Canada for Tourist Destination Guide. Canada is the second largest country in the world, presenting options for every traveller. Canada is home to cosmopolitan cities, unsurpassed skiing and sailing, unique wildlife and some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes. Experience the rich history and culture of Canada through the Inuits, the Aboriginal people of this land.
In Canada, you can drive across beautiful prairies, ski the best slopes in the world, see icebergs on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list and sail crystal clear lakes or climb remote and rugged mountains. In a country as large as Canada, a great way to see all the sites is by car. Canada has a fantastic highway network that will give you the freedom to discover Canada’s best treasures. We have included information you’ll need for a self drive holiday in Canada, from hiring a car and rules of the road to great ideas for touring the different regions of this enormous and wonderful country.
Contents Canada for Tourist Destination Guide
- Renting a Car in Canada
- Car Hire FAQs
- Rental Vehicle Insurance
- Driving Rules
- Canadian Regions at a Glance
- Touring Guides
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- East Coast: Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador
- Northwest: Northwest Territories, Nanavut & Yukon
- Stay Healthy & Stay Safe
- Money Matters
- Useful Information
Renting a Car in Canada
How do I figure out which car is right for me?
You can use the ACRISS system detailed above to find the car that suits your needs. This is an internationally recognised code that will ensure that you get the same standard of vehicle wherever you rent.
What kind of car should I rent for my holiday in Canada?
This depends on where you’re travelling, how many people are travelling and the style of driving you intend to do. Cars range from small (economy, compact) to larger size cars (intermediate, full size), to 4WD’s, convertibles and luxury vehicles. For short trips with fewer passengers opt for the smaller cars; for longer trips with the family then a larger car, van or SUV would suit. There are plenty of car rental options to choose from; it all depends on your personal needs.
Can I hire an automatic car in Canada?
Most rental companies in Canada only hire automatic cars, so you’ll have plenty of automatic’s to choose from.
Do I need a credit card to collect my vehicle?
Yes. Car rental suppliers will usually freeze the excess of the vehicle (from CAD500 + Tax) which will be refunded when the hire car is returned at the end of the rental.
Should I hire a GPS for driving in Canada?
GPS hire is available from Auto Europe Australia and delivered directly to your home prior to departure. GPS units can also be requested direct with some suppliers, however this will be at their own rates. If time is short, or you would simply prefer to collect your GPS unit when you pick up your car hire, this may be the option for you.
Collecting at an airport in Canada
At most Canadian airports, rental companies will have a desk in the arrivals hall and vehicles will be located within walking distance. However, at smaller airports you may be required to collect your vehicle from a downtown depot. Usually a courtesy transfer will be provided from the airport to the depot in this instance. Auto Europe Australia offer all-inclusive prices which generally include any location/airport fees that may otherwise apply. Remember to check at time of booking to ensure your rental price will include all airport fees.
Car Hire FAQs
Can I collect my rental car in one Canadian city and drop it off in another Canadian city?
Yes, this is certainly possible, however in most cases there will be a one-way fee payable when you collect your rental. Check with your car rental supplier before you travel regarding any additional costs.
I’d like to visit USA on my holiday then return back to Canada. Is this possible?
In most cases, yes. There may be some restrictions travelling to Alaska, often this depends on the discretion of the collection depot. Make sure that you advise your car rental company before you travel as additional insurance may be required, depending on the pick up depot and the supplier.
Can I collect my rental car in Canada and drop it off in the USA?
Yes, this is possible yet there are restrictions with many suppliers. For example most suppliers only allow international one ways from Canada to northern US states such as Seattle, Detroit, New York and Boston. There will be a one-way drop off fee payable at the time of collection and a minimum number of rental days (usually a minimum of2 days).
Can I take my rental car onto unpaved roads in Canada?
Car rental companies will not permit travel on unsealed or unpaved roads. Travel only on sealed, government maintained roads, otherwise your insurance will become void.
Can I drive in snow or icy conditions in Canada?
Most car rental vehicles in Canada come equipped with all-weather tyres, so driving in the snow is permitted. Check with your car rental supplier if you require any further equipment for driving in the winter months. Remember that conditions in winter can be extreme, so use your common sense and drive with caution on icy roads.
What do I do if I want to extend my car rental whilst I’m in Canada?
Once the car rental has commenced you will have to call the depot where you initially collected the vehicle. If the car is available to be extended, you will be offered additional days at the local rate.
Rental Vehicle Insurance
Car Rental companies in Canada will normally include:
Third Party insurance and Compulsory Insurance will be included in your car hire rate. This covers you for other people’s injuries and damage to their vehicle. Collision Damage Waiver (CDW): This limits your financial liability for damage to the rented vehicle and is normally included in pre-paid car hire prices. Rentals are normally subject to liability excess, which can be reduced at the time you collect your rental car or by taking out Auto Europe Excess Refund Protection.
Theft Loss Cover: this limits your financial liability for the loss or theft of the rented vehicle and is generally included in prepaid car rental rates.
Personal Accident Insurance: this covers the driver for personal injuries, generally not included in your car rental rates. It is considered to be an optional extra that you can take upon collection of the car, however it is usually included in your general Travel Insurance Policy.
