Many Alaskans travel to and through Canada going to pow-wow's, conferences and events. Canada is so similar to Alaska that we often think of it as the same country. While there are strong similarities, Canada uses the metric system for measuring distance, volume and weight. The first trip to Canada surprises most Alaskans.

Speed and distance

Alaskans who travel into Canada are first confused when they read signs. When the speed limit is 60, Alaskans think it is ok to go 60 mph, but their signs are in km/hr.
60 km/hr is really 38 mph. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police will stop someone going 60 mph in a 60 km/hr zone!

Canadian TravelThe speedometer of every car gives us a quick conversion table. Around the rim of the speedometer are numbers.
In America, the outside rim of numbers is in miles per hour, and the inside row of numbers is in kilometers per hour.
Canadian cars have km/hr on the outside and miles/hr on the inside of the speedometer.


If we look closely at that speedometer, we can read the number in miles per hour and figure the Canadian equivalent on the inside row of numbers. Don't try to be exact. Round off the best you can.

How many km/Hr is 55 mph? If the sign reads
How many km/Hr is 70 mph?
How many km/Hr is 35 mph?
How many km/Hr is 40 mph?

Canadian Travel If a Canadian was driving an American car and wanted to understand how many kilometers per hour he/she was going, and the speedometer read the following, what would the con-version be to km/hr?

90 km/hr?
130 km/hr?
75 km/hr?
110 km/hr?


It is possible to go back and forth between distances in kilometers and miles, but you have to watch how many zero's to put in. There's a big difference between 500 and 5,000 miles!

If the Canadian sign said 520 kilometers to a certain town, how many miles is that?

Look on the inside ring of numbers. That is in kilometers. Where is 50 or 52? Read the number on the outside row of numbers. Now you have to make sense. Is it 32 miles? Or 320 miles? Or 3.2 miles?

When estimating, it helps to know that a kilometer is about 2/3 of a mile.

Now you are ready to roll in Canada!

Being able to convert from miles to kilometers is also im-portant to figure travel times.

Liters and gallons

When you pull up to the gas pump in Canada, the gas prices look great until you realize that Canada measures gas in liters instead of gallons. The gas price is given in dollars per liter. There are 3.3 liters in a gallon.

If the price is $.86/liter, what is the price per gallon?
What is the price per gallon if gas is $.67 a liter?

But whoah!
Canadian Travel
The Canadian dollar is not worth the same amount as an American dollar? While the difference varies, it often is worth $.70 in American money.

If that is the case, how much is a gallon of Canadian gas worth in American money if the price per liter is $.85 Canadian?

How does that compare to the price of gas in your village?

Research the price of gas in different Canadian cities. Research the conversion from Canadian dollars to American at the time of this study.

Figure the price per gallon of Canadian gasoline in American dollars with the findings of your research.

Canadian Travel

In Canadian vehicles, the outside numbers are given in kilometers per hour, and the inside in miles per hour.

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