Canada is a wonderland of nature. It’s a place where you can experience remote wildernesses, rugged mountains and temperate rainforests. You can explore the Great Lakes, witness the power of Niagara Falls, and explore sprawling landscapes that seem to go on for days.
Coupled with its interesting mix of British and French heritage, Canada is an epic destination to visit. The country also has a deserved reputation as being safe for visitors and residents alike.
However, safety isn’t just something you think about in terms of other people – it’s also nature, weather, the environment, and Moose’ in this huge country. Extreme winters with freezing temperatures, blizzards and snowfalls can make for some outright dangerous conditions.
To give you an idea of just what to expect here, we have created this epic guide to staying safe in Canada. We’re going to run you through it all, from taxi safety and public transport tips, to advice for families and weather advice; we’ve got just about everything covered for you.
Whilst COVD 19 has not gone away, the world is opening up again to travellers. However, entry to Canada remains very limited and arrivals will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
For the most up-to-date safety information and what you should be doing to help, please consult the WHO and your local government.
- How Safe is Canada? (Our take)
- Is Canada Safe to Visit? (The facts.)
- Is it Safe to Visit Canada Right Now?
- Canada Travel Insurance
- 18 Top Safety Tips for Traveling to Canada
- Keeping your money safe in Canada
- Is Canada safe to travel alone?
- Is Canada safe for solo female travellers?
- Is Canada safe to travel for families?
- Is it safe to drive in Canada?
- Is Uber safe in Canada?
- Are taxis safe in Canada?
- Is public transportation in Canada safe?
- Is the food in Canada safe?
- Can you drink the water in Canada?
- Is Canada safe to live?
- How is healthcare in Canada?
- Helpful Canadian Travel Phrases
- Final thoughts on the safety of Canada
How Safe is Canada? (Our take)
Canada, the largest country in North America (and second largest in the world after Russia), has a whole lot of untouched nature to explore. We’re talking a lot of mountains, prairies, giant lakes and pristine wildernesses that have people from all over the world coming to explore.
If we asked you whether Canada is safe you may well retort “Of course it’s safe!” And for the most part, that is true, especially when compared it to its southern neighbour.
There are issues, however, that you may not associate with the “safety” of a country – and that’s its nature. Whilst Canada has fairly low crime, its’ nature can be deadly. Winters can get freezing cold and can also get hit by severe snowstorms. Believe it or not, these can pose a big threat to your safety in Canada.
It can also get super hot during the summer, which is a major factor in the forest fires that can ravage the countryside. There’s also hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes – oh, and some dangerous wildlife to consider, too!
Although the human side of things shouldn’t worry you too mucmh on a trip to Canada, the nature here, the sheer extremities of Canadian weather might be more of a cause for concern. However, it’s nothing that should put you off an epic trip in Canada.
Let’s explore this question in a little more detail…
Is Canada Safe to Visit? (The facts.)
Canada is currently receiving record-breaking numbers of tourists. In 2018 alone, 21.13 million international tourists hit the shores of Canada. Of that number, 724,000 were British and significant numbers also come from the elsewhere in Europe, the United States and China.
Visitors to the country brought in USD $17.4 billion into the Canadian economy. It’s a very valuable business for the North American nation.
Part of what attracts people – aside from, you know, the awesome nature that you can experience here – is that it has a much lower crime rate (especially of violent crime) than its next door neighbour, the US.
Breaking that down, the three northernmost territories of Canada have the highest crime rate in the country (in order: Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut), whilst Prince Edward Island has the lowest crime rate, followed by Ontario and then Quebec.
That said, despite being located in one of the safest regions of the country, doesn’t mean that the cities are void of any crime. Pickpocketing and snatch and grab style street crime is a particular problem.
The most concerning thing though, is the environment.
Temperatures frequently dip below 0°F (-20°C). During this sort of weather, snowstorms and heavy snowfall can block roads and affect transport.
During the summer, on the other hand, temperatures can soar and forest fires affect places like British Columbia.
On the 2019 Global Peace Index, Canada is ranked number 6 (out of 163 countries): that’s just below Denmark and just above Singapore, which gives you an inkling into just how safe Canada is.
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Is it Safe to Visit Canada Right Now?
Though there is nothing that you should particularly worry about when considering a trip to Canada (in terms of safety), there have been some alarming incidents related to terrorism taking place in Canada in recent years.
