Why We Love Canada

A country that stretches from sea to sea, from the quaint fishing villages of the Maritime Provinces to the magnificent vistas of the Pacific northwest, and the unimaginable expanses of the Arctic North, Canada is a country bigger than the imagination. The Old World charm of the Gallic cities and towns of Quebec contrast with the modern-day metroplexes of Toronto and Vancouver. The great expanses of the wheat belt end in the stunning peaks and glaciers of the Canadian Rockies. Canada offers something for everyone, and its people, notorious for their tolerance and laissez faire attitude, make every journey there a friendly one.

Top Destinations in Canada

Banff National Park

Canada’s oldest national park sits at the heart of the Canadian Rockies; highlights include stunning cerulean Lake Louise and the striking peaks and shimmering glaciers of the Icefields Parkway.

Bay of Fundy

This 270km-long (170 miles) bay stretches between the Atlantic provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and possesses the world’s highest tidal range – sometimes 15m (49ft) or more. Witness the inter-tidal zone’s incredible changes, go whale watching, then take an exhilarating rafting trip on the Shubenacadie River tidal bore or a thrilling jetboat ride on Saint John’s Reversing Falls.

Montreal

Romantic yet cutting edge, North American with a distinctly French flair, the nation’s second biggest city dazzles and enchants. Wander the elegant, cobbled streets of Old Montreal, potter among the quirky stores, funky cafés and colourful houses of bohemian neighbourhood Le Plateau, or soak up some serious tunes during the world’s largest jazz festival in June and July.

The Prairie provinces

Comprising Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the Prairies’ expansive grasslands in the south give way to parkland and coniferous forests further north. Swim, sail or waterski in one of Saskatchewan’s 100,000 lakes, spy polar bears and beluga whales in Churchill, Manitoba or hunt for fossils in Alberta’s Dinosaur Provincial Park.

Toronto

Canada’s largest metropolis curls along the rim of Lake Ontario. Steel your nerves and gaze through glass floors from 342m (1,122ft) up on the CN Tower, explore the vibrant cafés, boutiques and galleries of the Distillery District’s beautifully restored Victorian industrial architecture, or grab an ice-cream and some rays on the beach.

Vancouver

Nestled beneath the towering Coast Mountains on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, Canada’s gorgeous west coast city exudes an easygoing, cosmopolitan vibe. Ski or hike Grouse Mountain, cross the dizzying Capilano Suspension Bridge, bike or blade round the Stanley Park seawall, or hit Chinatown for some top-notch dim sum.

The Yukon Territory

While winters in the Yukon are long and dark, summertime turns the northern expanse of Canada into a playground. Thousands of lakes, ponds and streams are a fisherman’s mecca; and there are miles of trails to hike and bike. Enriching encounters with the native Inuits add to the Yukon experience.

Overview

The second largest country (in land mass) in the world after Russia, the Dominion of Canada lacks for almost nothing when it comes to appealing to travelers.

If you like Old World cities with a European vibe, Canada has them in Montreal or Quebec City. If you prefer more modern metropolises with all the present-day bells and whistles, try Canada: Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary.

Like the great outdoors, with fishing, hiking, biking, climbing, golfing, or camping? Canada is the place to go. Seasides? Canada has the lovely Eastern destinations of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland…every bit as scenic and quaint as any New England seaport. On the Pacific Ocean side, there are Victoria Island, Vancouver and other British Columbia ports to explore. Rocky Mountains? Canada has its own brand, complete with glaciers and trumpeting herds of elk. Great Lakes? The northern shores of all of ours lap against the shore of Canada.

Although Canadians themselves hate to admit it, many parts of their country are very similar to many parts of the United States. You may be away from home, but it doesn’t often feel like it.

No question that the biggest difference between the two North American neighbors is the Canadian people themselves. Though they are every bit as diverse as the U.S.A. in race, creed, color and national origins, most Canadians seem to have been blessed at birth with the “nice” gene. Active, easy-going, pleasant, relaxed and even-tempered, Canadians are almost universally welcoming.

Americans tend to take their northern neighbors for granted. Big mistake. It’s a country big enough for a lifetime of exploration and filled with experiences and adventures of every kind.

Quick Facts

English and French are the official languages of Canada. Road signs and official material contain both languages throughout the country. French is used as the everyday spoken language mostly in Quebec Province, but most people there also speak and understand English as well. Indigenous tongues are found in the northern provinces.

The currency in Canada is the Canadian dollar. It currently exchanges at CAN$1.00 = US$0.78. Canadian bills are denominated in $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills, and $1 coins, known popularly as “the loonie” after the image of a loon engraved on one side.

