Overland Canada Travel
Pan American Highway > Canada
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- 1 Visiting Canada
- 2 Entering Canada with a Car or Motorbike
- 3 Driving in Canada
- 4 Gas and Diesel price in Canada
- 5 Safety and Security Considerations
- 6 Camping in Canada
- 7 Navigation
- 8 Special Overland Travel interests
- 9 Vehicle Maintenance
- 10 Buy or sell a car or motorbike in Canada
- 11 References
- 12 Helpful External links
Canada is one of the world's largest countries, and it is known for its northern location, climate, liberal politics, and French influences. The largest cities include Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and Quebec City, among others that are mostly in the south of the country.
The mountainous region in the southwest (around British Columbia), especially around Banff National Park, is popular with tourists, along with the cities in the Quebec area.
Entering Canada with a Car or Motorbike
Correct as of: November 2013
(To check if you need a travel Visa for Canada, application instructions and fees see: Canada Visa online application at VisaHQ.com)
List the paperwork required to enter with a vehicle, including number of copies
Process at border
Briefly describe the process at the border to enter with a vehicle
If shipping in via container, see the whole process described here: http://www.granviaje.ch/welcome-to-canada-or-how-to-get-a-car-out-of-a-container/
Cost of entry
The vehicle is free for entry, the cost of people to enter will depend on their nationality, how long they wish to stay and what type of visa they get.
Permitted length of stay
Vehicles are legally permitted to stay for one year before they are supposed to leave. There is no paperwork or record of this, and lots of vehicles overstay with no consequences.
Extension of stay
Describe the process to extend the permitted length of entry for the vehicle, if possible.
Storing a vehicle and temporarily leaving the country
Foreign vehicles can be stored in Canada using the customs e99 form. This is really for boats and planes but cars are okay. Customs may ask for a bond, or maybe not. A year is normal but it is negotiable. Some people have been given 18 months. Takes 5 minutes.
Exiting with a vehicle
We've crossed the Canada/US border with a custom cleared car in Vancouver shipped from Vladivostok. At the border custom police checked us only the passport, no check or document released for the car.
Driving in Canada
Recommended books for Overlanding in Canada
Travel insurance for Canada
Vehicle insurance requirements
Insurance is mandatory in Canada, but limits vary by province:
* In British Columbia basic Autoplan coverage by ICBC is required
Cost of vehicle insurance
State the price of insurance and a time period.
Where to purchase vehicle insurance
Insurance requirements differ by provinces. Most provinces have a competitive insurance system, but some do not:
British Columbia has a province-owned monopoly insurance system by ICBC (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia) who provides Autoplan basic liability insurances; optional comprehensive coverage plans are also provided, but these are extra above the mandatory Autoplan cover and is available through ICBC as well as commercial providers
State the kind of driving licenses required. i.e. International Driving Permit.
Driving side of road
RHD vehicles can be driven in Canada without a problem.
Mandatory items in vehicle
General Road quality
General road quality in Canada is good to excellent. One way streets are common in some city centers such as Vancouver, BC, and Calgary, AB. PEI has many dirt roads, frequently poorly labeled. The roads in Newfoundland are generally good, but there are some stretches with potholes. In Labrador the Trans-Labrador Highway is currently being paved. Be prepared for 100s of miles of gravel. In Yukon there are stretches of decent road, but also long stretches with potholes and deteriorating pavement. The Dempster Highway (from Dawson City to Inuvik, NWT) is not paved. The road was constructed from local materials and the quality of the road changes with each construction material.
Road signs for directions are generally well marked and hazards / road work are almost always well marked.
The Trans Canada Highway goes from coast to coast and has sections that are tolled. British Columbia had tolls until September 1, 2017 on the Port Mann Bridge, the government of the day removed the tolls and it is currently not in effect. The New Brunswick toll highway is strategically placed so that all traffic to the Maritimes has to pass through it.
The bridge connecting the mainland to the province of Prince Edward Island is tolled. The bridge is located over open ocean and is 12.9 kilometre (8 mile) long. It is the longest bridge crossing ice covered water. The bridge can have extreme winds, low temperatures and rain or snow. Drivers that are uncomfortable driving themselves across the bridge can pay a $40 (CAD) fee to have someone else drive your vehicle. There are also fines for running out of fuel during the crossing. Those costs can be found at the following link. https://www.confederationbridge.com/tolls-fees/tolls-fees.html
To access islands on Vancouver Island use BC Ferries website, https://www.bcferries.com/. There can be different vehicle restrictions on different ferries from the mainland of British Columbia, also the main routes to Vancouver island can fill up very quickly before and after holidays or from commuters. You are able to book in advance to secure a spot. Costs of $100 per crossing are normal, costs for additional people may apply. There is also ferry access from Vancouver Island to the United States, it is less frequent during winter.
For access from the mainland to the island of Newfoundland can be found at the following link. These ferries cross much more open water than those around Vancouver Island, and regularly have delays or very rough water. https://www.marineatlantic.ca/en/plan-your-travel/Sailing-Routes/
All inland Ferries in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan are free, with the exception of Wollaston lake barge in Saskatchewan. Most ferries in Alberta and Saskatchewan shut down during winter time. Major routes in British Columbia will operate year round.
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation/passenger-travel/water-travel/inland-ferries https://www.alberta.ca/alberta-ferry-schedules.aspx https://www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/transportation/ferry-crossings
- Please add additional information*
Bribery in Canada
Bribery with the local police or RCMP is non-existent. Do NOT attempt to bribe Police.