These sorts of attacks can be indiscriminate, unpredictable and can occur in places visited by foreigners.
To give a few examples, in 2014 in Central Ottawa a soldier was killed in what was described as a terrorist incident. In 2016 there was a shooting in a Quebec City mosque, killing 6 people. In 2017, a policeman and five others were stabbed in Edmonton.
Though they’re not frequent, it’s still important to know that things like this can happen – even in Canada In all honesty, however, you’re more likely to be affected by the colossal scale and power of the nature in Canada than by a random lunatic wielding a weapon.
Between July and November, hurricanes can batter coastal regions of the country. Between May and September, tornadoes can strike (mainly June to July, however). Canada has a National Hurricane Centre website that gives updates on extreme weather such as this. Winter storms can make for treacherous conditions and cause avalanches in places like Alberta and British Columbia.
British Columbia and Yukon are in an active earthquake zone. This is something you should be aware of, especially if you’re from somewhere that is never affected by seismic activity. The coast of British Columbia can also be affected by tsunamis; there is a dedicated “PreparedBC” website, where you can learn about what to do in the event of an earthquake or tsunami.
Forest fires can break out no matter what season. Grasslands and forests in the western parts of Canada are more at risk than other areas of the country because of the cold, dry winters.
For more information about the nature of Canada, see the government site Environment and Climate Change Canada.
Do you need Travel Insurance for your trip? Even if you’re only going for a few days, that’s more than enough time to get smote by wrathful angels. Have fun in Canada, but take it from us, overseas medical care and canceled flights can be seriously expensive – insurance can, therefore, be a life-saver.
Travel mishaps can and do happen and it is well worth thinking about insurance before you leave home.
We have used World Nomads for years now and I have personally made several claims. Why not get a quote from them yourself?
Do be sure to read the terms and conditions to make sure that the policy covers your needs.
Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!
Canada may statistically be one of the safest countries in the world, as well as officially one of the top ten most peaceful countries. It’s up there with the Scandinavian countries and virtually crime-free Singapore. You may not feel you need safety tips for travelling to Canada, but when you consider the nature, weather and environment, there are actually a lot of things that you should be kept in mind…
- Be prepared – nature can be scary. Research the region you’re going to thoroughly and know how to deal with the wildlife you may encounter
- Especially in Arctic areas – search and rescue missions have to be dispatched from many miles away; even if you’re on a cruise ship somewhere, you still might be very isolated. Bring along extra layers, emergency food, battery pack for your phone, just in case.
- And be very careful with rubbish and food – this can attract animals to you and your tent
- Follow regulations – if signs tell you to keep away from marine animals, birds, bears and other creatures, you should do so!
- Keep an eye on the weather – weather can be extreme and can change rapidly
- Road closures due to snow or avalanche can happen – check ahead of time, listen to local advice, and make sure your car is well equipped and stocked with blankets, torches and food
- Make sure your travel insurance covers you – especially if you plan on snowboarding, skiing, or any other sort of snowy adventure sport; make sure that you purchase your plan before you visit
- Take care when swimming – Canada has the world’s longest coastline and there are a lot of swimming opportunities, but you shouldn’t go swimming unless you’re a confident swimmer (currents can be very strong). Know your limits.
- Don’t dive off ocean cliffs – you don’t know what’s under there and, in Canada, it can be very rocky and basically fatal
- If you’re visiting during winter, bring warm clothes – and other winter weather essentials. The temperature can differ vastly between areas, so make sure you do your research
- Beware of snakes! – Manitoba has the world’s densest population of snakes! In May, thousands of snakes emerge after hibernation, so be aware that there may be a lot of snakes around during this month. Watch where you tread!
- Protect yourself against mosquitoes – especially at dusk and around water sources; wear DEET repellent and cover up
- Protect yourself from the sun, too – it can get hot in summer, so sunscreen is needed. Even in winter, especially when snowboarding or skiing, getting sunburned is a possibility
- Cannabis is legal, but – be aware of local laws as they differ depending on the territory (and go easy on it if you’ve never experienced cannabis before). DON’T cross the US Border with it
- Know that drinking in public is a no-no – beaches, parks, wherever, it’s illegal. It has to be at a private residence or licensed establishment
- Pickpocketing can still happen – take precautions, such as using a money belt and keeping your belongings close to you
- Leave your valuables at home – so there’s no chance of them getting stolen at all
- Try to blend in as much as you can – it’s all well and good being a visitor somewhere, but looking like a tourist, laden with bags and a camera and looking like you have no clue where you’re going… this may make you more of a target
- Learn some Canadian French – it’s one of Canada’s official languages, but it’s a little different to “French” French
- Get a sim card – the benefits of having a working phone here, especially if you plan to go into the great outdoors, are huge
So there you go, people, some handy tips for how to stay safe in Canada. Whilst your safety and security is unlikely to be affected by other people during your time in Canada, it’s quite possible that nature will play a role in your trip somehow. Winter is freezing, summer is hot, and extreme weather does happen; the key thing here, especially if you’re heading into the wilderness, is to simply be prepared. That’s it!
