Traveling to Canada: practical information
For a stay of less than 6 months in Canada : You can carry out the formalities for entering Canada directly via the Internet by clicking on the online form . It is not necessary to obtain an appointment at the Canadian embassy or consulate.
Whether you are a nature lover or a fan of the gigantism of North American cities, Canada is made for you! To help you better prepare for your trip across the Atlantic, we detail in this article all the information you need to know before traveling to Canada.
When to leave? What to do ? What documents are required before boarding? The answers are below.
When is the best time to travel to Canada?
Due to its continental climate, Canada experiences significant temperature changes between seasons. In general, winters are quite harsh with negative temperatures, it is not uncommon for the thermometer to show -20°C in the middle of January in certain regions. On the contrary, summers are relatively hot, with temperatures rising to 30°C in August.
In reality, as we will see, there is no better time to travel to Canada : it all depends on your project.
Stay in Canada in winter
If you want to practice winter sports, the best time to travel to Canada will undoubtedly be from November to February. During this period, there are many occupations: skiing, snowmobiling, dog sledding, snowshoeing… In short, if you are a fan of snow and outdoor activities, you will not be bored.
Visit Canada in summer
Of course, summer also lends itself to outdoor activities: hiking in national parks, camping, canoeing, etc. In parallel, many cultural events are set up during this period. This is particularly the case in Quebec or Montreal, where festivals follow one another throughout the summer season. For jazz lovers, don’t miss the International Jazz Festival held in Montreal every year between June and July.
If you choose to go to Quebec in summer, we advise you to visit Tadoussac, which is none other than the oldest village in Quebec. The main attraction of this locality is the observation of the famous blue whales. If you opt for a maritime cruise, you can admire the richness of the local maritime fauna (dolphins, belugas, seals, porpoises, killer whales, etc.).
Going to Canada in the fall
Traveling to Canada in the fall is a very good compromise. You will enjoy days almost as sunny as in summer and relatively mild temperatures, but not exceeding 20°C, from Vancouver to Quebec.
For photo enthusiasts, staying in Canada during the Indian summer is ideal. The changing colors of the maple leaves will provide a spellbinding spectacle. If you want to take full advantage of this phenomenon, we advise you to go to the boreal forest of Quebec, you will be captivated by these wonderful landscapes painted in the colors of autumn.
This season is also ideal for admiring the migration of snow geese from the Arctic regions and along the famous St. Lawrence River, in order to leave for the United States.
Traveling to Canada: what to visit?
The immensity of Canada leaves incalculable possibilities of visits. If you are thirsty for a change of scenery, you could not have made a better choice of destination! Large wild spaces, exceptionally rich wildlife, outdoor sports, gigantic and very lively cities, there is something for all tastes and colors! In order to leave with your head full of unforgettable memories, we have selected for you a list of the must-see places to visit.
As the first city in the province of Quebec, you cannot go to Canada without stopping in Montreal. A multicultural and cosmopolitan city, Montreal offers a wide variety of activities and places to visit.
To start, we advise you to take a walk in the Old Montreal district. Bordering the St. Lawrence River, this district dating from the 17th century is particularly appreciated thanks to its many squares animated by the activity of charming cafes and shops. The major point of interest in Old Montreal is undoubtedly the Notre-Dame Basilica, an imposing building in the neo-Gothic style. If you want to enjoy a view of the entire St. Lawrence, do not hesitate to go to the famous Clock Tower, located in the old port of Montreal. Be aware that before reaching the top of this monument, you will still have to climb 192 steps, however, this effort is well worth the exceptional panorama offered on arrival!
Who says trip to Quebec, necessarily says Quebec City. The second largest city in the province of Quebec, Quebec has managed to preserve its authenticity over the years, hence its inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List. A warm atmosphere reigns over this city on a human scale, thanks in particular to its old houses and its many narrow streets. Its style is also reminiscent of French architecture.
Considered one of Canada’s top attractions, Niagara Falls is a must when it comes to visiting maple country! Depending on your desire and your mood, you can admire these falls in several ways: by boat, by elevator, on the panoramic terrace or even by helicopter!
The city of Toronto is located near Niagara Falls. After admiring these, take the opportunity to visit Canada’s largest city. If you have ever been to New York, you will be surprised by the great resemblance between these two cities.
Toronto’s main attraction is the rise of the CN Tower. From the top of its 113 floors, this tower offers an extraordinary panorama of the city and its surroundings. The bravest can even admire this view from a panoramic terrace with a transparent glass floor!
Banff National Park
Located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park certainly offers one of the most beautiful landscapes in Canada. This park is home to some strikingly beautiful glacier lakes, including Lakes Louise and Moraine, which are the two most photographed lakes in the world. To admire this natural spectacle and the hypnotizing turquoise blue of the water, many hiking trails line the surroundings of the lakes. It’s up to you to take the photo of your dreams!
Jasper National Park
The largest national park in the Rockies, Jasper Park is world famous for Athabasca Falls, originating from the glacier bearing the same name. If you are thirsty for spectacular views, we advise you to go to the Maligne Canyon or to explore the hiking trails around Maligne and Medicine lakes.
The glacier walk
Commonly known as Icefield Parkways, the Icefield Parkway is one of Canada’s most scenic drives. It would be a shame to deprive yourself of the majestic landscapes it offers! Crossing several national parks, many panoramic points are found throughout the 230 km that compose it. Lakes, rivers, glaciers, canyons, waterfalls, you will not remain unmoved by the diversity of landscapes that this route can offer.
Going to Canada: don’t forget your residence permit
Just like for the USA, you cannot go to Canada without having a travel authorization. There are many travel documents, but the most frequently issued is the AVE.
AVE: what is it?
If your trip to Canada does not exceed 6 consecutive months, you are probably eligible for the eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization). Also called eTA in English, the Canada eTA is a residence permit allowing eligible foreign travelers to travel to Canada without a visa.
This travel document is not issued to all nationals. To apply, you must meet certain conditions of admissibility to Canada established by the Canadian government, i.e.:
- Have the nationality of a member country of the visa waiver program (this scheme includes, among others, all EU countries);
- Stay in Canada for a maximum of 6 months;
- Traveling as part of a tourist stay, a business trip or passing through Canadian territory;
- Have a valid passport.
To request this document, nothing could be simpler: just fill out an online form on the Canadian government website or on the homepage of this website. Of course, your file will be examined by the Canadian authorities to ensure that you do not represent any threat to the internal security of the country. However, don’t worry, most requests result in an approval within a few days of submitting the request!
If you plan to go to Canada to do an internship, study or even work, the eTA cannot apply to your case, you will have to obtain another travel document.
I am not eligible for eTA: what document can I request to enter Canada?
If you are not eligible for the eTA, you need a Canadian visa. The latter varies according to the nature of the stay in Canada.
If you want to work, you must obtain a work permit. Note that if you are under 36, you can apply for a Working Holiday Permit (PVT). This document will allow you to work legally while allowing you to discover Canada and take vacations as you see fit.
As far as foreign students are concerned, they must apply for a visa. If this is your project, we advise you to contact the Canadian embassy or consulate for more information on the formalities to be carried out, as well if you wish to do an internship in Canada.