoke-free Places Act requires that all indoor workplaces and public places are smoke-free. The Act also requires that all outdoor licensed areas and patios of all restaurants, lounges, beverage rooms and cabarets are smoke-free.
- Is my driver's license valid in Canada?
(A) - American drivers' licenses are valid for varying periods of time. The international Driving permit is also valid, but must be accompanied at all times by the visitor's state or national license. Every car must carry evidence of its registration (vehicle permit). If you don't own the vehicle, carry a letter from the owner or a copy of the vehicle rental contract.
- Do I have to wear a seatbelt while in Nova Scotia?
(A) - In Nova Scotia you are required to wear a seatbelt while the vehicle is in operation. The driver is responsible for ensuring that all children under 16 are wearing a seatbelt or other appropriate restraint such as a baby seat. Your child cannot be carried on the lap of a front seat passenger.
- Car Rental Insurance
(A) - Most car rentals do not include any insurance. You are responsible for any loss, damage or injury while renting a vehicle. You can purchase additional "Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) Insurance" for approximately $25 a day with most car rental agencies. Your credit card company and/or local home/auto insurance provider may offer insurance coverage for rental cars. Consult with your local insurance agent and/or credit card company for further information.