The currency used in Canada is the Canadian dollar. There are no dollar bills, the lowest note is five dollars, so dollars and two dollars come in coin form.
The main languages spoken in Montreal are French (the official language) and English.
The climate of Montreal is humid continental and the city experiences four distinct seasons. Spring is generally cool, while autumn is a bit more pleasant. This is a particularly popular time of year to visit, as this is when the trees on Mont Royal sport their ‘fall foliage’. Summer is usually pretty mild although temperatures do sometimes climb higher. July is the hottest month, seeing average temperatures of between 20°C and 22°C. In winter, expect it to be cold with lots of snow. January is Montreal’s coldest month when the city experiences average lows of -9°C. Rainy weather is most prevalent in the months of August and September and each month gets about 90mm of rainfall.
Montreal operates on Eastern Standard Time which is five hours behind Greenwich Mean Time. Daylight Savings Time applies between April and October.
Shops in Montreal generally open between 10.00am and 6.00pm from Monday to Saturday, with many also opening on Sundays. Banks are usually open from 10.00am until 5.00pm on weekdays.
The electrical current used in Montreal is 110 Volts AC/60 Hz, while sockets take 2-pin plugs (flat) or 3-pin plugs (2 flat & 1 round).
Visa requirements for visitors to Canada have become stricter in recent years. All people entering the country must have proof of citizenship. For most European residents and citizens of certain other countries, you do not need a visa but you must have a passport. Entry visas are required, however, for citizens of more than 130 countries so it is worth checking this out with the Canadian consulate in your home country. They will be able to tell you if you need a visa and, if you do, how to go about applying for it.
The main tourist office in Montreal is the Infotouriste Centre at 1255 Peel Street in Centre-Ville.
For the best exchange rate, it’s usually best to change your money into Canadian currency at a bank. Travellers’ cheques are also widely accepted. ATM cards which are part of the Cirrus or Plus network can be used in machines displaying the relevant signs. All the major credit cards including Visa, MasterCard and American Express are widely accepted and can also be used to withdraw cash from ATMs.
To call Montreal from abroad you first dial 00, followed by 1, the local area code and the local number. The main area code in Montreal is 514. If you want to call abroad from Montreal you need to dial 001, followed by the international calling code for your particular country and then the local number.
Montreal’s central post office is the Canada Post at 800 René-Lévesque Blvd in Centre-Ville.
The amount depends on the quality of the service but the usual tip is an average of fifteen percent and a minimum of ten. This also applies to hairdressers and taxi drivers. Porters, bellhops and similar staff at hotels, airports and railway stations are usually paid one dollar per item of luggage carried.
It is worth noting what the public holidays are before you travel to a country as the majority of businesses, banks and shops usually shut for the day. In Canada they take place on January 1st, Good Friday, Monday on or before May 24th, July 1st, September 3rd, October 8th, November 11th and December 25th. It is a good idea to check the particular region too as certain towns and areas also shut down during special events.