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Practical information North-west Canada

By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor

North-west Canada : Travel Information before you go!

Area

The Northwest Territories cover an area measuring 519,734 mi².

Flights

When travelling to the Northwest Territories, you are advised to first fly to Edmonton or Calgary, in Alberta, which takes between 9 and 10 hours from London. Air Canada and United Airlines operate several flights a week to Yellowknife from these airports. This second flight takes around 1h 30m.

Jet Lag

There is a 7-hour time difference between the UK and the Northwest territories.

Population

A total of 41,462 inhabitants live in the Northwest Territories. Almost half of these live in the capital, Yellowknife.

Airports

The region's main airport is located in the capital, Yellowknife. Tourists from other parts of Canada usually fly to this airport. Note that there are also a number of small airports and aerodromes in the Territories which link the various towns and cities. Yellowknife Airport is located 3 miles north of the city centre, and there are taxis and buses that run between the two.

Security

The Northwest Territories is not a dangerous region, in fact far from it. Its inhabitants are very welcoming towards tourists, and the annual crime rate is very low. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) monitor and protect the communities in the region's towns and cities.

Languages

English is the official language, and is spoken by the majority of the population. Each minority speaks its own dialect, and the Indians speak more than a dozen. French, although very different to French from France, is spoken in Quebec, where the two national languages are French and English.

Required travel documents for

For European citizens, a valid passport is needed to enter Canada. European tourists do not need a visa for stays shorter than six months. Otherwise the travellers are asked to leave the territory. It is possible to obtain a work or student visa at one of Canada's immigration centres.

Religion

The Protestant religion is dominant (around
46%) in the two provinces, headed up by the United and Anglican churches. The Catholics follow (around 36%), with an overwhelming majority of Roman Catholics.

Currency

Canadian Dollar (CAD)

Local transportation

The bus companies cover the two provinces and inspite of being quite slow, they are the least expensive means of transport. Due to Canada's low petrol prices car rental is not very expensive and allows for greater freedom.To hire a car, you need to be at least 21 and have held a licence for at least a year. Some car rental companies also impose a daily flat-rate supplement and a collision excess of $500 for drivers aged 21 to 25... You are advised to have a credit card if you do not wish to leave large sums of money as a security deposit. An international licence is not compulsory, however, it is often required by companies in the Anglo-Saxon provinces. The highway code is similar to Europe; the driving is on the right (60m/h maxi on a motorway, and 30m/h in town). Note that you can go right at the red light in all states apart from in Quebec.
You can also hire camping-cars. Although more expensive, they allow you to save money on accommodation. The train is comfortable for long distances, but quite expensive. The 'Canadian' train, which connects Toronto to Vancouver in three days, is another way of discovering the country. For those with bigger budgets it is possible to fly there: all the large cities have an airport served by Air Canada and Canadian. Hitch-hiking is very popular with backpackers, and hitch-hiking enthusiasts. This is very common except on the motorways, where it is forbidden. In Canada, this means of transport is even organised by the Allo-stop association, which puts drivers and passengers in contact with each other. Cycling is a very popular way of getting around all over the country. Various cycling tracks have been introduced, including in large cities.

Health

No vaccinations are required. To get medical expenses reimbursed, personal medical insurance is necessary. Mosquitoes are a real hassle; plan to bring protection and prevention care against mosquito bites.

Electricity

110 V American standard outlets, flat plugs. Bring an adaptor.

Taxes and tips

Marked prices usually do not include taxes. For most goods and services, you must add 7% for the federal tax and between 7 and 8% for the province tax. Some exceptions include books and food. Under certain conditions and in certain cases, foreigners can be reimbursed for those taxes. Brochures concerning this topic are available at the customs office in airports and in tourist offices. Concerning restaurants, taxis and cloakrooms, service is rarely included in the price and so it is thus recommended to add 15%, for fear of being subjected to a few remarks!

Telephone

To call the UK from the Northwest Territories, dial: 011 (international) + 44 (code for the UK) + the number without the initial 0.

To call the Northwest Territories from the UK, dial: 00 (for the dial tone) + 1 (country code) + 867 (for the region) + the 7-digit number of your correspondent.

North-west Canada : Useful addresses in the country

Before leaving

Canadian Tourist Office
P.O. Box 170, Ashford, London TN24 0ZX. Tel: 0870 161 5151 (trade only) or 0906 871 5000 (60p/min). Fax: 0870 165 5665
Embassy & High Commission of Canada
Immigration & Visa section: MacDonald House, 38 Grosvenor Street, London W1K 4AA. Tel: 020 7258 6500. Fax: 020 7258 6506

At the destination

British Embassy
80 Elgin Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5K7
Tel.: 613 237 1530 (8.30am-5pm) Fax: 613 237 7980



Tourist information centre
90 Wellington street, in Ottawa (Ontario). Tel.: (613) 239 5000 or 800 465 1867.
Toronto Tourism
207 Queen's Quay Terminal, suite 509, in Toronto (Ontario) M5J1A7. Tel.: (416) 203 2500 or 800 363 1990.
Winnipeg Tourism
320-25 Forks Market Road, in Winnipeg (Manitoba).
Tel.: (204) 943 1970 or 800 665 0204.