Getting around Canada

Jul 29, 2010 at 12:07 p.m. ET

Canada is a vast country. It’s the world’s second largest country by total area and shares the longest border in the world with the United States. Which is why, traveling coast-to-coast can be a difficult task. But if you’re up for the challenge, exploring Canada’s many magnificent regions will expose you to hundreds of different cultures and a land that’s rich with history. Here’s all you need to know about getting From Sea to Shining Sea.



Canada is one of the most water-rich countries in the world. It has a large network of locks, seaways and lakes by which you can travel from Nova Scotia to Vancouver Island from. That being said, not all of the lakes can be travelled by boat so canoeing skills are a must. Provincial campground sites will list many of the routes you can use to travel by canoe (which may also require some portaging skills). Ferries are operational in locations like Vancouver and Halifax. Boats can be used on major waterways like the St. Lawrence Seaway, Georgian Bay and Ontario's provincial lakes. Regardless of your waterway mode of transportation, it's important to check in with Canada's Coast Guard and Transport Canada for rules and regulations everyone, including Canadians, must follow when operating a boat in Canadian waters. Keep in mind, if you live in Canada or will be staying in the country for more than 45 days, you also require a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (the equivalent of a boating licence). For more information on that, click here.


Travelling Canada by car is one of the best ways to see and experience the country. You'll get the chance to explore maritime culture and French countryside, and the prairies then the Rockies (and that's only a small slice of what the country's got going on). At just over 900,000 kilometres of road (which is enough to circle the globe 22 times), Canada's national highway system (the Trans-Canada Highway) is made up of thousands of national and regional highways. It's best to start your journey in one end of the country then work your way to the next (with a pit stop to the north, if you're interested). The handy Trans-Canada Highway Trip & Vacation Planner website will help you map out your route. To learn more about road safety in Canada, visit Transport Canada's website. Also, be sure to tune to local radio stations as you drive through small towns for road closure information.


With so much terrain to cover, travelling Canada by plane is one of the fastest ways to see everything you want to see. You can jet from Halifax to Vancouver in about eight hours. The national airline of Canada is Air Canada, though many other airlines fly cross-country, like WestJet. There are also smaller, regional airlines, like Toronto's Porter Airlines. Travel within Canada does not require a passport (if you're a Canadian citizen), only a driver's licence or some other government-issued form of ID. Updated information on air travel can be found at Transport Canada's website.

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