Maps of Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver airport arrival areas. SIM card shops highlighted. Sketched by Chris.

Canada SIM Cards and Roaming: A Guide for Visiting Canada

Updated by Chris. Chris prefers to visit Niagara Falls from the Canada side. He's also planning to ride the train through the Rockies.

A guide to help anyone arriving in Canada find the best value SIM cards. This guide includes locations of shops that sell SIM cards when arriving in Toronto, Vancouver, or Montreal, and the various options available to arriving visitors. I travel frequently and understand how confusing it can be to figure out local SIM cards. Hopefully this guide makes it less confusing for you.

In general, the best SIM cards for short-term visitors to Canada are Public Mobile with data plans starting from 25 CAD. Public Mobile is available at various shops and resellers throughout Canada, but not available at any airport. I’ve listed some Public Mobile shops and the SIM cards that can be purchased at airports below.

While I prefer Public Mobile, if arriving by plane also consider:

  • For Toronto, Chatr has good plans for roughly 40 CAD;
  • For Montreal, expect to pay around 25 CAD for Lucky Mobile;
  • For Vancouver, head downtown and pick up a Public Mobile SIM.

At these prices expect 1-4GB of data and unlimited calls to Canadian numbers. More details of price and options for more data are included below.

A fee to purchase or connect a SIM card is typically charged. I found this fee to vary by provider and retailer.

Part 1: Which SIM Cards Can Be Purchased When Arriving in Canada

Public Mobile is generally the best option for visitors staying less than a year in Canada. Plans with data include1:

  • 25 CAD/month for 500mb of data and unlimited calls
  • 35 CAD/month for 1GB of data and unlimited calls
  • 40 CAD/month for 4.5GB of data and unlimited calls

Discounts are available for those committing to 8 months worth of plan, and a bonus 500mb of data is applied if paying by Canadian AutoPay.

Public Mobile SIM cards can be purchased in one of the many stores spread throughout Canada, or online prior to arrival (via Amazon). I’ve never found Public Mobile represented at a Canadian airport unfortunately.

Here are alternative options depending on which airport / border crossing used to get in to Canada:

If arriving via Toronto Airport, Chatr SIM cards can be purchased in the Terminal 3 (international) arrivals area. Chatr plans including data start from 40 CAD for 4GB2.

If arriving via Vancouver Airport, only SpeakOut SIM cards are available3, which I don’t typically recommend due to its complicated top-up system. I prefer to leave the airport and purchase a SIM card in the city.

If arriving via Montreal Airport, Lucky Mobile or Telus can be purchased in the international arrivals area, see map below for locations. Lucky Mobile plans with data start from 25 CAD (including 500mb of data)4; Telus start from 35 CAD (including 250mb of data)5.

If driving in from the States, look for a Petro-Canada SIM card which starts from 35 CAD for 1GB of data6. Many Americans already have plans that cover Canadian roaming. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon include roaming to Canada on many of their plans; customers that aren’t covered can purchase roaming for a small charge per day. I’ve included further details of roaming for Americans below, scroll down or click here.

Further details of Public Mobile shops and airport SIM cards can be found in my guides for each of these cities: Toronto | Vancouver | Montreal.

Maps for each of these airports can also be found further below in this guide.

Prepaid SIM cards in Canada can be extended and topped-up with credit. All prepaid plans discussed in this guide can be used month to month for those staying longer in Canada.

Full Details of SIM Card Options

Here I’ve included details of all the different options I looked at when arriving in Canada:

Telus, available at the Montreal airport i.c.e currency exchange counter and at their shops. Plans include:

  • 45 CAD for 1GB of data and unlimited calls
  • 65 CAD for 3GB of data and unlimited calls

Chatr, available at Toronto airport and at Chatr stores. Plans include:

  • 35 CAD for 1GB of data and unlimited calls
  • 40 CAD for 4GB of data and unlimited calls
  • 50 CAD for 8GB of data and unlimited calls

When arriving in Toronto airport, Chatr can be a good option over my usual recommendation of Public Mobile. It’s roughly the same price and I find it much more convenient to buy a SIM card at the airport.

