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.
You will find that there is a 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.
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 can also be a good idea 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. Typically tips for hotel staff are not as high as restaurant staff.