Jul 10th, 2003, 03:27 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
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I have what is probably a really stupid question. I am trying to figure out the cost of our trip and while I think I need to figure it out in US currency, should I actually do it in Canadian?? When I go to pay at a hotel/restaraunt should I have Canadian currency or do most places accept US currency?
Thanks for the answer.
mostef is offline  
Jul 10th, 2003, 03:39 AM
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A lot of places do accept American, but you really should get Canadian. I used to work at a tourist site, and a highway convenience store, and I hated getting American. I kind of figured they were just too lazy to go and get our money. And besides, if you give American, you will get Canadian change, which may get more confusing for you.
LissaJ is offline  
Jul 10th, 2003, 04:36 AM
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You are going to be in Canada - get Canadian money !!! You can charge major items (hotel, rental cars, etc.) to a credit card for convenience, but you will need cash for other items. The best rate are at ATM's machines, just find one upon entering Canada and you instantly have CDN cash.
Cruiseryyc is offline  
Jul 10th, 2003, 06:25 AM
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If a Canadian handed you $200 in Canadian bills to pay for something you sold him or her, would you accept them?
If so what rate of exchange would you give?
bob_brown is offline  
Jul 10th, 2003, 07:24 AM
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ATMs are conveniently located at banks and other locations and they work just like the ones in the US.

We crossed into BC from Washington a few weeks ago and stopped for bottled water at a gas station convenience store that advertised an ATM. Got water, gas and Canadian $$$. So easy.
PoohBear is offline  
Jul 10th, 2003, 08:06 AM
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Mostef, it's not that easy a question.

Part of the answer depends on where you get your information. For instance,you may find hotel rates quoted in US dollars in some ads or websites, and in Canadian dollars on other web sites.

But since you're coming to Canada, my suggestion is to calculate as much as possible in Canadian dollars, and when you are almost finished, then convert to US to get an idea how much to budget.

To add to the confusion, there are a lot of two-currency web sites that quote in exchange rates that are out of date. There's been a big change in the last couple of months.

For these, if the attraction or hotel, etc., is in Canada, pick the Canadian rate.

If you are driving, gas will confuse you. In Canada, it is priced in cents per liter. About four liters makes a US gallon, so at $0.75cdn per liter, that's about $3 cdn per US gallon, or about $2.25US per US gallon. The price of gas goes up and down rapidly; that 75 cents price may or may not be accurate when you get here. I've seen 82 cents and 62 cents in the past few months.

As for places accepting US money -- you've read comments above. Bigger stores and hotels in bigger cities are more open to US money. And remember that with changing exxchange rates, the signs in the window offering $1.50 may be outdated, and not honored. (the real rate now is around $1.35)

In some tourist spots,you may actually get more than the actual rate, just because they round off the numbers and want to make tourists happy. i.e. They may give you $140cdn for $100US, instead of $137.62, or whatever the rate is on that particular day.

BAK is offline  
Jul 10th, 2003, 08:20 AM
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At the current exchange rate, I would discount Canadian prices approx 30% to get a guesstimate of a US price. However, realize Canadian taxes are a bit higher than most US states. As mentioned above, always use plastic whenever possible to pay for something. I NEVER use US money in Canada.
zootsi is offline  
Jul 10th, 2003, 09:02 AM
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I'll add my two cents here (in US currency of course). ATMs are the way to go to get whatever the official exchange rate is, and while you'll pay your bank's ATM fee, you won't pay commission on the exchange, which is much higher (unless you are exchanging only a few dollars).
But, all ATMs are not created equal. I found that out this spring in Toronto when I used an ATM in a store in Chinatown. Not only did I not get the official rate of exchange, but I got socked with a very high ATM fee from that location. I just didn't realize that there was a difference in ATM machines. At another store a day or two later it wouldn't even accept my card even though it was a PLUS machine!

I now know that it's best to use the ATMs at banks or large hotels, and to avoid ATMs at small stores and such. Perhaps others will have more insight into this.
waltd is offline  
Jul 10th, 2003, 01:09 PM
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Teh "real bank" ATM machines have lower prices than the machiens referred to as "white" machines. theWhite ones may, in fct, be owned by a real bank.

The real machines are clearly identified as being Royal Bank or RBC, Scotia Bank, BM-Bank of Montreal, TD-Canada Trust, and CIBC.

