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Ottawa, Canada, North-America, Travelguide, Travel Guide

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Ottawa, Canada, North-America, Travelguide, Travel Guide

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Ottawa, Canada, North-America, Travelguide, Travel Guide

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City map Ottawa

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    Ottawa - at a glance

    Once derided as “Westminster in the wilderness”, Canada’s capital city of Ottawa is somewhat overshadowed by larger cities like Montreal and Toronto, even today. Its population may have swelled to 900,000, but it’s still a fairly tranquil place to be. Ottawa is officially bilingual, and you will hear a lively, jumbled mix of French and English out on the streets. The combination of languages and the city’s many international residents lend Ottawa a vibrant cosmopolitan flair.

    The many parks, proximity to the water, excellent museums, extensive bike trails, and the busy schedule of festivals and other events make Ottawa an attractive place to live. The city is also a very tourist-friendly place: All the main sights are within walking distance of downtown. In the springtime, the Tulip Festival draws visitors from around the world. And the frozen Rideau Canal is one of the main attractions in winter, when it becomes the world’s largest ice-skating rink.

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    Top Ten Sights in Ottawa

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    Ottawa, Canada, North-America, Travelguide, Travel Guide
    Parliament Hill, Ottawa's famous landmark, seen here from the Gatineau side with the Museum of History in the foreground

    Parliament buildings

    111 Wellington Street
    K1A 0A6 Ottawa
    Canada
    Show on map

    The 40-meter-high Parliament Hill is the city’s most famous landmark. This is the seat of the Canadian government. The large dome of the Library of Parliament and the Supreme Court building can also be found on the hill. Some of the buildings offer free tours to the public. Online reservations (visit.parl.ca) are recommended.

    Changing of the Guard

    111 Wellington Street
    K1A 0A6 Ottawa
    Canada
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    Summer only: Daily at 10 am

    Ottawa still cherishes some of its British traditions, such as the ceremonial changing of the guard by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in front of the Parliament building. The choreography is just as precise as the original changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace in London.

    Rideau Canal

    1 Canal Lane
    K1S 5B8 Ottawa
    Canada
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    The Rideau Canal has been a UN World Heritage site since 2007; it flows across 200 kilometers of Ontario, from Kingston to Ottawa. The canal earned the city two records: It has been in operation since 1832, making it the oldest canal in North America, and in the winter, when it freezes over, an eight-kilometer stretch of the canal becomes an ice-skating rink – the longest in the world.

    The Locks

    Rideau Street & Plaza Bridge
    K1S 5B8 Ottawa
    Canada
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    The flight of locks between the Rideau Canal and the Ottawa River is located next to the Parliament building. The eight locks allow boats to traverse a height difference of over 24 meters – and watching the entire process is a thrill, because the locks are still operated by hand.

    Bytown Museum

    1 Canal Lane
    K1S 5B8 Ottawa
    Canada
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    Opening hours:
    Daily: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm (May 16 – September 30)
    Thursday: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm (additional hours from June 21 – September 1)
    Thu. – Mon.: 11:00 – 4:00 pm (October 1 – May 15)

    The Bytown Museum is located at the foot of the stairs next to the locks, on the banks of the Ottawa River. The building was constructed in 1824, making it the city’s oldest stone house. The exhibit tells the story of the city’s beginnings. Ottawa was originally called Bytown, named after Colonel John By, who was commissioned with constructing the Rideau Canal.

    Byward Market

    55 Byward Market Square
    K1N 9C3 Ottawa
    Canada
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    Opening hours:
    Vary for each stall; market hall opens daily at 8:00 am

    The Byward Market district is home to most of the city’s restaurants, bars and cafés. Morning, noon and night, there’s always something happening here. The market hall is the heart of the district and gives the area its name. It was constructed in 1826 and houses one of Canada’s oldest and largest farmer’s markets. Flowers and all sorts of foods are on offer here, including a Canadian specialty: Beaver Tail, a fried-dough pastry shaped just like its name.

