Despite the all-pervasive influence of the US media, Canada’s vibrant free press, local radio and – to a lesser extent – national TV stations demonstrate a high degree of independence from their southern neighbour, retaining an often subtle but distinctive voice.

Newspapers and magazines

Canada´s only national daily newspapers are the National Post and the outstanding Globe and Mail, whose coverage of domestic politics and contemporary issues is superb. Every major city has at least one daily newspaper and standards are generally high – the Toronto Star and Calgary Herald being two cases in point. In Québec, the tabloid Journal de Montréal is the bestselling French-language paper in North America, competing with the more highbrow La Presse and the intellectual (and separatist) Le Devoir.

Most of Canada´s major cities also have free weekly listings papers, often with news and features with an alternative slant. The small-c conservative Maclean’s and French-language L’actualité are the most popular weekly news magazines, while The Walrus – a highbrow, Canadian equivalent of The New Yorker – is also a good read.

TV and radio

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is the primary national and regional TV provider. The main commercial network is CTV Television (CTV), a mix of Canadian, American and regional output. Most US stations can also be picked up in every part of Canada thanks to cable and satellite.

The majority of Canadian radio stations stick to a bland commercial format. Most display little originality – though they can be good sources of local nightlife and entertainment news, and road and weather reports. On the other hand, the state-subsidized CBC channels provide diverse, listenable and well-informed programmes. Driving through rural areas can be frustrating, as for hundreds of kilometres you might only be able to receive one or two very dull stations, if anything at all.

Essentials

Everything you need to know before you set off.

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