Auto Europe Excess Refund Protection
When renting a vehicle, the rental rates include basic insurance. However, in the event that the vehicle is stolen or accidentally damaged, there is usually an excess amount which the driver is liable to pay to the rental company. To avoid any unexpected costs opt for Auto Europe Excess Refund Protection which will offer a reimbursement for the supplier’s damage and theft excess to a maximum for AU$5,000. Simply add this onto your car rental booking prior to departure and you could save thousands of dollars in case of an accident. To find out more, simply call Auto Europe on 1300 656 601 or visit the Auto Europe Website.
- Drive on the right side of the road; the driver sits on the left hand side of the car.
- Respect the environment – don’t litter. Keep your rubbish with you in the car until it can be disposed of properly.
- On country roads, be aware of wild animals that may wonder onto the road. Canada has a large population of moose, elk and deer.
- In Québec, road signs are written only in French.
- If you are stopped by the police while driving in Canada, remain in your vehicle, switch the engine off and wait for instructions by the officer.
- In winter a flashing blue light will define a snow removal vehicle, so stay well back when following.
- Be aware of road conditions, especially driving in winter as heavy snowfall and icy conditions can make road trips hazardous. Snow tyres are required in some provinces.
- Canadian roads can be quite long, so carry food and water with you on lengthy trips.
- In Canada it is legal to turn right at a red light after stopping (except in Montreal and Québec City). If you arrive at an intersection with no traffic lights, you must give way to the vehicles that had arrived first. If two cars arrive at the same time the car to the right has the right-of-way.
- Daytime headlights are required. Turn on your headlights whilst driving, regardless of the time of day.
- There are a road tolls in Canada – keep small denominations of Canadian currency with you while driving.
- Motorcyclists must wear a helmet.
- Unless signposted, the maximum speed limit in Canada is 50km/hr and 80km/hr on highways. The speed limit on the rural highways is 100km/hr. Speeding may be monitored by speed cameras or radar traps.
- It is illegal to carry radar detectors in Québec, Ontario, Manitoba, the Yukon and Northwest Territories.
- It is illegal to talk on a mobile phone whilst driving in Canada.
- If a school bus stops and flashes red lights, traffic in both directions must come to a complete stop.
- Drivers must carry proof of insurance, a driver’s licence and registration papers at all times. If you are driving to Canada from the USA you will go through one of the 22 border crossings between the two countries. Make sure that you have your passport, licence and car rental agreement with you.
- Drinking alcohol and driving is forbidden and is strictly enforced in every province. It is a crime to drive with a blood alcohol limit of 0.05 or above. Be smart: don’t drink and drive. As a tourist exceeding this limit you could be deported.
Driving Rules, cont’d
A full driving licence is required to drive in Canada. All drivers must have held a full valid driving licence for a minimum of one year. Australian residents are not required by law to have an international drivers licence, although it is recommended since an international licence holds more credibility with Canadian traffic police. Contact your local motoring association for further information.
Min & Max Age Requirements
Min Driving Age: Usually 21, however in some provinces the minimum age is 25.
Young Driver’s Surcharge: Drivers aged 21-24 years may be charged from CAD$25+tax per day.
Max Driving Age: There is no maximum driving age in Canada. In some cases, aged drivers may be required to hold a letter from their GP stating they are healthy and fit to drive. Check with Auto Europe Australia for further details.
Seatbelts are compulsory for all passengers. Fines vary for offences in each territory and can be up to $300 for infringements. Children less than 18kg must be secured in an appropriate child seat or booster seat whilst in a moving vehicle, and children under 12 should travel in the back seat at all times.
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- East Coast: Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador
- Northwest: Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Yukon
British Columbia is located in the west of Canada and is famous for its abundant nature and alluring scenery. The capital of British Columbia is Victoria, a historic city located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. British Columbia is rich with authentic experiences as well as beauty and diversification. If you’re a thrill seeker looking for adventure, British Columbia is complete with snow capped mountains for skiing and snowboarding, as well as opportunities to go kayaking and rafting. Visit British Columbia and you will quickly discover why Vancouver was chosen to host the 2010 Winter Olympics.
- Take a trip to the Okanagan Wine Route – Over 60 wineries, each known for its outstanding and unique wines.
- Go Whale Watching – Spot a whale in its natural habitat from May through to October.
- Experience the Outdoors – British Columbia offers a host of outdoor activities including alpine skiing and snow boarding in Whistler, or kayaking through the waters of Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve.
- Experience the culture – Visit Victoria, the capital of BC and sometimes called the “City of Gardens”. Attend High Tea at the elegant Fairmont Empress Hotel, or spend the day touring exquisite gardens.
- Visit the best shopping districts – Vancouver, Victoria and Whistler are home to high fashion shops and boutiques. If it’s wine and fruit you’re after Thompson Okanagan has a great selection.
- Stanley Park – located in Vancouver, stroll alone the sea wall and enjoy an urban park which boasts an aquarium, totem poles, great artists and fascinating historical landmarks.
