CANADA is the second-largest country on earth but overseas perceptions of it are often sketchy. Or, as the (Canadian) philosopher Marshall McLuhan perhaps unfairly put it: “Canada is the only country in the world that knows how to live without an identity.”
But while it might not be a high-profile international player, unassuming Canada, stretching from the US in the south to the Arctic Circle in the north, it does have a distinctive identity, as the 700-plus UK companies that do business in the country know.
It is packed with vibrant cities, such as multicultural Toronto, predominantly French-speaking Montreal and Quebec, achingly scenic Vancouver, and the architecturally awe-inspiring capital, Ottawa.
As Britain’s 16th largest export market, Canada takes over £7.5billion-worth of goods and services every year. And after a poor year in 2015, signs that the national economy is on the mend should persuade UK PLCs to seriously consider the many opportunities on offer, says UK Trade & Investment.
These are occurring as Canada pivots away from a past over-reliance on the extraction of natural resources and starts to flex its muscles for a hightechnology future. This shift has been triggered by the global commodities collapse and other exports are starting to fill the gap.
Reaching the Maple Leaf market from the UK is straightforward, with direct flights from many UK departure points to all the key cities in our survey. And access has been further enhanced this summer by a rash of new routes operated by the likes of WestJet, Air Transat and Air Canada Rouge. All of which will help to cut one of the world’s biggest countries down to size for serious business.
Selected flight information supplied by aviation intelligence specialist OAG.com. Where destinations are served by non-stop services from the UK alternative one-stop options with other European and North American airlines have not been included
The only viable way for business visitors with a multi-destination itinerary to get around the world’s second-largest country is to fly – but the price of tickets can be high.
To travel across Canada from Toronto to Vancouver by train costs £227, compared to £296 by air. The reasons for the disparity are many. Limited competition is one factor, with only a handful of carriers – such as WestJet and Air Canada – flying on domestic routes; another is some of the highest airport landing charges in the world – up to 200% higher than at US gateways.
Add to this a lack of low-cost carriers, with many start-ups never getting off the ground. Undaunted, low-cost airline New Leaf has been cleared for take-off.
For those business visitors on less demanding or more localised itineraries, car hire is available at all major airports from companies including the likes of Enterprise, National, Avis, Budget, Hertz, Thrifty, Alamo and more.
One-stop connections from the UK
Numerous Us and European gateway airports provide one-stop connections across Canada. Icelandair, for example, flies to its home base of Reykjavik from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow to destinations including Vancouver and Toronto. It has also launched a four-times-weekly seasonal service from Reykjavik to Montreal. low-cost carrier WOW air is among the alternatives, serving Toronto and Montreal from London Gatwick six and five times a week respectively, again via its Icelandic hub.
Information correct at time of publication: June 2016