The Canadian telephone system, operated by Bell Canada, closely resembles the U.S. model. All operators speak English and French, and they respond in the appropriate language as soon as callers speak to them. In Canada, dial tel. 0 to reach an operator. When making a local call within the province of Québec, you must dial the area code before the seven-digit number.
Phone numbers that begin with 800, 888, 877, and 866 are toll-free. That means they're free to call within Canada and from the U.S. You need to dial 1 first.
Remember that both local and long-distance calls usually cost more from hotels -- sometimes a lot more, so check before dialing. Some hotels charge for all calls, including toll-free ones.
To call the province of Québec from the U.S.: Simply dial 1, then the three-digit area code, then the seven-digit number. Example: To call the Infotouriste Centre in Montréal, dial 1-514-873-2015.
To call Québec from the U.K./Ireland/Australia/New Zealand: Dial the international access code 00 (from Australia, 0011), then the Canadian country code 1, then the area code, and then the seven-digit number. Example: To call the Infotouriste Centre in Montréal, dial 00-1-514-873-2015.
To call the U.S. from Québec: Simply dial 1, then the three-digit area code and seven-digit number. Example: To call the U.S. Passport Agency from the province of Québec, dial 1-202-647-0518.
To call the U.K./Ireland/Australia/New Zealand from Québec: Dial 011, then the country code (U.K. 44, Ireland 353, Australia 61, New Zealand 64), then the number.
A local call at a pay phone in the province of Québec costs C50¢. Directory information calls (dial tel. 411) are free of charge from pay phones.
For help with time translations, and more, download our convenient Travel Tools app for your mobile device. Go to www.frommers.com/go/mobile and click on the Travel Tools icon.
Cellphone service is good in Québec cities and sometimes spotty in areas beyond city borders. Cellphone service is widely available throughout the regions mentioned in this guide.
Visitors from the U.S. should be able to get roaming service that allows them to use their cellphones in Canada. Some wireless companies let customers adjust their plans to get cheaper rates while traveling. Sprint, for instance, has a "Canadian roaming" option for US$3 per month that reduces the per-minute rate. Ask your provider for options. Europeans and most Australians are on the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) network with removable plastic SIM cards in their phones. Call your wireless provider for information about traveling. You may be able to purchase pay-as-you-go SIM cards in Canada with local providers such as Rogers (www.rogers.com). American travelers may find that their SIM card is locked by their carrier, but consumers are legally allowed to unlock their phones, although it takes some ingenuity to do so. If you go this route, plan enough time to request an approval code from your carrier.
Cellphone rentals are not common in Canada, so if you end up traveling without a phone or with a phone that doesn't get reception, prepaid phone services are a good option. With OneSuite.com (tel. 866/417-8483; www.onesuite.com), for instance, you prepay an online account for as little as US$10. You can then dial a toll-free or local access number from a hotel phone, enter your PIN, and then dial the number you're calling. Calls from Canada to mainland U.S. cost just US2.5¢ to US3.5¢ per minute. Some hotels charge for local and even toll-free calls, so check before dialing.
Cheaper still are phone calls conducted over the Web. Skype (www.skype.com) allows you to make international calls from your laptop or a mobile app on your smartphone. Calls to people who also have the program on their computers are free. You can call people who don't have the service, although modest fees apply.
Internet & Wi-Fi
Most hotels and auberges, as well as many cafes, now offer Wi-Fi. Some hotels still offer high-speed Internet access through cable connections. Except at the larger hotels, Wi-Fi usually is free. For travelers in Montréal, Ile Sans Fil (www.ilesansfil.org) lists free Wi-Fi spots in the city. The listing is available as a free iPhone app, too. For travelers in Québec City, ZAP Québec (www.zapquebec.org) lists free Wi-Fi spots.
Most hotels maintain business centers with computers for use by guests or outsiders, or at least have one computer available for guest use. Again, except at the larger hotels, this access often is free. Cybercafes are not common. In Vieux-Montréal, Café-Bistro Van Houtte, 165 rue St-Paul ouest (tel. 514/288-9387), has a bank of computers and prepaid Internet access cards for C$5 per hour. In Québec City, the Centre Infotouriste de Québec, 12 rue Ste-Anne (tel. 877/266-5687; www.bonjourquebec.com), has a bank of computers for visitor use. The cost is C$2.50 for 20 minutes.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.