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Facts for the Traveller

Travel Facts

First time coming to Canada? Here is a collection of handy facts and useful information to help you plan your holiday.

Visa and Passport Requirements

International Visitors

Persons visiting from countries other than the United States should carry their passport and may require visitor visas to enter Canada. Other regulations apply if an extended stay, work or certain types of business activity are contemplated. Check with your nearest Canadian Consulate for current requirements well in advance of travel.

Visitors from the United States

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) is U.S. legislation that requires all travellers carry a valid passport or other appropriate secure document, or combination of documents that establish citizenship and identity when travelling to the United States from within the Western Hemisphere.

Since January 23, 2007, anyone travelling by air between the United States and Canada is required to present a valid passport or NEXUS card (when used at designated airports) to enter or re-enter the United States.

As of June 1, 2009, a valid passport OR one of the following documents is mandatory for any person over the age of 16 travelling between the United States and Canada by LAND or SEA/WATER (including cruises and ferries):

  • U.S. Passport Card (not valid for international air travel)
  • A NEXUS or FAST/EXPRES Card
  • State or Province-issued Enhanced Driver’s License (not valid for international air travel)

As of June 1, 2009, U.S. and Canadian citizens under the age of 16, or under the age of 19 if travelling with a school, religious, or other youth group, may present a birth certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Canadian Citizenship Card or a naturalization certificate. Birth certificates can be an original, photocopy, or certified copy.

What is NEXUS?

NEXUS is a joint program between the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that expedites the border clearance process for low-risk, pre-approved travellers into Canada and the United States.

Obtaining a NEXUS card

To become a member in the NEXUS program, you must submit an application and go through a registration process, satisfy the eligibility criteria, be admissible in Canada and the United States, and pass risk assessments by both countries.

If you are approved to participate in NEXUS, you will receive a membership identification card to use when entering Canada or the United States at all participating NEXUS air, land and marine ports of entry.

Visitors from Mexico

As of July 16, 2009, Mexican visitors require a Temporary Resident Visa to enter Canada. Visit the Visa Section of the Embassy of Canada to Mexico to find out how to apply and the location of the nearest Visa Application Center (VAC).


Admissibility to Canada

People intending to visit Canada who have committed a criminal offence such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol may be inadmissible to Canada or only admissible by permit which carries a C$200 processing fee.

As of March 1, 2012, people who have been convicted of a criminal offence may be able to get a temporary resident permit for one visit without having to pay the C$200 processing fee.


Crossing the Canadian Border with Children

Please note the following in regards to traveling with children into Canada:

  • Parents who share custody of their children should carry copies of the legal custody documents. It is also recommended that they have a letter of authorization from the other custodial parent to take the child on a trip out of the country. Such a letter will confirm that the child is not being abducted or taken against his/her will. The parents’ full name, address and telephone number should be included in the letter of authorization.
  • When travelling with a group of vehicles, parents or guardians should arrive at the border in the same vehicle as the children.
  • Adults who are not parents or guardians should have written permission from the parents or guardians to supervise the children. The permission letter should include addresses and telephone numbers where the parents or guardian can be reached.
  • CBSA officers watch for missing children, and may ask detailed questions about the children who are travelling with you.

Other Resources

Emergency Contacts for Whistler

In case of a serious medical or other emergency: CALL 911 FOR ASSISTANCE.


Service Whistler Address Non-Emergency Phone
Medical Emergencies / Hospital - The Whistler Health Centre 4380 Lorimer Road 1.604.932.4911
Whistler Fire Rescue Service 4315 Blackcomb Way 1.604.935.8260
Royal Canadian Mounted Police 4315 Blackcomb Way 1.604.932.3044
Whistler Search and Rescue Society 8001 Highway 99 1.604.932.2328

Roadside Assistance

For assistance with vehicle break-downs across the province.

Phone - Vancouver Area
1.604.293.2222
Phone - BC/Canada/USA
1.800.CAA.HELP / 1.800.222.4357
Phone - Cell/Mobile
*222

Canadian Currency

Canadian currency comes in similar denominations to American currency. Coins come in:

  • Five cent (nickel)
  • Ten cent (dime)
  • 25 cent (quarter)
  • One dollar (loonie)
  • Two dollar (toonie)

Bills come in $5, $10, $20, $50, $100 and are multi-coloured. Canada does not have 1 or 2 dollar bills.


Credit Cards

Credit Card use is widespread. Visa, MasterCard, American Express and JCB International are accepted in nearly all shops, restaurants and hotels. Check with the vendor if you are unsure.


Currency Exchanges

The American dollar is widely accepted throughout Whistler Resort. If you need to exchange money, Whistler's banks can assist. Most banks have automatic teller machines (ATM) which are accessible 24 hours a day. ATMs accept Cirrus, Plus and Interac.

