Home to 10 provinces and three territories, Canada’s culture can vary depending on where you are visiting. Before you embark on the holiday of a lifetime, you may wish to gain a better understanding of the etiquette in Canada. From their tipping protocol to the different drinking ages, find out more in this guide to Canadian culture.


  • How to tip in Canada
  • When is Canada Day?
  • What is the drinking age in Canada?

How to tip in Canada

When travelling on a holiday to Canada, there are different customs which you’ll be expected to follow — one of which is tipping. It is normally recommended that a tip should be between 15-20% of the bill, but this depends on where you travel within Canada.

The amount that you should tip whilst on holiday in Canada can vary depending on the service that has been provided. If you’re going to a restaurant or a café, 15% should be the minimum you would consider giving, with 20% recommended for great service. This is because the wages of hospitality staff are low, so they depend on picking up tips throughout the night. With this in mind, a tip isn’t a necessity with counter service, although a tip jar will sometimes be present.

When travelling in larger groups, it is customary to tip a larger amount, with some establishments including this automatically. Gratuity is not normally included in the bill, although it is worth taking a look to avoid double tipping.

Other services where a tip would be expected would include taxi journeys, hairdressers and spas. Somewhere in the region of 10-20% is fine in these instances, as this often just means rounding up to the nearest note.

When is Canada Day?

In 1867, Canada gained its independence from the United Kingdom. Each year, on the 1st of July, the country celebrates its sovereignty with a public holiday known as Canada Day. The holiday was originally known as Dominion Day to commemorate the day that the Dominion of Canada was formed from the British North America Act (now known as the Constitution Act). Under this act, the federation of four provinces was also established, merging New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Québec together.

As Canada Day is a public holiday, schools and businesses shut to allow the general population to have a day of fun and frivolities. With a range of events put on, you can expect to see firework displays, carnivals and parades, concerts and a range of other patriotic activities. In 1982, on the 100th anniversary of the occasion, the name was officially changed from Dominion Day to Canada Day, and the event becomes more popular each year.

What is the drinking age in Canada?

Each of the territories and provinces in Canada has its own rules and regulations, and the drinking age is no exception. However, in most places across the country, the drinking age is 19. The drinking ages in each province and territory are as follows:

  • Alberta - 18
  • British Columbia - 19
  • Manitoba - 18
  • New Brunswick - 19
  • Newfoundland and Labrador - 19
  • Northwest Territories - 19
  • Nova Scotia - 19
  • Nunavut - 19
  • Ontario - 19
  • Prince Edward Island - 19
  • Québec - 18
  • Saskatchewan - 19
  • Yukon Territory - 19

If you are going to be purchasing alcohol whilst in Canada, it’s important that you have an authorised ID. This should be government-issued, so a passport will work well when travelling. It is a requirement to ID anyone who looks under the age of 25, so make sure to carry a form of identification with you just in case.

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