Canada, Tipping, US Dollars

Old Apr 27th, 2008, 01:24 PM
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Canada, Tipping, US Dollars

I will be traveling for a week in Canada (BC) this fall. Most of the trip is prepaid, with the exception of some meals, for which I will use my credit card. However, I will need some actual cash for tips, etc. Would it be okay for me to use US dollars or should I get Canadian? Now that both dollars are basically equal I thought perhaps I wouldn't have to change money, as I don't want lots left over. Also, are their tipping policies about the same in the US? Thanks much!!
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Old Apr 27th, 2008, 01:29 PM
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It is considered extremely rude to try to use US dollars in a foreign country, irregardless of the exchange rate. Canada is another country, not an extension of the US. The exchange rate has nothing at all to do with it, and you will force whoever takes your dollars to pay for converting them. You are going to pay your bank or credit card company to change the Canadian charges to US dollars too, so just get small amount of local currency as you would say, in Europe, or anywhere else.
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Old Apr 27th, 2008, 01:35 PM
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I don't know what the etiquette books say about such a situation, if they say anything at all, but I've never heard that it's considered extremely rude.

However, I agree that maybe you should get some Canuck money...it even comes in pretty colours.
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Old Apr 27th, 2008, 02:09 PM
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Since you're going to have some meals to pay for, and then there are any purchases you might decide to make, I would simply use your ATM to check some local cash to use for those purposes and tips. With the conversion rates on many credit cards, etc., you may find you're saving money even with the leftover.

If you just get enough for a few days at a time, you won't be stuck with lots of leftover. When you spend, spend the paper money first. That way any coins you're left with can be handed out as trinkets when you get home.
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Old Apr 27th, 2008, 04:22 PM
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Just try to leave a tip in Canadian dollars in the US.
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Old Apr 27th, 2008, 04:37 PM
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We often ski across the border in Ellicotville N. Y. and they are very gracious about taking our Canadian money at the hill. They give us the current (that day's exchange rate). It is a greatly appreciated convenience, when we ski we have no time to waste getting money exchanged.
If you are close to the border I am sure no one will care about getting American money. If further away you should probably get some.
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Old Apr 27th, 2008, 04:49 PM
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Thanks for the replies. I didn't think about the rudeness factor, and you are all correct--I should know better. Thanks much--I'll do the ATM thing. I guess I'm embarrased I asked!
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Old Apr 27th, 2008, 06:08 PM
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While I agree that tips in Canada are best given in Canadian dollars if you are stuck without approprate Canadian denominations US dollars are better than no tip at all!
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Old Apr 27th, 2008, 06:21 PM
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Don't be embarrassed - better to ask ahead of time, then to face a p**sed off waiter or maid holding a lousy greenback.

Seriously, as Gavin says, if it's all you've got, use it. But, if you can get Canadian cash, it's better to use it.
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Old Apr 28th, 2008, 05:34 AM
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I will certainly get some Canadian cash! I also inquired, are their tipping policies (i.e., 15-20% at restaurants, etc.) about the same as in the US? I know when in England or Ireland I always overtip and would like to stay somewhere in line this time! Thanks again!
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Old Apr 28th, 2008, 05:39 AM
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Yes tips in restaurants would be the same as in the US - 15% - 20%; although I think most people would use 15%.
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Old Apr 28th, 2008, 07:59 AM
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A small point for oliverandharry - there is no such word as irregardless. You meant to use irrespective, I'm sure.
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Old Apr 28th, 2008, 08:08 AM
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almcd,

You'll need more weed killer to make irregardless extinct.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irregardless

JQ

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Old Apr 28th, 2008, 08:58 AM
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I found that in tourist parts of border areas, Vancouver, Toronto etc., when the dollar was worth more, some wanted american dollars because they could get more for their money. However, at the present, that's not the case, so definitely use Canadian dollars. Of course Canada is not the US so one should use the local currency however some people in tourist areas don't mind getting foreign currency that can be easily exchanged if the rate is higher.
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Old Apr 28th, 2008, 09:03 AM
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Except for past few months when the Canadian dollar has been at par (or even above) the US dollar, most service people appreciated tips in US dollars because they were worth more.

As to tipping in Canada, Canadians tip less often and tend to stick to 15% as a maximum. There is some truth to the old joke: "What's the difference between a Canadian and a canoe? A canoe tips".
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Old Apr 28th, 2008, 09:07 AM
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Those of us who live within easy driving distance of Canada will be surprised to learn that offering US dollars in Canada is extremely rude. We've been doing it for over 20 years and have yet to hear a complaint.

Because of the upside-down exchange rate, though, we now use the currency exchange just over the border.
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Old Apr 28th, 2008, 09:37 AM
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It's not rude, but just prickles the nationalistic sensibilities of some Canadians. Now what is rude is to ask "How much is that in real money?", but I don't think any one does that anymore.

The important thing is that you'll not usually get a good deal on the exchange rate by using US Dollars in Canada, as merchants will want to make a bit on the exchange. If it's more convenient to us US Dollars, then go ahead. They won't be refused for sure.

However, anyone spending any time in Canada should obtain Canadian currency at an ATM.
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Old Apr 28th, 2008, 09:49 AM
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I was recently there for 3 days and everyone accepted US dollars - and seemed happy to do so, as if this is a very regular and accepted occurance. The only thing was that, of course, any change was given in Canadian money.

I didn't know it was considered rude either...oops!
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Old Apr 28th, 2008, 10:35 AM
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I think a lot of it has to do with how close to the border you are staying. In Niagara Falls, you probably won't have any complaints when using US dollars. In fact, most of the stores, restaurants, etc. specifically state they accept US money.

However, in Ottawa, I've never seen a store, etc. state they accept US money. It's not that convenient for the folks to spend the US bills or to exchange them.

So, yes, for most border towns, US money will most likely be gladly accepted, but the farther you get from the border, the less pleased folks will be.
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Old Apr 28th, 2008, 10:45 AM
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There is a difference between a store taking US currency and leaving US currency as a tip.

When a business makes the nightly deposit, they just deposit the American money with the Canadian and that bank does the exchange and updates the account accordingly.

However, a waiter who receives US money has to make an effort to exchange it and pay fees for doing so.
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