Winter Carnival – 100 activities and events to choose from, located in Thompson Okanagan
- May: Lund Shellfish Festival – A celebration of all things seafood in Lund June International JazzFest – A major music festival lasting 10 days each
- June: International JazzFest – A major music festival lasting 10 days each June in Victoria
- July: The Nanaimo Marine Festival & International World Championship Bathtub Race – A silly and exciting marine racing event Vancouver Folk Music Festival – Hosted near the water, this festival has over 200 craft booths and 60 performers from around the world
- September: Greek Festival – Enjoy Greek food, music and culture in Victoria
- October: Ice Hockey Season – October through April. A local institution in Vancouve
Self Drive Tours: British Columbia
Duffey Lake Road from Pemberton Valley to Lillooet The drive along Duffey Lake Road from Pemberton Valley to Lillooet. British Columbia’s southern interior is approximately 100 km. Be sure to drive with caution as the road winds around one way bridges, steep hills and blind corners. However, the scenery you pass is well worth the drive. The road is surrounded by pristine waters, snow topped mountainous terrains, spectacular glaciers and wildlife. When you pass a creek, have a look to see if you can spot a family of bears having a drink.
Sea to Sky Highway Vancouver to Whistler Ranked as one of the top five road trip’s in the world, Highway 99 from Vancouver to Whistler is sure to be a memorable journey. The Sea to Sky Highway is a 135km journey along a backdrop of glistening water and famous scenic landmarks. There is the island of Howe Sound, Shannon Falls and the snow-capped Coast Mountains. If you’re looking for something to do along the way, be sure to visit the old mining town of Britannia Beach, which holds a mining museum and several arts and crafts stores. To reach Highway 99, head north from Vancouver for approximately 30 minutes.
Québec is located in east-central Canada and has a predominately French speaking population. Considered by some as the most beautiful city in Canada, Québec City is a charming, picturesque city reminiscent of a European township. As you stroll down through cobblestone streets, admiring the delightful old buildings, it is easy to forget that you are actually in Canada.
- Visit the Historic District of Québec – Wander through the cobble stone streets of the old city of Québec and experience the culture and history of this romantic city.
- Enjoy some water sports – Québec offers white-water rafting on the Riviere Rouge. If you’re after something a bit less adventurous, try boating, canoeing or sailing.
- See the sights on a bike – Go cycling through the St. Lawrence River Valley or try the Laurentides region for a more challenging route.
- Ride the Funicular – A cable car linking Haute-Ville and Basse-Ville.
- Visit the oldest shopping district in North America – Quarier Petit Champlain Shopping District has everything from designer clothing to home-wares.
- Visit the charming markets by the St. Lawrence River – Shop with the locals and perhaps taste some Québécois Cheese at the Marche du Vieux-Port.
- Snap a picture in front of the Chateau Frontenac – Said to be one of the most photographed hotels in the world.
- Visit the Citadelle of Québec – A military fortress and a significant landmark. Tour the Montreal Botanical Gardens featuring over 20,000 different plant species.
- Experience the evening in Montreal – Mix with the hip and trendy at Crescent Street. You will find an abundant array of restaurants, bars and nightclubs, located just down from Montreal’s University Campus.
January/ February: Québec Winter Carnival – Experience a winter wonderland in Québec city Montreal High Lights Festival—(Montreal en Lumiere) this beautiful city is illuminated and many food and wine events are hosted throughout
- April: The Food Festival -(Festival de la Gastronomie du Québec) This fest features an abundance of local cuisine
- May: International Theatre Event – Enjoy local theatre around the city—biennial event held only on even years
- June: The Big Laugh Comedy Event – (Grand Rire) Get a laugh from the best comedians around
- July: Canada Day – Celebrate Canada nationwide on the 1st July
- September: African Dance Festival – Enjoy performances by African and Latin American dancers
- November: Toy Parade – A major parade downtown for which every attendee brings a toy for underprivileged children around the area
Self Drive Tours: Québec
Montreal to Québec City
If you’re staying in Montreal and are looking for the perfect way to spend the day, jump in the car and head to Québec. The drive is approximately three hours and there are a couple of different routes you can take to get there. If you’re looking for the quickest way, take route 20 along the south shore. However if you’ve got a bit more time on your hands and are interested in taking a more scenic route, head east on route 40. Once you arrive in Québec City the old-world trappings and French resemblances are overwhelmingly beautiful. Park the car and take a walk around the city, dine in one of the many fabulous restaurants or visit the cities oldest church: Basilique-Cathédrale Notre-Dame.
La Malbaie to Baie-Saint-Paul, QC
The drive from La Malbaie to Baie-Saint-Paul is approximately 51 kilometres/ 37 miles and will take you roughly 45 minutes. As you pass the picturesque villages of Les Éboulements, Saint-Irénée and Saint-Joseph de-la-Rive, prepare to be enchanted. To get there, continue along Boul Notre Dame for 3.8 kilometres and then proceed on route 138 for 40.8 kilometres. Turn left at Rue De la Lumière for 1.2 kilometres and then continue on Rue Ambroise-Fafard until you reach Baie-Saint Paul.