Lucky Mobile, available at Montreal airport, and at various shops and resellers. Plans include:

  • 15 CAD for 500mb of data (no calls)
  • 25 CAD for 500mb of data and unlimited calls
  • 35 CAD for 1GB of data and unlimited calls
  • 40 CAD for 4.5GB of data and unlimited calls

Similar to Public Mobile (see below) speed is limited to 3G even when connected to a 4G network.

A benefit of Lucky Mobile is the cheap international calls that are available. I found Lucky Mobile to offer the cheapest options for calling Australia, China, Mexico, and various other countries. Costs start from 5 CAD per month with 200 minutes to these destinations. More details can be found on their website here.

I don’t usually buy a SIM card for international calls however, I prefer to use apps or Skype. I’ve written a whole guide about that here:

Public Mobile, available at various resellers and stores across Canada. Plans include:

  • 25 CAD for 500mb of data and unlimited calls
  • 35 CAD for 1GB of data and unlimited calls
  • 40 CAD for 4.5GB of data and unlimited calls

The drawback to Public Mobile is that the above plans are limited to 3G speed (even when the phone connects to a 4G part of the network). Higher speed can be purchased however. As a tourist to Canada, I tend to find this an acceptable trade-off.

Freedom Mobile, sold at various resellers. Plans include7:

  • 19 CAD for 1.5GB of data and unlimited calls
  • 29 CAD for 5GB of data and unlimited calls

I found Freedom Mobile to have the least coverage of Canada out of all the network available. Coverage doesn’t appear to extend very far outside the major cities. This is OK for visitors only staying in Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, and a few other cities; it’s not great if you’re travelling outside these areas however.

Petro-Canada is sold at Petro-Canada service stations. Plans are customizable. Some examples are:

  • 35 CAD for 1GB of data and unlimited calls
  • 45 CAD for 3GB of data and unlimited calls

SpeakOut is sold at 7-Elevens throughout Canada. Plans include:

  • 35 CAD for 1GB and unlimited calls
  • 35 CAD for 2GB and no calls

I find the SpeakOut top-up system to be confusing. Credit that can be added to the SIM doesn’t seem to align with the amount it costs to purchase a package. As far as I can tell this means there is money leftover on the SIM that is hard to use. Over a long period of time this doesn’t matter so much; for a visitor staying less than a month it can be inefficient however.

I did also look at Rogers and Bell prepaid SIM cards, but I didn’t feel they offered either cheaper plans or more convenient points of sale than the above options.


In general, coverage in Canada is limited to major towns and cities and important national highways. The three major networks are Telus, Bell, and Rogers. Freedom Mobile runs on its own network which only covers which appears to really only covers the larger cities (I’ve never personally tried Freedom Mobile).

Public Mobile uses the Telus network; Lucky Mobile uses Bell; and Chatr uses Rogers.

I’ve found coverage to be limited outside of major cities/towns, even when using the top 3 networks (Telus, Bell, and Rogers). If planning an extensive trip into the Canadian countryside, consider a satellite phone if it’s necessary to stay in touch.

Part 2: Maps to SIM card locations at Canadian Airports

This section of the guide includes maps to SIM card shops when arriving at popular Canadian airports: Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.

When arriving in Toronto or Montreal airports, the convenience of buying a SIM card (Chatr or Lucky Mobile respectively) can out-weight the slightly higher price paid compared to going to the city (Public Mobile).

When arriving at Vancouver or Ottawa airports, I’ve found it’s best to leave the airport and head to the city to buy a SIM card.


Map to Canada SIM cards at Toronto Airport

Map to SIM cards at Toronto Pearson Airport. Sketched by Chris

At Toronto Airport, SIM cards can be purchased from Chatr. Plans with Chatr include:

  • 35 CAD for 1GB of data
  • 40 CAD for 4GB of data
  • 50 CAD for 8GB of data

These Chatr plans all include unlimited Canada-wide calls.

Public Mobile can be purchased at dozens of shops in the downtown area of Toronto such as:

  • Dynasmart Wireless and IQ Mobile (resellers) on Spadina Avenue in Chinatown
  • Koodo shops (another Telus brand), including York Street near Union Station.

