Canada is large - the second largest country in the world after Russia. This means that you will need several days to appreciate even a part of the country. St. John's, Newfoundland is geographically closer to London, England than it is to Vancouver.
The best way to get around the country is by air. Air Canada is the main national carrier, and has by far the largest network and most frequent schedules. For travel between major centres, no frills carrier WestJet offers competitive fares. In general, airports are poorly connected to public transportation and railway transportation; expect to leave airports by road on a rental car, taxi or a privately operated bus.
You can also travel between most cities in Canada, small and large, by bus. Greyhound Canada provides much of the service, with smaller operators covering local routes. For some popular tourist routes, guided bus tours are also available.
GO Transit has more frequent and convenient stops in the Greater Toronto area. Its main station of operations, Union Station, lies metres away from many of Toronto's main attractions (such as the Air Canada Centre, Hummingbird Centre, Royal York Hotel) and provides bus and train access to many rural towns and larger suburbs surrounding Toronto and Hamilton.
Of course, many people choose to rent a car. Although somewhat expensive if you are travelling alone, this can be an economically reasonable alternative if you are sharing the costs with others. However, beware of the high surcharges associated with dropping off the car at a different location than where it was picked up. In Montreal and Toronto, public transit is a strongly recommended alternative to driving.
Furthermore, for Americans, Canadian gas prices are very high, ranging from $3.50-$4.50 a gallon. Try to fill up before the border
If you are set on a road trip, an alternative to car rental is to hire an RV (motorhome or campervan). This gives you the flexibility to explore Canada at your own pace and is ideal if your trip is geared around an appreciation of Canada's natural environment. Costs can also be lower than combining car rental with hotels.
Traffic rules to be aware of
Passenger rail service in Canada, although very safe and comfortable, is often an expensive and inconvenient alternative to other types of transport. The corridor between Windsor and Quebec City is a bit of an exception to this generalization. Also, if natural beauty is your thing, the approximately three-day train ride between Toronto and Vancouver passes through the splendour of the Canadian prairies and the Rocky Mountains, with domed observation cars to allow passengers to take in the magnificent views.
Make arrangements ahead of time to get lower fares. VIA Rail is the main Canadian passenger rail company.
Hitchhiking Canada is a great place for hitchhiking, and is still quite common among younger travellers strapped for cash, or seeking adventure. Its most common in the far western provinces, where there are generally more travellers. As anywhere in the world, use your common sense when taking a ride.