Ontario is located on the Great Lakes of Canada. It is the forth largest province by land area and also the largest province by population. This province offers an array of activities and sights to experience, but if time is short head straight down to Toronto, the capital of Ontario. The buzz and lively nature of the city combined with endless sightseeing opportunities assures you with a prefect and enjoyable vacation experience.
- Visit the CN Tower – Located in downtown Toronto, the CN Tower is the tallest free standing structure in the world and by far the most popular tourist attraction in Canada.
- Visit the Royal Ontario Museum – From kids to adults, the ROM offers interactive exhibits that are ideal for everyone.
- Toronto Zoo – The perfect family day out, featuring over 5000 animals and exciting activities located in the Rouge Valley of Toronto.
- Spend the day at Paramount Canada’s Wonderland – If you’re after another way to keep the kids happy, Canada’s Wonderland is a sure-fire way to keep them entertained.
- Take a tour of Parliament Hill – The three Gothic Revival style buildings are a symbol of national pride for Canadians and a must see for those interested in Canada’s historical sites.
- Visit the National Gallery of Canada – Featuring exhibits from artists such as Raphael and Carracci.
- Enjoy the outdoors – Learn how to kayak at the Ottawa Kayak School or try white-water rafting.
- Take the Plunge – Go bungee jumping at Great Canadian Bungee.
- Visit Niagara Falls, go see this world famous attraction on the Canadian-US border, just 2 hours from Toronto
January: Miss Universe Canada Pageant – Canadian beauty queens compete in Toronto to represent their country at the Miss Universe pageant
- February: WinterCity Festival – A celebration of creativity, culture and cuisine in Toronto
- Family Fun Fest, Load of entertainment, rides and fun for the whole family in Toronto
- June: Island Breakfast – Visitors and locals alike travel from Brockville to Refugee Island for a wonderful breakfast full of local flavours
- July: Summerlicious – 150 of Toronto’s top restaurants offer pre-fixe menus for lunch and dinner
- Savour Statford Perth County Culinary Festival – Named Ontario’s “Event of the Year” and “Best Culinary Experience”, this event highlights regional farmers, producers, musicians, artists and celebrity chefs.
Self Drive Tours: Ontario
Driving to Hamilton
If you’re looking for a great way to spend the day, Hamilton, Ontario is an ideal choice. The drive from Toronto to Hamilton is approximately 70 km and will take you about an hour. To get there, follow the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) and then take Highway 403 west toward Hamilton. If you’re departing from London, Ontario, the drive is 130 km and will take roughly two hours, traffic dependent. To get there, continue east along Highway 401 east towards Toronto, take exit 235 to Highway 403, Hamilton and continue until you reach Hamilton. There are endless activities to do in Hamilton. Tour the art gallery, explore the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum, visit one of the 65 waterfalls or tee off at the Apollo Valley Golf Club.
Driving from Toronto to Niagara Falls
The drive from Toronto to Niagara Falls is approximately 132 kilometres and will take around two hours. From Toronto, take the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) towards Hamilton and St. Catharine’s through to Highway 402. Visitors departing from other destinations in south west Ontario may also travel on Highway 20, which leads directly to the falls or on Highway 3 which takes you along several smaller roads. Once you reach Niagara Falls, you will find something for everyone. Not only can you experience the spectacular falls, there are also a range of activities that make Niagara Falls a world class destination. Experience the nightlife, try your luck at the Fallsview Casino or sample some of the city’s gourmet food and wine.
New Brunswick is located adjacent to the US state of Maine and is the largest of Canada’s Maritime Provinces. Whether you stay for a week or for a month, you can be sure that you’ll find something different to do in New Brunswick. This province has opportunities for risk taking adventures in the outdoors and delving into the cultural history of the area, and much more.
- Visit the Cape Jourimain Nature Centre – Breathtaking scenery in an eco-friendly environment.
- Explore the Kingsbrae Garden – This award winning garden will make every enthusiastic gardener green with envy.
- Visit the New Brunswick Museum – Explore the history of New Brunswick and witness amazing sculptures, paintings and exhibitions.
- Visit the Boardwalk in St. John – Evenings come alive with musical activities.
- Go on a Whale Watching Cruise – Explore the waters of the Bay of Fundy.
- Enjoying the outdoors – Go hiking through ancient valleys, visit the sandy beaches of the Acadian coast or spend the day windsurfing, boating or golfing at Parlee Provincial Park.
- Reversing Falls – Catch this unusual site when the flow of the Saint John River is in reverse, which takes place when the Bay of Fundy is at high tide.
- February: Campbellton Regional Sno-Fest – A regional festival packed with snowy activities
- June: Edmundston Jazz and Blues Festival – A four day festival with a variety of musicians and genres represented Campbellton Salmon Festival – Enjoy delicious local seafood, as well as music, activities and events
- July: Annual Rock and Roll Festival – A lively festival hosted in Miramichi Highland Games and Scottish Festival – Celebrate Scotland with the locals at this fabulous festival
- August: Summer Music Festival – A classical music festival in Fredericton
- November: Annual Spirits Festival – Take part in special tastings and meals in Fredericton
Self Drive Tours: New Brunswick
River Valley Scenic Drive
The River Valley Scenic route winds along the 400km St. Johns River from the capital city of Edmundston, south to Fredericton and Saint John then north east to Sussex. Along your journey you will pass many historical and culturally significant sites. Travel across the world’s longest covered bridge, visit the largest waterfall in New Brunswick, Grand Falls Gorge, or simply enjoy the amazing scenery along the way.
