Arriving by air
Greater Montréal is served by approximately 40 air carriers connecting Montréal to 130 destinations around the world. Montréal-Trudeau International Airport is located 15 minutes from downtown Montréal. Information about the airport may be found at their website.
You can get a taxi or limousine at the arrivals level near the central exit located in front of the cloakroom, where a dispatcher will assist you. No reservation is required. All taxi and limousine operators working out of Montréal-Trudeau are required to have a permit and to comply with its terms and conditions. The fixed fare of CDN$40.00 applies to a taxi trip from the airport to downtown Montréal (one-way). The same trip with Limousine service costs CDN$49.50. A number of adapted taxis, for passengers with reduced mobility, are available at the airport; please ask the dispatcher for this service. Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards are accepted. Some drivers accept U.S. currency but provincial regulations require customers to pay in Canadian currency.
Arriving by Car
For people driving to Montréal, there is a variety of routes that may be taken to enter the city depending on the point of departure. Directions can be obtained using online sites such as Google Maps. Useful route planners may also be found at this website.
You should come prepared for cool weather as well as some warm sunny days. Daytime highs of 18°C - 26°C (64°F - 79°F) can be expected in early June; nighttime lows are 7°C - 15°C (45°F - 59°C). Expect some rain during your stay in Montreal. To find the current weather conditions in Montréal and a forecast for upcoming days, visit Environment Canada.
You must have a valid passport, and in some cases, you may need a visa. To find out more, visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website. You can also consult the nearest Canadian embassy, high commission, consulate, customs agent, or your travel agent. You should allow a minimum of 30 days for visa delivery. For details on what you are allowed to bring in your baggage (gifts, merchandise, etc.), go to the Canada Border Services Agency.
If you are a citizen of the United States, you do not need a passport to enter Canada. However, you should carry proof of your citizenship, such as a birth certificate, certificate of citizenship or naturalization, as well as photo identification. If you are a permanent resident of Canada or the U.S, you should bring your Permanent Resident Card with you. Please note that there are new requirements in effect for all United States nationals returning home. For more information, consult the U.S. Department of State website.
The organizers will be pleased to provide an official letter of invitation to help potential attendees obtain travel funds or a visa. Contact Christine Gervais. The letter does not constitute any financial commitment on the part of the Congress.
French is Québec's official language but English is widely spoken in Montréal. The city has more than 80 cultural groups and over 20% of the population speaks three languages. The language of ICA 2013 will be English only.
Currency and Banking
Travelers checks can be cashed at numerous banks, currency exchange locations and stores (with purchases). There are numerous Automatic Teller Machines in downtown Montréal. Most banks are closed on Saturdays and Sundays in Canada.
Canadian currency is the dollar, which is divided into 100 cents. There are 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 dollar bills. One and two dollar bills have been replaced by coins, sometimes referred to as "Loonies" (the bird on the $1 is a loon) and "Toonies" ($2).
Tipping in Canada
Service is not included in restaurants, so it is customary to add a 15% tip to the total before taxes (if you're with a group, 15% for service may be automatically added to your bill). Taxi drivers, hairdressers, etc. are also normally tipped 15%. Bellhops, porters, doormen, etc. generally receive at least CDN$1 per suitcase or per service rendered.
Goods and Services Tax
A federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 5% is charged on most goods and services in Canada. A Québec provincial tax (TVQ) of 9.5% is added to all goods and services purchased in the province of Québec. No tax refund is granted to leisure travelers.
Visitors are NOT covered by the Canadian Health Insurance Plan. It is recommended that participants arrange their own health and accident insurance. This can be done before leaving home through a local travel agent or medical association.
You may dial 9-1-1 at any time. The service is free from a pay phone and available in French and English. Operators are in contact with emergency firefighter, police and ambulance services at all times. For less serious illness, you can see a doctor at a community health centre called a CLSC. These are smaller clinics, and there is one in every neighborhood. In case of a non-urgent problem, you may contact Info-Santé (Health Info) by dialing 8-1-1 to reach a health professional easily.
If your laptop or other appliance runs on 220V, you need to ensure that it can plug into the North-American type 110V outlets used in the US and Canada. An adapter that allows you to do this is best purchased prior to leaving your country of residence.
Driving in Québec
Visitors may drive a car for a maximum of six consecutive months without having a Québec driver's license. However, a valid driver's license corresponding to the vehicle category is required. If your driver's license is neither in English or French, getting an International Driver's Permit is highly recommended. You must apply for a permit in the country that issued your driver's license, before your arrival in Canada. While driving:
- In Canada, one drives on the right-hand side of the road
- Canada uses the metric system, so speeds are indicated in kilometers (100 km/h = 62 mph) and gas is sold in liters (3 3/4 liters = 1 US gallon). Even though road signs in Québec are in French, most of them use international symbols.
- Although turning right on a red light is authorized in the province of Québec, right turns on red lights are strictly prohibited on the island of Montréal.
- Use of a hand-held cell phone that does not have a "hands-free" function is prohibited while driving.
Bus and Métro Rates
Public transit in Montréal is operated by Societé de transport de Montréal (STM) and includes both buses and subway (the métro). Fares for 2013 are not yet available, so the current 2012 rates are quoted here. The cost for one trip is CDN$3.00, but you need to have exact change on the bus. A 1-day card can be purchased for CDN$8.00. You can also purchase a 3-day card for CDN$16.00. Cards are available at transit stations and many stores. For further information on transportation in Montréal, go to the STM website.