Some General Safety Tips from the OG Broke Backpacker
Keeping your money safe in Canada
Possibly the most annoying thing that can happen to any traveller pretty much anywhere in the world is having your money stolen. Much more annoying than losing it yourself, it can mean having to cut a whole trip short, which definitely isn’t cool.
Suddenly finding you’ve got no money because you’ve lost it somewhere or you’ve unknowingly been pickpocketed is more than just annoying (trust us) – it could end up cutting a trip short and causing a whole load of stress along the way.
Though Canada is one of the safest countries in the world, cities are cities wherever you go and sketchy people can and do commit crimes – even here; petty theft like pickpocketing and snatch and grab can happen.
If you want to be extra careful and keep your money safe in Canada, then we would recommend that you consider wearing a money belt. There are a lot of money belts out there, but we’re going to be honest: they’re not all great.
Some of these things can look super obvious, can be uncomfortable, and can be too complicated and fussy.
That is why we love the simplicity of the Active Roots Security Belt. This thing is literally just a standard, sturdy belt, but it has a secret zipper pocket where you can stash a wad of paper money and coins to keep it safe from potential thieves.
Even if you accidentally end up losing your money, or a debit or credit card, having the secret stash of cash in your money belt is a very welcome thing to fall back on… have we ever been there!
Don’t learn the hard way and make sure you travel with a money belt – it’s much better to be safe than sorry. However, if you aren’t into the idea of a money belt, other ways of keeping your money safe do exist, like an infinity scarf with a hidden zipper pocket!
We are big fans of travelling solo. Travelling by yourself means you can travel where you want, when you want, do anything you want to do that piques your interest. Though it sounds like a scary prospect, it’s actually fairly safe in most places in the world to travel alone.
In Canada, one of the world’s safest nations, it’s definitely safe to embark on a solo travel trip. However, there are some things about Canada that make it a little more dangerous, so we have a few tips for solo travellers in Canada to make sure you stay as safe as can be…
- First and foremost you should definitely be researching the places you are going to be staying whilst you’re in Canada. Most of all you should make sure that they’re good for solo travellers (look for reviews by others who have stayed there by themselves), and that the accommodation is secure. That will give you peace of mind.
- Ask at your accommodation, or ask a local you might happen to meet, about what places in Canada are safe, aren’t safe, where you should go and what sort of places you should avoid. Chances are they’ll know a lot more about not only good places to eat in town, but what time of year is best to visit certain natural wonderlands of the country.
- Try and travel light to lessen the risk of losing anything… and to lessen the general struggle of travelling around by yourself, laden with a million bags. It’s not a good look, it’s not comfortable, it’s annoying. And let’s be honest – you probably don’t need half the stuff you’re planning on bringing anyway.
- Though safe, there are “sketchy” pockets of the country, mainly in certain areas of cities. You should avoid walking around by yourself at night – anywhere, really – but especially in cities as you don’t know what areas you shouldn’t be in.
- On a similar note, don’t party too hard or drink way too much. This may make it difficult for you to know your surroundings, know your limits, find your way back to your accommodation and, with no one to watch out for you or watch your back, this could be a very risky prospect.
- Have different ways to access your money. Trust us: this is a lifesaver. Open an additional bank account before you travel so you’ve got an extra “fund” to fall back on. Also consider bringing an emergency credit card, keep different amounts of cash stashed in your luggage, daypack and on your person. This can all help in dire straits.
- Make sure that your important documents, your passport, medical and travel insurance, are kept safe. If you lose any of this, it can be a big, big headache.
- Keep people back home, your friends and family, aware of your travel plans whilst you’re travelling solo in Canada. If something happens to you, they’ll know where you last were and how to get hold of you. There’s nothing safe about going off-grid.
