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Public Transport in Canada

Rail

The railway system is used mainly for freight. There are two major privately owned transcontinental freight railway systems.
1. The Canadian National
2. Canadian Pacific Railway

Via Rail:

VIA operates up to 497 trains weekly on 12,500 kilometres of track, and serves 450 communities across the country, from coast to coast and north to Hudson Bay. Via Rail is an independent Crown Corporation which operates the national passenger rail service on behalf of the Government of Canada. It operates rapid intercity services, cross-Canada services, and services to remote communities.
Three Canadian cities have commuter train services:
1. Montreal: Agence métropolitaine de transport
2. Toronto: GO Transit
3. Vancouver: West Coast Express

These cities and several others are also served by light rail or metro systems.

1. The Montreal Metro
2. The Toronto Subway
3. The Vancouver Sky Train
4. The Calgary C-Train
5. The Edmonton Light Rail Transit
6. The O-Train in Ottawa


Smaller railways such as Ontario Northland Railway and Algoma Central Railway also run passenger trains to remote rural areas.
The Rocky Mountaineer and Royal Canadian Pacific provide Rail tours through the Rocky Mountains.
VIA operates train service between Toronto and Vancouver twice a week during off-peak season (November 1st 2012 until April 30th 2013) and three times a week during peak season (May 1st 2013 until October 31st 2013).


VIA also operates regional services in the West:
• between Jasper, Alberta and Prince Rupert, British Columbia
• between Winnipeg and Churchill, Manitoba
• between Victoria and Courtenay on Vancouver Island



ROAD


Most Canadians travel by road in cars, vans, buses or trucks to reach their destination. There is a total of 1,042,300 km of roads in Canada, including 17,000 km of expressways, the third-longest in the world, behind the Interstate Highway System of the United States and the China's National Trunk Highway System.


Numbered Highways:

Highways in Canada are divided by province, and most of them are maintained by their province or territory transportation department.

All highways in Canada are numbered except:
• three in the Northwest Territories
• all in Nunavut;
• one highway in Alberta
• one highway in Ontario
• two highways in Quebec
• Ontario's 7000 Series are not marked with their highway number, but have been assigned one by the transportation department.

Local names have been given to some highways and they are better known by them than their numbers.

The number may sometimes have additional letters:
• A - alternate route
• B - business route
• Other letters used for bypass (truck) routes, connector routes, scenic routes, and spur routes.

The Trans-Canada Highway:
It is a transcontinental federal-provincial highway system that travels through all ten provinces of Canada between its Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean coasts to the west and east respectively. It is one of the world's longest national highways, with the main route spanning 8,030 km. The highway system is recognizable by its distinctive white-on-green maple leaf route markers.
Throughout much of Canada, there are at least two routes designated as part of the Trans-Canada Highway (TCH).
The Trans-Canada Highway is a part of Canada national highway system that provides a number of connections to the United States. It also connects the Northwest Territories and Yukon in Canada.

Bus


Canada Public Transit

Millions of Canadians living in urban areas use public transit for their daily transportation. Public transit reduces road congestion and improves air quality along with providing an effective and affordable mode of transportation.



Intercity Bus service

Greyhound Canada is the largest operator of inter-city bus services in Canada, serving more than 1000 locations. It operates in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Yukon.
It has direct service to New York City, Detroit and other cities in states bordering Canada through Greyhound USA.
Greyhound Travel Services unit offers charter and tour packages for businesses, conventions, schools and other groups at competitive rates. Greyhound, in partnerships with some independent bus lines, connects many of the smaller towns in its national route system.

They also provide tour and transit services through their partners:
• Vancouver Island Coach Lines
• Grey Goose Bus Lines
• Gray Line Tours (Toronto and Ottawa)
• Yellow Cab (Edmonton).


Air

As Canada is a vast country with low population density, air transportation is an important mode of travel. Although road transport is mostly used for short distances, for longer routes and for remote and isolated places air transport is more viable.

Air Canada is Canada's largest air carrier and also the flag carrier. Along with WestJet it serves most of Canada. Porter Airlines flies out of the Toronto Island Airport to Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax and a number of U.S. cities.



