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Changing Money in Canada


Losgatan
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LAST EDITED ON Aug-19-00 AT 05:30PM (EST)[p]Many thanks to all those who posted advice on my forthcoming trip to Canada. Although it was a difficult decision, I've decided to spend 4 nights in Toronto on the way home from Philadelphia. Montreal was great last year -- but I just want to try something new.

 

I'd appreciate some advice from you frequent travellers on the best way to handle changing money.

 

Last year, in Montreal, I used my ATM card. But, I was only able to get $200 Canadian from the machine at a time. And, since I can only make one ATM withdrawal per day, I had to supplement this with cash advances against my VISA card -- which is an extremely expensive way to go.

 

My specific questions:

 

Are there ATM's in Toronto which allow bigger transactions (my US bank permits up to $500 US per withdrawal -- probably sufficient for a night at Remington's)?

 

If not, can you change US traveller's checks to Canadian dollars at Remington's? Is there a limit on the amount per evening?

 

Do the hotels offer money changing services? (I'm staying at the Delta Chelsea Hotel.)

 

Many thanks for your help!

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Guest sport989

My suspicion is that the amount of $Can that you can withdraw from an ATM has more to do with your card (and its particular rules) than the ATM itself. I can withdraw considerably more using mine in Canada each day. But the best solution is to buy $Can travellers' cheques (Amex, VISA) before you leave the US--easy to cash in your hotel. Enjoy the trip!

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Guest sport989

On second thought, it may be safest to double check at the hotel before you get there, but it would surprise me if they did not cash travelers' cheques! I stil think it is the best solution.

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Sport,

 

Thanks for the advice. My problem in Montreal is that I was using an ATM located in the lobby of my hotel. There was a sign on the machine advising of the $200Can/withdrawal limit.

 

I should probably have sought out another machine -- probably at a bank.

 

I'll investigate the Can$ traveller's check option. Do most US banks sell them?

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There is an ATM in the lobby of the Delta Chelsea (near the exit right across the street from Remingtons - if you stand facing the hotel checkin desk, its down the hallway to your right just before the exit). One of my ATM cards allows $300US/day (roughly $440CAN) and I had no problem with that. Just 2 or 3 blocks up the street there is a bank with several ATMs - I pulled $500US (roughly $730CAN) from one of them with another ATM card with no problem. I didn't see any machines that had any restrictions other than those my banks assigned to the cards. The only problem I ran into was that one of my cards only allows $300 per BUSINESS day - I never considered that Fri evening thru Monday morning is only one business day (as far as that bank is concerned anyway) and after pulling money Friday night,the card was dead the rest of the weekend. Since then I've made sure I've had more than one card with me just in case I run into something (or someone) I really like! I've also learned that by using an ATM card in foreign travel I get the best conversion rate available.

Whatever you do, stay away from all the money changers with storefront windows all over the place - they'll give you a terrible rate and then charge a fee on top of it.

Have a great time in TO - its my favorite destination city. I'm going back up there for a long Labor Day weekend and can't wait!

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Guest Tampa Yankee

Losgatan,

 

On my last sojurn to Montreal (its been a few years) my research prior to travel indicated the best exchange rate was available at the American Express Office. There is one in downtown area with about 5 teller windows -- all they do is exchange currency it seems. When I arrived I used it -- the exchange was no hassle and it seemed to be a better rate than other banks/establishments quoted at the time. Check it out and let us know how it is.

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I think that you were just unlucky in Montreal to find an ATM machine in the hotel that had a $200 limit. (I have also encountered similar horrors in the US so it isn't just confined to Canada ...)

 

As RobPA already indicated there is an ATM machine in the Delta Chelsea, conveniently located next to the exit nearest to Remingtons that will let you withdraw at least $450 Canadian. There are also plenty of bank ATMs around most of which will, I think, allow you to withdraw up to about $600 Canadian (or whatever your card allows if it is less than that).

 

I don't know who you bank with, but Bank of America charges a $3 fee for international ATM transactions - I suspect most banks charge about that.

 

I don't usually bother with travellers checks for trips to Canada - I just buy some Canadian currency before I leave and then use ATM machines while I am there. Unfortunately most of the banks in the Bay Area don't keep Canadian currency on hand, but if you are travelling through SFO you can very easily buy Canadian dollars at the BofA branch in the international terminal.

 

As a last resort you can always just take some US dollars with you - most of the dancers at Remingtons will be perfectly happy to take them ... (It is, however, regarded as being rather "cheap" to tip dancers on stage with US 1$ bills - if they aren't worth at least $5 Canadian just don't bother ...)

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Guest Nice Guy

Hi, I noted that you said your bank only allows you $200 per day at ATM's. Your bank, not the ATM bank sets the limit. Preasure or ask your bank for a $1000 per day limit. I did and I got it. It is at your banks discression. So if you do a fair amount of business with them... ask for it!!! have fun

NG

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No, that's not what he said (in fact he said that he had a $500 daily limit).

 

Some ATM machines (many, but not all, of the ones placed in hotel lobbies for example) have a limit on the amount which can be withdrawn in a single transaction, and this limit may be lower than the limit that your bank has set as your daily withdrawal limit. You can sometimes circumvent this problem by making multiple withdrawals from the same machine (up to whatever your daily limit is) but then you end up getting charged multiple transaction fees.

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Thanks guys! I really do appreciate your help.

 

I'll try to change some money at Boston's Logan airport (I need to change planes there on the way to TO), and supplement that with ATM withdrawals.

 

It seems that my experience in Montreal was confined to the specific ATM that I was using.

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Guest Tampa Yankee

Losgatan,

 

I'd skip the exchange at Logan -- you'd get better rates from a guy in Montreal, standing on a corner wearing a mask, IMHO. I checked Boston banks exchange rates (since I live in the area) and they were terrible -- I doubt the airport would be better in view of their 'gotcha' mentality when pricing everything else.

 

I'd wait for Montreal.

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I was in Toronto last November and found the best exchange rates to be at currency stores throughout the city (particularly on Younge). My advice would be to take US dollars and exchange some at the airport to get to the hotel and exhange the rest at any one of thes currency stores.

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