Money & costs
Most Canadians don't carry large amounts of cash for everyday use, relying on their credit cards, ATMs and direct debit cards. Unlike the USA, personal checks are rarely accepted.
Interbank ATM exchange rates usually beat traveler's checks or exchanging foreign currency. Canadian ATM fees are low ($1.50 to $2 per transaction), but your home bank may charge another fee on top of that.
Visa, MasterCard, American Express and JCB cards are widely accepted in Canada. Credit cards can get you cash advances at bank ATMs, generally for a 3% surcharge. Beware: many US-based credit cards now convert foreign charges using highly unfavorable exchange rates and fees.
Always change your money at a recognized bank or financial institution. Some hotels, souvenir shops and tourist offices exchange money, but their rates won't put a smile on your dial.
American Express (905-474-0870, 800-869-3016; www.americanexpress.com/canada) branches in Toronto only function as travel agencies and don't handle financial transactions. Instead, tackle the banks, or try Money Mart (416-920-4146; www.moneymart.ca; Yonge Street Strip, 617 Yonge St; 24hr; Wellesley).
Bloor-Yorkville (416-975-9940, 800-267-8891; 1168 Bay St; 9am-5:30pm Mon-Fri; Bloor-Yonge)
Financial District (416-366-1961; 10 King St E; 9am-5pm Mon-Fri; King)
Travelex (www.travelex.com/ca) has branches:
Financial District (416-304-6130; First Canadian Place, Bank of Montréal, 100 King St W; 8am-5pm Mon-Fri)
Pearson International Airport Terminal 3 Arrivals (905-673-7042; 8:30am-midnight)
Pearson International Airport Terminal 3 Departures (905-673-7461; 3:30am-10pm)