Canada is that vast country just a little above the US, looming... but I do realize that not everyone knows about Canada, so I will endeavour to write a few messages on the subject in hope that it will help people...
: Constitution Monarchy (Bicameral parliamentary democracy - Bicameral) in a federation and part of the Commonwealth.
Head of State
: Queen of Canada (Elizabeth II) represented by the Governor General (currently Michaëlle Jean.)
: The leader of the party holding majority in the house of commons. Currently Stephen Harper of the Conservatives. Lives at 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa Ontario.
: Ottawa, Ontario. Chosen because it is right on the Ontario/Quebec border. Known for the world's second largest tulip festival.
They are subordinate to Provinces because they do not have full self government.
: About 33 million people, give or take a few. Generally pleased with their country but not always their government, like everyone else in the western hemisphere.
: 60% Native English, 23% Native French, 17% Other. Both English and French have official status. New Brunswick is officially bilingual. Quebec is officially French speaking. Ontario and Manitoba both have large Francophone (French-speaking) minorities. Quebec has a large Anglophone (English-speaking) minority, especially in Montreal. All Federal government services are guaranteed to be offered in English and French.
: Abbreviated CAD or C$. The exchange rate changes daily. ATMs dispense CAD (though a few specialized ATMs dispense USD as well.) Credit cards from American Express, MasterCard and Visa are generally accepted, Diners Club is accepted as well. Discover is accepted only by tourist outlets since it is not generally available to the Canadian public. In Quebec an ATM is called a Guichet Automatique or GAB. If you need the current exchange rate you can go to http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=1+USD+in+CAD
for USD in CAD or http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=1+CAD+in+USD
for CAD in USD.
Bank Notes (common)
- $5 Blue with a picture of Sir Wilfred Laurier, Canada's first French Canadian Prime Minister.
- $10 Purple with a picture of Sir John A MacDonald, Canada's first Prime Minister.
- $20 Greenish Orange with a picture of the Queen of Canada. (She is apparently also the Queen of England, we don't mind sharing.)
- $50 Red with a picture of William Lyon MacKenzie King, Canada's longest service Prime Minister.
- $100 Brown with a picture of Sir Robert Laird Borden, Prime Minster during WWI.
Images of the bills can be found at http://www.bank-banque-canada.ca/en/...r/2001-04.html
- 1¢ (penny) picture of a maple leaf
- 5¢ (nickel) picture of a beaver
- 10¢ (dime) picture of the Bluenose II
- 25¢ (quarter) picture of a caribou but often changed for commemorative coins
- $1 (loonie) picture of loons, gold in colour.
- $2 (twonie) picture of a polar bear. Double ring, silver on the outside ring and gold on the inner ring.
Images can be found via http://www.mint.ca/store/mint/learn/...rrency-1100028
- GST (Goods and Services Tax, called VAT in many other countries) is 5% in all of Canada on almost everything except groceries. Replaced with HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) at 13% in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
- PST (Provincial Sales Tax) ranging from 0% in Alberta up to 10% in Prince Edward Island. In some provinces services are also taxed. Quebec and Prince Edward Island charge their sales tax on the total including GST. Prices generally do not include the taxes. Some provinces/cities have special tourism taxes on hotel rooms and they vary from region to region.
The GST exception list is a bit odd for people coming from other countries. The definition of groceries can be confusing. Snack, snack food, ready-made food and sweetened beverages are all not exempted.
: Universal Medicare, provincially administered. 100% of Canadians are covered by this medical plan (and it costs about half of what it costs per capita in the US). We aren't all happy with it, but we generally wouldn't give it up either. And we know that it works because Canadians live longer and healthier than countries that don't have national health care. We all complain about it and we all have suggestions for how to make it better.
Visitors to Canada must be prepared to pay immediately. Generally a doctor's visit for non-Canadians is in the range of CAD$100. Most Canadians don't know the cost of any medical care because we have never paid for it and don't realize that there is a cost. It's one of the least of our worries.
: Generally more expensive because fresh food needs to be imported in the winter and we have more controls on our food supply and our employees.
: Generally about 15% of the total before taxes. Drinks are usually about $1 to $2 a drink.
: Canadians may get upset at open displays of discrimination. Generally followed by the stare of death! The right to be free of discrimination under Canada's constitution comes before the right of free speech. Which is why hate-speech can be prosecuted in Canada. Corporations are not entitled to discriminate in Canada.
: Strictly controlled by each province. Drinking age varies from 18 (Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec) or 19 in all other provinces. Alcohol taxes can be heavy in Canada and in most provinces sale is limited to specifically run government stores. In some provinces wine and beer are sold in separate locations or stores.
: Generally municipal, outside municipal you have provincial police. In the absence of provincial police, the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) have jurisdiction. The RCMP are a national police force, generally considered the equivalent of the US FBI. CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) is Canada's equivalent to the CIA/FBI (MI5/MI6 in the UK). Don't expect to see the RCMP is red uniforms on horseback, that's for show!
Canada converted legally to metric in 1972. That means that temperature is in Celsius (also called Centigrade), scales are in kilograms and distances are in kilometres, etc. Before that we used Imperial measure, which differs slightly from US measure.
: 0c is the temperature at which water freezes, 100c is the temperature at which water boils, 37c is body temperature and 22c is about room temperature (72f). To convert, take Fahrenheit, subtract 32 then divide by 9 and multiply by 5.
: A mile is about 60% more than a kilometre. The speed limit in Canada is generally 100 km/h, about 62 mp/h. People generally know inches/feet when it comes to measuring bodies (or body parts), but long distances and speed are always in metric.
: Gasoline is sold in litres, so are milk, water and other liquids.
: Supermarkets usually post prices in both pounds and kilograms, though prices in kilograms are the official price. They seem to like to post prices in pounds because they are smaller.
Need help with the conversions? Google can help. Type: 72 f in c and you get the calculation done for you.