Metric Conversion for Visitors to Canada

Metric Conversion: A Guide for Visitors to Canada

••• Canada uses the metric system, so speeds are measured in kilometers per hour. Photo © Getty Images

Canada has used the metric system of measurement since 1970. This means that temperature in measured in Celsius, speed in kilometres (not miles) per hour, distance in kilometres, meters (not miles or yards) etc., volume in litres (not gallons) and weight in kilograms (not pounds).

Strict use of either the metric or imperial system depends on age, with people born before 1970 fairly fluent in both systems, but raised with the Imperial.


Even though in daily life, Canadians tend to use a mix of both systems, visitors from the U.S. and other countries that use the imperial system should take a crash course in how to convert imperial to metric and some sample measurements (all measurements are approximate). 

Temperature - Common Temperature Readings in Canada
Temperature in Canada is measured in degrees Celsius (°C). To convert a Celsius temperature to Fahrenheit:
Degrees Celsius = Degrees Fahrenheit x 1.8 + 32
For example 20°C = 20 x 1.8 + 32 = 68°F
Table of common metric temperatures

Driving Speed - Common Speed Limits in Canada
Speed in Canada is measured in kilometers per hour (km/h).
Common speed limits in Canada include:

  • Four-lane highway driving, 100 km/h = 62 m/h
  • Two-lane highway driving, 80 km/h = 50 m/h
  • City driving, 50 km/h = 37 m/h
  • School zones, 40 km/h = 25 m/h

Table of common metric speed limits

Distance - Common Distances in Canada
Distance in Canada is measured in meters (m) and kilometers (km).

1 yard = 0.9 meters
1 mile = 1.6 kilometres
See also Driving distances (in miles and kilometers) between cities in Canada

Volume - Common Volumes in Canada
Volume is measured in millilitres (ml) and litres (l) in Canada.
1 US ounce = 30 millilitres
1 gallon = 3.8 liters
Table of common metric volumes

Weight - Common Weights in Canada
Weight in Canada is measured in grams (g) and kilograms (kg), although pounds and ounces are still commonly used for certain weight measurements.

1 oz = 28 grams
1 lb = 0.45 kilogram
Table of common metric weights