Acadian Coastal Drive
The Acadian Coastal Drive is surrounded by long stretches of spectacular beaches, fragile ecosystems and traditional Acadian culture. The route follows the entirety of the east coast of New Brunswick from Dalhousie in the north to Sackville in the south. Along the way, stop over at the historical villages and coastal towns, all of which house unique attractions. If you’re looking for a place to cool off during the drive, visit Parlee Beach Provincial Park which boasts the warmest saltwater beaches in Canada. As well as swimming, you will find a host of other activities to keep you busy such as volleyball, football and sand sculpture competitions.
Saskatchewan is the middle of Canada’s three Prairie Provinces. Saskatchewan has a wonderfully blended combination of cultural history and outdoor activities, not to mention the incredible backdrop that is recognisably Canadian. Saskatchewan is perfect for a relaxing and enjoyable visit.
- Head outdoors – Saskatchewan is great for those who love the outdoors. Visit the Prince Albert National Park, spend the weekend camping, hike on the Coulee Trail or try windsurfing.
- Play some golf – Visit the Regina Golf Course, the first tee indoor golf centre.
- Marina Mini-Golf sports – A new 18-hole course with a marina and wildlife theme.
- Royal Saskatchewan Museum – Located in Regina, this museum is a must for history buffs.
- Explore the Tunnels of Moose Jaw – Located in the southwest region of the province, this is the place to visit if you want to explore the historical tunnels connecting secret rooms and buildings below the city of Moose Jaw.
- Saskatchewan Science Centre – A hands on type museum in Regina where you are bound to learn something, regardless of your age!
- Head to Saskatoon – the largest city in Saskatchewan has a wealth of things to see and do. Visit the Western Development Museum or the Train Bridge, the oldest bridge in the city.
- March: Gardenscape Show – A welcoming of spring hosted in Saskatoon
- May: The Annual Cathedral Village Arts Festival – A week long festival held in Regina and featuring the performing, visual and literary arts
- June: PotashCorp Children’s Festival – Family fun in Saskatoon The Annual Saskatchewan Jazz Festival – Recognised as one of the finest music festivals in the world
- July/August: PotashCorp Fringe Theatre Festival – Theatre, buskers and street vendors take over Saskatoon
- December: Festival of Trees – Decorated Christmas trees and displays, special events and a gingerbread lane in Saskatoon
Self Drive Tours: Saskatchewan
Highway 11, The Louis Riel Trail
Perfect for a summer drive, Highway 11 runs through Saskatchewan from Regina to Prince Albert. This route connects the province’s largest three cities; Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert. The length of the Highway is approximately 400 kilometres and passes through several museums, quaint towns and picturesque scenery. You can explore Prince Albert National Park, a popular recreation spot for hiking, camping, picnicking, scenic drives, as well as the houses of the Waskesiu Golf Course.
Regina to Yorkton
The drive from Regina to Yorkton along Highway 10 is approximately 190 kilometres and will take around two and a half hours of driving time. Along the way experience the history and cultural diversity of the area, with each stretch of road offering something new and exciting. Visit the Qu’Appelle Valley, marvel at St. Mary’s Ukrainian Church or tour the Melville Heritage Museums. Once you reach Yorkton, visit the Godfrey Dean Art Galley, tee off at the Deer Park Golf Course, or shop till you drop in downtown Yorkton.
Manitoba is a prairie province in Canada, bordered by Ontario and Saskatchewan. If you love the outdoors, you will love Manitoba. This province is filled with lakes, national parks and an assortment of activities to keep you active and lively in the outdoors. If you’re keen to try water sports, Lake Winnipeg or Lake Manitoba are the best options. If you’re interested in fishing, try Atikaki Provincial Park or Turtle Mountain Provincial Park. When the sun goes down, why not end the day admiring the wildlife and watch the sunset at Hudson Bay.
- See the northern lights – Named one of the “top 25 adventures of a life time”. The best time to see the light shows are between January to March.
- Enjoy some water sports – Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba, the province’s two biggest lakes, offer a variety of water sports.
- Go fishing – You might even catch a trout, northern pike, channel catfish or an Arctic grayling.
- Visit the Manitoba Museum – Learn about the lives of the Plains Indians and the early prairie settlers, or stroll through the nine galleries featuring science displays and five-story sailing ship displays.
- Manitoba Children’s Museum – Explore the interactive galleries, take an imaginary train ride or deliver the news in a TV studio.
- Visit the Parks – Take a trip to either Grand Beach Provincial Park or Whiteshell Provincial Park.
- Explore Cook’s Creek Heritage Museum – Dedicated to Canada’s Slavic Pioneers.
