What do you think about when you say Canada? Infinite snow and the aurora borealis? The Niagara Falls? Endless maple tree forests? Polar bears? Emigration? Whatever your answer is, one thing’s clear: you have a lot of reasons to visit Canada.
It’s perfectly clear that a trip to Canada is such a rich experience that you really need to be careful when choosing where to go and what to see in order to really appreciate and enjoy the maple tree’s homeland. To make it easier, we divided Canada into four regions and we’ll tell you a few essential things about each one: Northern Canada, the Atlantic coast, Central Canada and the rocky western part.
So even if you’re in love with extreme sports, beautiful traditions, breath-taking landscape, you want to see one of the most beautiful shows on Earth, the aurora borealis from a splendid 5-star hotel, want to eat a lobster you’ve caught for yourself or you want to go on an arctic safari, Canada is the place.
The most amazing experience you can live in the Northern part of Canada is, no doubt about it, seeing the magnificent aurora borealis, a natural phenomenon caused by energetic particles carried by solar winds colliding with atoms from the Earth’s atmosphere, resulting in a beautiful lighting display. And if you’re afraid you might fall asleep and miss the aurora, don’t worry about it, because most hotels in the area have a special Aurorawatch service, which means you’ll get a phone call just in time to see the splendid polar lights.
Other things you must do here include going on a trip on an icebreaker and passing north of the arctic circle, making a lovely trip on the coast, to Tuktoyaktuk, where you can see the 1,400 pingos (earth-covered ice formations) in the Pingo National Landmark, paying a visit to the Kluane National Park or visiting the Iqualit inuit art museum and take a trip to the Yukon glaciers where, with a little luck, you’ll be able to spot a few whales.
The Atlantic Coast
Almost any route you’d take on Canada’s Atlantic coast, you will definitely encounter a beautiful beach. So enjoy the viking hospitality, admire the world’s largest tides, catch a lobster while visiting the fishermen villages placed in spectacular bays (they say the best lobsters in the world are in Newfoundland and local people will teach you how to cook it perfectly).
You can also go to the North American continent most eastern point, Cape Spear, and search the horizon for icebergs, whales or ghosts of ships sank hundreds of years ago (the legends, at least, are amazing). Not to mention that this area is the home of some of the most hospitable people in the world, so make sure you enjoy the beach parties where you will definitely make some new friends.
Central Canada is the cosmopolitan area of Canada and if you like your vacation in cultural areas, this is the place to be. Toronto is famous for its international film festival and for plenty of restaurants that earned top grades in the famous Michelin guide.
In Ottawa you can admire the guard change and you will take amazing photos from the Parliament hill. Montreal, the French capital of Canada is the city with the most obvious European influence. Fashion, cuisine, architecture (best seen during a horse carriage tour), all will make you think about Europe.
You can also visit the National Gallery, visit the ice palace during the Quebec carnival, the largest winter show in the world (not to mention the Hotel de Glace icehotel), take a tour of the Niagara vineyards and of course, visit one of the most famous waterfalls in the world, the Niagara Falls.
Rocky Western Canada
In Vancouver, you can ski or go sailing, just minutes away from downtown area, so you can easily get back to your hotel for a relaxing massage and a perfect dinner, while a great end to your day would be a party at one of the clubs in the Yaletown area. Another attraction of the area are the sleds pulled by dogs, which will offer you an amazing experience.
You can also admire the futuristic buildings of Edmonton and you mustn’t miss a snowmobile ride in British Columbia, especially at night. And if you would like to go and explore the mountains, you must take the famous Rocky Mountaineer train from Vancouver to Calgary, which will take you through five national parks where you’ll be able to enjoy dream landscapes, waterfalls, glaciers and mountains covered in snow.
And since Canada is probably best known for its cold climate, one of the country’s biggest attractions are related to this, so here are some of the most interesting winter festivals in Canada you might want to attend:
Jack Frost Children’s Winterfest (February 10-12, 2012, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island) – Celebrate winter’s magic and you’ll see amazing snow castles and other snow and ice structures. Official website here.
International Dog Sled Race (February, Saskatchewan) – One of the most famous dog sled races in the world. Official website here.
Corner Brook Winter Carnival (February 17-26, 2012, Corner Brook, Newfoundland) – Annual community festival dedicated to winter. Official website here.
I’m Vlad, I’m in my 30, I have traveled a lot in the past 10 years and I share stories with all the experiences I’ve lived. I’m really into writing, so I also talk about stuff that I find interesting and want to see at some point in the future. Also, I’m quite passionate about travel photography and I share my experience as an amateur photographer and videographer. He now writes at Upwind Travel