    Basilica of Notre Dame

    385 Sussex Drive
    K1N 1J9 Ottawa
    Canada
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    Opening hours:
    Mon.: 11:30 am – 6:00 pm
    Tue. – Fri.: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
    Sat.: 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm
    Sun.: 8:00 am – 8:30 pm (November – April)
    Mon.: 11:30 am – 6:00 pm
    Tue. – Sat.: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
    Sun.: 8:00 am – 8:30 pm (May – October)

    The impressive twin spires of the cathedral are visible from quite a distance. Notre Dame is one of Ottawa’s oldest and largest churches and is the seat of the city’s Roman-Catholic archbishop. It was built in 1846, and the ornate vaulted ceiling is the most impressive feature of the interior.

    National Gallery

    385 Sussex Drive
    K1N 1J9 Ottawa
    Canada
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    Opening hours:
    Tue. – Sun.: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm (October 1 – April 30)
    Daily: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm (May 1 – September 30)

    Renowned Canadian architect Moshe Safdie designed this impressive glass structure, which was inaugurated in 1988. In front of the building is “Maman,” an enormous black spider sculpture crafted by Louise Bourgeois. It stands at over nine meters high. The National Gallery is one of Canada’s leading museums, displaying primarily Canadian art.

    Nepean Point

    380 Sussex Drive
    K1N 1J9 Ottawa
    Canada
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    There is a beautiful vantage point from a small hill on the Ottawa River, directly in front of the National Gallery: Nepean Point. From here, you will have a fantastic view of Parliament Hill, and in good weather, you can see all the way to the Gatineau Hills.

    Canadian Museum of History

    100 Laurier Street
    K1A 0M8 Gatineau
    Canada
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    Opening hours:
    Mon. – Wed., Fri. – Sun.: 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
    Thu.: 9:30 am – 8:00 pm

    Gatineau is on the northern bank of the Ottawa River: a quick and easy trip across the Alexandra Bridge. This is where you’ll find the Museum of History, housed in a stunning building constructed in 1989 according to plans by famous architect Douglas Cardinal. The museum’s exhibits focus on Canada’s culture and the history of its settlement. It features the world’s most comprehensive collection of totem poles and many other First Nations’ artifacts and works of art.

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    Country information

    Country overview

    Canada is a rich and diverse travel destination. Enjoy outdoor sports such as skiing, canoeing and sailing alongside museums and theater – this enormous country offers a wide range of activities for every taste and interest. The west of Canada is mainly famous for its breathtaking landscapes, while the east is a blend of European charm and North American bustle.

    The north is the best place for observing wild animals. If solitude is what you seek, the wide-open spaces are the place for you. Most Canadians live in large cities like Vancouver in the west or Quebec, Montreal or Toronto in the east.

    Geography

    Canada covers the northern part of the North American continent, with the exception of Alaska in the northwest, which is a US state. Greenland is off the coast of Canada in the northeast; to the west is the Pacific Ocean, and to the east the Atlantic. In the south, the 48th parallel forms the border with the USA. After Russia, Canada is the largest country in the world by land mass, but it only has 37 million residents.

    Most of the middle of the country consists of the breadbasket region of the Laurentian Plateau. The Rocky Mountains are to the west, and to the southeast are the Great Lakes, the Saint Lawrence River and Niagara Falls.

    General knowledge

    Key facts

    Population: 37.06 million (2018 estimate)

    Capital: Ottawa

    Language

    English and French are the official languages.

     

    Currency

    1 Canadian dollar = 100 cents.
    Currency abbreviation: C$, CAD (ISO code). Bank notes come in values of 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5 C$, and coins have face values of 2 and 1 C$, and 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 cent.

    Electricity

    110 V/120 V, 60 Hz. Two-pronged flat plugs. Adapters are required for European plugs.

    Public holidays

    National holidays between January 2020 and December 2021 are listed below.

    Some provinces of Canada also observe additional holidays.

    * not in all provinces

    2020

    New Year’s Day: 1 January 2020
    Good Friday: 10 April 2020
    Victoria Day: 18 May 2020*
    Canada Day (Republic Day): 1 July 2020
    Labor Day: 7 September 2020
    Thanksgiving Day: 12 October 2020*
    Remembrance Day: 11 November 2020*
    Christmas Day: 25 December 2020

    2021

    New Year’s Day: 1 January 2021
    Good Friday: 2 April 2021
    Victoria Day: 24 May 2021*
    Canada Day (Republic Day): 1 July 2021
    Labor Day: 6 September 2021
    Thanksgiving Day: 11 October 2021*
    Remembrance Day: 11 November 2021*
    Christmas Day: 25 December 2021

    All information subject to change.