Across the country are Drunk Driving check points. They are more common on holidays and weekends but operate year round. Police roadside spot-checks are set up on major roadways and off-ramps of highways. All drivers are stopped and interrogated upon reaching the checkpoint. If a driver is suspected to be intoxicated, the officer may request a roadside breathalyzer test. Spot checks usually consist of several cruisers and pylons to direct cars into the area. Trailers are used to conduct breathalyzer testing. Tow trucks may be on standby to remove any vehicles with drivers caught drunk.
Traveling with pets
List the entry requirements and anything else required to travel with a pet.
Gas and Diesel price in Canada
Last updated: December 2018
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Gas and diesel prices vary across the country, and change quickly.
|Regular||$1.23 CAD per Liter|
|Diesel||$0.85 CAD per Liter|
Gas and Diesel Availability / Frequency
Gas stations are frequent and if you are going to be on a highway for a long distance between stations there will be a sign warning you.
Gas and Diesel Quality
Discuss if gasoline / diesel considered "clean" or "dirty", and generally high or low quality.
State the sulfur content of diesel, if known.
Safety and Security Considerations
Driving at night
Driving at night is typically very safe.
Vehicles can typically be parked on the street safely. Large parking lots of malls, transit stations, hotels/motels are targets for thieves. Many are patrolled by security.
Special driving considerations
A List of special things to be careful of (i.e. Unsigned speed bumps, abnormal road rules, people or animals on the road, etc.).
List any roads that are not recommended to drive for safety or other security reasons.
Security advisories and information
- Country Specific Information - U.S. Department of State
- Travel Reports and Warnings - Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
- Travel advice by country - Foreign and Commonwealth office (U.K.)
- Travel Advice for Canada - Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Camping in Canada
Organized "pay" camping is common, often with full facilities. British Columbia specific: Within the borders, there are more than 400 different provincial parks for day use and camping. Four of the six national parks offer developed camping facilities. Hundreds of BC Government recreation sites, located throughout the province, offer rustic camping, boat launching and often maintained trails.
Most campgrounds in British Columbia have the basic facilities. This includes water, wood, pit toilets, picnic tables and fire pits. Some larger campgrounds can offer showers, flush toilets, sani-stations, wheelchair access, group camping, visitor's centers and interpretive programs. The camp spots are made tidy after each visitor leaves, garbage is collected on a regular basis, and washroom facilities are usually clean and well maintained.
At fee sites, fees are collected only from approx April to October. Camping fees vary from site to site depending on the facilities. Attendants, in most parks collect the cash only payment in the early evening hours. Fees are reasonable. There is a charge for firewood in national parks. Whether camping or not, they charge an additional fee in national parks. http://www.bcadventure.com/adventure/camping/ http://www.sitesandtrailsbc.ca
Camping guide books
From roadside parks to remote wilderness campsites the Backroad Mapbooks are your source for camping in Canada. http://www.backroadmapbooks.com
Tap water is safe to drink everywhere. Water can also be purchased in any store.
Reise Know-How are amoung the best paper maps. Purchase paper maps before arriving in Canada
The Backroad Mapbook Series provides up-to-date topographic maps and outdoor recreation descriptions needed to get you outdoors safely and confidently. They have Backroad maps for all of Canada in a variety of formats including their very popular mapbooks, PDF books, digital maps, GPS maps and TOPO maps. http://www.backroadmapbooks.com
City maps can be purchased at gas stations and big drug stores like Shopper's Drug Mart or London Drugs.
BCAA or across Canada, CAA also have detailed maps of North America and major cities and other travel information, insurance etc. http://www.bcaa.com/
GPS Maps of Canada
Review different GPS companies, quality and coverage (Tomtom, Garmin, OSM, Tracks4Africa). (with links to each).
GPS co-ordinates for camping, propane, gas, repairs, etc. in Canada
- iOverlander is a website and iPhone application designed by Overlanders, for Overlanders. It contains GPS co-ordinates and reviews for camping, hotels, propane, water, mechanics, borders and much more.
Link to sites that have a list of GPS co-ordinates (or directions) for camping locations (including "wild" campsites), propane filling, gas stations, repair shops, places of interest, etc.
Special Overland Travel interests
List any special items / places that are popular with Overlanders
You can possibly cross Canada and not drive on pavement ! See : http://graveltravel.ca/ Mostly for motorcycles, many sections are 4x4 friendly.
Eastern Canada's answer to the Dempster Hightway : the TransLabrador Highway !Info here : http://www.tlhwy.com/ Unfortunately the entire road is being paved and can be driven in a regular 2 wheel drive car. See also the : http://www.jamesbayroad.com/
4x4s / Trucks
- Toyota Global Dealer Locator
- Land Rover International Dealer Locator
- Mercedes Benz International (select country on bottom right)
- Jeep International site locator
Add known good mechanics here.
Buy or sell a car or motorbike in Canada
A foreigner will need a Canadian license to register a car in most provinces, which usually means you need a tourist visa of 6 months.
In 2015, overlanders have reported registering a car in BC without a Canadian license.
In 2018, confirmed by other overlanders you can register in BC without a Canadian license.
Selling a car in BC is even easier then buying one. You just have to fill out your part of the Transfer Tax Form and hand this over to the buyer, who takes that to the ICBC.
Selling a BC car outside of BC is only possible if only the buyer goes with the filled out Transfer Tax Form to a ICBC office, it might be even possible if somebody does it for you with a power of attorney.
Links to the source of any information - blogs or discussion forums, etc.
- http://www.mytravelcost.com/petrol-prices/ TravelCost website
- http://www.mytravelcost.com/petrol-prices/11/ TravelCost website, diesel