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Money Exchange in Canada

We will be flying to Quebec City at the end of the week and we're wondering where it is best to exchange money. I am assuming that ATM's are the way to go as in Europe where we look for those attached to banks. Has anyone used ATM's near the airport?

Posted by
6144 posts

You're not "exchanging" money when using an ATM. You're simply withdrawing local currency, which is Canadian Loonies.

Info found in the the airport's website:

"Three Scotiabank ATMs are available at the airport:
Ground floor, domestic arrivals area
2nd floor, by Tim Hortons
2nd floor, just outside the screening checkpoint"

I would use one of those ATMs - Scotia Bank is a reputable bank in Canada, you should have no issues.

Posted by
2234 posts

Hey Pat, I will also be visiting Quebec City, just a month from now. Was there for a short time about 45 years ago, don’t really remember a thing. I will be staying 3 nights in the lower part of the old city, then 1 night at the First Nations lodge in Wendake, just outside Quebec City.
After your visit, if you can recommend a few highlights that I might miss — sites, tours, views, restaurants, etc. — I would be very appreciative. Hadn’t really thought of looking for ideas here on the RS Forum, even though it is said that Quebec City is the most European city in North America.

Posted by
6125 posts

You're not "exchanging" money

I would beg to differ

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exchange

Definition of exchange

(Entry 1 of 2)
1 : the act of giving or taking one thing in return for another : trade an exchange of prisoners
2a : the act or process of substituting one thing for another
b : reciprocal giving and receiving
3 : something offered, given, or received in an exchange
4a : funds payable currently at a distant point either in a foreign currency or in domestic currency
b(1) : interchange or conversion of the money of two countries or of current and uncurrent money with allowance for difference in value
(2) : exchange rate
(3) : the amount of the difference in value between two currencies or between values of a particular currency at two places
c : instruments (such as checks or bills of exchange) presented in a clearinghouse for settlement

Posted by
230 posts

We are looking forward to our visit to Quebec as well. This will be our first time there and will be happy to pass on our thought to you when we get back.

Posted by
230 posts

Thanks for the clarification Joe.

Posted by
128 posts

Just returned from Quebec City and it was a great visit for sure...lots of fun restaurants
in the old town and the lower old town. Also did the free walking tour (just tip your guide
at the end)-learned a lot about the city and its history. Great TI right in the upper old town
with info on everything to do, toliets and atm. And you have to luv the exchange rate.

Posted by
124 posts

Loonies are $1 coins (called loonies because of the loon on them), you will not get loonies from an ATM. You wil get $20 or $50 bills. There are also $2 coins, as well as nickels, dimes and quarters.

Posted by
230 posts

Sounds like you had a great trip deeganm! We will be staying in Old Town near the Plaines d' Abraham. We will definitely be looking for the TI you described! Will they also have information about the walking tour that you mentioned?
Thanks for the information about the money denominations Khrystia. The money differences when traveling is always an adventure!

Posted by
6144 posts

Loonies are $1 coins

Oppps...my bad. I called the bills (Canadian dollars) "Loonies" as well as the coins. And I forgot about the "Toonies/ Twoonies". I don't know why, I guess it's a habit. I've been educated finally!

Posted by
326 posts

In Canada, $5 and $10 bills are the smallest paper denominations.

Although we use $1 and $2 coins, Canada eliminated the penny in 2012. Items will still be priced with cents, but if you're paying with cash, it will rounded up or down to the nearest 5 cents.

Edit: Canadian $2 bills were withdrawn from circulation in 1996.

The Government of Canada now has the power to remove legal tender status from bank notes—something it could not do before. Effective January 1, 2021, the Government will remove that designation from certain bank notes that are no longer being produced—the $1, $2, $25, $500 and $1,000 notes— the final step to fully removing them as transactional notes in Canada. This initiative is supported by the Bank of Canada.

Posted by
11677 posts

So I have a $2 Canadian bill from who knows how long ago. I just found it yesterday when cleaning ourt a storage closet. Can I assume it is still good and I can exchange it for a Twoonie next time we are in Canada?

Posted by
1420 posts

No, don’t exchange it.
If you don’t want to keep it, give as part of a tip - the person who receives it will get a kick out of it, and it will be kept (either by them or the person they gift it to.)

Posted by
2675 posts

I'm not sure any currency has value when it is no longer in circulation. Keep your $2 bill as a souvenir.