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    Restaurants in Ottawa

    ListMap

    Immigrants from around the world brought the culinary traditions of their homelands to Ottawa, and the city’s range of restaurants is correspondingly colorful.

    Many restaurants have a French flair, where fish dishes play a major role. There are also original diners alongside the Michelin-starred restaurants.

    Atelier

    540 Rochester Street
    K1S 4M1 Ottawa
    Canada
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    Price category: Luxury

    Expect surprising combinations and artfully arranged dishes: If you can’t choose between all the delicious-sounding options, you might want to order the twelve-course tasting menu (accompanied by appropriately paired wines upon request).

    Riviera

    62 Sparks Street
    K1P 5A5 Ottawa
    Canada
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    Price category: Luxury

    The Riviera serves upscale cuisine with a French flair. Its wide selection of sophisticated fish and seafood dishes and its extensive wine list and cocktail menu make it a very popular location for a night out. Reservations are required.

    Fish Market Restaurant

    54 York Street
    K1N 5T1 Ottawa
    Canada
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    Price category: Moderate

    This restaurant at Byward Market has been serving up fish and seafood dishes in a casual atmosphere since 1979. The menu also offers a number of meat dishes.

    North and Navy

    226 Nepean Street
    K2P 0B8 Ottawa
    Canada
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    Price category: Moderate

    Canada meets Italy in this little red-brick building on Nepean Street. Enjoy aperitivos and antipasti to kick off the evening here. The menu primarily features dishes from northern Italy.

    The King Eddy

    45 Clarence Street
    K1N 5P4 Ottawa
    Canada
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    Price category: Budget

    This diner at Byward Market is known for its unique hot dog creations and triple-decker burgers. In good weather, take a seat out on the patio.

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    Hotels in Ottowa

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    The selection of hotels in Canada’s capital city is extensive. They range from venerable luxury hotels – where the Queen of England

    stays when she visits Ottawa – to modern designer hotels.
    Most hotels are centrally located, near the city’s main sights.

    Fairmont Château Laurier

    1 Laurier Street
    K1N 8S7 Ottawa
    Canada
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    Category: Luxury

    First-class passengers on the Canadian railway used to stay here; today, it’s a luxury hotel. The Château is indisputably the premiere hotel in the area. It has a pool, fitness center and three restaurants.

    Lord Elgin Hotel

    100 Elgin Street
    K1P 5K8 Ottawa
    Canada
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    Category: Luxury

    This hotel, with its impressive copper roof, was built in 1941. It’s in a top location at the corner of Laurier Avenue and Elgin Street. The Lord Elgin is decorated in art déco style and has a pool, fitness center and sauna. The hotel also houses the excellent Grill 41 restaurant.

    Andaz Hotel

    325 Dalhousie Street
    K1NP 7G1 Ottawa
    Canada
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    Category: Moderate

    This concept hotel, with its airy design and stylish furnishings, is located at the heart of the trendy Byward Market district. And as an added bonus: You can enjoy a fantastic view of the city from the rooftop bar. The hotel also has a fitness center and a restaurant with bar on the ground floor.

    Le Germain

    30 Daly Avenue
    K1NP 7G1 Ottawa
    Canada
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    Category: Moderate

    The rooms in this elegant designer hotel are spacious and very tastefully furnished. The Ottawa Convention Center is just 400 meters away.

    Alt Hotel

    185 Slater St
    K1NP 7G1 Ottawa
    Canada
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    Category: Moderate

    This hotel is located in the city’s business district. Parliament Hill and many other sights are within walking distance. The rooms are furnished in a modern style; clear color contrasts and clean lines dominate.

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    Nightlife in Ottawa

    ListMap

    Byward Market is Ottawa’s entertainment district, where you’ll find a wide range of cafés, restaurants, pubs and clubs. There are many

    bars and pubs in Little Italy, as well; this small district runs along Preston Street between Carling Avenue and Albert Street.

