Alberta Tourist Information
Banking & Currency
Canada’s monetary system is based on dollars and cents similar to that of the U.S however we no longer use the penny. To avoid Canadian currency exchange problems, visitors are advised to exchange their funds for Canadian dollars at foreign currency exchange outlets or major banks, many of which are conveniently located in airport departure areas. If traveling by other means, use your bank of choice or any foreign currency exchange. (Currency Converter)
Alberta is the only province in Canada with no Provincial Sales Tax (PST). However, there is a four per cent Tourism Levy on hotel rooms. The federal government charges a five per cent Goods & Services Tax (GST) on most purchases.
Moving Your Money
Traveller’s cheques and credit cards are accepted at most commercial establishments, banks and currency exchange offices. Banking hours are generally 9:30 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday. Some banks are open Saturdays. Most automated teller machines (ATMs) are linked to one or more of the following networks: Interac, Cirrus or Plus. They are found at banks, retail areas and in many cases at special event venues. ATMs offer the same rate of exchange to be found at traditional banking and exchange institutions.
Entry into Alberta Canada
Visitors from all countries but the U.S. need a valid passport. Photo ID, proof of citizenship and residence are mandatory for U.S. citizens (though a passport is preferred). This process is subject to change when the proposed western Hemisphere Travel Initiative is put into effect. For updates on this new travel policy for Americans, please visit the U.S. State Department web site.
Department of State website.
Visitors from all other countries must possess a passport and should contact the nearest Canadian Consulate or Embassy, for more information on travel visas, please visit thee Canadian Consulate website.International visitors who are arriving by air will land in either of Alberta’s two gateway cities, Calgary or Edmonton. International visitors who are arriving by air will land in either of Alberta’s two gateway cities, Calgary or Edmonton.
U.S. Ports of Entry
International visitors driving to Alberta Canada can use any of the following ports of entry:
Aden, Alberta/Whitlash, Montana
Carway, Alberta/Peigan, Montana
Del Bonita, Alberta/Del Bonita, Montana
Wild Horse, Alberta/Wild Horse, Montana
Coutts, Alberta/Sweetgrass, Montana
Chief Mountain, Alberta/Chief Mountain, Montana
110 volts, 60 Hertz.
RV’s and cars are all 12V DC systems.
Most RV’s are supplied with AC to DC power converters that can be plugged into 110 volt receptacles.
Fishing In Alberta
The National Parks and the province of Alberta require a separate fishing license. If you want to go fishing outside of the National Parks you will need an Alberta Fishing License . This license can be obtained online or most sporting goods stores. Larger store chains such as Wal-Mart and Canadian Tire also sell provincial fishing licenses. If you want to go fishing in the National Parks you will require a National Parks Fishing Permit. This license can be obtained inside the National Parks at information centres, ranger stations, hot pools or larger campground kiosks, as well as some local retail outlets.
Health and Travel Insurance
Alberta health-care plan does not cover out-of-province visitors. Clarify your coverage with your personal insurance carrier before entering Alberta as you may wish to obtain additional health insurance before coming to Alberta. Contact your local travel agent for further details.
Alberta’s rules of the road may be a bit different than the ones you’re used to. So below is a selection of Alberta highway and travel information to help you get around the province safely.
Alberta Highway Travel Information
For starters, Alberta is accessible from the east and west by two officially designated Trans-Canada routes. Hwy. 1 crosses Alberta in the south and the Trans-Canada Yellowhead Hwy. (Hwy. 16) crosses central Alberta. North-south Travel is provided on the Queen Elizabeth II Hwy., or you may want to take the scenic route through the mountain parks on the spectacular Icefields Parkway.
Now that you know where you’re going, consult our maps section (located in the top right, under the plan menu) to plot your start and end points. You’ll get a handy route map that you can print out and take with you on the road.
For other current Alberta road conditions across the province visit the Alberta Motor Association (AMA). The AMA is connected with several international automobile clubs, including the American Automobile Association (AAA), and members can receive reciprocal benefits.
For additional information on Alberta’s roads and highways, including maps and current road conditions, visit Alberta Transportation.
Alberta Highway Traffic Laws and Regulations
Traffic Laws for Infant Car Seats
Infant car seats are mandatory in Alberta. Children who are less than 8 years or weigh less than 27 kg (60 lb) (whichever comes first) must travel in safety-approved car seats. Infants from birth to 9 kg (20 lb.) must travel in a rear-facing infant seat. Toddlers weighing from 9 kg (20 lb) to 18 kg (40 lb) must travel in a forward-facing child safety seat and those between 18 kg (40 lb) and 27 kg (60 lb.) should be strapped into a booster seat. It is recommended that all children under the age of 12 sit in the back seat of a vehicle with a front-seat airbag. Never place a rear-facing infant safety seat in a seating position equipped with an airbag.
Driver’s licenses from all countries are valid in the province for up to three months. An International Driving Permit, available in your home country, is valid in Alberta for one year. If you’re driving to Canada from the United States, bring the vehicle registration forms and a free Canadian Non-Resident Insurance Card from your insurance agent, or the policy itself. The minimum combined liability insurance in Alberta is $200,000. If you’re driving a borrowed car, bring a letter of permission signed by the owner. If you’re driving a rented car, bring a copy of the rental contract.