- May: The Teddy Bears’ Picnic – A fundraiser for the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba at Assiniboine Park
- June: International Children’s Festival – “Kidsfest” is hosted annually in Winnipeg Jazz Winnipeg Festival – 11 days of music around the city
- July: Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival – North America’s second largest fringe theatre festival World Lily Festival – Hosted in Neepawa, this event has beautiful lily displays among other events
- August: Corn and Apple Festival – Featuring free entertainment, a parade and free corn on the cob and apple cider in Morden
Self Drive Tours: Manitoba
Highway 6, known as the Provincial Trunk Highway, is the main highway connecting Winnipeg to Northern Manitoba. Along the route you will travel through part of the Interlake region which features natural beauty sure to leave you captivated. Manitoba’s Interlake region is located north of Winnipeg and lies between Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba. Many visitors enjoy this route due to the ample opportunities to participate in water sports and fishing.
Start this drive in Winnipeg after visiting the city’s Exchange District, The Forks National Historic Site and the gorgeous Royal Canadian Mint. Take your time on this leisurely road trip to get in touch with Canada’s natural beauty and visit the rural communities situated on the lakes.
The Yellowhead Highway
Route 16, also called the Yellowhead Highway is a historical road connecting Winnipeg to Saskatoon. It also connects the four western Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The highway navigates through five national parks, ninety provincial parks and three national historic sites. Depending on how long you follow the Yellowhead Highway, This journey through Western Canada will cover mountain terrains, the blossoming Fraser Valley and all the way to the Port of Vancouver.
Alberta is located in the western region of Canada, bound by British Columbia to the west and Saskatchewan to the east. Alberta is famous for its rolling foothills, the impressive Alberta Rocky Mountains and rich cultural history. If time is of the essence, yet you still want to experience the best Alberta has to offer, visit Calgary and Edmonton; the two largest cities in Alberta. Unlike the big city feel most large cities have, Calgary and Edmonton have a more modest, small town atmosphere that is sure to delight even the big city folks!
- Visit the Jasper National Park of Canada – Be amazed at this spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Engage in some winter sports – Experience dog sledding, skijoring (being pulled along on skies by huskies) or wildlife tracking. The ski resorts in the Rockies can cater to any level, from novice to expert.
- Explore Edmonton – Visit the world’s largest shopping and entertainment complex, the Edmonton Mall, or enjoy the many attractions and museums around the city.
- Visit the Tyrell Museum – Located in the north of Calgary, the Tyrell Museum houses an impressive 130,000 fossils and is well worth a visit.
- Explore the Calgary Zoo, Prehistoric Park and Botanical Gardens are a favourite in Calgary for both young and old.
- January: High Performance Rodeo – Calgary’s International Festival of the Arts
- July: Calgary Folk Music Festival – Enjoy live music, food and cultural activities
- August: Rock’n August – Car show with live music in St. Alberta Reggae Festival – Relax with reggae in Calgary
- September: Symphony Under the Sky – Classical music in Edmonton’s Hawrelak Park
- October: Banff Mountain Film Festival – A famous festival hosted in the Canadian Rockies
- November: Canadian Finals Rodeo – An authentic rodeo in Edmonton
- December: Bright Lights Festival – Enjoy dazzling winter lights in Edmonton (late December – early January)
Self Drive Tours: Alberta
The Cowboy Trail
Follow Alberta’s Cowboy Trail to see the real old west. This trail travels from Mayerthorpe, through Calgary then south to Pincher Creek. It continues along to Cardston, near the USA border. Enjoy the sights of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, travel along the Saskatchewan River, and stop off in the town of Bragg Creek. Make a stop at Pincher Creek, home to Kootenai Browns Pioneer Village. See the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. Finish the journey off in Cardston, where you can visit the Remington Carriage Centre. You’ll see a huge collection of buggies, wagons and carriages. True cowboy country!
Icefield Parkway – Lake Louise to Jasper
The Icefields Parkway, Highway 93 is the road which connects Jasper, Alberta and Lake Louise. The unbelievable sights along the way are the reason National Geographic Traveller Magazine identified the whole Banff-Jasper route as one of the top 20 “drives of a lifetime”. The drive from Lake Louise to Jasper is 230 kilometres and will take a little over 3 hours of solid driving time, however be sure to allow more time to admire the famous breathtaking scenery many travel long and far to observe. This drive is truly one of the most spectacular driving routes in the world and most certainly one of Canada’s national treasures.
The East Coast of Canada, including Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador offers a holiday experience like no other. There are so many things to do on the East Coast, the hardest part will be figuring out what to do first. With so many breathtaking and exquisite natural wonders to explore, museums to visit, World Heritage Sites to discover and culinary experiences, the East Coast will leave you wanting to permanently change your postcode.
- Visit the museums – Take a guided tour of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic or the Joggins Fossil Institute.
- Spend the day at Bay of Fundy – As high as a four storey building, Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world.
- Experience the culinary excellence on offer – Savour fresh and exciting local produce such as seafood, blueberries, maple syrup and Digby scallops.
Prince Edward Island
- Enjoy a traditional church lobster supper – Stop by at Saint Ann’s Church on Route 224, any day except Sundays. You’ll get to savour some of the finest local seafood as well as salad, traditional homemade pie and tea.
- Visit the Anne of Green Gables Museum – Lucy Maud Montgomery, celebrated author of “Anne of Green Gables” was born on Prince Edward Island.