    Mercury Lounge

    56 Byward Market Square
    K1N 7A2 Ottawa
    Canada
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    If you’re in the mood to dance, make sure to check out the Mercury Lounge: DJs spin everything from soul to funk on two dance floors across two levels. Each level also has a bar.

    The Moonroom

    442 Preston Street
    K1S 4N6 Ottawa
    Canada
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    This chic cocktail bar in Little Italy is best known for its intricately decorated drinks. And these fancy beverages are served with delicious little snacks. The truffle parmesan popcorn is a big hit.

    Copper Spirits and Sights

    325 Dalhousie Street
    K1N 7G1 Ottawa
    Canada
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    From the rooftop bar at the Andaz Ottawa Hotel Byward Market, you can sip an elegant drink while enjoying a spectacular view of the city.

    Trio Bistro and Lounge

    307 Richmond Road
    K1Z 6X3 Ottawa
    Canada
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    Located in western Ottawa, this cozy, relaxed little bar is the perfect place to end an action-packed day while on vacation. Drinks can be paired with elegant little dishes, from corn chips to ceviche to ramen.

    Vineyard’s Wine Bar Bistro

    54 York Street
    K1N 5T1 Ottawa
    Canada
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    The basement bar at Byward Market has an exceptionally extensive wine list with more than 300 varieties, 80 of which are served by the glass. Jazz bands play on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays starting at 7:00 pm.

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    Events in Ottawa

    Winterlude

    February 2021

     

    Venue: Rideau Canal

    As soon as the ice is thick enough, the Rideau Canal transforms into the world’s largest natural ice-skating rink. It measures an amazing 7.8 kilometers, and when the weather is right, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a day of winter fun from early January to early March. The first three weeks of February bring the “Winterlude:” a series of additional events on and near the ice-skating rink, such as an ice sculpture contest and an ice dragon boat race.

    Canadian Tulip Festival

    May 8 – 18, 2020

    Venue: All city parks

    In May, the city’s parks are brimming with colorful tulips: a tradition started in 1949. That year, the Dutch royal family returned to its native land after years of exile in Ottawa. They sent back 100,000 tulip bulbs to thank the Canadians for their hospitality. Every year since then, the Netherlands has sent another 20,000 bulbs as a gift. Magnificent!

    Sunday Bikedays

    May 17 to September 6, 2020

    Venue: Many large streets in Ottawa and Gatineau

    Every Sunday morning from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm from late May to early September, 50 kilometers of the nicest roads in the cities of Ottawa and nearby Gatineau are closed off to traffic. Cyclists, skaters and joggers have free rein! For tourists, it’s a fantastic opportunity to explore the city by bicycle at a leisurely pace.

    Ottawa Jazz Festival

    June 2020

    Venue: Confederation Park

    Since 1980, the last two weeks in June have been all about jazz. International acts and local stars alike perform at Confederation Park on the Rideau Canal. The festival features jazz, swing and big band music.

    Canada Day – Canadian National Holiday

    July 1, 2020

    Venue: Parliament Hill, Major’s Hill Park, Canadian Museum of History

    On July 1, 1867, the three provinces of Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia banded together to form a nation. Canada marks its national holiday with parades, music and picnics. Naturally, the capital city of Ottawa boasts some of the biggest celebrations. The highlight is the fireworks display on Parliament Hill in the evening.

    All information subject to change. Please check the dates on the relevant event organizer’s website.

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    Phone calls & Internet

    Country code: +1

    Telephone

    Public telephones are now rare, but a few of them still exist. They are operated with coins, phone cards or credit cards.

    Mobile phone

    CDMA and GSM (800, 850, and 1900 MHz). Not all European mobile phones will work in Canadian networks. Mobile phone coverage can be spotty outside of densely populated areas. The Canadian mobile phone network is organized regionally. Providers include Bell Canada (bell.ca), Telus (telus.com), and Rogers (rogers.com). Renting mobile phones locally, or doing so online in advance of your trip, is cheap and easy.

