Coast to coast: The best places to visit in Canada
20 DECEMBER, 2016 CULTURE JAMES BURT
The old saying that goes ‘There’s never enough time when you go traveling’ is completely true about Canada. With a large geography, it has many attractions for people looking to explore a country that offers a lot of hidden gems.
Some people think the best places to visit in Canada are its natural forests or tundra areas, but Canada has become a multi-faceted place for travellers in all of its urban, rural, and natural locations.
Just going from the West to East coast, there are some key places to visit. Here are a few examples:
Right on the Pacific Ocean, Vancouver Island’s long, expansive landscape retains a lot of its natural splendor, and offers travellers a range of activities. Sailing, paragliding, fishing, and even surfing on the northern Tofino coast are all available.
A lot of travellers want to keep clear of the Canadian North, and since Dawson sits right on the border of Alaska and the Yukon Territory, they avoid it. But Dawson is worth visiting. Not only does it retain its look and roots as a Klondike Gold Rush boom town, it also allows visitors a time to explore the northern landscape and see entities like the Aurora Borealis or ‘Northern Lights’ that often shine across the night sky.
YOHO NATIONAL PARK
Yoho is right in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, just on the border of Alberta and British Colombia. While it’s a long distance from the main Trans-Canada highway, it’s worth the drive to go for a hike into the mountains, see some animals like moose or grizzly bears, and get right up close to Takakkaw Falls, a waterfall that is completely glacially fed.
BANFF AND JASPER NATIONAL PARKS
It’s hard to pick one of the great national parks that are located in the province of Alberta. Both are located outside of Calgary in the Rockies, and have several trails to explore that often lead hikers to blue-iced glaciers and across icefields that can see a change of seasons in the scope of an hour. Many non-Albertan Canadians flock to these parks yearly to see their natural beauty up close.
It’s difficult to give a specific location of the Canadian Prairies, it’s a name given to the flat terrain that lies between the middle Canadian provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. What travellers might want to consider is to fly into a city like Calgary or Regina and rent a vehicle to tour the Prairies. The expansive agricultural landscape is still in much of its original layout, with lots of railways and grain elevators still in action. Travellers can stop and enjoy such local delicacies like micro-brewery beer and Saskatoon berry pie.
The world’s largest freshwater island sits in Lake Huron and is a unique geographic extension of the Niagara Escarpment and Bruce Peninsula. Not only does it boast a rich agricultural tradition, it has great traveling paths, beaches, and areas for fishing and sailing. Even if you aren’t a geologist or a naturalist, it’s worth exploring its shores to see fossils and rare flowers.
Algonquin is a unique park: it has no inner roadways and can only be accessed with canoes. Many travellers come to Algonquin to decompress from modern life, go camping, and see wildlife like black bears, moose, and mink.
Canada’s largest city is often described as similar to New York, only smaller. Whilst it is a real urban hub that is based on banking, it offers many attractions like the CN Tower, the Rogers Centre, Toronto Island, and the Distillery District for travellers to experience within its borders. It’s also great to visit the museums, sporting and theatre events and take your pick from many different food options.
Canada’s capital city is a true government city. Its Gothic-style parliament buildings still stand where they were built a century and a half ago. Ottawa also showcases the Rideau Canal, a waterway built through the city that has its own lock, and is used by many inhabitants in the winter to skate on. Right on the border of Quebec and Ontario, travellers get a real taste of Canada’s English and French influences.
Canada’s former capital and still very cosmopolitan city is another urban hub to explore. It still retains its old district, located on an island in the St. Lawrence River, and is nestled right under Mount Royale. Much of its downtown architecture has been retained, complete with close-quartered houses with spiral staircases. Moreover, it is home to Canadian landmarks like Schwartz’s Delicatessen and the Olympic Stadium.
One of Canada’s oldest colonial cities, situated on the north side by St. Lawrence River, Quebec City is the place to go and explore old architecture of some of the first Canadians. The old city, or Vieux-Québec, still has its old fortification walls and the grand old Château Frontenac Hotel still stands where it was built in 1893. If you want to get a preview of the city’s unique splendor, see Alfred Hitchcock’s 1953 thriller I Confess with Montgomery Clift. It was shot on location in the city.
CAPE BRETON ISLAND
Cape Breton is part of the province of Nova Scotia, situated right on the Atlantic. Its tranquil seaside setting allows for many tourist beaches, and an insight into Canada’s old fishing industry. As well as this, there are several Mi’kmaq First Nations reservations on Cape Breton, giving travellers insight into Canada’s indigenous populations.
A lot of people outside of Canada don’t know Cavendish, Prince Edward Island by name. With a population of less than three hundred, this is understandable. It’s home to LM Montgomery’s famous character Anne of Green Gables. You can visit the Anne of Green Gables museum and see actors play out the books’ roles in its rural, pre-industrial revolution surrounding. In fact, while the province of Prince Edward Island is small, its quaint, picturesque environment is a nice place to visit in a short space of time.
Also known as ‘the Rock’, the province of Newfoundland was the largest province to join the Canadian confederation in the late 1940’s. Canada’s been proud to count it since. Not only does it have a great geography of bays and green rolling terrain, there are many multi-coloured houses and old fishing village huts in its towns. The small city of St. John’s is also known for its friendly inhabitants, fun night life, and the ‘Screech-In’ ritual where travellers learn to drink the popular local spirit ‘screech’.
This might be a no-brainer for any traveller to Canada, Niagara Falls is worth seeing at least once in your lifetime. Niagara Falls’ swift waterfall and accompanied boat cruise into its falls is well-worth a visit. It’s also fun for people that are getting engaged or wanting some entertainment thanks to the nearby casinos and hotels.
Getting interested in Canada yet? Make your next trip a study-vacation, and seek out THE LANGUAGE GALLERY TORONTO. Learn English by day and seek out these popular places at the weekends!