- If you’re heading out hiking into national parks or anything wilderness-y, you should plan meticulously. Know the routes you’re taking, leave yourself enough time for your itinerary, pack suitable gear and clothing and make sure you have emergency items (food, torch, etc).
- Another point about going out hiking: wear distinctive clothing. People will remember having seen you on the route, will be able to remember when they last saw you, and – moreover – you can be spotted wherever you happen to be. Bright colours and prints are best.
- Know emergency numbers, such as emergency services, your accommodation, park wardens, those sorts of numbers. You should have these saved on your phone under # so you don’t have to scroll through your contacts to get to them. Have them scribbled on a separate piece of paper that you keep on your person, too, just in case your phone goes flat.
- Speaking of which, keep your phone charged. Consider taking an extra battery pack; this could actually be a lifesaver wherever you are and whatever you happen to be doing.
Solo travelling isn’t 100% safe all of the time anywhere in the world, but it is very fun. It’s a good way to get to grips with local life, a chance to help out communities, volunteer, work part time and generally become a more well rounded, experienced traveller.
Canada is a good place to start. Because of how safe it is, chances are that you won’t come into contact with any crime, crazy scams or other mad stuff that could put people off solo travel. It’s a good place to meet like-minded travellers and explore the pristine nature here.
Is Canada safe for solo female travellers?
Being a female and heading off travelling to Canada is a pretty exciting prospect; it’s a great destination for solo female travellers for many reasons. This country is fairly straightforward to navigate, people are friendly, it’s cosmopolitan and it’s also pretty beautiful as a bonus.
Travelling as a solo female in Canada means you won’t have to be looking over your shoulder every second. You can basically travel around pretty freely, wearing what you want and going where you want, making it quite stress-free. It also pays to know what you might come up against here, so here are some handy tips for solo female travellers in Canada.
- Get yourself booked into a top Canada hostel. There are some amazing hostels here, lots of which are great for solo female travellers, where you can meet other like-minded travellers. Make sure you read reviews and see what other female travellers are saying.
- If you don’t feel comfortable staying in a hostel, don’t worry as there are a ton of Airbnbs in Canada and hotels dotted around Canada. Just read the reviews, make sure those written by solo female travellers are favourable, and ensure that the accommodation is secure and in a safe neighbourhood.
- Consider volunteering. Places such as the Churchill Northern Study Centre means that you can stay rent-free at a polar bear and wildlife research centre in exchange for some of your time as a volunteer. This can not only be a good way to stick to a budget, but experience somewhere by yourself safely, get to know some new people and get some actual work experience, too.
- Get connected with other travellers and locals to get to know what other females are up to. Hit up Facebook groups such as Girls Love Travel for travel tips and advice, and pages such as Host A Sister for local meet-ups.
- Even though you can wear what you want in Canada, it’s still best not to stick out too much. The best rule of thumb is to take a look around you at what other women are wearing and try to follow suit. Of course, there are no rules or regulations, but it might make you feel more comfortable when wandering around towns and cities.
- Heading off to somewhere like Banff and Jasper for exploration? That’s great, but honestly make sure you plan and prepare. Being a lost hiker is a real thing that can happen here. Take precautions such as letting people know where you’re going, wearing distinctive clothing, having maps and extra battery for your phone.
- This goes for male solo travellers too, but consider using a guide or joining a travel group. Hiking with somebody who knows the trail, who can tell you about their country as you meander through majestic national parks, or give you tidbits of information about wildlife and the environment isn’t just interesting, it can also mean that you stand less of a chance of getting into trouble.
- When you’re going out at night partying, be careful of your drink. Although not common, drinking spiking does still happen in Canada. The best way to avoid this is to never leave your drink unattended and always buy your own drinks.
- If you’re out by yourself at a bar or nightclub and someone’s putting you in an uncomfortable situation or otherwise making you feel unsafe, make a fuss. Try to draw attention to yourself and ask for help, chances are somebody will intervene.
- Another point about being out and about, not necessarily after dark, but don’t feel like you need to tell strangers everything about yourself. If they’re asking too many questions about where you’re staying, what time you’re heading out in the morning, whether or not you’re married, or single, where your next destination is, and you don’t want to tell them – then don’t. Feel free to lie.
- The Canadian government actually has dedicated advice for female travellers called Her Own Way. It’s for Canadian travellers, but the fact there is even a government site about travelling as a female shows you the atmosphere and mindset in the country towards solo females.