    Internet

    There are internet cafés in larger cities, but their numbers are dwindling as more and more cafés and restaurants are offering their guests free Wi-Fi access. Wi-Fi is often available at popular tourist attractions. A map of free Wi-Fi hot spots is available for Montreal from Zap (zapwifipublic.ca).

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    Shopping in Ottawa

    Main shopping promenades

    The top spot for a shopping spree in Ottawa is Sussex Drive, where the Basilica of Notre Dame and the Royal Canadian Mint are also located. The street is lined with high-end fashion retailers and numerous galleries. On Sparks Street – which became North America’s first pedestrian zone in the early 1960s – there are more than 75 shops between Elgin Street and Lyon Street. Preston Street, a beautiful boulevard, is the heart of Ottawa’s Little Italy; the locals lovingly call it “Corso Italia.” Here you’ll find owner-operated boutiques, galleries, stores selling children’s clothing, toys and furniture, and top-notch Italian restaurants.

    Markets

    The lovingly restored market hall, Byward Market (byward-market.com), is home to one of Canada’s oldest markets. The stalls here sell fruit, vegetables, meat, cold cuts, cheese and flowers year round, and they’ve been doing so since 1826. Naturally, maple syrup and souvenirs are available here, as well. There are also countless bars and restaurants around the market hall. Every Sunday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, you can buy fruit, vegetables, meat and cheese, baked goods, sweets, dairy products, plants and handicrafts at the farmer’s market in Lansdowne Park (900 Exhibition Way, Lansdowne Park, ottawafarmersmarket.ca/lansdowne-market). The market is held outdoors in the summer, and in the market hall in winter. Every Saturday from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm from June to October, the Main Farmer’s Market (201 Main Street) is held on the campus of St. Paul University. It’s a mini version of the Lansdowne Farmer’s Market, offering only locally grown and produced products – from homemade bread to natural bath additives.

    Shopping centers

    The CF Rideau Centre (50 Rideau Street; cfshops.com/rideau-centre.html) is located at the heart of Ottawa, not far from Parliament Hill. There are more than 180 shops across four levels, including large retail chains and an enormous food court. The St. Laurent Shopping Center (1200 St. Laurent Boulevard; stlaurentshoppingcentre.com) is home to around 180 shops. If you take a quick detour to Gatineau on the other side of the Ottawa River, you’ll find the largest selection of consumer goods in the 155 shops at Les Promenades (1100 Maloney Boulevard West; lespromenades.com). The shopping centers are open every day.

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    Climate & best time to visit

    Today: Saturday, 22.02.2020 21:00 UTC

    No current information available

    temperature


    4°C


    wind direction

    north

    wind speed

    13.75 mph

    7 days forecast

    Monday

    24.02.2020

    6°C / 1°C

    Tuesday

    25.02.2020

    2°C / -3°C

    Wednesday

    26.02.2020

    -2°C / -4°C

    Thursday

    27.02.2020

    -2°C / -6°C

    Friday

    28.02.2020

    -7°C / -10°C

    Saturday

    29.02.2020

    -8°C / -13°C

    Sunday

    01.03.2020

    -5°C / -13°C

    Climate in Canada

    Canada is so big that it extends across multiple climate zones. The north has a polar climate with cool, short summers and extremely cold, long winters. The climate in the east is continental, with stark differences between the seasons. In the south along the Saint Lawrence River and the Atlantic Coast, the Great Lakes have a moderating effect on the climate; this region is somewhat wetter and milder than the north. In the west, the climate is tempered by the Pacific Ocean, with warm summers and cool, snowy winters.

    Best time to visit Canada

    Most visitors come to Canada between June and September, when temperatures are comfortable throughout the country. Only adventurous travelers visit the Northwest Territories and the Yukon in the far north outside of the peak summer season. Explore British Columbia and the prairie provinces in the summer months to see impressive landscapes and wild animals. In the winter months, famous ski regions such as Whistler (British Columbia) and Lake Louise in Alberta are an excellent place for winter sports enthusiasts. You can have outdoor fun all year round in the east, as well: There are wonderful ski slopes and places to ride dog sleds, while summer is the time for swimming vacations and thrilling hikes. Combined outdoor and city trips are perfect for spring and summer, as that’s when the cultural events and festivals are in full swing. The highlight of the season is the fall foliage in late September and early October, when the deciduous forests are ablaze in autumnal reds and yellows.

