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Getting There

Overseas visitors flying into Canada usually head for Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal or Halifax. International departure tax is included in most tickets; if not, you're up for around US$7. Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver also have airport improvement taxes. Toronto adds US$7 to the cost of a ticket, at Montreal and Vancouver you pay cash (US$7-15) as you board. Canadian passengers are also charged a US$8 air traveler's security charge per flight.

Visitors entering the country from major continental US cities can choose to arrive by plane, train, bus or car. There are three main rail routes from the USA: New York-Montreal, New York-Toronto and Chicago-Toronto. The USA's Greyhound network connects with most major destinations in Canada. There are numerous road border crossings. Note that popular crossing points (such as Niagara Falls) can have lengthy queues on weekends. Queues will be the least of your problems if you enter by road from Alaska along the Top-of-the-World Highway into the Yukon. Several ferries run from the USA to Canada on the East Coast.

Getting Around

Land travel is much cheaper and, if you don't mind long distances, much more interesting than flying. The bus network is the most extensive public transportation system and is generally less expensive than the limited train service. The country's most famous train is the Canadian, a classic 1950s-style beauty that travels from Toronto to Vancouver (Canada's longest continuous train route), complete with a two-storyed windowed 'dome car' for sightseeing. Air fares are fairly expensive but, if you're strapped for time, the distances you may need to travel are so great that you'll probably have to fly. Air Canada (which swallowed Canadian Airlines in 1999) is the major domestic airline. Other smaller carriers, such as WestJet Airlines, preclude an Air Canada monoply.

In many ways, the best way to experience the country is to hire a car. Canadians drive on the right side of the road, as in the USA. A valid driver's license from any country is good in Canada for three months. Canada is so large, cyclists find it hard to cover much ground; most people use other forms of transport to move from region to region and keep their bikes for recreational cycling once they're there. And, with so much water around, don't be surprised to find yourself in a boat at some point.

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