Overland Canada Travel

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Visiting Canada[edit]

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[edit]

Correct as of: November 2013

Required Paperwork[edit]

(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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Describe the process to extend the permitted length of entry for the vehicle, if possible.

Storing a vehicle and temporarily leaving the country[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Recommended books for Overlanding in Canada[edit]

Lonely Planet Canada (travel Guide)
Lonely Planet Canada (travel Guide)
by Lonely Planet
From $14.62 on Amazon
Work Less To Live Your Dreams: A Practical Guide To Sa...
Work Less To Live Your Dreams: A Practical Guide To Sa...
by Dan Grec
From $click on Amazon
Don't Go There. It's Not Safe. You'll Die. And Other M...
Don't Go There. It's Not Safe. You'll Die. And Other M...
by LifeRemotely.com
From $click on Amazon
Americas Overland - The Driving Handbook
Americas Overland - The Driving Handbook
by Donald Greene
From $29.95 on Amazon
Overlanders' Handbook: Worldwide Route And Planning Gu...
Overlanders' Handbook: Worldwide Route And Planning Gu...
by Chris Scott
From $22.49 on Amazon
Adventure Motorcycling Handbook: A Route & Planning Gu...
Adventure Motorcycling Handbook: A Route & Planning Gu...
by Chris Scott
From $click on Amazon
Footprints Deluxe: Scripture With Reflections Inspired...
Footprints Deluxe: Scripture With Reflections Inspired...
by Margaret Fishback Powers
From $4.62 on Amazon

Travel insurance for Canada[edit]

World Nomads offer the most flexible Travel Insurance at the best prices for multi-country / multi-year trips. You can buy, extend and claim online, even after you've left home.

Vehicle insurance requirements[edit]

Insurance is mandatory in Canada, but limits vary by province:

* In British Columbia basic Autoplan coverage by ICBC is required

Cost of vehicle insurance[edit]

State the price of insurance and a time period.

Where to purchase vehicle insurance[edit]

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

Driving license[edit]

State the kind of driving licenses required. i.e. International Driving Permit.

Driving side of road[edit]

RHD vehicles can be driven in Canada without a problem.

Mandatory items in vehicle[edit]



General Road quality[edit]

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[edit]

Road signs for directions are generally well marked and hazards / road work are almost always well marked.

Toll roads[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

List the entry requirements and anything else required to travel with a pet.

Gas and Diesel price in Canada[edit]

Last updated: December 2018

Currency and unit to display:

Gas and diesel prices vary across the country, and change quickly.

Gasoline Grade Price
Regular $1.23 CAD per Liter[1]
Diesel $0.85 CAD per Liter[2]

Gas and Diesel Availability / Frequency[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Driving at night[edit]

Driving at night is typically very safe.

Vehicle parking[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Camping in Canada[edit]

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[edit]

From roadside parks to remote wilderness campsites the Backroad Mapbooks are your source for camping in Canada. http://www.backroadmapbooks.com

Drinking water[edit]

Tap water is safe to drink everywhere. Water can also be purchased in any store.


Paper maps[edit]

Reise Know-How are amoung the best paper maps. Purchase paper maps before arriving in Canada

Canada, Central
Canada, Central
by Reise Know-How Verlag
From $4.99 on Amazon
National Geographic Road Atlas - Adventure Edition
National Geographic Road Atlas - Adventure Edition
by National Geographic Maps
From $12.85 on Amazon
Canada [map Pack Bundle] (national Geographic Adventur...
Canada [map Pack Bundle] (national Geographic Adventur...
by National Geographic Maps - Adventure
From $25.13 on Amazon
Lonely Planet Banff, Jasper And Glacier National Parks...
Lonely Planet Banff, Jasper And Glacier National Parks...
by Lonely Planet, Brendan Sainsbury, Michael Grosberg
From $11.01 on Amazon

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[edit]

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[edit]

  • 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[edit]

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/

Vehicle Maintenance[edit]


4x4s / Trucks


Local Garages[edit]

Add known good mechanics here.

1) Rovalution Automotive in North Vancouver, British Columbia services Land Rovers. Licensed Land Rover technicians.https://www.rovalution.ca/ - Phone: 604-985-6317 - Address: 867 3rd Street West North Vancouver, BC V7P 1E2 Canada

- Business Hours: Monday-Friday: 8:30AM-5:00PM Pacific time Weekends: CLOSED

Buy or sell a car or motorbike in Canada[edit]

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.

  1. http://www.mytravelcost.com/petrol-prices/ TravelCost website
  2. http://www.mytravelcost.com/petrol-prices/11/ TravelCost website, diesel

Helpful External links[edit]