For more details, check out the guide I wrote for Toronto here:


Map to Canada SIM cards at Montreal Airport

Map to SIM cards at Montreal Airport. Sketched by Chris

At Montreal Airport, Lucky Mobile SIM cards can be purchased in the international arrivals area. Lucky Mobile plans include:

  • 500mb of data for 25 CAD per month
  • 1GB of data for 35 CAD per month
  • 4.5GB of data for 40 CAD per month

All of these plans include unlimited Canada-wide calls.

Telus is also available at the i.c.e currency exchange counter.

Public Mobile can be purchased at shops in the downtown area of Montreal such as:

  • Public Mobile store at Promenade Cathedral Eaton Centre, near the McGill subway station
  • Mobitel (an authorized reseller), near Place Émilie-Gamelin
  • Walmart kiosks, located inside Walmarts

For more details, check out the guide I wrote for Montreal here:


Map to Canada SIM cards at Vancouver Airport

Vancouver Airport arrivals area map. Sketched by Chris

SpeakOut is the only SIM card I could find in Vancouver airport. It’s sold at the 7/11 in the domestic area, which is quite a walk from international arrivals.

I find the SpeakOut top-up system to be frustrating - top-ups don’t align with packages, so people staying less than a couple of months in Canada may pay a few dollars extra for no added value.

Public Mobile can be purchased at shops in the downtown area of Vancouver such as:

  • Wireless Wave, an authorized dealer, located in the Pacific Centre near Vancouver City Centre station
  • Chatr stores (as they’re both Telus brands), such as at the International Village Mall
  • iRepair, another authorized dealer, located near the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre

For more details, check out the guide I wrote for Vancouver here:

Part 3: Roaming To Canada

This part of the guide looks at how Americans, Brits, and others can roam in to Canada, and what are the typical costs to expect.

Americans will typically find it cheaper to roam to Canada than to buy a Canadian SIM card upon arrival. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon offer plans that include roaming to Canada. They also offer options for people who are not on plans that include Canada roaming. See below for details.

For Americans

AT&T includes Canada roaming for no additional charge on unlimited and other select plans. Alternatively, AT&T also offers USD 10/day international day pass or a USD 70 per month roaming passport which includes 2GB of data to use in 200 countries. These options can be activated via the website or by contacting AT&T8.

T-Mobile plans include roaming in Canada9:

  • Essentials plans have unlimited calls, text, and 2G data in Canada
  • Magenta plans include unlimited calls, text, and 4G data (for the first 5GB) in Canada

There is no need to activate Canadian roaming for T-Mobile accounts, it’s already included.

Verizon charges USD 5/day to use the plan allowance of calls, text, and data in Canada10. Customers on the Start, Play, Do and All Unlimited plans are not charged this fee.

Most people with a US SIM card will likely find it cheaper and easier to roam in Canada rather than purchase a local SIM card.

For Brits

UK carriers having the following options for roaming in Canada:

  • Vodafone charges £6 per day to use your plan in Canada (free on plans that cover Roam-further destinations)11;
  • EE charges £4.80 per day for 500mb of data12;
  • O2 Travel can be activated on Pay Monthly plans, it costs £4.99 per day and doesn’t have an upper limit on data13.

If planning a short trip of only a few days, those with UK SIM cards may find it cheaper and more convenient to roam rather than purchase a Canadian SIM card.

For Australians

Typical roaming costs for Australians travelling to Canada include:

  • Telstra includes Canada in its AUD 10 per day International Day Pass (200mb of data)14;
  • Vodafone roaming in Canada costs AUD 5 per day to use the subscription quota15;
  • Optus offers 1GB of data for 10 AUD16.

For trips under a week, Vodafone might offer better value than buying a local SIM in Canada. The Optus plan is new and I’ve not been able to find out any more information about it.

For New Zealanders

  • Spark roaming to Canada has options for 15 NZD including 1GB of data lasting 7 days, or 20 NZD to add on some calls and texts to that data17;
  • Vodafone lets customers use their plan quotas for 7 NZD per day in Canada;18
  • 2degrees starts from 30 NZD for 500mb lasting 7 days19.

Roaming can be a better option for those with Spark and Vodafone if planning to spend less than a week in Canada.



Written by Chris who travels frequently for work and understands what it can be like to arrive somewhere new and unfamiliar.

I wrote Landing Last Minute to help the hurried traveler get necessary information about any destination.