Canadian Currency or US

Jul 19th, 2004, 08:00 AM
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Canadian Currency or US

We are planning a trip to Banff/Jasper in mid september. Is it necessary to take Canadian currency or will US work fine? Last time we were in Canada on a fishing trip; flew out of Red Lake OT and everone was able to take either US or canadian $$.

josie23 is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 08:24 AM
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I'll go out on a limb here and say that although American currency is widely accepted in Canada, in the interests of cultural sensitivity it's a good idea to use Canadian dollars instead.
Vorkuta is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 08:31 AM
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At the risk of repeating what's been said before on this board, you can use U.S. currency in most large cities and tourist areas in Canada. Most shops and services will accept it. I wouldn't worry about cultural sensitivity. However, you're not likely to get a very good rate of exchange and you'll most likely get your change in Can$. You'd be far better to get Canadian currency in Canada from an ATM.

If you have any C$ left over, you can always use them in the U.S. They do accept them there, don't they?

laverendrye is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 08:36 AM
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whenever I travel I try to use the currency of that country, especially for smaller stores, etc. i use credit card for larger purchases, so i don't have to carry large amounts and bank machines are as available as in USA. while payment in USA $ might be possible, don't expect to receive change in USA $. Last trip I had British, Euro, American and Canadian.
everittp is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 08:44 AM
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Most places will take American cash.
You will not get a good exchange rate. Your change will probably come back in Canadian dollars.
And you do risk appearing somewhat arrogant.
Would you want to get Canadian money in the US?
taggie is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 09:55 AM
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We got some Canadian money through our bank before we left in case we needed it, but charged almost everything on our Mastercard. When we got our bill, we had saved quite a bit of money on the exchange rate.
maj is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 10:21 AM
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As I have constantly said on this board, and having been involved in the tourist business for over 30 years, there is definately a negative attitude on the part of Canadians towards Americans who flash their greenbacks around. Perhaps it stems from the didain with which Americans and their banks look at Canadian money when we visit the States and no doubt there's a feeling that we are being dissed by those Americans who feel we poor people are thrilled to receive Yankee dollas.

None of that is meant to inply that a bellhop wouldn't rather receive a US$10 biull as a tip over a Canadian $10Bill. We're not stupid after all but if you want to be well thought of by Canadians and don't want to appear to be an 'Arrogant American' pay us the respect of using Canadian Money in Canada.
GaryA is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 12:03 PM
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Thank you for your replies.

I will mostly take Canadian Money or use Credit Cards, but I know when we went on the fishing trip the place we were staying at actually prefered US $, as well as the restraunt and hotel in the town we flew out of. And yes, when we bought things in US $ the exchange rate was not as good, and we got Canadian back, but for as little as we needed (since it was a fly-in fishing trip-just a couple meals up and back) it was actually better than paying our bank a convience fee for exchanging the money.

Wouldn't arrogance come with your mannerisms in the way you pay, not specifically what you pay with?
josie23 is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 12:25 PM
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Josie, you're right about the arrogance being in the way you use the money, of course, but since we don't know you we can't tell if you have nice mannerisms or not .
It's just that we get a lot of US people visiting here who give the impression that their money is better than anyone else's, and don't have nice mannerisms about it.
Certainly in more touristy areas, like Banf and Jasper, they're used to getting US dollars, and they sure won't turn 'em down. But it can be an inconvenience. We're a separate country with its own money, not the 51 state. And I say again, would stores in the US be happy to take Canadian dollars?
If your bank charges you a fee to give you Cdn dollars, use an ATM when you arrive. That's by far the best way - and you'll get the best exchange rate too.
BTW, mid-September should be a lovely time to be in the Banff/Jasper area. Have a nice trip.
taggie is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 12:27 PM
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Hey folks. Let's recognize that you don't need Canadian money to arrive in Canada. Simply get money out of the first bank ATM you come to. Buying Canadian currency in the USA is going to cost you 5% above the bank wholesale rate of exchange.

Even if you buy travelers' checks you are going to pay a premium of 5% over the wholesale rate. I don't care if there is "no fee", the exchange rate is adjusted against you!