- Witness an engineering marvel – The Confederation Bridge links Prince Edward Island to mainland New Brunswick.
Newfoundland and Labrador
- Get out and about in the fresh air – Watch the Humpback Whales, visit the sea caves and remote pebble beaches, explore Gros Morne National Park, and go on a boating tour.
- Visit the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Gros Morne National Park and L’Anse Aux Meadows National Historic Site are both listed.
- Experience the art of Newfoundland and Labrador – Visit the Coast of Bays Art and Exploration Centre of the Sir Wilfred Grenfell Art Gallery.
- May: Newfoundland Horticultural Society Spring Flower Show – Spring flower exhibition and educational programs in St. John’s
- June: Scotia Festival of Music – A chamber music festival hosted in Halifax Halifax Greek Festival – Features Greek dance, music, food and wine
- July: Jazz and Blues Festival – A music festival on the beautiful Prince Edward Island
- August: Conception Harbour Folk Festival – Folk music and crafts in Newfoundland.
- September: The Great Atlantic Blues and Beyond Festival The largest blues, arts and culture festival in Atlantic Canada
- October: Art of Night – (Nocturne) An annual festival bringing art to the streets of Halifax
Self Drive Tours: East Coast
The Viking Trail
The Viking Trail begins at the intersection of Route 1 and Route 430 near Deer Lake and is the largest themed highway in Newfoundland and Labrador. The trail stretches over coastland which presents opportunities to see 10,000 year old icebergs and witness whales migrate. The land along the route was discovered by Vikings 1,000 years ago and as such there is a rich cultural presence to the area. The museums along the way are filled with the artefacts of archaeological digs and ancient native settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows National historic site will have you thinking you have stepped back in time. This route is also the only way to access the UNESCO World Heritage Sites at Gros Morne National Park of Canada and L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site of Canada.
The Cabot Trail
The Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia is one of the most famous scenic drives in Canada. The route is approximately 298 kms long and loops around the northern tip of Cape Breton Island. The drive altogether is approximately 5 hours, however this time does not include any stopovers. Once you get on the Cabot Trail, you must either complete the loop or turn around and go back, no roads allow you to cut across the centre of Cape Breton Island. Along the way you will find an abundance of activities to do and see. Some visitors set aside two or three days to explore everything that lies along the Cabot Trail. Regardless of whether you’re an amateur or an experienced hiker, Cape Breton Highlands National Park offer world class hiking trails which are sure to please. If you’re more interested in delving into the cultural history of the area, there is an abundant supply of museums and galleries along the way.
The northwest of Canada includes the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon and is a playground for thrill seekers and nature enthusiasts. If you love an adventure and are keen to explore everything the great outdoors has to offer, you will find yourself at home in the Northwest. This rugged terrain is ideal for the hardy traveller. The north west is full of the unexpected, yet the one thing you can be sure to expect is a never ending supply of activities to keep you busy. Follow a hiking trail through a national park, spend the day white water rafting, canoeing or kayaking.
- Enjoy the water activities on offer – Experience the thrill of white-water rafting or go canoeing down the Nahanni River in the southern Mackenzie Mountains.
- Visit one or all of the five national parks – Go hiking along one of the many trails and absorb these beautifully preserved parks
- Experience the Indigenous Culture – Take a tour through one of the villages and see how the tribal people live.
- Discover something new – Try an authentic Inuit experience by going dog sledding or ski-dooing
- Spend a lazy afternoon fishing – Cast a line and you might catch a crimson arctic char or a trophy lake trout.
- Climb a mountain range – If you’re an experienced climber, Baffin Island is the an ideal choice.
- Experience the History Yukon has to offer – Visit S.S. Keno Historic Site of Canada, the Keno City Mining Museum or the Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Gambling Hall.
- Take a river adventure – Even if you’re an experienced kayaker or rafter, a river adventure through Yukon is one like no other.
- March: Spring Fling – Travel to Norman Wells for a parade, snowmobile racing, ice golf, barbecue and bonfires
- June: Midnight Sun Golf Tournament – Days are especially long in Yukon during this time of year– the golf tournament tees of at midnight and finishes with a breakfast of beer and eggs Commissioner’s Tea and Klondike Ball – A tea and ball celebrating the day Yukon officially joined the nation of Canada– all guests dress in the styles of 1898 July Nunavut Day – A public holiday celebrated on
- July: 9 to commemorate an agreement between the Canadian government and Aboriginal Inuit people. Dawson City Music Festival – A small, inventive music festival in Yukon.
Self Drive: North West
Campbell to Canol: Yukon
The route from Watson Lake to Ross River along the Robert Campbell Highway is approximately 360km and will take around five hours. This region is one of the Yukon’s least populated regions, so you can expect a quiet, remote driving experience. This untouched wilderness is filled with an array of things to do and see. Visit Watson Lake at the world famous Sign Post Forest, explore the Ross River or take a trip to a former hard-rock mining town. The gravel roads of Canol Road and Campbell Highway are maintained only in the summer months, which is the ideal and safest way to drive. The picturesque scenery and luscious green pastures you will pass on this route are well worth the adventurous roads.
