Will I be able to pay my expenses in US dollars?
Most hotels, stores, restaurants will accept US$, but they will give you a lower rate than banks or airports. Large hotels will usually give you a rate that approaches those at the bank.
Will I have any problem exchanging my money for Canadian currency?
Although U.S. money is usually accepted at stores in Canada, you will be better off exchanging it for Canadian dollars at a financial institution. Financial institutions offer the daily exchange rate. Some currency exchangers are reluctant to exchange coinage, or will exchange it only at par value.
Bank of Canada Currency Converter
Will my ATM card (automated teller machine card) work in Canada?
Check with your bank branch and see what they say about your ATM card and about any special conditions any of your accounts may have. Most of the major Canadian banks and trust companies are on the Plus or Cirrus networks. You get Canadian dollars and generally the exchange rate is good. Your bank may make a service charge of $2 for each withdrawal. When you make a withdrawal, funds will come out in the form of Canadian currency.
PLUS network members in Canada include: Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank), Canada Trust, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), Laurentian Bank, Royal Bank, Toronto-Dominion (TD) Bank, and caisses populaires (Francophone credit unions).
CIRRUS network members in Canada include: Bank of Montreal, Credit Unions, National Bank, National Trust, and Royal Bank.
How do I claim a tax refund?
In order to claim a tax refund you must complete Form GST176 (application for Visitor Tax Refund and mail it together with your original receipts to Revenue Canada. (Debit slips and credit card slips are not valid).
If you are departing from Canada by plane, non-charter bus, train or ferry you have to keep your original boarding passes or tickets as proof of leaving Canada.
When you leave Canada by private vehicle or charter bus, you have to get your receipts validated by customs officials. For further information call toll free from anywhere in Canada 1-800-668-4748 or, from outside Canada, phone (902) 432-5608.
Visitor Rebate Program
If I can prove that I am an American citizen, do I still have to pay taxes?
Yes. Most goods and services you buy in Canada are subject to Goods and Services Tax and Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST). You are eligible for a tax refund if: you are not a resident of Canada, you purchased eligible goods and accommodations, you paid GST on these purchases, you have validated original receipts, each eligible receipt for eligible goods shows a minimum purchase amount (before taxes) of CAN$50; and your purchase amounts (before taxes) total at least CAN$200. Mail your original receipts along with your refund form to: Revenue Canada Customs, Excise and Taxation Visitor rebate Program Ottawa, ON K1A 1J5.
You can get the complete information and application forms at border-crossing points, most duty-free stores, most tourist information centres, and online at the Canada Revenue Agency web site. You may be able to get your GST back on the spot in cash at a duty-free store as you leave the country (but not if you leave at an airport).
What credit cards are accepted in Canada?
Visa and Mastercard are generally accepted everywhere (restaurants, hotels, stores, etc). While American Express is widely accepted you may find that many restaurants, stores and cafes will not accept it. Any charge to a credit card will reflect the currency exchange rate of the day of the purchase and will appear on your monthly statement as such.