Banks

Name Area Address Phone
Scotiabank Creekside 212-2059 Lake Placid Road 1.604.966.3230
BlueShore Credit Union Village 101-4321 Village Gate Boulevard 1.604.982.8000
Royal Bank of Canada Village 101-4000 Whistler Way 1.604.938.5800
TD Canada Trust Village North 138-4370 Lorimer Road 1.604.905.5500
CIBC Village North 4368 Main Street 1.800.465.2422
Money Mart Village North 4314 Main Street 1.604.932.1620

Travel Insurance

Taking out a travel insurance policy to cover medical, theft, or loss for yourself and family is always a good idea. Canada is safe and tourist-friendly but you should always be prepared.

Whistler.com Official Central Reservations offers travel insurance to cover all your vacation needs including trip cancellation, baggage loss/delays, medical expenses and emergency medical transportation. Our travel insurance is offered and underwritten by Travel Guard, one of the leading travel insurance companies in the world covering six million travelers annually. Protect your vacation investment by purchasing travel insurance online or by calling 1.800.944.7853 to speak with one of our friendly travel consultants.

All charter services operating in British Columbia are insured and receptive tour operators are registered with the British Columbia Registry of Travel Companies.

Vehicle Insurance

If you are renting a car, rental companies always provide you with details on car insurance during your travels. Having car insurance while traveling in Canada certainly makes things much easier if you have been involved in a car accident. The British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) sells Visitor to Canada Insurance after arrival in British Columbia.

The British Columbia Automobile Association is affiliated with the American Automobile Association and provides information and roadside assistance.
Vancouver area: 1.604.268.5555
Rest of BC: 1.800.JOIN.CAA / 1.800.564.6222


Taxes

Goods and Services purchased in British Columbia are currently subject to the 8% PST (Provincial Sales Tax) and 5% GST (Goods and Services Tax). The majority of items such as lift tickets, activities, etc. are subject to one tax (5% GST). Lodging is subject to the 8% PST and 5% GST in addition to the 2% municipal and regional district tax.


Tipping

Tipping is standard practice in British Columbia, Canada. The standard minimum tip is 15 per cent. Tips are generally given to servers, taxi drivers, hairdressers, bartenders, spa therapists, hotel attendants and bellhops.

Medical Services

Bring your provincial health card when you visit any medical service. Note if you do not have Canadian medical insurance, you will be required to pay at the time of service.

Hospital

Name Area Address Non-Emergency Phone
Whistler Health Care Centre (Hospital) Village North 4380 Lorimer Road 1.604.932.4911

Urgent Care Clinic: The UCC is a diagnostic and treatment centre where any medical illness, emergency or patient can be treated, and if necessary, referred to other hospitals. An emergency physician is available 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM every day and on-call after hours for emergencies. Patients are seen in order of urgency of problem, not time of arrival - so wait times may vary.

The clinic may be used for:

  • Any medical problem
  • Any emergency after hours
  • Out patient laboratory and diagnostic imaging services referred by any physician


Doctors and Clinics

Name Area Address Phone
Coast Medical Clinic Village North 110-4350 Lorimer Road 1.604.905.5130
Community Health Services Village North 4380 Lorimer Road 1.604.932.3202
Mental Health Services Village North 4380 Lorimer Road 1.604.698.6455
Northlands Medical Clinic Village North 101-4359 Main Street 1.604.932.8362
Town Plaza Medical Clinic Village North 40-4314 Main Street 1.604.905.7089
Whistler Medical Clinic Village North 201-4380 Lorimer Road 1.604.932.3977

The clinics listed above provide the following services:

  • All regular family practice care (coughs, colds, etc.)
  • Follow-up visits
  • Minor injuries including suturing, casting and splinting
  • Prescriptions
  • STD testing and contraception
  • Acute orthopedic minor injuries
  • Check-ups and physicals
  • Sports medicine
  • Appointments and walk-ins
  • Visitors welcome
  • Open seven days a week

Dentists

Name Area Address Phone
Whistler Dental Village North 336-4370 Lorimer Road 1.604.932.3677
Aarm Dental Group Village 12 - 4122 Village Green 1.604.683.5530
Creekside Dental Clinic Creekside 2011 Innsbruck Drive 1.604.938.1550

Other Services

There are a range of other professional health services in Whistler including physiotherapists, massage therapists, chiropractors and acupuncturists.

Measurement System

Canada follows the International Metric System. Temperature, rainfall measures, distance, weight and velocity are expressed in metric units. Distance is measured in kilometres (km).

Distance

  • 1 km = 0.6 miles
  • 1 mile = 1.6 km

Volume

  • 1 litre = 1.06 US quarts

Weight

  • 1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds
  • 1 pound = .45 kilograms

Speed

  • 30 km/h = 20 mph
  • 50 mph = 80 km/h

Public Holidays in Canada

Most shops and services are open on public (statutory) holidays in Whistler. In fact, it usually is a time for a festival or event! Hotels operate 24/7, 365 days a year.