Resting quite happily between the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, the world’s second largest country by area – Canada – is a place of sheer beauty.
The friendliness of its residents is world-renowned, as is its vast landscape, bustling and diverse cities, whale-watching tours and the love of ice hockey. If your knowledge of the country is as limited as this then you really need to book yourself a plane ticket and discover as much as you can about the stunning place. Don’t worry, no one is expecting you to achieve it all in one visit but as a starting point we’ve highlighted the best reasons to visit Canada as soon as you can.
First of all just ensure you have to the correct paperwork in order to visit and this includes a Canadian visa – apply online for your eTA (electronic travel authorisation) before you leave so that you can ensure a swift entry into the country to enjoy all it has to offer.
Reason 1 – Cities
An arts and culture hub, Toronto is a city that you don’t want to miss. Sitting along the southern border and on the banks of Lake Ontario, this exciting city has a population of almost 3 million people, and happens to be fairly close to Niagara Falls too. Home to the iconic CN Tower, the National Ballet of Canada, Royal Ontario Museum and the world-class Toronto Zoo as well as some glorious green spaces, this city will leave you wanting more.
The predominantly French-speaking Montreal with have you gaping open-mouthed at it’s beauty in no time. Often claimed as the second largest city with French-speaking residents (outside of Paris), you will no doubt want to learn a few phrases before your trip. Sitting on an island and containing the Gothic revival Notre-Dame Basilica in the heart of the cobblestoned French colonial, Vieux-Montreal this pretty city mixes old and new beautifully. Visit in summer for the International Jazz Festival or the snow festival (Fete des Neiges) in winter. Explore the underground city of shop-filled tunnels or the Botanical Gardens, the Museum of Fine Arts or hike to the top of the city’s namesake, Mt. Royal. You will be impressed.
If you would prefer to discover the west side of the country then Vancouver is the place for you. This seaport is surrounded by mountains, making it a vastly beautiful city and the diverse population stretches to some 675,000 inhabitants so it should be a little more easy-going than Toronto. The 1,000-acre Stanley Park is a must-see with forest, trails, beaches, pools and the city’s aquarium waiting to be explored. Granville Island is known for its music, shopping, market, bars and theatre, while Grose mountain – popular for its skiing and snow-boarding, offers up top-notch views of the region.
Reason 2 – Nature
From lakes and waterfalls to vast mountain regions to forest-coated plains and the icy north, Canada can offer adventure and beauty at every turn. Niagara Falls in the south east of the country, at the U.S border, must be mentioned and is certainly worth a day trip. A stunning scene at all times of the year, prepare to be wowed, whether you are seeing this sight from boat, bridge, helicopter or hotel.
The national parks offers postcard perfect scenery for the outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers out there. Banff offers excellent skiing facilities as well as biking, hiking and canoeing and, as the oldest national park in the country and the third in the world, you’ll be able to transport yourself in this unbeatably beautiful destination.
Reason 3 – Sport
If you’re looking to partake in a sport then this country has some world-class ski resorts to visit, whether you’re into downhill, heli- or cat-skiing, there is a resort for you! The more popular resorts such as Banff, Whistler and Mont-Tremblant offer year-round activities such as hiking trails as well as top class dining, spas and shopping, with Banff, along the Rockies, holding the ‘Big 3.’ The season runs from around November to April but it is worth doing your research as some places can offer skiing outside of these months.
Undoubtedly the most popular sport in Canada is ice hockey, and there is no better place to be if you fancy taking in a game. It is played year-round at all levels so whenever you go you’ll be able to soak up the atmosphere and have a thrilling experience on your trip. Basketball, soccer, rugby and lacrosse are all widely enjoyed here too so if you’re a lover of sports then you won’t be disappointed.