Canada also has a number of regional airlines:

Principal airports:


1 Toronto Pearson International Airport - Toronto
2 Vancouver International Airport - Vancouver
3 Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport - Montreal
4 Calgary International Airport - Calgary
5 Edmonton International Airport - Edmonton
6 Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport - Ottawa
7 Halifax Stanfield International Airport - Halifax
8 Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport - Winnipeg
9 Victoria International Airport - Victoria
10 Kelowna International Airport - Kelowna

Canadian Culture

Canada is a multicultural society. Canadian immigration policy has been open and welcoming to people from all over the world. People are encouraged to retain their cultural identities, customs and traditions. Canadians take great pride in their nationality and place a great deal of emphasis on the individual's responsibility to the community. Canada is a peaceful nation are value their international role as peacekeepers.
Canadians are generally polite, modest and socially responsible people. The people of Ontario are considered to be more reserved and formal, while those in the Western Provinces are thought of as more open and friendly.

There are some fundamental cultural values that are essential to the Canadian way of living.

Important Cultural Values:

Integrity
Canadians are honest and value individual achievement. Bribery and cheating are serious offences. You are expected to own up if you make mistakes and apologize.
Fairness
Waiting for you turn, or queuing up, is common in public offices, at the bank, and other public places. Sometimes you will be given a number and called according to it.
Equality
Everyone in Canada has the same opportunities and access to service regardless of age, gender, income, occupation, race, or sexual orientation.
You have the right to speak out and express your thoughts and ideas even if others disagree with them. Governments have to treat everyone with equal dignity and respect, which are basic fundamental Canadian values. All provinces and territories have human rights legislation to permit enforcement of equal treatment under the law. Abortions and same sex marriages are legal. Children with special need attend regular school. Both parents share equal responsibility in taking care of the children and household chores.
Personal privacy
Personal information is protected by law. Disclosure of private information of any sort is illegal. Medical information cannot be disclosed without the person’s consent, even to a family member. You can access any information that any public or private organization has about you. All companies must have procedures in place to protect private information.
Individuality
Canadians value freedom and individuality, but they hold a fine balance between individual freedom and collective responsibility. They believe in having the freedom to make their own decisions and also respect the right for others to have that same privilege. Canadian parents instill independence in their children and prepare them live independently later on. They are taught from an early stage that they are responsible for their own situations in life and their destinies. Public schools do not require uniforms. They encourage children to freely express themselves. Canadians consider themselves more as individuals than as a member of a group, nation, or even a family.
Peace and order
The Canadian constitution is based on the values of peace, order, and good government. Canadians have great respect for the law. Everyone is treated fairly and without discrimination by the courts and the administration. The elected governments remain responsible to the public. There is zero tolerance for harassment and abuse in the workplace. There are strict gun control laws there is no basis for gun ownership outside of the sport of hunting.

Customs

Meeting and Greeting
Most Canadians usually shake hands on meeting.
The handshake should be firm and you should look directly into the eyes and smile. Sometimes People embrace and kiss lightly on the cheek when meeting if they are related or good friends. It is not advisable to use first name on first meeting, though usually Canadians move to first name quickly. You should wait until invited before using someone's first name. French Canadians are less formal and friends may greet each other by lightly kissing on the cheeks (once on the left cheek and once on the right). Canadians generally don't touch very much when conversing. Maintaining a certain amount of personal space is important.
Gift Giving
Gifts are usually given for birthdays and Christmas.
If you are invited to someone's home for dinner you may take chocolates, flowers or a bottle of wine. It is best to avoid white lilies as they are associated with funerals or red roses as they signify love. Money should never be given as gift. Gifts are opened when received.
Dining Etiquette
Canadians are usually relaxed and informal, although in Quebec they may be more formal. You should wait to be shown to your seat before sitting down. Table manners are generally Continental, with the fork held in the left hand and the knife in the right while eating. Do not rest your elbows on the table while eating. You should wait till the hostess starts before beginning to eat. If you wish to refuse any particular food or drink you can do so without offering an explanation. If you cannot finish the food on your plate, leaving a small amount is acceptable. The host usually gives the first toast in formal situations. Wait until everyone has been served wine and the toast proposed before drinking. Women can also propose a toast.
General Social Rules
Smile when you meet someone. It shows you as a friendly and positive person. Be polite to your neighbors. Always acknowledge them when you see them on the street. There is no need to engage in lengthy conversation, just a greeting and maybe a few words. Canadians will pre arrange a meeting and it is not usual to walk in without being invited.
Canadians are brought up with an understanding that they must report a crime or any suspicious activity. They are very vigilant about rules and law and are likely to report anything that is not done according to it.

