Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Time to book your campsite for summer 2014


Summer might feel like a long way off, but if you're planning a visit to a popular tourist destination during peak travel times, you might want to consider making your campsite reservations now.

Most privately-owned campsites are closed for the winter, so reservations there will have to wait until spring. But if you're planning to stay in a provincial or national park, booking early is always a good bet. Same goes for Canadians planning a visit to the US – popular spots like Yellowstone National Park, as one example, book up quickly.

This is especially important for those traveling in large RVs, or those who prefer a specific site. Many provincial parks have a limited number of sites that can accommodate large trailers.

Here is a list of links to Provincial Parks websites and dates they open for summer reservations:

British Columbia Provincial Parks opened for reservations on March 15. To learn more about the interactive system and online booking, visit env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/visiting.

Alberta Provincial Parks opened for reservations in mid-February. To book your site, visit albertaparks.ca.

Saskatchewan Provincial Parks are open for reservations. To learn more, or to book a campsite, visit saskparks.net.

Manitoba's Parks Reservation Service will open on March 24 for cabins, yurts, group use areas and Birds Hill campsite reservations, and Monday April 7 for all other campsite reservations. For more information, visit gov.mb.ca.

Ontario Provincial Parks handles reservations up to five months in advance of your visit, year-round. For more information, visit ontarioparks.com.

Quebec is now open for reservations. For more information, visit www.sepaq.com.

New Brunswick Provincial Parks is open for reservations. Visit parcsnbparks.ca for more information.

Nova Scotia Provincial Parks will open for reservations on April 2. For more information, visit parks.gov.ns.ca.

Prince Edward Island will open for reservations for its provincial parks on April 1. Visit tourismpei.com for more information.

Newfoundland and Labrador's reservation system opens in late April. For more information, visit www.env.gov.nl.ca.

For a complete listing of Parks Canada campgrounds, visit pc.gc.ca.

Of course, there are also countless municipal and private campgrounds throughout the country. When planning your trip, visit tourism related sites for the area you are visiting to locate campgrounds that best suit your needs.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Canada has new plastic currency, but what's missing?

If you haven't been to Canada for awhile, get ready for some very unusual currency. You see, Canada's currency is no longer made of paper, but plastic. Avid RVer and Canadian Sandy Burns explains. And she also has news of something missing from Canada's new economy.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Put your cell phone away when driving in Canada

We all know cell phones and steering wheels don't mix. In Canada, combining those two will earn you a hefty fine.

Texting or talking on your cell phone behind the wheel is not illegal in every state, but it is in every province in Canada. And if you're caught even holding your cell phone while driving in most provinces, it will cost you.

Every province and two of the three territories have laws prohibiting the use of cell phones while driving. In Ontario, the fine is set to double on March 18 from $155 to $280 (prices in Canadian dollars). Newfoundland and Labrador was the first province to ban cell phone use while driving in 2003. Nunavut is the only territory that does not – as of yet – prohibit cell phone use behind the wheel. 

Hands-free devices are allowed across the country, and you can use your hand-held device only if you're calling 911. The laws banning cell phones while driving also include using any screen that is not related to driving, including portable gaming systems, laptop computers, DVD players, tablets, media players, etc.

GPS devices are allowed, as are media players that are plugged into the vehicle's sound system, and vehicle display screens.

Here's a breakdown of the hand-held cell phone fines by province (amounts listed in Canadian dollars): 

British Columbia: $167
Alberta: $172
Saskatchewan: $280
Manitoba: $200
Ontario: $155 ($280 as of March 18)
Quebec: $155
New Brunswick: $172.50
Nova Scotia: $164 for the first offence
Prince Edward Island: $250-$400
Newfoundland and Labrador: $100-$400
Yukon: $250
Northwest Territories: $100

Several provinces also issue demerit points with this charge.

So the next time you visit Canada, save your money, and quite possibly a life, by keeping your cell phone away when you're behind the wheel.