Gas and Oil Gas and oil are sold in Canada by the litre (1.0 U.S. gallon = 3.78 litres). The price of gasoline will vary in each province and territory, and on the grade of gasoline purchased (regular unleaded, mid-unleaded, premium unleaded). Diesel fuel is commonly available on major highways and in larger urban centres. Propane is easily available in most centres.
Insurance In case of accident involving death, injury, or property damage you are required to produce evidence of financial responsibility. You may also be asked to show proof of insurance if you are pulled over by an enforcement officer for any reason. Auto insurance must be carried by law. The minimum liability insurance requirement is $200,000; it is suggested however, that $1,000,000 in personal liability and property damage insurance be carried.
Motorcycles Motorcyclists are required to wear helmets and to drive with headlights on. Riding two abreast is prohibited.
Seat Belts Seat belt use is mandatory for all drivers and passengers in Canada.
Tire Requirements In Alberta there are no provincial regulations requiring the use of either snow tires or chains. These tires are “needed when conditions warrant it.” Generally, this implies the routes to ski resorts. While it is legal in Alberta to use snow road technology such as chains and studded tires, these are usually only needed for extreme driving conditions on highways. The Rubber Manufacturers Association follows a standard in making snow tires. Any tire marked, “Snow tires,” “Mud and snow,” or “M/S” meets the standard.
In British Columbia provincial law states that vehicles in the mountains must be equipped with either snow tires or chains from November 1 – April 30.
National Park Tire Requirements The National Parks Highway Traffic Regulations state that snow tires or chains are required on highways in Mt. Revelstoke, Glacier, Yoho, Banff, Jasper and Kootenay National Parks, as well as the Icefields and Banff-Windermere Parkways. This is signed to that effect during any period the highway is covered with snow or ice. Roads signed as requiring snow tires or chains include the access roads to all ski areas in the Parks. These restrictions do not apply on the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway #1) from the east Gate to Lake Louise.
Right Turns on Red Lights You can make right turns on red lights, unless signs indicate you can’t. You must come to a full stop, then proceed with caution if the way is clear.
Speed limits in Alberta are in kilometer’s per hour (km/h). Highways have a speed limit of 100 km/h (62 mph); except in our Rocky Mountain National Parks, which have limits of 90 km/h (56 mph) due to wildlife crossings. Most other rural highways and country roads have a speed limit of 80 km/h (50 mph).
As of 2005, motorists cannot speed past construction workers. Under the new amendments, motorists passing stopped emergency vehicles or tow trucks must drive at 60 kilometer’s per hour, or at the posted speed limit, whichever is slower. Motorists passing construction workers must obey posted speed limits or be subject to double the traffic fines for a regular speeding offence.
There are five National Parks in Alberta. Banff, Island, Jasper, Waterton and Woods Buffalo. A valid National Parks permit must be purchased and visible when stopping or camping in the National Parks or when Traveling on the Icefields parkway highway 93. See thee Canada National Parks site for permit prices.
Camping checklist can be found here.
Pets must be accompanied by their owners when entering Canada. Owners of dogs and cats must bring a certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian clearly identifying the pet and certifying that it has been vaccinated against rabies within the last 36 months. There are exceptions made for service dogs and puppies or kittens that are younger then three months old. If you plan to Kennel your dog, they will require Veterinarians proof of a Kennel Cough vaccination.
For more information on bringing pets to Canada see thee Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
If you are importing prescription drugs they must be clearly marked and identified. The drugs should be in their original packaging, with a label that specifies what they are and that they are being used under prescription. If this is not possible then carry a copy of the prescription and letter from your Doctor.
Area Code: 403
Country Code: 1
Cellular coverage is very good throughout the Province of Alberta. Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper have good cell coverage. Canadians pay the highest cost in the world for cellular telephones and usage.
Canada uses the metric system. All highway and traffic indicators are in km and km/h, gas is sold by the litre, temperature is measured in Celsius, and the electrical current is 110 volts.
1 meter = 3.28 feet
1 kilometer= 0.62 miles= 0.62 miles
100 km/h = 62 m.p.h.
3.8 litres = 1 gallon
Temperature 25°C = 77°F
1 Canadian gallon = 4.5 litres
1 American gallon = 3.8 litres
Time Zone is Mountain UTC -7
Air & Shuttle
Alberta’s two international airports are located in the cities of Calgary and Edmonton. Flights to Alberta are available from most major cities worldwide. International travellers can visit the Packages and Tours section of this website for details on air carriers and charter companies.
Calgary International Airport Location: 18 km (11 mi) northeast of downtown Phone: 403.735.1200 Toll Free: 1.877.254.7427
Edmonton International Airport Location: 29 km (18 mi) south of the city centre Phone: 780.890.8382 Toll Free: 1.800.268.7134
For comprehensive information on Alberta-related transportation questions. please visit the Alberta Ministry of Transportation’s Alberta Inter-community Public Transportation Guide. Be sure your driver’s license is current and that you always carry car registration papers, insurance and or rental contracts. If coming from abroad, check that your insurance policy covers travel in Canada.
Camper vans, RVs and travel trailers are another great way to travel in Alberta, without the worries of booking accommodation. Visit the Alberta Motor Association for driving tips, road reports and other essential reading if you’re planning a camping or RV holiday in Alberta.
For comprehensive information on Alberta-related transportation questions, please visit the Alberta Ministry of Transportation’s Alberta Inter-community Public Transportation Guide.
Seasonal weather information for Alberta can be found here.