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Canada officially uses the metric system of measurement.
Online Conversion enables you to look up imperial and metric equivalents very quickly. There are plenty of apps available for your smartphone to help you with any conversion issues on the go!
However, colloquially, some imperial measurements are still preferred, depending on the situation. For example, although the government records vital statistics using metric measurements, Canadians generally measure their weight (and loss of weight) in pounds, and their heights in feet and inches.
Cooking is another example where Canadians will use imperial over metric. They often use degrees Fahrenheit for oven temperatures and will measure ingredients by the cup or tablespoon.
Also, Canadians and the Canadian real estate industry will often use "square feet" to measure spaces such as rooms, houses, apartments, etc.
Distance is measured in kilometres. Most road signs will give distances in kilometres, but fractional distances will be expressed in metres. 1 kilometre equals 1000 metres. (for example, instead of 1 1/2 kilometres, a sign would read 1500 metres)
To convert kilometres to miles, multiply the number of kilometres by 6 and divide by 10. Example:
5 kilometres x 6 = 30 divided by 10 = 3 miles
Tip : If you want to do a long cross-country tip and you want to find out how long it would take to drive that distance, look up a flight that covers that route. Assume that 1 hour of flying time is equivalent to 1 day of comfortable driving, without many sight seeing stops along the way. For example, in very round numbers, it takes 4 hours to fly from Toronto to Calgary. It takes 4 full but manageable days to drive from Toronto to Calgary.
Speed is expressed in kilometres per hour (km/h).
Tip : When you see a speed limit sign, assume it means km/h, even if it does not say km/h. For example, if you see a sign that says 100, assume it means 100 km/h (60 mph).
Some typical speed limits are:
Highways (daytime) : 100 km/h (60 mph)
Most roads in national parks : 90 km/h (55 mph)
City streets : 50 km/h (30 mph)
Playground zones : 30 km/h (20 mph)
Gasoline is measured in litres rather than gallons. Please see the TripAdvisor page entitled Inside Canada: Fuel Prices if converting C$ per liter to US$ per gallon.
Temperature is measured in degrees Celsius. To do a rough conversion from Celsius to Farenheit, double the temperature and add 30 degrees. Take 20°C, for example:
20 x 2 = 40 + 30 = 70°F
To do a rough conversion from Farenheit to Celsius, subtract 30 and divide by 2.
70 - 30 = 40 divided by 2 = 20
Fahrenheit equivalents, in very round numbers, are as follows:
0°C = 30°F
5 °C= 40°F
10°C = 50°F
15°C = 60°F
20°C = 70°F
25°C = 80°F
30°C = 90°F
Weight is measured in kilograms (kg).
1 kg = 2.205 lbs
20 kg (the luggage restriction on some airlines) is 44 lbs.
Small, lightweight items, such as deli foods, are measured in grams. Rough equivalents are:
500 grams = 1 pound
250 grams = 1/2 pound
125 grams = 1/4 pound
Use Online Conversion to find out the Canadian size that is equivalent to your size in your home country. If one of the pages on the Online Conversion website does not show Canadian sizes, assume they are the same as U.S. sizes.
Fabric is sold by the meter, with widths given in centimeters. For fabric shopping, it's wise to know the metric equivalents of your fabric widths beforehand, if you are looking for a specific amount of yardage for a sewing project. One inch is 2.54 cm, while a meter is roughly 39 inches.