Then, most Canadian banks will charge you a fee per check to convert the travelers' check to currency, again at something less favorable than the wholesale exchange rate. (In a bank in Canmore last week, Canadian checks were cashed for $2.00 each, US dollar checks were cashed for $2.50 each, and "foreign" checks were cashed for $5.00 each. Interesting that the US is not "foreign.")

The way to fly is to use your ATM card. You will get the benefit of the bank wholesale exchange rate plus 1%, which is a standard add on. If you use a correspondent to your own bank, there will be no ATM fees. For example, the Scotia Bank is a correspondent of the Bank of America and using your BOA ATM at Scotia Banks is not an off net transaction. Other US banks have similar arrangements.

I can assure you that you WILL take a beating on the exchange rate if you want to pay in US dollars. The posted rate in stores I saw around Lake Louise and Banff was $1.25 Canadian for $1.00 US. That was about 6% to 7% worse than the bank wholesale rate.

So go ahead, pay in US dollars. The Canadians like the extra profit. They love to get their hands on US dollars at favorable rates of exchange.

Now there is one exception to this situation. I have seen merchants in Banff mark down prices by advertising exchange rates that were better for US dollars than the bank wholesale rate. So if you had paper dollars, you could in effect get a price discount. When I asked what the game was, the answer I got was that the merchant's association had agreed not to hold sales until x date. The exchange rate dabblers had figured out a way to jump the gun.
Rather than marking down the prices, they fiddled with the exchange rate for cash transactions.
bob_brown is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 12:33 PM
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As an extensive traveler to Canada (I'm from the States), all the above points have merit. The bottom line (dollar?) is that one likes to receive the best value for the money. Wo doesn't? In that vein then, converting US $$$ for C currency makes financial sense.
That said, I do sometimes leave US currency for tips to hotel maids if I think I'm in need of whatever C currency I have at the time. As GaryA points out, they can exchange the money for the exchange rate and make out on it. Though I suppose one could also argue that it would be just as easy to leave a bit more of C currency to account for the exchange rate.

Finally, it is in poor taste by US businesses not to readily take C currency, but the fact remains that most will not, at least not outside of border tourist areas. I tried a few months ago (just for the heck of it) to pay a restaurant bill with a C $20 bill. Needless to say that I wasn't successful.
waltd is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 01:17 PM
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This is one of those times when it's really hard to keep my big mouth shut!!! But I will say one thing..(can't help it).
Josie, OF course they were happy to accept american $$ at the fishing resort. They were probably winning on the whole deal, by giving you a lousy exchange rate. Sheesh, if you don't care about the rate, I'll be glad to exchange your money for you. I'll need American dollars when I go to the States. I can't use my Canadian dollars there.
kodi is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 02:17 PM
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Right on Kodi - and they were probably snickering about it behind their backs as well. Really, Josie - is it such a hardship to just change your 'real' money into our 'funny' money? Get real or confine your travels to the USA.
GaryA is offline  
Jul 21st, 2004, 04:30 AM
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Gary A, if you've been involved in the tourism business for many years (Canadian tourism?) you're not doing Canada any favours with your comments here.
Josie, you're absolutely right - arrogance is in the attitude not the currency that you use. Using US dollars in Canada may indicate that you are a Canadian just back from holidays in the US.
Having said that - yes get a couple of hundred $ in Cdn, because you'll get a better exchange rate. I do the same when I visit the US and it's just convenient to spend local currency. You could easily spend more time at a retail counter because the clerk doesn't know how to calculate the exchange. Have a great trip!
Jackie44 is offline  
Jul 21st, 2004, 06:25 AM
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Excuse me Jackie44 but I believe the purpose of this forum is to provide advise to people who ask questions. I have given Josie23 advise based on my years of experiance. Should I lie and say sure, use your US money, we love it here and we'll love you for offering it to us? I think not.
GaryA is offline  
Jul 21st, 2004, 07:22 AM
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Thanks for making me laugh Gary. Yes, we love US dollars here!
Jackie44 is offline  

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