Canada, or the Great White North, is a great place for an adventure. It’s a vast country with a diverse geography and views that will take your breath away. As its popularity grows, so does travel to Canada. Every day, more people are discovering the amazing beauty of this country.
Here, I’m going to share with you some of the amazing places I have visited so far. While there are still many places I haven’t seen, l always make a point of visiting places right here at home. Sometimes, though, that is not very possible.
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Things to keep in mind before you travel to Canada
Canada is the second largest country in the world! As such, there is so much of it to see from coast to coast to coast. Yes, we have three coasts and our other neighbour is the U.S.A. Canada has 10 provinces and three territories.
- Alberta (AB)
- British Columbia (BC)
- Manitoba (MB)
- Newfoundland and Labrador (NL)
- New Brunswick (NB)
- Nova Scotia (NS)
- Prince Edward Island (PEI)
- Ontario (ON)
- Quebec (QC)
- Saskatchewan (SK)
- Northwest Territories (NT)
- Yukon (YT)
- Nunavut (NU)
I don’t think most people realize just how big this country is. Just because someone is from Canada, it doesn’t mean we know them. While it’s the second largest country by land size, its population is quite small – just over 36 million people! Here is what else you need to know before you travel to Canada.
Yes, Canada can get very cold. It doesn’t mean that it’s covered in ice all year-long though. We do have summers that can get pretty hot and humid. While Canadians love to discuss the weather no matter what it is or isn’t, doesn’t mean that we sit in our homes all winter long. There is a reason why Canada does well in winter sports – the season is a long one!
If you travel to Canada in the winter, you will enjoy a very different experience than if you come here in the summer. Both will give you great experiences, but choose what you are more comfortable with. Skiing, snowboarding and other winter sports are all the rage here, and there are plenty of things to do. Between spring and the fall, you can travel across the country and experience some amazing sights.
Canada has two official languages – English and French. While English is more widely used, certain provinces have parts where they speak French. The province of Quebec is the only province where French is the main language used. If you don’t speak French, you will get by with English in most places.
My top 10 places to see when you travel to Canada
So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the places I think you would like.
Banff is a small resort town located in the very picturesque Banff National Park. If you travel to Canada for winter fun, this is the place to be. It is perfect for hiking, skiing, snowboarding and almost any other outdoorsy activity you can imagine. It also has hot springs, views of the Rocky Mountains and is near to some of the most stunning lakes I have ever seen.
I was lucky enough to visit in both the winter and in the fall. I still can’t decide which was my favourite. During the winter, we went snowboarding and I found inner peace at Lake Louise. In the fall, I discovered that the snow gives way to unreal beauty of nature. There is just something about the mountains and the lakes.
Lunenburg is a picturesque town on the east coast of Canada. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Historic District, as well as a winner of many other awards. It has historic architecture, fantastic sea food and is home to Canada’s most famous tall ship, the Bluenose.
No matter when you visit Lunenburg, you will also have a chance to stop by the many other beautiful little towns along Nova Scotia’s coastline. You can always pick yourself up a nice replica of the Bluenose to spruce up your decor at home, or office, like I did 🙂
Quebec City, QC
Quebec City‘s origins go back to 1608. This is one of the oldest towns in North America. The fortified walls of the old town offer an interesting glimpse into the early days of the Europeans that came here so long ago. I must admit that the architecture, combined with the French language spoken here, remind me a little bit of Paris. After all, the settlers that build this city came from France.
Here you can wander around the old narrow streets, do some shopping and dining or if you’re like me, take pictures of everything. Lots of them. There are many wonderful restaurants, coffee shops and bars to take a break at from sight-seeing. Keep in mind that Quebec City is in the French-speaking part of Canada and the locals prefer to use that language.
Lined with colourful houses, St. John’s is the most easterly point in North America. It’s actually an island with breathtaking cliffs and natural beauty that will blow you away. Fun fact: there are no snakes, skunks, deer, groundhogs or porcupine in Newfoundland. However, you will find many bird colonies and great opportunities for whale watching.
