6 Things to Know Before Visiting Canada

Canada, though occasionally chilly, is one of those countries that will always lure you to them with their grandeur and their promise of eternal freedom. With its spectacular landscapes and its intelligent people, it is sure to impress you in one way or another (not to mention its spectacular cultural establishments). Here are six things to know before you visit it, so that you don’t go there like a greenie!

1. Smoking:
Well, Canada isn’t the only country in the world to ban smoking in public places but the law is enforced and you are not advised to try and get around it. In restaurants, casinos and bars, you are not even going to be asked if you want to sit at a smoker or a non-smoker section because smoker sections do not even exist. Bus stations and malls also follow suit, so mind where you light up your tobacco. Oh, and there is one final thing: you cannot light up near public building entrances either because people tend to try and prevent the smoke from entering.

2. Shoes and homes:
This is one of those customary unwritten rules that you’d expect from Japan and not from Canada, yet they are there. When you enter someone else’s home, you are to take off your shoes at all times. There will be those homes that have small signs or someone telling you that it is ok to keep them on, but you should always check again if it is “enforced” by asking. Asking is considered polite.

3. Language barriers:
The title here only suggests one thing: a “perceived” language barrier. Why? Because, in spite of the fact that Canada is bilingual (English and French), most people speak English. Yes, even in the province of Quebec. English will help you get around even in places where you are most likely to overhear French small talk. If you are in a French-speaking area, however, it is considered polite to ask the obvious question: “Do you speak English?” So, the bottom line is: you should not be afraid to go to Canada because of the French – hell, the locals might even teach you a few cool expressions in the “Language of Love” (wink).

4. Camping heaven:
This is one of the main reasons why people tend to visit Canada: its untamed wilderness. While there are zillions of places where one could go camping around the world, Canada has this strange taste of challenge about it. Something tells some daredevils that if one braves the wilderness there, one inadvertently triumphs over one’s rite of passage. No matter where you might land, an awe-inspiring forest will only be a short drive away from you. Take the time and unwind, for one does not really need parks, what one needs is nature.

5. Tipping:
Canada is one of the strangest countries when it comes to the prospect of tipping. Service workers there generally earn minimum wage and this means between 8 and 10 dollars (depending on where you are). They are thus expected to make up for the “loss” via tips and they have to go around and pay the kitchen staff as well (the game must stay fair). Tipping thus almost becomes culturally compulsory and at a general rate of 15-20%. Not tipping in Canada has a negative meaning: that the service was terrible – so always consider your moves well at public establishments.

6. What you hear is not what you get:
While this is true for most countries in the world, it is especially the case with Canada. Our dear readers, we beg you: NEVER fall prey to the vile clutch of stereotypes, for they breed ignorance. Canada is a place of variety and of multiculturalism – to try and put them in boxes is not only impossible, it is downright offensive. Keep a clear head when you travel around the world and you will only experience things that will enchant you.

Did you enjoy our list? What experiences have you had in Canada and how have they ended up shaping your quest? Hit the comment section below and tell us all about it! Oh, and do check back for some interesting updates. See you!

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