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Clothing

Layering is crucial in Banff National Park. You can always take off a layer of clothing and stash it in a bag if you’re too warm. Gloves, knitted hats, a heavy coat, and warm, waterproof footwear are needed in winter. In the summer, always take a jacket that repels rain and wind, and a light sweater or fleece top. Sunglasses and sunscreen are also necessary year-round because of higher UV exposure from the sun at alpine altitudes.

Units of measure

Canada uses the metric system to calculate temperatures in Celsius, speed limits, and road distances in kilometers. Gas is sold by the liter (currently about $.98 CDN/liter as of November 2009).

Banff National Park Pass

Please be advised that you will be entering Banff National Park and that you will be required to pay a National Park entrance fee. Entry and service fees are charged at most National Parks and National Historic Sites, where revenues are kept to support visitor services and facilities. This means that every time you visit a park or site you are investing in its future — and in a legacy for future generations. Park passes can be purchased in person at any of the Park gates or Information Centres. For more information regarding Parks Canada please contact them by:

  • Phone: 403-762-1550 or Toll Free 1-800-748-7275
  • Web: Parks Canada

Time

Our clocks are set to Mountain Standard Time (UTC -7h). Daylight Saving Time (UTC -6h) comes into effect when we set our clocks ahead one hour on the second Sunday in March and set them back an hour on the first Sunday in November. This schedule coincides with the United States implementation of Daylight Saving Time as well.

Currency

Currency comes in a lot more colors than your average “greenback,” with different shades for a $5, $10, or $20 bill. $50 bills are red and $100 bills are brown.

The best exchange rates in Banff National Park can be found at the Canadian Chartered Banks and Credit Union. Most branches are open Monday to Friday from approximately 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Outside of those hours, money and travelers cheques can be converted to Canadian funds at currency exchange outlets throughout Banff and Lake Louise, most hotels or the airport. For quick cash, you’ll find automated teller machines (ATMs) at banks, gas stations, variety stores, and the grocery store. Major credit cards are accepted almost everywhere.

Electrical connections

The electrical current in Canada is 110 volts, and plugs are two flat parallel prongs – or two flat and one round prong. Most hotels in Banff and Lake Louise stock international converters or can direct you to a shop to purchase one.

Mail and postage

Letters and postcards can be mailed at hotel front desks, corner mail boxes, or at the post offices in Banff and Lake Louise. You can also purchase stamps and post parcels at the post office, which is generally open from Monday to Friday, excluding holiday periods. Postage and delivery times vary according to international destinations.

Banff Post Office Lake Louise Post Office
204 Buffalo St.
Phone: 403-762-2586
Toll free: 1-800-267-1177
Located in The Depot, Samson Mall
Phone: 403-522-3870
Toll free: 1-800-267-1177

 

Tips and gratuities

Gratuities are usually not included on bills in restaurants and bars, and are completely at your personal discretion. Satisfied customers usually leave a gratuity of 15 per cent of the total bill and tour guides and bus drivers are generally tipped $1 to $2 per day, per person.

Sales tax

There is no provincial sales tax in the province of Alberta, where Banff and Lake Louise are located, but there is a 5 per cent Goods and Services Tax (GST) charged on the sale of all products and services in Canada.

Customs and immigration

If you arrive by plane you will clear Canadian Customs and Immigration at the airport and are required to declare your country of origin, your Canadian destination and length of stay, and what articles you are bringing into the country. A valid passport is necessary.