Whether you’re strolling down Water St., the oldest street in North America, hiking around Signal Hill or visiting local museums, you’ll find St. John’s to be a friendly and quirky kind of place. It is also where Terry Fox started his journey for cancer awareness across Canada, back in 1980.
Most people who travel to Canada don’t make their way to the north. Whitehorse is the most populous city in the Yukon Territory. It dates back to the days of gold rush, when many came here in search of fame and fortune. Built on the riches of those who found it, the town now has a surprisingly hipster vibe with great shopping, fantastic restaurants and really neat bars. Many seem to stumble here by accident and end up staying, taken by what they find.
Here you will experience the beauty that is northern Canada and if you’re here at the right time, you can catch Northern Lights in full force. It is truly a magnificent place that is remote, beautiful and strange, yet feels like home. I definitely plan on going back.
Halifax has a long maritime history. It was a navy port, a hub for privateers, and the main port of entry for immigrants arriving in Canada until 1971. It is also the resting place for many passengers of the Titanic. There is a lot of history here. Despite the major fire in 1917 that destroyed a good part of the city and killed thousands, today’s Halifax has a beautiful waterfront and if you’re up for hiking on the hilly streets, lots of pubs and restaurants to stop by for a drink and a bite to eat.
It is a major university hub with friendly locals and home to Alexander Keith’s brewery where tours are conducted in period costumes and in character. A must see.
An interesting combination of French and English, Montreal is a fascinating blend of European and North American vibes. Here you will find 18th century charm in Old Montreal, glitzy and modern downtown with a range of fantastic cuisine and shopping options.
Montreal is also a university town which adds even more layers to the fun and vibrant city that knows how to have a good time. I’ve been back to Montreal recently and it the vibe hasn’t changed. You can spend few days in the city or go for a quick weekend trip. This handy itinerary is a good way to get you started.
Ottawa is our nation’s capital and is home to our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, many museums and the Rideau Canal where you can skate your heart out when it freezes during the winter. This is one of the many winter activities that is fun for the whole family.
While not a large as other Canadian cities, Ottawa has its own unique charm that will win you over once you arrive here. There are also many museums and galleries as well as bike trails and paths. Not to be missed, the ByWard Market is a great destination for entertainment.
Toronto is Canada’s largest and most populous city, and has been recognized as the most multi-cultural in the world with something like 200 languages being spoken here. When you travel to Canada, you’re probably going to land here before heading anywhere else. Toronto also happens to be my home. I’ve watched the city change over the years and still marvel at its continuous evolution, wondering where it will go in the future.
Love it or hate it, Toronto is home to many sports teams, each with an avid fan base in their own right. There are a multitude of cultural and culinary attractions for every palate. As a tech and an innovation hub, the city buzzes with activity day and night. There is also plenty of things to do, no mater the weather.
Although I’ve tried to write about places in Canada that I have been to, Vancouver happens to be the one place that calls to me. I’ve decided to add it to the list despite the fact that I have not been there. Yet.
There is something about the mountains, the sea and the mild weather that makes Vancouver a popular Canadian destination. If the views don’t impress you, surely the laid back attitude and variety of things to do will. For me, it’s definitely the mountains and the breathtaking wilderness right at your fingertips that makes me want to go there.
In fact, the whole province is a treasure trove of activities and there are many things to do in British Columbia, no matter when you visit Canada.
Will you travel to Canada?
Canada is probably not as well know as the U.S.A even though it has spectacular scenery and many points of interest. There are options for those who love the outdoors, those who prefer cities and those who love adventures. Pick your fave place and activity and there will be plenty for you to do. I have been fortunate to see many places here, but seems like a drop in the ocean.
Whether you travel to Canada in the near future or are already planning on coming, you won’t be disappointed. What are you waiting for?
What are some of your fave places in Canada? Let me know!