US$ = 1.4 CAN$ (This varies daily: see
When you exchange your US
funds, or other currency, for Canadian funds, you will receive
a different exchange rate at different exchange locations. You
might obtain Canadian funds in several ways:
- at your local bank
- into Cdn$ bank notes or into Cdn$
- at a foreign exchange counter
- at the Toronto airport, at a land
border crossing, at the convention centre, or at a variety
of store front locations in downtown Toronto
- into Cdn$ bank notes
- at a Toronto bank
- into Cdn$ bank notes
- by withdrawing Cdn$ bank notes from
your bank account at an ATM machine
- at the front desk of your hotel
- by making a purchase on your credit
- by making a purchase in Canada using
US$ bank notes, and receiving Cdn$ bank notes and coins as
We believe that you will
receive better exchange rates in the following order:
Your own bank
You will probably receive
the best exchange rate possible from your own bank or credit card
company. When you are making your travel plans, talk to your local
bank about having them obtain Cdn$ bank notes or travellers cheques
for you. Usually, the smaller the bank, the more lead time they
need to obtain the currency for you, so do plan ahead.
Your next best exchange
rate is probably to make whatever purchases you can using your
credit card. Your credit card company will then translate the
purchase into your own currency when it appears on your credit
card statement. Bank cards using Interac are a very good tool. The exchange rates on cerdit cards vary a great deal. You can research this at Ultimate Credit Cards.
Withdrawing Canadian bank
notes from ATMs should also give you a generally favourable exchange
rate. However, you should check with your bank before travelling
so that you are familiar with what bank charges your will incur.
You are usually charged a set fee per transaction, so it is better
to make one or two large withdrawals rather than a bunch of small
Exchanging your foreign
currency into Canadian funds at a bank will generally give you
a better exchange rate than at foreign exchange offices or hotels,
and perhaps as good a rate as you can get on your plastic or at
your home bank. However, some banks may charge an additional transaction
fee; if this is the case, you are better to convert your currency
in fewer transactions. (As an example, the Royal Bank of Canada
charges a service charge of Cdn$3.00 per transaction for all persons
who are not Royal Bank customers.)
The Metro Toronto
Convention Centre is located in downtown Toronto, right near
the main business area. There are a number of bank locations,
mostly to the east and north of the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.
You may walk into any of these branches, join the line for the
tellers and then exchange your US or other currency into Canadian
funds. You should expect to have to show some identification.
All bank locations will
be closed on (Sunday and) Monday. Most bank locations in the downtown
area will also be closed on the Saturday and on National Holidays.
As an example of bank hours,
the Main Branch of the Royal Bank of Canada (the convention's
own bank), located at Royal Bank Plaza which is immediately east
of the Fairmont Royal York Hotel will be 9:00 am to 5:00 pm weekdays,
closed on Saturday and Sunday and also closed on National holidays.
The Royal Bank also has a branch located across the street from
the west end of the convention centre which will have similar
On the days that they are
open, most bank locations in the downtown business core will be
open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm or so, but some may have shorter
hours and some may have longer hours. Check with each location
to determine their exact hours, if that is important to you.
Also, note that Toronto's
downtown business area has a large network of interconnecting
shopping areas below ground level (under the office towers) where
you will find lots of shops, restaurants -- plus banks and ATM
machines. This is the PATH system, on which a lot more is written
elsewhere on our website. So don't just go looking at ground level
for a bank - check the concourse level as well. Note however,
that these businesses cater to the people who work in the office
towers and are generally closed on weekends and after business
hours on weekdays.
Further information regarding
Travellers Cheques: The brand of Travellers Cheques you are carrying,
may determine which local bank you will need to deal with if you
want to turn them into Canadian bank notes. For example, the Royal
Bank of Canada ("RBC")is an agent for American Express Travellers
Cheques and non-RBC clients may cash American Express Travellers
Cheques at the Royal Bank (but you must show at least a current
valid passport and may be asked for further identification as
well). The Royal Bank of Canada will only cash other brands of
Travellers Cheques for their own clients, so if you are a visitor
to Canada, you will need to seek out a different bank to cash
your Travellers Cheques.
We contacted the hotels
in our room block and asked them about their policies on exchanging
foreign currency into Canadian funds. All of our hotels indicate
that they will do so, but only for hotel guests. Each hotel indicated
that they will cash travellers cheques or exchange cash to a maximum
of Cdn$100.00 per day per room.
When we enquired as to the
rates of exchange that they give, all hotels indicated that the
rate is the same whether they are converting foreign cash, or
foreign travellers cheques. As to the actual rates used, compared
to the rates given by major banks, the hotels responded as follows:
- "Our rate is similar, we do not
charge service fee."
