Text and photos: Sandra Roussy
Oh Canada, the crowning North American country that is as wide as its diversity of cultures. Canada grew from immigration with people seeking new opportunities and it is as colorful as you would expect a country to be with so many people bringing so much diversity into one land. From one shining sea to the other, Canada offers incomparable activities for many wide-ranging interests.
Here’s our top 10 guide to Canada.
The easternmost provinces that line the Atlantic Ocean are full of exciting activities and landmarks. Whale watching, great sunrise photo ops, and surfing are all popular things to do. Museums and heritage sites abound with artifacts, fossils, and historical documents. The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax even has some relics from the legendary S.S. Titanic tragedy.
Local Tip: Make sure to see the Bay of Fundy which is one of the seven wonders of Canada and has the highest tides on earth.
Canada has a whole province that speaks French-only. The beautiful Gaspésie peninsula is known as “le bout du monde”, literally meaning the end of the world. The Magdalen Islands is an archipelago of islands in the Atlantic Ocean that is a kite surfer’s paradise.
Local Tip: Take a boat ride around the impressive Percé rock and Bonaventure Island to see one of the largest Northern Gannet bird migration populations in the world.
Montreal is well known for it’s multi-cultural flare, year round festivals, and famous foods like the legendary Montreal bagel, smoked meat, and maple syrup. Every summer, Montreal boasts the largest fireworks festival in the world.
Local Tip: Did you know you can surf a perpetual river wave in the Saint Lawrence river just outside of Montreal? Get your wetsuit on!
Want to try something very different as part of your Canadian adventure? Every winter the city builds an ice hotel where you can spend the night sleeping in a room made of ice, on a bed made of ice, and drink wine out of glasses made of, you guessed it, ice! Wrap up and give it a go!
Local Tip: Just outside of the city the Montmorency Falls is a spectacular natural waterfall that you can zip-line over. Feeling brave?
Ottawa, Capital City
Fancy something local? The Rideau Canal in Ottawa was built to supply an access route in case of war with the United States. It is now a very famous place to strap on your skates in the winter and skate for miles.
Local Tip: The National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa is a must see museum for every art lover. It possesses works from Picasso, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and many others.
Wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Enjoy a guided wine tasting tour of the 20 wineries that are nestled in the Niagara Escarpment. You can even try the famous ice wines that are produced from frozen grapes and are typical to the region.
Local Tip: Try to catch a play at the Shaw Festival Theatre while in the area, a beautiful venue staging plays inspired by George Bernard Shaw.
If you enjoy the winter cold temperatures and want to experience a natural phenomenon like no other, then head to the Yukon Territory in the fall to see the amazing aurora borealis colors in the night sky.
Local Tip: When in the Great White North try a dog sledding adventure with one of the several tour operators. Packages vary from a fun-filled day with the dogs, to a full week of winter camping.
If shopping is your thing, West Edmonton Mall is the largest mall in North America and is worth a visit. Skydiving is also a very popular activity to do when in the Prairie provinces. Get to see the magnitude of these grasslands from above.
Local Tip: The Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg is the first of its kind. It is open every day of the week at 10a.m. except on Mondays.
The Rocky Mountains
The Canadian Rockies span two provinces and is a renowned tourist destination for the spectacular snow peaked mountain tops and diverse activities like hiking, camping, wildlife photo ops, and all things outdoor related. This is a downhill skier’s paradise destination.
Local Tip: Feeling adventurous? Try a white water rafting experience on one of the many rivers in the area. There’s sure to be a package for you; from beginner to expert level, from a few hours to a multi-day trip.
Train Across Canada
This is considered to be the train trip of a lifetime. Hop on the train on one coast and enjoy the 6-day ride to the other coast. Go through 5 time zones and enjoy seeing the changing scenery every day from dense forests to vast meadows, from small towns to bustling cities, all while being comfortably seated in a panorama dome car.
Local Tip: VIA Rail sometimes offers promotions and upgrades on accommodations. Keep an eye out for sales on their website.