The vast nation of Canada, second largest country in the world, offers a range of experiences for visitors that are as wide as the land itself. From its large cosmopolitan cities to its frozen northern tundra; its snowy mountain peaks to its rugged coastlines; and its rich farmlands to its pioneering outposts, Canada offers something to suit the taste of every traveller. Canada is bound in the west by the Pacific Ocean and Alaska, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the north by the polar ice cap, and in the south by the United States of America.
It is a country renowned for its stunningly beautiful scenery and
love of the outdoors. Even the cities have been carefully designed to preserve metropolitan green belts and parklands, ensuring that Canadians are never far from their natural heritage. The country has a French and British colonial heritage, which is reflected in its cuisine, culture and customs, mixed in with the legacy of the country's own enigmatic aboriginal First Nations history.
In the south the Rocky Mountains intrude into Canada across the border with the United States, separating Canada's two main tourist provinces, British Columbia and Alberta. The mountains abound with winter sports resorts. Throughout the nation the most popular venues for outdoor pursuits, year round, are the country's huge national parks. There are more than 41 of these, one of them, Wood Buffalo National Park in Alberta, being larger than the country of Switzerland. Canadian national parks are unique in that they have cities and towns inside the protected areas, which provide comfortable bases for exploring the natural and manmade attractions of the reserves.
Time: Canada covers six time zones, from GMT 8 in the west to GMT -3.5 in the east.
Electricity: Electrical current is 110 volts, 60Hz. American style flat two-pin plugs and one with a third round grounding pin is standard.
Money: The currency used is the Canadian Dollar (CAD), which is divided into 100 cents. One-dollar coins are also known as loonies (due to the picture of a loon, a type of bird, on the coin), and two-dollar coins as toonies. Banks and bureaux de change will change money and travellers cheques, as will some hotels, but the rate will not be as good. Major credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are plentiful. US Dollars are