The real machines can be found inside or on the outside walls of real banks, but are lots of other places, too, including convenience stores, shopping malls, and just along the outside wall of a building on a busy street. I've never noticed a real machine in a bar, though.

The white machines do not have the real bank names on them, but as far as I know, the screens tell you about the charges you'll endure. And endure is the right word.

White machines are often owned by investors, who collect some of your money in return for saving you the walk to a real machine.

With some white machines (maybe all) the fees are fixed, so if you take out $20, the machine eats a lot of it, but if you take out $100, the fee you pay is the same in dollars, but is relatively less compared to the total transaction.

Remember too that some US banks have started charing extra on international transactions, and some US banks use different kinds of cards than do others, so the fees you finally pay might vary depending on whether you use a debit card from a bank or use a credit card (Visa, Mastercard) that gives you access to you bank account.

And, Americans, you'll see a lot more debit card machines in Canada at the point of sale than you do in the USA, and these may or may not be a bargain for you.

Nothing is easy anymore.

If I was a US toruist here, I'd pay with a credit card if I could, and I'd take a couple of hundred cash out or a real bank machine every once in a while, for walking around money.

And almost finally -- in Canada we have several varieites of the same paper currency, so int he course of a day you mgiht see three different styles of $10 bills. They are probably all real.

And finally -- lots of stores refuse Canada or US $100 bills, and many refuse $50 bills, so keep this in mind.


BAK is offline  
Jul 13th, 2003, 08:21 AM
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BAK- Thanks for the scoop on the ATMs. We're headed to the Maitimes next week and I'll be on the lookout for the "white" machines. I don't suppose they're called that because of their color (that'd be too too easy)! wd
waltd is offline  
Aug 10th, 2003, 05:45 AM
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If you are in a major city they will accept your US money but will give you a poor exchange rate. Note that many Canadians find it offensive when Americans think that their money should be accepted.
SusanD is offline  
Aug 10th, 2003, 08:48 AM
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Some of the non bank machines, such as those located in "convenience" stores may accept only Plus cards or only Cirrus cards. I ran into that problem at Lake Louise and other stores in the area. The machine there would accept none of my cards.
So here I am needing Canadian money and standing there armed to the teeth with plastic that will not work.
That is why I always have a few travelers checks with me. People say the checks are out of fashion, but in that situation old fashioned was better than modern. One got me money while the other was useless. And yes, the exchange rate was not one I would want to use every time.

And oh yes, fun for most people trying to figure gas prices. Let's see, 3.8 liters to the gallon, 71 cents C to the liter, the rate of exchange is $1.39C to $1.00 US. As Jethro Bodine says, naugt from naugt is naught, carry 1, add naught, divide by naught and the answer is ...

Actually, this formula should do it.

where liters is number of liter bought
price per liter is obvious and
xrate is the exchange rate in the terms of Canadian dollars per American dollar. If you have it the other way,
then multiply.

Taking a purchase of 20 liters at 71 cents C per liter, the US dollar cost per gallon is:
Comes out to $1.94 US and a fraction.

In case the 3.8 mystifies you, that is the number of liters per gallon.
As you can see a small increase in the cost per liter jumps the cost per gallon considerably. An increase per liter to 74 cents runs the cost per gallon to $2.02.

In case anyone is interested, I used my AAA credit card and got a rebate of 5% for using it. That applies in the US as well, of course. Of course you must join AAA to get the credit card.

And don't try to pay for gas with US money when you are well inside Canada.
Would you accept Canadian money for gas down here?
bob_brown is offline  
Aug 10th, 2003, 09:23 AM
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Actully, the formula to calculate the cost of gas per gallon in US money is needlessly complex. Just do this:

3.8 x cost per liter / exchange rate

where the exchange rate is in terms of Canadian dollars per American dollar

At 70 cents C per liter and an exchange rate of 1.40, the cost is US $1.90 per gallon. I was thinking more in terms of converting from my sales receipts.
Which is not necessary here.

bob_brown is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2004, 11:57 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 27
Mostef, I am planning a Canadian trip this summer and have been studying exchange rates, etc... In doing so, I found a great exchange rate web site that gives up to the minute rates for any currency. The site is Hope this helps you with your planning.
Brandon77 is offline  
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