This major driving route connects Anchorage, Alaska to Dawson Creek, British Columbia Canada, running through Whitehorse, Yukon. This route was the pioneer road that was cut through the wilderness in the 1940’s, a mere single lane trail nicknamed the Alcan Highway. Today the Alaska Highway is considered an adventure drive and the conditions are far improved. The Yukon portion of the Alaska Highway runs from Watson Lake, BC to Beaver Creek at the Alaskan border. Drive this 910 km stretch to enjoy magnificent scenery, diverse cultures and an intriguing history. Stop in Teslin, home to the indigenous Tlingit people. Then, visit Whitehorse, a town surrounded by forests, mountains and the Yukon River. You’ll continue on through the Kuane National P a r k t o experience a true wilderness in this unique and spectacular part of the world.
Stay Healthy & Stay Safe
Canadian hospitals and medical services are among the world’s best in terms of quality, but can be very expensive for those without insurance. Your comprehensive travel insurance should cover any medical costs, including medical evacuation. A stay in hospital can cost you from CAD$1,000 per day, so make sure that your insurance covers you for the whole time you’ll be away and be clear on what is not included.
In the event of an emergency, call 911 or 112 for an ambulance that will take you to the hospital emergency room (ER). For routine medical care, you can go to a walk-in clinic. Pharmacies and drug stores carry most prescriptions, however, as with most other medical care in Canada, it can be expensive. It’s best to have any prescriptions filled before you go, and to carry all medication along with a letter from your GP explaining your medical conditions.
Canada is considered one of the safest countries to live and to travel, although it is always wise to remain vigilant and continue using the same safety precautions you exercise at home. Violent crime in Canada does occur, however this is not a serious problem. It’s always a good idea to keep your valuables out of view in your parked car.
It’s always wise to avoid showing off expensive jewellery and cash in public. Keep your money and credit cards in a safe place and respect the local customs and laws. Your common sense is the most valuable possession you can have.
Be aware of the natural environment. Parts of Canada can be prone to winter storms that include ice storms and blizzards, particularly in eastern Canada. Carry an emergency kit with you in the car. Kits should be available for sale in Canada. Especially in winter, make sure you’re wearing adequate winter clothing to avoid hypothermia.
Canadian Dollar (CAD = C$) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of C$100, C$50, C$20, C$10 and C$5. Coins are in denominations of C$2(toonie), C$1(loonie), and 25¢(quarter), 10¢(dime), 5¢(nickel) and 1¢(penny).
Standard banking hours are Monday to Thursday 9.30am to 4.00pm, and most banks are open until 6.00pm on Fridays.
Credit & Debit Cards
Major credit cards are widely accepted across Canada, except in remote rural communities where cash is the only option. Carry a copy of your credit card numbers separately from the cards and report any lost or stolen credit cards immediately.
Goods and services tax, or the GST, is a 5% federal tax applied to most goods and services provided in Canada. There are other regional taxes, listed as follows: PST (provisional sales tax) and HST (harmonised sales tax) range from 5-13% depending on region, province and product. GST is added at the cash register and not to the price tag of the product.
Tipping is common in Canada. Usually gratuities are not added onto restaurant bills, however you should reward good service 15-20% of the total bill. Hairdressers, barbers and taxi drivers should be tipped about 15%. Porters, bellhops and doormen at hotels, airports and railway stations should be tipped $1-2 per item carried.
Both English and French are spoken in Canada and most Canadians are bilingual. While English is the dominant language in the majority of the country, French is the chief language in Québec.
Canada is the second largest country in the world, second only to Russia. Canada takes up the major portion of North America and is bordered to the south by the ‘Lower 48’ of the USA, Alaska to the north west, with the Atlantic Ocean in the east and the Pacific Ocean in the west. The landscape of Canada is diverse, with great prairies in the central area, with the Rocky Mountains to the west, and Niagara Falls, the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes in the south east. The Arctic Tundra lies to the north of the country close to the polar ice cap.
Canada is divided into 6 different time zones:
- Pacific Time: GMT 8: Yukon, British Columbia (GMT 7 from second Sunday in March to first Sunday in November).
- Mountain Time: GMT 7: Alberta, Northwest Territories, Nunavut (GMT – 6 from second Sunday in March to first Sunday in November).
- Central Time: GMT 6: Saskatchewan, Manitoba (GMT 5 from second Sunday in March to first Sunday in November).
- Eastern Time: GMT 5: Ontario, Québec (GMT 4 from second Sunday in March to first Sunday in November).
- Atlantic Time: GMT 4: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island (GMT – 3 from second Sunday in March to first Sunday in November).
- Newfoundland Time: GMT 3.5: Newfoundland and Labrador (GMT 2.5 from second Sunday in March to first Sunday in November).
Where to Get Help Australian High Commission Suite 710, 50 O’Connor Street Ottawa, Ontario K1P6L2 PH: +1 613 236 0841 www.canada.embassy.gov.au
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Auto Europe hopes that you find the information in this guide helpful for your self drive holiday in Australia. The touring information has been created to be used as a guide only. All information shown is correct at the time of publication. © Auto Europe – all rights reserved. Updated: July 2014
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