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General Info about Toronto, Canada

Currency
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.

Language
Toronto has an incredibly diverse population and so a huge number of different languages are spoken throughout the city. The three main languages you’ll hear in Toronto are English, French and Chinese.

Climate
Toronto's humid continental climate brings hot summers and cold winters, while spring and autumn generally see milder conditions. January and February are the coldest months with average lows of around -9°C. At this time of year, and during the other winter months, Toronto can see quite a bit of snow. The hottest month is July. Temperatures average out at 26°C but they can get even higher, sometimes reaching above 30°C. July, along with May and September are usually the wettest months of the year as all of them see around 74mm of rainfall.

Time Zone
Toronto operates on Eastern Standard Time which is five hours behind Greenwich Mean Time. It also observes daylight saving time from the first Sunday in April until the last Sunday in October during which time it is six hours behind GMT.

Opening Hours
The majority of shops and supermarkets in Toronto are open between 10.00am and 6.00pm from Monday to Wednesday, 10.00am until 9.00pm on Thursday and Friday, and between 10.00am and 5.00pm on Saturdays and Sundays. You will also find chemists and grocery stores that are open twenty-four hours a day.

Electricity
The electrical current used in Toronto is 110 Volts AC/60 Hz, while sockets take 2-pin plugs (flat) or 3-pin plugs (2 flat & 1 round).

Visa Requirements
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.

Tourist Office
The main tourist office in the city is the Ontario Tourist Information Centre located in the Atrium on Bay (20 Dundas Street West) in Downtown Toronto.

Currency Exchange
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.

Post Office
If you need a post office, head to Canada Post at First Canadian Place (100 King Street West) in Downtown Toronto.

Telephones
To call Toronto from abroad you first dial 00, followed by 1, the local area code and the local number. The two main area codes in Toronto are 416 and 647. If you want to call abroad from Toronto you need to dial 001, followed by the international calling code for your particular country and then the local number.

Tipping
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.

Public Holidays
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.

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