There are tons of ways to store valuables and goods while traveling but a travel scarf has to be the least obtrusive and the most classy.
The Active Roots Zipper Scarf is your run-of-the-mill infinity scarf but with a hidden pocket that’s big and sturdy enough for a night’s cash, your phone, a passport and (hell with it) some snacks too!
It turns out that Canada is actually a pretty amazing travel destination for you solo female travellers out there. We say, if you’re thinking of booking yourself a ticket and doing it alone, then you should definitely go ahead and do it. There’s nothing stopping you visiting Canada.
Join those travel groups, ask questions, learn about some awesome insider tips, and get prepared to get stuck into the amazingness that is Canada. There’s nothing you can’t do as a solo female traveller in Canada, no restrictions, no rules, no “traditions” to be sensitive about.
Coming to Canada should be a stress-free trip. You should always be careful wherever you travel – follow your gut, don’t put yourself into dangerous situations, know your limits, and don’t do anything you wouldn’t do in your own country. We think you’ll be totally fine!
Is Canada safe to travel for families?
Canada is a safe destination for families to travel to – there’s no doubt about it. There’s so much you can do in this vast, vast country if you’re planning on coming here with your children.
There are mountains, cities, beaches, wildlife spotting, lakes, history and more all spread across its six time zones. Needless to say, it has the potential to be a pretty amazing place to take your little ones.
You could venture to the Canadian Rockies and camp out looking for elk or you could visit the cultural mecca that is Montreal. You could splash around on a beach on the shores of Lake Ontario or maybe you could have an awesome time in the vibrant metropolis of Vancouver. And, of course be sure to visit Niagara Falls from Toronto.
In Canadian cities, you shouldn’t have too much of a tough time entertaining children. History museums, science museums, children’s theatres, as well as parks, cycling paths to make it really simple to get around.
Canadian national parks, on the other hand, need no introduction. There are simple hiking trails that are easier on little legs, there’s canoeing and fishing on lakes you can get up to, there’s even skiing and snowboarding and whale watching, too!
Because Canada is a safe, developed, modern country, you won’t find it difficult to get your hands on any supplies for children. The thing about Canada is visiting places like national parks mean that you need to do some extra planning if you’re here with your family; you’ll be responsible for your kids, too, so extra consideration needs to be taken.
Food options and availability isn’t an issue; you shouldn’t have any problems finding a place for little ones to eat. Another good option, especially if you want to keep costs low, is to stay somewhere you can make your own meals, such as an aparthotel or Airbnb.
Speaking of accommodation, hotels almost always come with family rooms with extra space and beds. Things like cots or extra fold-out beds may come at a cost, but children under a certain age usually stay free in many Canadian hotels.
Camping is a huge pass-time in Canada, but don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you have to camp in the middle of the wilderness. There are many dedicated campsites, some well equipped with kitchen facilities, barbecue areas, and others even boasting yurts and swimming pools!
The essentials you’ll probably need are bug spray, sunscreen, layers of clothing (depending on the season), as well as things to keep your children entertained. If you’re planning on travelling around on trains – or driving yourself – note that distances can be vast. Make sure you’re prepared for each train journey or road trip with plenty of snacks!
Is it safe to drive in Canada?
Driving is a great option if you’re planning to travel around Canada. There are some pretty spectacular routes you can take and it’s a great way to experience the awesome landscapes you can see along the way.
It definitely pays, however, to plan your journey ahead of time. Though road quality is pretty good on the whole, conditions on the various roads around the country can vary depending on time of year.
Note that every province has its own traffic and safety laws which can make driving in Canada a bit confusing at times. Most of all, you should know that;
- Seat belts are compulsory and must be worn by the driver and all passengers.
- The alcohol limit if you want to drink and drive is very low (0.08%) so it’s probably best that you don’t have any alcohol in your system.
- It is illegal (and pretty stupid, actually) to operate, talk on, text, or otherwise use your phone whilst driving.
If you’re going on a big road trip, you should be aware of the wildlife warning signs across the country. Collisions with large deer or elk can actually be fatal and so you should be cautious and pay attention to the signs when you’re driving.
Depending on the route that you’re taking and what time of year you’re travelling, you should consider the kind of car that you’re going to be hiring. A 4×4, for example, is a good idea if you’re planning on driving into the mountains or national parks.
