Local & Long-distance Calling

The Canadian phone system operates much like the United States phone system. Phone numbers in Canada have 10 digits. The first three digits are the area code followed by the seven-digit local number (e.g., 555-555-5555). When making a long-distance call out of the local area, dial "1" followed by the three-digit area code and the seven-digit local number.

To make international (non-US) calls from Canada, first dial 011 and then the country code (e.g., France, 33). Next, dial the area code and number.

Phone books provide a listing of North American area codes and frequently called international country codes.

For long distance directory assistance, call 1 + the area code + 555-1212. Directory assistance is free from pay phones. Instructions for local and long distance dialing are also listed on pay phones and found in the front pages of the phone book.

For operator assistance, dial 0. Dial 411 for directory assistance. To reach police, fire and ambulance services in an emergency, dial 911.

Pay Phones 

You'll find pay phones at airports, bus stations, hotels, shopping malls, as well as on some street corners. Many pay phones accept calling cards and credit cards. Local calls throughout Canada vary from $0.25-$0.35 CDN for three minutes at a pay phone. Instructions for local and long-distance dialing are usually listed on the phone as well as in the front pages of the phone book.

To reach directory assistance, dial 411. For long distance directory assistance, call 1 + the provincial or territorial area code + 555-1212. Directory assistance is free from a pay phone.

Using Your Mobile/Cell Phone in Canada

Mobile phone coverage in Canada varies depending on the type of cell phone you use, your local mobile service provider and plan, and the system upon which your phone operates. Many companies in the US and abroad have partnerships and programs available to provide roaming coverage in Canada.  

Contact your mobile service provider to learn about its international roaming coverage services and to determine if your phone is compatible with Canadian networks and frequencies.

Postal Services

You'll find post offices in most communities across Canada. Retail postal outlets are also conveniently located in many drugstores, convenience stores and at shopping malls. 

The cost to mail a standard postcard or letter within Canada is $0.54 CDN. The rate to the US is $0.98 CDN and $1.65 CDN for all other international destinations. All postage rates are calculated according to the size and weight of your letter or parcel. For complete letter and parcel shipping rates or to locate a post office near you, visit the Canada Post website.

Internet & E-mail

You'll rarely be out of touch by e-mail or without internet access while visiting Canada. Most Canadian cities have cybercafés and coffee shops that offer wireless internet access to their patrons. Hotels often have an internet terminal or wireless internet available for guests and public libraries offer free access to the internet for limited periods of time.