Thursday, December 4, 2008

Can I use US dollars in Vancouver?

A lot of tourist-friendly businesses choose to accept American currency as a courtesy to American tourists, but US dollars are legally a foreign currency in Canada. What this means is that businesses that choose to accept US dollars choose their own exchange rate, and they will only give back change in Canadian currency, as it's what they're legally able to do.

Infrastructure in Canada - vending machines, laundry machines, pay phones, public transit ticket machines, parking meters - basically anything where you insert coins or bills will only accept Canadian dollars and coins.

Since ATM's are everywhere in Vancouver, it's easy to use your bank card to withdraw some Canadian dollars when you arrive.


Hedgie said...

"it's easy to use your bank card to withdraw some Canadian dollars when you arrive"

Easy, and surprising, too, when an unsuspecting American such as, oh, I don't know, like, for instance, me suddenly discovers that you people don't have $1.00 bills but $1 & $2 coins which can weigh you down and cause you to list to one side if you end up with very many of them, especially since they're fairly large, particularly the toonies. There oughta be really BIG billboards strategically placed explaining this to naive foreigners.

Otherwise, of course, I adore Canada and hope to visit again in another year or two, equipped, of course, with seriously reinforced pockets.

Robyn said...

I still remember as a kid getting my tooth fairy money in $1 and $2 bills. The $1 were phased out in 1987 and I believe it was 1996 when they introduced the toonie. It was strange at first, but now everyone has become accustomed.

But what's funny is that whenever I visit the USA, which is ever so now and then, I'm always surprised to get so many bills in my change! So I guess it's all relative. :)

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