The Best Ways to Getting Around Canada

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Traveling Around Canada

Ontario, Canada

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Canada is a big country, second only to Russia in land mass. It is 9,306 km (5,780 miles) from the country's most westerly point in the Yukon to the easternmost in Newfoundland: that's about a 95 hour drive or 15 hour plane ride, covering five time zones. 

If you plan on visiting a number of destinations, some research on the distances you'll need to travel and your transportation options is necessary. 

Generally, visitors divide the country into more manageable segments, such as the West Coast (including Vancouver, Victoria and Whistler), the Rocky Mountains (including Banff, Jasper and Canmore), the Prairie Provinces (including destinations like Saskatoon and Winnipeg in Saskatchewan and Manitoba), Ontario and Quebec (including Toronto, Niagara Falls, Ottawa and Montreal), or Quebec and the Maritimes (including Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia).

Newfoundland and Labrador, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories are all remote enough that people typically visit these separately. 

02 of 05

By Air

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Several major Canadian airlines traverse the country, including Air Canada (and its subsidiaries), Air Transat, Porter Airlines, and WestJet

Air Travel in Canada tends to be relatively expensive and includes more than a few taxes and surcharges. No extreme discount carriers, like Ryanair and others in Europe, exist in Canada, though NewLeaf is set to launch in early 2016. 

Minor airlines that cover shorter distances operate across the country. 

03 of 05


Montreal - Halifax VIA Rail train
Photo © Halifax Magazine

Train travel is a comfortable, convenient, relatively affordable way to get around Canada, though visitors should realize the Canadian rail system has nowhere near the reach, regularity or overall convenience of - for example - the European rail service. In addition, train travel tends to be relatively expensive in Canada, though this is changing in some of the more major corridors. 

VIA Rail is the only major train operator in Canada. It transits across Canada from the most eastern point in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Vancouver, B.C. in the west. For the most part it travels across the southern part of the country, where population is the most concentrated, with occasional forays more north. The busiest VIA Rail route is the Quebec - Windsor corridor, which includes Montreal and Toronto

In addition to VIA Rail, most major cities will have a commuter train service that moves passengers between the downtown and outlying cities and suburbs.

04 of 05


Photo © Mountains of Travel Photos

Many places in Canada, driving is preferable either because other transportation options are not convenient or too expensive.

Some of Canada's scenery and small towns are best experiences on your own timeline with the amenity of a car.

Canadian airports and urban centres have rental car companies. The cost of renting a car starts at about $35 to $60 per day or more depending on the type of vehicle. 

Read more: Canada's Most Scenic Drives

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05 of 05


Photo © Macduff Everton/Botanica / Getty Images

Canadian cities are becoming increasingly bike friendly, with the addition of dedicated bike lanes and laws requiring cars to stay a safe distance away from cyclists. 

In addition, many major cities, like Toronto and Montreal, have rental bikes available at various locations. Some hotels and resorts will loan out bikes. The Queen Elizabeth in Montreal for example loans bikes to its guests free of charge. 

Bicycle tourism is popular right across the country and many tour companies will rent bikes or offer guided rides. 

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