In the winter, you should know that the driving conditions can be pretty crazy. You should definitely monitor local and national weather forecasts, you should ask for (and listen to) local advice before driving in winter, and snow tires are required in certain areas.
The freezing winter conditions can create huge potholes in the road, which can make for a hazardous journey (having to swerve, or hitting one and veering off course).
Ice and heavy snow can be extremely treacherous and can actually cause roads to close. Bridges can shut periodically, too.
You should have all the supplies you need in case you get stranded during winter. You should have a way to contact people (a fully charged mobile phone), physical maps so you don’t have to use your phone data, blankets, food and water.
Last, but definitely not least, distances between places in Canada are absolutely vast. Make sure that you;
- Plan your journey.
- Leave enough time to complete your drive during the daylight hours (driving at night is not fun).
- Keep your gas topped up as much as can, filling up whenever you see a gas station.
Is Uber safe in Canada?
You will be pleased to know that Canada does have Uber.
However, strangely enough, Uber is not actually in operation in every single Canadian city. They may have tried to start something in some cities, but the authorities or taxi drivers have resisted – who knows.
Uber is available in Toronto, Ottowa, Calgary, Edmonton, Quebec City, Montreal, London (Ontario)… the list goes on. Check the Uber website for the full list of available cities.
Of course, there are the usual Uber benefits: know what driver will be picking you up, pay cashless (in app), see reviews of drivers, track your journey… All this and more make Uber pretty safe in Canada.
(Lyft has also made moves into Canada, too.)
Are taxis safe in Canada?
As you might have guessed, taxis are safe in Canada. Being a pretty safe country overall, you’re not likely to run into too many problems when riding a cab basically anywhere in the country.
They are available in all the big cities, as well as some of the smaller and mid-range towns, and they run on a meter.
Apparently, however, there are only around 40,000 licensed taxi drivers in the country – that’s actually the same amount of taxi drivers as there are in New York City! So there aren’t tons of taxis everywhere.
Generally, to catch a cab in Canada you can hail one on the street, head to a taxi rank and get one from there, or phone up a radio taxi company to book one directly.
Legitimate taxi drivers in the country are licensed by the local government. A good way to spot them is by looking for the registration on the rear of the car. Taxi drivers also must display their photo ID in the cab, as well as their taxi number, but if it’s not on show and you ask to see it, they are required to show you.
In smaller towns and cities, booking in advance is definitely the way to go if you want to get a cab around town. In general, there are different issues in different parts of the country…
Vancouver, for example, has a surprising lack of taxis. When it’s cold, you wouldn’t think twice about hopping in a cab to get home, but only a handful of legitimate taxi companies operate here making it hard to get a taxi.
Part of the reason why there are so few is the strict rules in place here, for instance, only certain taxi companies can operate in certain areas and only a certain amount of licensed taxis are allowed in the city.
Montreal, on the other hand, has even more taxi regulations! The taxi driver must speak some French as its’ the joint language of this area. Elsewhere in Quebec, taxis help to keep more remote communities of the province connected, working sort of like an on-demand bus service (much cheaper, for the government, than a public transport system).
Elsewhere, in Toronto, the taxi system is pretty modern and fleshed out. Drivers are highly trained and the cars are modern, taking into account wheelchair accessibility amongst other important transport issues.
That’s basically it, though – taxis are pretty safe in Canada and there’s not much you should worry about at all!
Is public transportation in Canada safe?
Public transport varies throughout the country, depending on what province and city you’re in. Depending on where you want to go, what distance you want to travel, and how much you want to spend – there are buses, trains and subways (as well as bicycle paths) to take advantage of.
It’s all pretty safe, too.
Toronto and Montreal are the only two Canadian cities that have a subway system. Vancouver has a monorail, whilst a light railway system operates in Ottawa, Edmonton and Calgary.
These are all comprehensive systems that allow you to get around a city quickly (whilst avoiding the cold). As you would do in most urban areas around the world, it’s probably a good idea to be aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings close to you; petty theft is low in Canada, but not unheard of.
There are also public buses that can help you get around cities. Most of them are commuter focused and are limited in the evenings and weekends, especially in smaller cities and remote areas. At the same time, buses are pretty common and are a usual sight of the big cities.
For longer distances (and some Canadian distances really are far), long distance buses are a popular option. Greyhound Canada services, for example, trundles along the Trans-Canadian Highway between Vancouver and Toronto. Other companies like Megabus travel the same routes too. Book both of these companies and others online and you can get a pretty budget-friendly fare (the earlier you book, the cheaper).