Business Etiquette and Protocol

Meeting and Greeting
Canadians are known for being polite. They may be reserved in the beginning, but once they get to know you they can be friendly and informal. Canadians like their space and you should maintain an arm’s length when speaking to someone.
People are introduced based on rank not gender. In Canada, a person's authority is related to his or her position and responsibility. Women occupy the same range of positions as men and have the same kinds of authority.
Shake hands with everyone at the meeting upon arrival and departure. It is important to maintain eye contact while shaking hands. Men may offer their hand to a woman without waiting for her to extend hers first.
Honorific titles and surnames are usually not used. In Quebec academic titles are important and are used with the honorific Monsieur or Madame.
After being introduced business cards are exchanged and should be examined on being presented. In Quebec one side of the business card should be translated into French. Hand the card so the French side faces the recipient.
If dealing with French Canadians, some knowledge of French will be appreciated.
Canadian Communication Styles
The communication style is generally polite and straightforward, although French Canadians may be more indirect. If it is necessary to disagree, Canadians do so politely and tactfully. It is considered rude to interrupt someone. Conversation is general on practical matters; Canadians do not like to discuss personal matters. Canadians communicate more by the spoken word rather than non-verbal expressions, but French Canadians are more expressive.
Canadians base their thinking on reason and logic and they will not be influenced by emotions, passion or feelings. They will look at facts and figures to verify your claims and promises. Undue body contact, excessive gestures in greeting or talking in loud voice are not acceptable.
Dress
Canadians dress conservatively and formally, although it differs by region. In Vancouver people dress in a more casual manner while in Toronto and Ottawa it is more formal. French Canadians dress in a more relaxed European style than their fellow Canadians.
For business meetings men usually wear suits and ties and women wear conservative suits or dresses. Colors for dresses depend on individual taste and occasion.
Business Meetings
Punctuality is important and meetings start on time. Meetings usually start with a few minutes of general talk. Politeness and observance of protocol is important. Canadians are usually relaxed and informal during meetings. All participants participate in the discussion. French Canadians give more importance to hierarchy and position, and seniors may play more active role.
Presentations should be factual and to the point. It should be supported by facts and exaggeration should be avoided. Gifts are not usually given in business deals, but if you wish you may take a bottle of wine to celebrate a contract or agreement. However, you may take a business associate to dinner or a show.

Canadian Cuisine

Canada is a multicultural country and Canadian cuisine represents the immigrant cultures that have come to Canada to make their new home. Popular ethnic cuisines include Italian, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, German, and Greek cuisine. In most cities like Toronto, Montreal, you will find everything you need to cook these foods. Indian restaurants can be found in all major cities.
The West Coast sees abundant use of salmon, seafood, venison, elk and buffalo along with wild rice, exotic grains and local berries.
People from various countries have brought their traditional recipes to Canada and fusion food has become increasingly popular in Canada.
Some all time favorite food of the Canadians are:

Poutine , a dish from Quebec that combines french fries with cheese curds and gravy.







Maple syrup comes from the maple tree. Quebec is the largest producer of maple syrup in the world, accounting for about 75 to 80 percent of the supply. Maple syrup is used as a topping on pancakes and waffles.







Perogies or potato dumplings were introduced by Ukrainian immigrants and have now become quite popular.







Sugar pie is a traditional Quebec dish, made with maple sugar or maple syrup, and sometimes with a top crust.







Butter tarts are similar to sugar pie, but smaller.







Canadian Blueberry Desserts are popular. Fresh, local berries are available across Canada during the summer months and they are used in cakes, pie, tarts etc.







Canadian Honey Apple Walnut Cobbler is also a popular dessert.







Most Canadians eat three meals each day. Breakfast is eaten first thing in the morning and usually consists of cooked eggs, fried pork sausages or bacon, fried or deep-fried potatoes, toasted bread, pancakes (or egg-battered French Toast) and syrup, cereals, or hot oatmeal along with juices and hot beverages such as coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.
During lunchtime most people will eat a light meal around noon like a sandwich or soup; students may carry a ham and cheese sandwich, chips or pretzels, and fruit to eat a noon during the school lunch break. On holidays or on weekends it can be more elaborate.
Dinner is the most diverse and varied meal of the day. Dinners will usually consist of meat or fish as main course. Meat may be in the form of chicken breast, steak, pork chop, hamburger, or ground beef. Canadians love to barbeque their meat. You will find barbeques in almost every yard, deck and balcony. Side dishes such as rice, pasta, potatoes, or bread are also served to accompany the main course. Now days there are many Canadians who are vegetarian and an abundance of vegetables and fruits are available throughout the year. Desserts are also served.