The primary currency used in Niagara Falls, Canada is the Canadian Dollar. Canadian dollars come in the following denominations:
- Notes: $1000, $100, $50, $20, $10, $5
- Coins: $2.00, $1.00, $0.25, $0.10, $0.05
While most businesses will accept American Dollars, you will get the best value by paying in Canadian currency. The rates for currency exchange vary, and it’s recommended to have local currency on hand prior to your arrival. If not, you can change your money at a bank or Currency Exchange Center within the city once you arrive. When you cross the border into Canada, you must declare any currency or monetary instruments you have valued at $10,000 or more – either in Canadian or foreign currency, or a combination of both.
Most banks are open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday with fees between $3.00 and $6.00 for non-client transactions. Currency Exchange Centres are usually open longer hours, seven days a week, with fees as low as $1.00. You can find these centres conveniently located on all international bridges as you enter the country, as well as throughout the city. Both of the casinos in Niagara Falls also offer currency exchange with rates comparable to banks.
Before leaving, international travellers should check with their bank, to ensure they are aware you will be travelling out of country. Credit card companies can decline purchases made in foreign destinations as a safety measure, if they are not made aware of travel ahead of time.
TAXES AND SERVICE FEES
Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)
There is a mandatory Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) of 13% that is added to most purchases of taxable goods and services within the Province of Ontario. This tax is not typically reflected in the price on display, but rather is applied at point of purchase.
Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT)
Your hotel bill will include a mandatory MAT. A MAT used to fund tourism is a common practice around the world that will be familiar to many travellers.
In April 2017, the Province of Ontario passed Bill 127: Stronger, Healthier Ontario Act which allowed lower or single tier municipalities in Ontario to charge a transient accommodation tax, also called a “Hotel Tax”. In Niagara Falls, providers of overnight accommodations (Hotels, Motels, Bed & Breakfast etc.) collect a $2 per room, per night Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) which is administered by the City of Niagara Falls through the Niagara Falls Canada Hotel Association. The funds are used to promote the destination via the local Destination Marketing Organization which is Niagara Falls Tourism. The MAT must be disclosed to the purchaser at the time of booking. For more information about the MAT, please visit the City of Niagara Falls website.
Other Service Fees*
Like other destination cities around the world, here are some additional fees you may find at some businesses in Niagara Falls:
- Some hotels may charge an additional “hotel or resort fee” to cover incidental services. As this is individually determined by each business, the charge may vary from property to property.
- Some businesses may also charge additional service fees.
Businesses are permitted to set their pricing and add discretionary service fees and the amount to be charged must be made known in advance to the prospective customer and not shown as a “tax”. As pricing and service fees are individually determined by each business, these charges may vary. Businesses in Ontario are required to adhere to the Provincial Consumer Protection Act which covers these requirements.
* Niagara Falls Tourism is not responsible for establishing pricing, or processing or collecting any service fees.
For restaurants, gratuities are rarely included in the bill. It is customary to tip approximately 15-20% on the total bill before tax, tipping less for poor service or more for truly exceptional service. Many restaurants may automatically add 15-18% gratuity for groups of six or more to your final bill.
For accommodations, it is customary to tip hotel staff who assist with baggage and parking as well as the concierge and the room attendant. The choice to do so, or not do so, as well as the amount, are completely up to you.