Canada has an extensive road network covering the entire country, including the famous Trans-Canada Highway, which crosses all ten provinces in its 8,000 kilometre route from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island. Driving is probably the best way to explore the rich natural landscape of Canada. However, there are potential hazards, including difficult rural roads and occasionally even the risk of wild animals such as moose or bears in the road! In winter, some provinces require drivers to use winter tyres or snow chains.
To drive in Canada, you must carry your driving licence, vehicle registration documents and car insurance certificate. The speed limit is 100 kilometres per hour on motorways and 60 kilometres per hour on main urban roads, and you drive on the right. Most foreign nationals are allowed to drive on a licence from their home country for 90 days before they must apply for a Canadian licence through their local provincial centre.
Most Canadian cities have several different taxi companies. Taxi drivers must have official identification to show that that their activity is legal and that their taxi complies with road safety regulations. Fares are metered and prices are regulated by the district. Negotiation is not usually an option, but some companies will allow you to agree a fixed-rate fare up front.
Buses can be a great option for getting around in Canada’s most congested cities such as Toronto or Vancouver. For local route information and timetables in each province, visit the Canadian Tourism Commission website.
Coach travel offers an economic means of travel around Canada. Like in the USA, Greyhound is the largest operator of intercity services in Canada, and it also offers cross-border routes to major cities in the northern states of America.
Like its road network, Canada’s railway system spans the width of the country. With a large land mass to cover and no high-speed rail services at present, the trains are considered relatively slow and are more typically used for freight than for passenger services. However, the railways are another excellent way to see the sights of Canada, particularly as the main passenger route operator – VIA Rail – offers some very reasonably priced multi-journey tickets.
Trams and underground rail
Most major cities in Canada have numerous public transport options, including urban railways and subways in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton. For more information, consult your local transport commission.
Canada has several international airports as well as a large number of smaller domestic and private airstrips. Domestic flights are the quickest way to travel long distances within the country and for some of the more rural and isolated parts, private planes are a necessity for access. Although there are many airlines operating in Canada, the commercial market is dominated by Air Canada. The busiest international airports in the country are Toronto Pearson International Airport, Vancouver International Airport and Calgary International Airport, however with such large numbers of airports in the country, it is often worth looking to fly through a smaller airport to find a cheaper or more conveniently located flight.
Other ways to get around
As much of Canada’s wealth depends on the export of its natural resources, sea ports are important freight hubs. You will also find ferries connecting provinces on the Atlantic coast, as well as providing vital routes to the islands off the coast of British Columbia. The main operators are Bay Ferries, BC Ferries and Traversier. There are also a range of commercial and recreational routes along the famous St Lawrence Seaway.