Travel around like this on buses is the cheapest way to get around. They are legitimate, professional services, with good, modern buses; they stop for meal breaks and driver changeovers, too.
More famously there is Canada’s long distance train system. Run by VIA Rail, it covers about 14,000 kilometres of track and ploughs the way into some pretty remote areas, both along intercity and transcontinental routes.
Two major hubs of VIA Rail are Montreal and Toronto, with much of the east of the country being quite accessible by train (it doesn’t go to Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, or Northwest Territories). Good news is that you can Wi-Fi on these trains most of the time, the bad news is that they can be quite pricey.
Ferry services are also fairly comprehensive, connecting Atlantic provinces with each other, as well as the western shores of British Columbia.
Is the food in Canada safe?
Of course the food in Canada is safe – and it’s pretty tasty too. Obviously, you want to go to Canada to see all the lakes and the mountains and the national parks and whatnot, but actually, the food is pretty epic here too. It doesn’t deserve the bad reputation it gets – at all!
Ok, so there’s poutine: that’s pretty dang tasty. There are also so many other cultures which have made Canada’s cuisine what it is today and, with that, there are so many different types of food to try, so much eating to be done – and here’s how you should go about it…
- Don’t be afraid to try out cuisines from all around the world in Canada, notably in the mecca of multi-culture that is Toronto. Feel like Lebanese? You can eat that here. Want some Southern Indian cuisine? That too. Japanese? You’ll find it here – and a whole lot more. Don’t feel like you have to eat “Canadian” food, this is Canadian food!
- Try not to get stuck in tourist traps. This is a surefire way to get ripped off. You’ll find these mainly around tourist sites and may even have a tout trying to get you in.
- Good food does not have to be expensive. If you’re travelling on a budget you can still stay healthy and eat pretty well. Just because something is affordable in Canada, doesn’t mean it’s going to be low quality or not prepared in a sanitary way.
- A top tip for eating in Canada is to go to places that are busy with locals. It’s much better to wait for a seat at a packed restaurant than to go to that empty place you saw a few blocks back. The popularity means that the food will be tasty (locals will know this), prices will be good, and it won’t make you ill, either.
- Definitely try out food trucks, too – these can be amazing. You shouldn’t worry about them too much. The same rules as above apply. Make sure that you go to somewhere that looks like it’s doing a good business, and looks as though it is preparing and cooking things freshly.
- To avoid eating food that’s been left out or that doesn’t have as much care put into it, try to eat at mealtimes. Lunchtime means a high turnover of customers for most places which means hot grills, hot ovens, freshly prepared food. Head to somewhere in the late afternoon, and you may just end up getting a warmed-up version of what could have been much tastier mere hours ago.
- It’s a basic tip, but wash your hands. Cities and towns are dirty, and your hands can get pretty grubby whilst you’re exploring them, so make sure you wash ’em before you eat. To be on the extra-safe side, or if there is no way to wash your hands, bring along some hand sanitiser and use that.
Canadian food today is a mixed bag of cuisines from around the world. It’s also the country that eats the most Kraft macaroni cheese in the world, but don’t let that put you off: there are some delicious things happening in the gastronomical world of this country.
From the simple bannock bread (formerly a staple of aboriginal people’s diets) – especially delicious when covered in Nutella – and mouthwatering butter tarts filled with egg and syrup, you will be surprised at the variations of food in Canada, savoury and sweet!
Can you drink the water in Canada?
Canada is home to 7% of the world’s renewable fresh water. And whilst it doesn’t have the cleanest drinking water in the world (that accolade goes to Denmark apparently), it’s definitely up there as some of the best.
In short, yes, the tap water is safe to drink in Canada. You should definitely be drinking this instead of buying plastic bottled water, so make sure you take yourself along a refillable water bottle and don’t add to the plastic problem.
Some communities of Canada, however, still have to boil their water before they drink it; if you’re going into remote areas, it’s best to check with locals, as the water supply can become contaminated with things like animal faeces.
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Is Canada safe to live?
Living in Canada is, of course, safe. It can actually be a pretty amazing experience too. You’ll learn to appreciate the culture, landscape and general atmosphere of the country a lot more than you would be able to do on a two week vacation.
You’ll have more chances to explore the beautiful wilderness of this vast country, as well as the modern cities, and get stuck into understanding more about what makes Canada tick.
