The Northernmost territory of North America, for many, Canada is a world of wonder. The nation is divided into three distinct territories with ten provinces from east to west, ocean to ocean. Located north of the United States (excluding the disconnected state, Alaska) the harsh environment of the country means that most wilderness areas are largely untouched by humans, giving way to unique wildlife, giant forests and stunning scenery that has to be seen to be believed.
Note: Like most countries, travelling across Canada as a foreign national requires the necessary permits: Click this link to see if you need an eTA?
As the world’s second-largest country by land area (9.98 million square miles), Canada is home to animals such as moose, beaver and even Polar bears. In addition, the environments in which these fantastic beasts reside can be visited by tourists as most of them are covered by Canada’s national parks like Cape Breton Highlands to the south-east near New England, Discovery Island National Park to the south-west and Quttinirpaaq National Park to the extreme north, just 800km from the North Pole.
Of course, Canada has much more to offer than its stunning beauty alone and being home to 38 million people the country is also home to unique and amazing people that have cultivated a well-known culture that is lauded and respected the world over. Canadians are known for their extreme friendliness that is immediately apparent when you visit, yet adopt fierce competitiveness in their sports as evident with their Olympic passion; a paradoxical dichotomy rarely found elsewhere.
Like most places in the world, you won’t get to do everything you should do in one trip, but Canada offers some unique activities that should definitely be considered when you go.
Things to Do in Canada
Take a Trip to the Most Popular City (Toronto)
While it isn’t the capital of Canada, it is the capital of the province of Ontario and is the most visited city in the country with over 4 million tourists per year, perhaps because it is a truly modern city with a bustling population, a distinct skyline thanks to its skyscrapers and the unique CN Tower rotating restaurant in addition to a 400-acre park in the city, complete with its own zoo, nature trails and regular Shakespeare performances.
Being a major metropolitan area, Toronto offers all of the activities that you would expect within a major city. Restaurants, bars and tourist attractions can all be seen along with a multitude of cultural, artistic and historical museums. The Art Gallery of Ontario contains over 95,000 pieces including a large Canadian collection while the Aga Khan Museum houses unique Islamic artifacts and the Gardiner Museum contains collections from around ancient America.
Plan a Once in Lifetime Trip to See the Northern Lights
Being so close to the North Pole, the ethereal and ever-impressive Aurora Borealis, or “Northern Lights” as it is colloquially known, can clearly be seen from certain points in and around Canada. The cosmic effect occurs as the Sun’s energies are repelled by the Earth’s magnetosphere that protects us from the harmful radiation of our closest star. As the radiation is repelled, it is dispersed in a pattern that illuminates across the night sky.
This is a cosmic wonder that most people will never see with their own two eyes. However, if you are to visit Canada then you are in a unique position to plan a trip to see the Northern Lights. Excursions can be planned with various tour operators or you can see the lights yourself from specific locations. Some of the best places to catch the phenomena across Canada that will have you grappling for your camera are Whitehorse in the Yukon, La Ronge in Saskatchewan and Muncho Lake Provincial Park in British Columbia
Sample the Delicious Traditional Canadian Cuisine
Like any nation, Canada makes use of its own natural resources for food production and in turn amazing recipes for food and drink. From the country’s top restaurants (although there are no Michelin star restaurants in Canada because Michelin hasn’t yet rated any) to the family table, Canadian cuisine has some of the most unique and amazing flavours thanks to the bounty of unusual animals and plant life that can be farmed.
Like other Atlantic-facing locations with plenty of fishing waters, Nova Scotia Lobster rolls are one such specialty of Canada. Simply cooked hot lobster in a hot-dog bun, enjoyed in crisp and mild Atlantic air next to the ocean is pretty much heaven for many people, and while jellied moose nose might sound disgusting, this Canadian delicacy, like most delicacies needs to be tried to be believed. But a classic made from Canada’s national symbol, “Tire d’érable sur la neige” (maple taffy) will probably keep you there.
Visit Greenland While You’re There
One of the greatest things about Canada is its proximity to more exotic locations such as Greenland, Alaska and Russia. While Alaska is next to Canada and offers its own wonders, it is often thought of as part of Canada anyway and isn’t much different, while Greenland, being a totally separate territory is a tempting detour at a 4-hour flight, which, while seems like a long trip is well worth the time while you are there.
One of the best reasons is for Greenland’s expansive icebergs and snow-covered vistas, something they left out for marketing reasons when naming the place in order to attract more settlers. The Ilulissat Icefjord is one of the world’s fastest-moving glaciers and as such is also a UNESCO designated natural wonder while Qaanaaq is home to surviving Inuit peoples that are very welcoming to tourists, and the history of Greenland alone is an archaeologist’s dream as some of the world’s oldest human skeletons, tools and even Viking artefacts can be found there.
You could probably visit Canada every year of your life and not uncover everything that this amazing, untamed and majestic land has to offer. The serene natural beauty of Canada belies the country’s ability to build and expand some of the world’s greatest cities that attract millions of people from all over the world.
The natural beauty of Canada is presented across land, air and sea and stretches from the Pacific to the Atlantic as rare animals such as moose, beaver and bison roam the lands underneath the god-like illumination of the northern Aurora. Natives and settlers alike have formed one of the friendliest societies on Earth with food and drink to match and visiting this delightful place also provides access to close neighbours like Greenland, a worthwhile detour.