CurrencyThe official currency is Canadian dollar ($, CAD, simply as a "dollar", "loonie" or "buck"). Canadian coins are of 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, $1 and $2. Canadian notes come in $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 denominations. Generally, using a credit card also gets you a better exchange rate since your bank will convert the currency automatically at the prevailing daily rate. Most tourist destinations will accept American dollars as such, and are most likely to give a very good exchange rate. In some areas, private exchange bureaus will give better exchange rates and lower fees than banks, so if you have time during your travels to look one up.
Credit cards are widely accepted, with Visa and MasterCard being accepted in most places. American Express and Diners Club less frequently.
As Canadian Banks cash Canadian dollar travellers cheques free of charge, this makes travellers cheques a safe and convenient way to carry money in Canada.
ATM usage in Canada is very high. Most retailers and restaurants/bars allow purchases by ATM card through Interac, even if they do not accept major credit cards. If possible, try to use chartered bank ATM machines as the fees are often cheaper than the independent ATM machines.
TippingGenerally, tip 15% for waiters, cab drivers and hairdressers. Other services usually get one or two dollars for their services.
Tax RefundBecause the listed prices usually exclude sales tax, so you will almost always pay more than the prices displayed. A Federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 5% is applied to most items. In addition to the GST, all provinces except Alberta and Canada's 3 territories charge an additional Provincial Sales Tax (PST) on purchases. In Ontario and the Atlantic Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador, consumers will see one tax called the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).
Some reference (as of January 2014):
Alberta - no PST, GST only (5% total)
British Columbia - 7% PST and 5% GST (12% total)
Manitoba - 8% PST and 5% GST (13% total)
New Brunswick - 13% HST (13% total)
Newfoundland and Labrador - 13% HST(13% total)
Northwest Territories - no PST, GST only (5% total)
Nova Scotia - 15% HST (15% total) -- to be reduced to 14% starting July 1, 2014
Nunavut - no PST, GST only (5% total)
Ontario - 13% HST (13% total)
Prince Edward Island - 14% HST(14% total)
Quebec - 10% PST and 5% GST (15% total)
Saskatchewan - 5% PST and 5% GST (10% total)
Yukon - no PST, GST only (5% total)