It is huge, however. Depending on where you choose to live, your life will be affected by the location you decide upon.
In the north and the west, you may get access to more remote nature (but it is remote), whilst the majority of the population live in big cities close to the United States border (within 200 kilometres of it, anyway).
Quality of life is pretty high in Canada, too. Life expectancy is high, the economy is strong and education is a priority. Canada is every bit a prosperous, G8 nation. You’ll be safe in the knowledge that it’s a modern, developed country with uncorrupt policing and a universal healthcare system that works.
There’s a low crime rate. Of course, it does happen but theres much less crime than in the US, for the most obvious comparison.
You also won’t feel like a stranger. Canada has a strong history of immigration, with people still choosing to relocate and settle down in the North American nation. It is also a member of the British Commonwealth, and is therefore a popular expat destination with British nationals. A lot of Americans find their way here, too, and so do (for obvious reasons) French people.
Canada is a fairly liberal society and accepting of different cultures and religions. If you are thinking about making the move here, we say go for it.
How is healthcare in Canada?
Canadas healthcare system is amongst the best in the world. That said, unless you are a Canadian citizen, it’s going to be very expensive for you to use it.
You really should make sure you’ve got adequate medical travel insurance that has you covered for your time in Canada.
The availability of medical services is widespread. You should not have too much of a problem getting treated in a hospital.
If you have an emergency and you need help or an ambulance, dial 911. Alternatively, you could find the hospital yourself and head straight to A&E. If it’s not urgent, however, go see a doctor – a trip to A&E alone can set you back USD $500 before you’ve even been prescribed anything or had any kind of procedure.
There are also walk-in clinics that will allow you to see a doctor without having to make an appointment. These obviously require you to wait for a varying amount of time.
Before you go to get treatment, call up your medical insurance and make sure that the treatment you seek, for the ailment or injury you (think) you’ve got, is covered your plan. That’s very important.
Pharmacies are all over Canada. These are actually a good place to get medical advice and ask questions related to your health and they won’t set you back any money at all. At the same time, pharmacies are where you’ll be heading if you need to pick up a prescription (generally cheaper than those issued in the US).
If you have any medications that you need to bring into the country for whatever reason, you are allowed to do so but make sure they are clearly labelled.
To conclude: the healthcare system in Canada is great. You shouldn’t have anything to worry about; the service is great; the quality is great. Just make sure you’re covered by your insurance – and that you know the right numbers to call if you’re heading out trekking.
Helpful Canadian Travel Phrases
Canada has two official languages: English and French. Both have a uniquely Canadian flavor.
To help you on your journeys, I have written the pronunciations for a few French phrases with English translations.
Hello – Bonjour
How are you— Comment ça va?
Beautiful — C’est beau
Please — S’il vous plaît
What is your name? — Comment t’appelles-tu?
I am from…— Je viens de…
Where? — Où?
No plastic bag – Pas de sac en plastique
No straw please – Pas de paille s’il vous plait
No plastic cutlery please – Pas de couverts en plastique s’il vous plaît
Good Evening — Bonsoir
Thanks! — Merci!
I would like… — Je voudrais…
Final thoughts on the safety of Canada
Canada is most definitely somewhere that you should not be afraid to visit. A liberal government, a good healthcare system, friendly people, a good atmosphere in cities, and a low crime rate all add up to one of the safest – and most peaceful – countries on the planet. There is truly and honestly nothing much about Canada that should keep you away: not terrorism, not the weather, not anything, really.
The only way you are going to come into contact with any sort of danger in Canada is, for the most part, putting yourself in it. Not being well enough prepared for a trek, not having your phone charged, going too close to wildlife, not sticking to marked trails, not packing emergency supplies, not being warm enough… All this can be solved by simple and careful planning – or by hiring a guide or joining a tour.
Of course, like pretty much anywhere in the world crime does still exist, too. Canada isn’t a wonderland where theft and violence never happen, so look into your accommodation, avoid walking on sketchy looking streets alone at night, and keep your belongings close to you. But, nature (including earthquakes) will be more of a risk to you, so you should research that instead of “dangerous areas of Toronto.”
And have you thought about getting Travel Insurance for your trip? You can get a quote from World Nomads by clicking on the link below.
Disclaimer: Safety conditions change all over the world on a daily basis. We do our best to advise but this info may already be out of date. Do your own research. Enjoy your travels!
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