The Canadian government produces, recognizes and circulates its own country's currency, the Canada dollar. While you might be able to conduct some limited transactions in Canada with foreign (such as US) currency, your only sure way of being able to pay for anything in Canada--from gas to food to lodging--is having Canadian money ready to hand.
So, how do you magically change US dollars into Canadian currency? You have to find someone who's willing to buy your US dollars and sell you Canadian dollars in exchange. Before you start changing money, read on to master the most important Canadian dollar basics, like how to:
1. Recognize Canadian legal currency when you see it;
2. Calculate the value of the Canadian dollar against other currencies;
3. Know where to buy or sell Canadian currency.
Check out photos of the Canadian five dollar bill and other denominationsStart building your information about the Canadian dollar by familiarizing yourself with its looks. Much like the United States, Canada occasionally reintroduces new styles of bills with improved security features, so you should study photos of both old- and new-style bills to ensure you don't fall victim to a counterfeiter.
Understand the essentials of Canadian dollar exchange ratesOne US dollar may get you more or less than one Canadian dollar, and the amount you get may change at a moment's notice, because every day the Canadian dollar value rises and falls in relation to other currencies as they're traded on the world markets.
Find places to buy the Canadian dollarYour most convenient options for getting Canadian currency include withdrawing it from an ATM when you arrive (make sure to notify your bank that you're traveling, or they might deny the transaction), changing US dollars to Canadian in a major US banking institution before you go or using online foreign currency ordering services or money changing booths that are located in most major international airports.
- Most businesses, banks and websites that offer US to Canadian dollar conversion will also buy back Canadian money if you have any left over after your trip, but they typically only accept bills and not coins; so make sure to spend as much of your Canadian change as possible and keep any left over money as bills.