- "Generally, the bank's exchange
rate is more favourable."
- "The variance between the hotel
and a major bank on the exchange rate would be approx 3%."
Foreign exchange office
Toronto is a very popular
tourist destination. It is also an international business centre
and one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world. There
are many visitors coming to Toronto and leaving Toronto who want
to convert their currency to or from Canadian funds.
As a result there are a
large number of store-front foreign exchange businesses where
you can walk up to a counter, similar to a bank teller and buy
and sell many foreign currencies.
There is a Foreign Exchange
Centre located in the MTCC convention centre. They are open
weekdays 9 AM - 7 PM, Sunday 10 AM- 7 PM, Victoria Day 10 AM -
7 PM. (They have an outside entrance).
Phone # 416-260-1396.
American Express operates
a travel centre, including a foreign exchange counter on the concourse
level of the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. Similar offices are located
in various locations in the downtown business area and along Toronto's
most popular downtown shopping street, Yonge Street.
Keep in mind that these
foreign exchange businesses may not be open on Sunday and Monday,
and those in the downtown business area will most likely not be
open on Saturday. (The Yonge Street businesses will probably be
open Sunday due to tourist shopping in the area.)
Also keep in mind that these
businesses primarily make their income by buying currency from
you and selling other currency to you. That means that they probably
need to make a bigger profit margin on every transaction - which
in turn means that they will not give you as good an exchange
rate as you would get at a bank or at your hotel.
As an example, on the evening
of February 16, 2003, at the Toronto airport, the foreign exchange
offices were giving Cdn$1.43 for every US$1.00 converted, but
it took Cdn$1.59 to purchase US$1.00 from them - a spread of 16¢
- which means that the foreign exchange office makes about 8¢
off of you each time they buy or sell currency from you - a higher
spread than the banks usually charge. Good news: We have confirmed
with the foreign exchange office in the convention centre that
they will generally be open 9 am to 9 pm on all days of the convention,
including the holiday Monday. And their spread between buy and
sell rates is only about 5¢, which is as good as the banks are
Paying with your US bank
notes, coins and travellers cheques
Most (but not all) restaurants
and stores in Toronto and the surrounding region will accept US
bills and coins. However, whereas at a bank you might expect to
receive Cdn$1.48 or Cdn$1.52 for every US$1.00 (roughly the rates
of exchange when this article was written in early-February 2003),
you will find that when you are spending US currency directly
at a store or restaurant, the exchange rate given will be to your
disadvantage. You might receive Cdn$1.50, or only Cdn$1.40 or
maybe just Cdn$1.25 or even just Cdn$1.00. There are no laws governing
the exchange of currency at the retail level. You are subject
to whatever rate the establishment has self-determined. Those
that deal frequently with US tourists will usually post their
exchange rate where you can see it. If you don't see it, ask before
committing to a purchase.
If you pay for a purchase
with US funds, you will receive your change in Canadian funds.
So if the exchange rate the seller uses is not favourable, remember
that you are losing value not just on the purchase price but on
the full amount of the US funds that you use for your payment.
Actually, the above discussion
really pertains to US bills. If you want to spend your US$ coins,
you will only get value equal to exactly the same Canadian coins.
After the convention
- Going home
When you are ready to return
home you may have Canadian funds left over which you would like
to convert into US or other funds. Most people try to plan their
spending so that they have very little left over and usually end
up purchasing a candy bar or other small items at the airport
to use up the last of their "funny money."
However, if you have enough
Canadian currency left over that you want to convert it, please
keep several things in mind ....
First, before leaving home,
check with your own local bank as to their policy on handling
Canadian cash and cheques drawn in Canadian funds on Canadian
You can convert your Canadian
funds back into your own currency at banks or foreign exchange
offices. Please note that none of the hotels in our convention
block will convert Canadian funds to foreign funds.
Banks and foreign exchange
offices will only sell you foreign bank notes. So you will most
likely still end up with a bit of Canadian funds left over.
Banks and foreign exchange
offices will not sell you foreign currency at the same exchange
rate that they will use when purchasing it from you. There is
usually a rate difference of at least 5% and perhaps higher.
If you are a dealer or other
person who may have a large amount of Canadian currency which
you wish to convert to a foreign currency (cash or bank draft),
you should make contact with a local bank prior to the convention
and find out their specific policies in this regard. You may be
asked a lot of questions due to new money laundering rules that
have gone into effect. In fact, you may find it difficult to find
a bank which will handle the transaction for you.
(From 'Torcon 3')