The electrical current is the same as in the United States: 120v, 60Hz, AC.

Internet connections and WiFi spots are found throughout the country. Most major hotels provide good accessibility.

Residents of the United States do not require a visa to enter Canada. A valid passport is required. Citizens of other countries may usually obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization to fly to or transit through Canada. Citizens of other nations may require a visa to enter the country. For information, see http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/index.asp.

Tap water is considered safe for drinking, cooking and washing throughout Canada.

Canada has six time zones: (east to west) Newfoundland Time Zone, Atlantic Time Zone, Eastern Time, Central Time Zone, Mountain Time Zone, and the Pacific Time Zone.

Canada’s seasons parallel those of the United States. Summer is generally considered the high tourism season, although ski areas in the Canadian Rockies and Pacific Northwest and the Laurentians in Quebec host the bulk of their visitors in the winter.

Average High and Low Temperatures

Things To Do in Canada

Niagara Falls

One of the great natural wonders of the world attracts millions of tourists every year, and a daredevil or two every now and then. The stunning power and majesty of the falls can be viewed from either the Canadian or American sides, or on a guideboat that nearly glides underneath the cascade, and never fails to thrill.

Old Quebec

Old Quebec, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is spread across the Upper and Lower Town of Quebec and contains the city's most historic buildings. The Lower Town, along the St. Lawrence River, is the site of the original settlement and home to the outstanding Château Frontenac, as well as numerous other treasures. The Upper Town rests on 100 meter-high cliffs and is home to the Citadel, the Plains of Abraham, Place d'Armes, and the Parque Historique de l'Artillerie. This area is one of Canada's most popular historical areas and is well developed for tourism. In addition to the historical sites, visitors will also find artists displaying their works on Rue du Trésor, interesting museums including the Musée de la Civilisation, and all kinds of shops and restaurants.

Victoria’s Inner Harbour

Few Canadian cities have done such a beautiful job of developing their waterfront area as Victoria and its Inner Harbour. This is a great place for strolling, relaxing, shopping, dining, and watching street performers all against the backdrop of the harbor. The centerpiece of this area is the historic Empress Hotel, one of the city's most lovely buildings. Over the years, the Empress has welcomed kings and queens and, today, features a traditional high tea, which is one of the highlights for many visitors coming to Victoria. While the harbor area is popular year round, it is particularly lively during the summer months.

Calgary Stampede

For ten days in July, Calgary turns into a true western town, where people who might otherwise be wearing suits to work instead don jeans and cowboy boots. At the Stampede Grounds are daily rodeo events drawing participants from across North America, thrill rides, games, food, and the nightly Grandstand Show. Around town, free "Stampede Breakfasts" are hosted by numerous establishments either at indoor or outdoor locations and usually consist of pancakes. Many big name country music performers also typically come to the city for this event.

The Maritimes

Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are delightful in summer, with quaint villages, antique stores, delicious fresh lobsters, great camping and hiking, and a growing list of championship golf courses to sample.

Gros Morne National Park

In remote Newfoundland, soaring fjords and moody mountains tower above a diverse panorama of beaches and bogs, forests and barren cliffs. Shaped by colliding continents and grinding glaciers, Gros Morne’s ancient landscape is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wander coastal pathways and beachcomb among sea stacks. Cruise the dramatic, sheer-walled gorge of Western Brook Pond. Spot moose and caribou. Hike to alpine highlands where Arctic hare and ptarmigan thrive on tundra, and explore the colourful culture of nearby seaside villages.

Vancouver’s Stanley Park

When residents of Vancouver want to go outside for some fresh air and exercise, they usually head for this thousand-acre park/peninsula on the west side of town. The park is surrounded by the ocean and home to huge red cedar and Douglas fir trees. A seawall, which rings the park has an extensive walking, jogging, and biking path with designated lanes for walkers and bikers. From the seawall, there are some lovely views of the city and mountains. A scenic drive also winds through Stanley Park with numerous pullouts. Within the park are the Vancouver Aquarium, scenic Beaver Lake, and the Stanley Park Pavilion and Rose Garden. Also of special interest, are numerous totem poles, some of which were erected more than 100 years ago.

Polar Bear Migration

One of Canada's most unique attractions is the polar bear migration that sees these beautiful creatures make their way from land out onto the ice in Hudson Bay, near the town of Churchill in Northern Manitoba. This small community opens itself up to tourists each fall. Tours take visitors out in tundra buggies with caged windows for close encounters with the polar bears. The prime viewing time occurs in October or November while the bears are waiting for the water to freeze before heading out onto the ice.

Hotels and Resorts