NBIA'S 16th International Conference on Business Incubation

Visiting Canada
What Do I Need to Get Into Canada?
Traveling by Car
Spending Money in Canada

Visiting Canada

Don't let worries about travel preparations stop you from attending business incubation's biggest, best event. The tips below will help you embark on an easy trip to a beautiful country. (And U.S. attendees can look forward to an affordable trip to Toronto thanks to Canada's attractive exchange rates and tax rebates!)

What Do I Need to Get Into Canada?

Regulations for U.S. citizens entering Canada have changed! To enter Canada, a U.S. citizen must provide proof of citizenship with either:
1. a U.S. passport or
2. an original birth certificate or certified copy of a birth certificate.
(U.S. drivers licenses and voter registration cards are not sufficient.)

Conference attendees flying into Toronto: Please check with your airline to find out which documents it requires to board passengers. Airline requirements differ. The airlines get hefty fines if they let anyone into Canada who does not make it through customs. So don't miss your flight — call your airline now to check requirements!

Although this is not a requirement for U.S. visitors, citizens of some countries must have a visitor's visa. Click here for more information on obtaining a visitor's visa.

Be sure to carry proof of identity and other travel documents with you (don't pack them in your suitcase).

Traveling by Car:

  • Carry with you (not in your suitcase) proof of ownership or rental agreements for your car and/or any trailer you are hauling.
  • Carry proof of insurance while driving in Canada.
  • Be prepared for border searches, which are routine.
  • Use seat belts at all times.
  • Leave radar detection devices at home. They are illegal even to possess in many Canadian provinces.
Experiencing travel restrictions? Toronto is closer than you think!
Distance from
Driving Time
Buffalo, NY 105 miles 1 hour, 50 minutes
Detroit, MI 245 miles 4 hours, 30 minutes
Cleveland, OH 300 miles 5 hours, 10 minutes
Albany, NY 380 miles 6 hours, 30 minutes
Cincinnati, OH 486 miles 8 hours, 40 minutes
Philadelphia, PA 500 miles 8 hours, 30 minutes
Chicago, IL 515 miles 9 hours, 15 minutes
Charleston, WV 527 miles 9 hours, 30 minutes
Lexington, KY 572 miles 10 hours, 15 minutes
Norfolk, VA 684 miles 13 hours, 10 minutes

Spending Money in Canada:

  • The exchange rate of currency between the United States and Canada is currently about 1.5. That means that for every U.S. $1 you have, you would have $1.50 in Canadian currency. The rate varies depending on the economy and where you choose to exchange your money.
  • Always convert some of your money prior to leaving home. This is easy to do at your local bank.
  • Once in Canada, it is always best to exchange your money at a recognized financial institution, bank, trust company or currency exchange rather than a privately owned exchange station. Credit cards and bankcards automatically get the best exchange rate.
  • The currency system in Canada uses dollars and cents similar to the U.S. system. Canada now has one-dollar coins ("loonies") and two-dollar coins ("toonies"), in addition to 1-cent, 5-cent and 25-cent coins. Paper money comes in different colors and designs. The most common are $5 bills (blue), $10 bills (purple), $20 bills (green), $50 bills (red), $100 bills (brown) and $1,000 bills (purple).
  • The GST, or "goods and services tax," is a 7% federal tax that applies to most
    You qualify for a tax refund if:
    You are not a resident of Canada.
    Your purchases (before taxes) of eligible goods and accommodations total at least $200 CAN.
    Each individual receipt for eligible goods shows a minimum total purchase amount (before taxes) of $50 CAN.
    You have your original receipts.
    You apply for the refund within one year of purchasing the qualifying goods and accommodations.
    Click here for detailed information.
    goods and services provided in Canada. Believe it or not, this tax offers an opportunity to save money: visitors to Canada are entitled to a rebate of GST on most goods they take out of Canada as well as on short-term accommodations. Keep your receipts if you wish to apply for a rebate, then pick up a Tax Refund Application for Visitors at any customs office or most tourism information centers, duty-free shops, department stores and some hotels.

  • Major credit cards such as American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted in Canada and automatically apply favorable exchange rates.
  • You can use most ATM cards to obtain cash at a favorable exchange rate from any automatic teller machine in Canada. Ask your local bank about availability and any potential service fees you may encounter.
  • Tips or service charges are not usually added to restaurant bills in Canada. A 15 percent tip on the pretax amount is common and expected for restaurants, barbers, hairdressers and taxi drivers.
  • Bellhops, doormen, porters and similar staff at hotels, airports and railway stations are generally paid $1 CAN per item of luggage carried.
Find more details on traveling to Canada at Canada's Visitor Services and Travel Canada.
This page was last updated on 05 April 2002
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