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

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    29 °C

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    -38 °C

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    56 mm

    55 mm

    58 mm

    65 mm

    69 mm

    74 mm

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    67 mm

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    70 mm

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    3 h

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    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    76 %

    75 %

    69 %

    60 %

    58 %

    61 %

    66 %

    68 %

    72 %

    71 %

    75 %

    78 %

    absolute maxabsolute minØ absolute maxØ absolute minrelative humidityØ precipitationdays with deposit > 1mmsunshine duration
    Jan11 °C-37 °C-6 °C-15 °C76 %56 mm73.1 h
    Feb12 °C-38 °C-4 °C-14 °C75 %55 mm84.1 h
    Mar25 °C-36 °C1 °C-7 °C69 %58 mm84.8 h
    Apr30 °C-20 °C10 °C0 °C60 %65 mm85.8 h
    May35 °C-7 °C18 °C6 °C58 %69 mm87.5 h
    Jun36 °C0 °C23 °C12 °C61 %74 mm88.2 h
    Jul37 °C3 °C26 °C14 °C66 %81 mm78.9 h
    Aug37 °C1 °C25 °C13 °C68 %86 mm87.8 h
    Sep36 °C-4 °C20 °C9 °C72 %82 mm85.7 h
    Oct29 °C-12 °C13 °C3 °C71 %67 mm84.5 h
    Nov23 °C-23 °C5 °C-1 °C75 %77 mm92.5 h
    Dec16 °C-38 °C-3 °C-11 °C78 %70 mm102.5 h
    year37 °C-38 °C10 °C0 °C70 %840 mm975.5 h

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    Visa & Immigration

    IATA Travel Centre

    The IATA Travel Centre delivers accurate passport, visa and health requirement information at a glance. It is a trusted, centralized source for the latest international travel requirements. The IATA Travel Centre is the most accurate source available because it is based on a comprehensive database used by virtually every airline, and information is gathered from official sources worldwide, such as immigration and police authorities.

    IATA Travel CentreIATA Travel Centre

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    Traveller etiquette

    Conduct: Dos and don’ts

    Canadians shake hands to greet each other. In the French-speaking areas of the country, they sometimes greet each other with a light kiss on each cheek (bises). Typical rules of politeness apply when visiting someone’s home. Formal clothing is expected in elegant clubs, restaurants and at the theater.

    Smoking

    Smoking is prohibited in public buildings and restaurants. Some places may have designated smoking areas.

    Tipping

    Service generally is not included in hotel and restaurant bills. A customary tip is 10 to 15 percent of the total bill (before GST/VAT). Taxi drivers also expect about 15 percent. Baggage porters should be tipped 1 C$ per piece of luggage, and hotel staff generally expect a tip of 1-2 C$ per day of your stay when you depart.

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    Health

    Emergency number: 911

    Food & drink

    The tap water is drinkable. However, it is usually chlorinated, which affects the taste. A large selection of domestic and imported mineral waters are available.

    Take care when eating undercooked meat, particularly game. You run the risk of contracting trichinosis, a parasitic infection that occurs in isolated cases. There is no risk of infection from consuming meat that has been fully cooked.

    Other risks

    Canada also has cases of mosquito-borne illnesses, such as the West Nile Virus (mainly from June to October). The risk can be minimized by wearing clothing that covers the skin and by using insect repellent. Lyme disease also occurs. This illness is transmitted by ticks living in grasses, bushes and undergrowth. The risk can be minimized by wearing sturdy, closed-toe shoes and clothing that covers the skin.

    Hepatitis B primarily occurs in the north of Canada. For longer visits or visits involving close contact with the local population, or with children and young people, the hepatitis B vaccine is recommended. The vaccine for meningococcal meningitis should be considered for children and teens. Sporadic outbreaks of mumps and measles occur as a result of low vaccination rates. Travelers should make sure they are up to date on their vaccinations.

    Rabies is present throughout Canada. Carriers include dogs, cats, forest animals and bats. Vaccinations are advised for backpackers, children, those at risk for vocational reasons, and those staying in Canada for longer periods. Victims of animal bites should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

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