Canada ranks as one of the most diverse and appealing destinations in the world, and yet we often look abroad first when thinking of a vacation. In honour of Canada Day, we are showcasing some of the best that Canada has to offer!
British Columbia - Sea to sky and everything in between: They welcomed the world for the Winter Olympics in 2010, but B.C. has always been known for it’s epic, rugged beauty, it’s sense of adventure, and it’s and welcoming spirit. Rollerblade in Stanley Park, shop on Granville island, do the ‘Grouse Grind’, or take a train ride through the Rockies. There is so much to do and explore, but if you are looking for even more of a reason to visit, check out the Festival and Event Calendar and Tourism British Columbia. This year, the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, their largest music and arts event, is celebrating it’s 25th Anniversary.
Alberta – Cowboy Country: The most well known event in Alberta is the Calgary Stampede, which takes place in July each year and maintains the province’s cowboy image in the face of increasing wealth and development. You can even unleash your inner cowpoke on a dude ranch! The mountains are magnificent and omnipresent, and available for hiking, skiing, or simply marvelling… maybe even on the Columbia Icefields, one of Canada’s greatest drives. Alberta’s most visited tourist destination is Banff National Park, but another must see is the fascinating Dinosaur Provincial Park. A visit to Edmonton would not be complete without a visit to the shopping and entertainment mecca, the West Edmonton Mall. Much more can be found at Discover Alberta.
Saskatchewan – Heart of the Canadian Prairies: Many people regard Saskatchewan as the province they need to drive across to get to the West coast, but it is a destination in itself. The vast golden fields and sparkling lakes are entrancing, and one of the best places to experience the natural prairie in it’s fullest (and with the bisons) is in Grasslands National Park. Check out Tourism Saskatchewan for a comprehensive list of events, festivals, fairs, and more! This year, check out the Trails of 1885!
Manitoba – Extreme Climate, Extreme Pride: Canada’s most central province has deep native roots, and it’s name comes from Cree word meaning ‘Strait of great Spirit’. You would have to have a strong spirit to survive the Manitoba winters, but it is worth it considering all that you can do there! Manitoba is a water lover’s haven with over 100,000 lakes, and a long salt water coastline on Hudson’s Bay. You can book with one of our fabulous Canadian tour operators and go Beluga whale watching or hang out with Polar Bears. Make sure to check out the famous Winnipeg Folk Festival, and you won’t want to miss the Fringe Festival, with over 1000 productions in 2010! That is only the beginning of what Manitoba has to offer!
Ontario – Yours to Discover: Canada’s most populated province offers incredible diversity. There are big city thrills with attractions such as the CN Tower, and there is small town charm in in quaint spots such as Niagara on the Lake. When there stop by the breathtaking Niagara Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and if you are with family consider staying at Great Wolf Lodge. Find more amazing natural beauty in Algonquin Park and on the Bruce Trail, or on one of many beautiful beaches around the province. In Ontario there is truly an event for everyone , including the Toronto Jazz Festival, Carabana, and so much more.
Quebec – La Belle Province: Steeped in history and alive with spirit, Quebec is the largest Canadian province, and the only one with French as the official language. Montreal hosts the world reknowned Just for Laughs Festival, and has endless charm and character.Â Quebec City was founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain, and just finished celebrating it’s 400th birthday. The annual Winter Carnival with Bon Homme and ice sculptures galore is a must. Walk around the historic Plains of Abraham, or explore the cobble stone streets of the old city (Vieux-Quebec), the only remaining walled city in North America. You can even cruise to Quebec from New York on Princess cruise lines, with stops in Maine, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick!
New Brunswick – Joie de Vivre: the recent unveiling of a new Provincial slogan shows that they are serious about tourism, and with good reason. You can view one of the Marine Wonders of the World, the incredible Bay of Fundy, where tides rise 45 feet and more twice every day! Hike the Appalachian Mountain range, take a memorable scenic drive, or explore quaint towns by the sea. New Brunswick also has eight cosmopolitan cities to explore, and one of the best tourism sites of any province.
Prince Edward Island – Charming: Canada’s smallest province and it’s peaceful pastoral landscape is more accessible than ever since the completion of the Billion Dollar Confederation Bridge in 1997. It’s the longest bridge over icy water in the world, and a site to behold. A major draw is the annual Charlottetown Festival, featuring ‘Anne of Gables – The Musical’. Many others flock to PEI to see the site which inspired the setting for the Anne of Green Gables books. The island’s newest festival is Summerfest, which boasts something for everyone. It is one of the top golf destinations in the world, and one of the best areas to stay is in Cavendish Beach, where you can camp or rent a cottage and soak up the relaxing atmosphere and enjoy a plethora of activities for the whole family.
Nova Scotia – Historic Seacoast – A province truly shaped by the sea, Nova Scotia hosts one of the best drives anywhere, theÂ breathtaking Cabot Trail. As the only city in North America other than Quebec City to make on the UNESCO World Heritage list, Lunenburg is a must see, and while there why not check out the Folk Harbour Festival! Other favourites include the International Busker Festival in Halifax, the Celtic Colours International Festival in Sydney, or Lobsterpalooza in Cape Breton. The entertainment and music scene in Nova Scotia is always hopping, and they even host the East Coast Music Awards. For more info on what you can do in Nova Scotia, check out their tourism site.
Newfoundland – Open Hearts and Warm Smiles – Despite being the butt of many jokes from the rest of Canada, Newfoundlanders are known to be some of the friendliest people on the planet. They may also have the last laugh, because they live in a place of truly epic beauty. Newfoundland has amazing fishing, fantastic golf and world class hiking, ideally in Gros Morne national Park or on the East Coast Trail. Enjoy the George Street Festival, or one of the many other exciting events put on in St. John’s. Here is a great resource to plan your trip!
The North – Unspoiled and Unforgettable - Vast, isolated, and beautiful, Northern Canada holds many treasures for those who decide to venture there. The Klondike gold rush is long over, but Dawson City in the Yukon remains, and it is restored to make you feel like you are there in it’s heyday. In Nunavut explore Auyuittuq National Park, home to the meeting point of glaciers and sea ice, and truly a natural wonder. The Northwest Territories has the very best view of the stunning Aurora Borealis, and monster fish in Great Bear Lake. More info on Northern Canada and an event listing can be found here.
When you decide what you want to do, just contact me and we will set it all up! I can do all the research and on your flights and book with Air Canada or WestJet, and it won’t cost you any extra! Travelonly is also partnered with some excellent tour operators who specialize in Canada, such as Anderson Vacations, WestJet Vacations, Rocky Mountaineer and Brewster.