Although Canadian exchange rates are not as attractive as they once were, you can still travel the world’s second largest country on a reasonable budget. There are many public transportation options, including the Canadian Rail System. Their summer rail pass allowing twenty-one days of travel, can be a good value if you plan to travel extensively ($1048 summer/ $660 off season).
But, for shorter trips you may be better off with their internet Express Deals, or Escape Deals with discounted tickets starting at just $25.00. If you prefer to travel by bus, Greyhound Canada offers web specials, student deals, and companion tickets to over three thousand destination in the US and Canada. If you are on a serious budget, try checking the free ridesharing postings on www.craigslist.org for someone that is going your way. You are often asked to help drive or to chip in for gas.
Despite their name, youth hostels which have no age requirements are a great option for budget travel in Canada or for any working holidays you may be on. Hostelling International Canada has over sixty Canadian hostels ($25.00/night average), with private rooms available. Hostels are usually centrally located, saving money for budget travelers in large cities such as Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Quebec City. You can also find hostels in Victoria, Tofino, Halifax, Prince Edward Island, and even Niagara Falls.
Canada is well known for vast undeveloped territories, but it is also home to many great cities. If you visit Vancouver, B.C. you won’t want to miss the 400 hectare Stanley Park, a waterfront park home to the Vancouver Aquarium ($25.00 Adults/$18.00 Student), gardens, forest, and beaches.
Rent a bicycle from a vendor like Stanley Park Cycle ($15/half day) and explore the famous twenty-two kilometer paved seawall path that circles the park. Another free attraction is the Granville Island Public Market, open seven days a week from 7am to 9pm. On Thursdays from June 6, 2013 until October 24, 2013 you can also experience the Granville Island Farmers Market (Free, 9am-3pm).
On the west coast, there is always Victoria, B.C., a beautiful Victorian Seaport where the clever traveler can still stretch a dollar. You can spend a full day roaming around the Inner Harbor for free, enjoying the myriad of street vendors and entertainers. The annual Victoria Classic Boat Festival (August 30th to September 1st, 2013), gives you the opportunity to gaze in wonder at some of the Pacific Northwest’s Premier wooden yachts.
Heading east from Victoria? Check out Calgary’s rich history with a free printable self guided walking tour from the City of Calgary’s website. Afterwards, check out Canada Olympic Park, the site of the winter Olympics in 1988. The park is open year round for a wide range of outdoor activities from mountain biking to skiing. In the summer, you can ride the glass elevator to the top of the Ski Jump Observation Tower ($7) for an incredible view.
When visiting Toronto, take a trip out to Riverdale Farms (Free), a seven and a half acre working rural farm in the middle of a Toronto suburb complete with cows, sheep, and other farm animals. Visit on a Tuesday to experience the afternoon farmers market (May 28th to October 15th, 3-7pm). You should also spend some time in the Distillery District, a pedestrian-only shopping district with historical architecture and plenty of charm. There are no chain stores allowed here, so you can be sure to find something unique. Lastly, ensure your transportation plans include a ride on a Toronto Streetcar, for a fun, budget friendly way to see the city.
Adrian is a travel enthusiast who enjoys seeing the sights of Canada at a price he can afford. When he's not blogging about his adventures, he is on the beach or at a hotel.