Language: English and French

Climate: In winter, temperatures fall below freezing point throughout most of Canada, but the southwest coast has a relatively mild climate. Along the Arctic Circle, mean temperatures lie below freezing for seven months a year.

During the summer months the southern provinces often experience high levels of humidity and temperatures that can regularly surpass 30°C.

Western and southeastern Canada experience high rainfall, but the Prairies are dry with 250-500 mm of rain every year.

Time Zone: Newfoundland Time Zone, Atlantic Time Zone, Eastern Time, Central Time Zone, Mountain Time Zone, and the Pacific Time Zone.

International phone code: 1

Currency: Canadian dollar (CAD)

Capital: Ottawa

Transportation: Most visitors are likely to arrive to Canada by air, most likely flying into Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary or Vancouver. Many other cities have international airports as well. You might also enter the country by road from the United States through one of many border crossing points. Via Rail is Canada's national passenger rail service. Amtrak provides connecting rail service to Toronto from New York via Niagara Falls, Montreal from New York and Vancouver from Seattle via Bellingham. Greyhound Canada serves many destinations in Canada, with connecting service to regional lines and US Greyhound coaches. The fastest way to get around the country is by air, but it’s not cheap. Air Canada is the main national carrier, and has by far the largest network and most frequent schedules. For travel between major centres, no frills carrier WestJet offers competitive fares. Outside of the major cities of Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver the best way to travel is by car. Rentals are available through all major rental companies.

Gay Canada:

Canada was among the first countries to legalize same-sex marriage in 2005.

Not surprisingly, Canada is very open to gay travelers – Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal are all famed for their gay communities. Some smaller cities are open and liberal too, although rarely to the same extent. Outside these metropolitan areas, and even inside them at times, people may be less welcoming. As always use your discretion.

In 1977, the predominantly Francophone province of Quebec was the second jurisdiction in the world, behind only Denmark, to pass a law banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

On February 5th, 1981, Toronto police raided four bathhouses simultaneously. Igniting unprecedented community mobilization, the event is now considered one of the crucial turning points in Canadian gay history. One of the protest marches during this mobilization is now generally recognized as the first Pride event in the nation.

Today, all major (and many not so major) cities celebrate some form of Pride event in the spring or summer. The larger cities have them conveniently spread out so you can, if you wish, schedule your own Cross-Country Pride Tour.