Posted by
1420 posts

The $2 bill can be taken into any bank counter and exchanged for a twoonie. It then gets sent to be destroyed. Many people still get a kick out of finding one of these.

Posted by
2675 posts

Thanks for the clarification Diane. So Lola can go to the bank and trade it for a twoonie. I can't imagine a young server who has most likely never seen a Cdn $2 bill thinking it a 'fun' tip.

Posted by
5486 posts

If I recall correctly the Scotiabank ATM had a $2 surcharge for non-Scotiabank customers. The ATM advises of the $2 charge and gives you an option to stop the transaction.

Posted by
3435 posts

As in the United States (and elsewhere) you should seek out ATMs operated by a bank. Not hard to do, as Canadian banking is highly centralized and dominated by half a dozen companies that are large even by international standards. Quebec has several smaller operations that are just as reliable. Charges for using an ATM that is not connected to your home bank can vary and your own bank may also impose a charge for foreign exchange (read the fine print in your agreement.)
My favourite tourist sight in Quebec City during the summer is the flag-raising ceremony at the citadel. The Royal 22nd, a revered regiment, is still headquartered in the old fortress. The soldiers don traditional uniforms, including bearskin hats, troupe to the country's most stirring marching song, and are accompanied by a magnificent billy-goat mascot. However tough the troops, they don't march in rainy weather (moisture is hard on the hats). Nickname is pronounced "Lay van-doos", a translation of 22. The citadel dominates the Plains of Abraham, where the British defeated the French and their aboriginal allies -- a victory of great significance in the history of North America.

http://www.lacitadelle.qc.ca/en/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citadelle_of_Quebec

Posted by
3133 posts

Maria, if Lola exchanges her $2 for a loonie, she is being cheated! She’ll want a toonie as a loonie is a $1 coin with the loon on it.

For those traveling to Canada who have a Bank of America account, Scotia Bank has reciprocity so if you can seek out Scotia Bank cash machines, you will save on the transaction fees.

Posted by
2675 posts

@continental...good catch. Serves me right typing while distracted :-) post fixed.

Posted by
11153 posts

Remember that Canada is not only a foreign country when it comes to money, but also to phone networks. Figure out how your phone plan will work in Canada now, to avoid unpleasant surprises later. It may cost you nothing extra to use your current phone plan in Canada; it may cost you a lot extra; or your phone plan may not roam there at all.

Posted by
30931 posts

I'm not sure how things work in Quebec, but in this area many banks and credit unions may be "reluctant' to exchange currency for people that aren't customers. You may have better luck at the hotel you're staying at. Restaurants, stores and other businesses will accept U.S. currency but the exchange rate may not be the best.

As in Europe, the best way to get local currency is from an ATM. I haven't seen any DCC at local ATM's but that option may not show up for those with "local" ATM cards. All of the ATM's in this area offer service in both English and French. You'll likely encounter the same thing in Quebec.

Posted by
3223 posts

DCC only shows for foreign cards. If you are in Canada with a Canadian card that settles in Canadian dollars (or same with a US card in the US) DCC is not allowed on any transactions.

Posted by
30931 posts

Mark,

It occurred to me that the DCC option may be an issue for U.S. travellers using ATM's in Canada. I've heard a few reports of Canadians travelling in the U.S. that have encountered the DCC option.

Posted by
109 posts

Re. ScotiaBank. It is a "partner" with Bank of America. We used our ATM card for withdrawals at Scotia Bank branches in Santiago Chile. There were no charges, just the exchange. B of A didn't charge any transaction fees either.

Posted by
4943 posts

Yes Ken, we were offered DCC in Toronto in July at TD ATMs.

Posted by
30931 posts

stan,

Thanks for the reply. It seems like everyone is jumping on the DCC "bandwagon". Canadian banks are already among the most highly profitable in the world but I guess greed prevails.

Posted by
47 posts

I just returned from a week in Montréal, and used TD to withdraw/exchange for CAD. My Schwab Visa card did not give me the DCC option; however, the option did display when using my Credit Union ATM (MC) card. I did a double take when the notice appeared on the screen. I chose the correct option to save $$. Still, bummer to see this happening.

As for phone plans, T-Mobile changes to Telus or Rogers automatically... only for voice and text. Data roaming is an (expensive) option of course, but the tablet, on wi-fi, solves that.