How to travel in Canada

Learn about the different types of transportation in Canada.

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Air

Due to Canada’s large size, people often travel between major cities by airplane.

All main cities have airports with regularly scheduled flights to and from many places. Some places don’t have a main airport, such as small towns or rural areas.

If you’re travelling to a place without an airport you’ll need to:

  • fly to the nearest main airport
  • rent a car or take a train or bus to your final stop

To fly in Canada, you need:

  • a piece of photo identification issued by the federal, provincial or territorial government in Canada, or
  • a foreign passport

Rail

Canada’s rail network runs across the country.

Trains in Canada are safe and comfortable. It’s often cheaper to buy train tickets in advance.

You can find out more and buy tickets from Via Rail Canada or going to a train station in person.

Bus

Travel by bus can be very long if you have to go a great distance. But, there are many benefits if you choose the bus, including:

  • bussing is often the:
    • cheapest way of travelling between cities
    • only way of getting to smaller towns if you’re not driving a car
  • most buses have air conditioning and a washroom on board

The largest network of bus routes is run by a company called Greyhound and its partners. You can find out more and buy bus tickets by calling or visiting your local bus station.

Ferry

In coastal areas of Canada such as British Columbia and the Atlantic region, ferry boats are a common way to travel. Many ferries transport both passengers and vehicles.

You can find out more and buy tickets from ferry companies that operate routes in your area.

Car

Canada has a large network of highways, making long distance travel by car possible between most places.

Public transportation (public transit)

All cities and most major towns in Canada have a public transportation system with one or more ways to travel, such as:

  • bus
  • train
  • subway
  • light-rail trains
  • streetcars (trams)

If you plan to use public transportation, research your options before you decide where to live.

The bus is the most common form of urban transportation in Canada. Some cities have other modes of public transit. In most cases, you can easily transfer from one mode of transportation to another.

To use public transportation, you must buy a ticket or a transit pass. Transit passes give you unlimited use of public transportation for a certain period (one month or more). They are usually cheaper than buying many tickets if you plan to use public transportation often.

In most cities, you can buy tickets at:

  • convenience stores
  • major transit stations
  • from the bus driver (you’ll need to give the exact amount)

You can find out more about public transportation in your city or town by:

  • calling a transit information line
  • visiting the website of your city government
  • visiting an information kiosk at a main transit station

Transportation for people with physical disabilities

Public transportation often has features to help people with physical disabilities. In many cities and towns, there are services specifically for people with limited mobility.

Learn more about these services in the same way you’d learn more about other public transportation options.

Taxis

All cities and towns have one or more companies that offer taxi service.

Taxis are quite expensive, so many people only use them when they don’t have another option. If you want to know how much your trip will cost, ask the driver before the trip starts.

Taxi costs include:

  • set rates used by meters to calculate the cost of your trip based on mileage and fees
    • these rates are fixed and can’t be negotiated
    • you pay the amount shown on the meter at the end of your trip
  • optional tips for the driver, especially if they help you with lots of bags

Taxi drivers have an official identification card to show that they are licensed by the city. You can find the card on the dashboard of the taxi.

There are two ways of catching a taxi:

  1. Call for a taxi to pick you up by:
    • finding the telephone numbers of taxi companies:
      • on the Internet
      • in a phone book
      • by contacting the transportation department of your city government
    • telling the taxi operator:
      • your name
      • the pick-up address
      • the destination address
  2. Catch a taxi by:
    • going to a taxi stand
    • “hailing” a taxi on the street by standing on the sidewalk and waving your hand at an empty taxi driving past

Walking and cycling

Walking and cycling are healthy and cheap ways of getting around Canadian cities and towns.

You can usually get a map of bicycle routes from:

  • local bike shops
  • your city government:
    • website
    • information kiosks

Features

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