Canada is an oft-overlooked destination, but it has some of the widest variety of any country on earth. Want world-class entertainment? Peace and quiet in unspoiled wilderness? A place where you can easily make friends? Canada has you covered.
1. Later, Skater
The Rideau Canal in Ottawa is the world’s longest skating rink, measuring an unfathomable 202 kilometers (125 miles). Not only is it a fun way to spend an afternoon, it also snakes its way through the trendy downtown of the city, offering plenty of interesting sights along the way.
The Canal is so special that it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007.
Finish an afternoon of skating with some delicious beaver tails, the quintessential Canadian pastry that comes with an endless assortment of delicious toppings.
Don’t worry: if you bump into anyone while you’re skating, you’ll get a typically friendly, “Sorry, eh!” from someone most likely carrying a Tim Horton’s coffee.
2. Bear With Me
Churchill is a small town in Manitoba. How small? At last count, it had a population of 899 people.
But the incredible thing about this town is that its polar bear population is comparable to its human population, with a whopping 300 bears. To put that in perspective, there are only about 25,000 polar bears in the entire world. 15,000 of those live in Canada, and about 300 spend some portion of their year in Churchill. You can even take a polar bear tour!
If you can’t get enough animal watching, why not check out the spectacular beluga whales that frequent Churchill River and Hudson’s Bay as well? If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even go for a dip in those waters!
As if this town wasn’t magical enough, it also offers amazing vantage points of the Northern Lights, especially January through March.
3. Where The Sidewalk Never Ends
Canada holds many world records, including one of the longest streets in the world. From Lake Ontario to the Minnesota border in northern Ontario, Yonge Street stretches an incredible distance of 2,000 km (1,242 mi).
Along that road, visitors will see a remarkable change in the environment. The southernmost part of the street highlights all the glitz and glamour that downtown Toronto, the unofficial capital of Canada, has to offer, while the northernmost showcases the country’s endless rustic charm. It’s all beautiful, just in a completely different way!
You might not have heard of The Moosehead Brewery in Saint John, New Brunswick, but you’ll want to check it out stat! These guys crank out an astounding 1,642 bottles of beer per minute and they’re Canada’s oldest independent brewery. Book a tour and enjoy a crisp Canadian beer.
5. One Night In Paris
Voted the “Prettiest Little Town in Canada,” Paris, Ontario definitely lives up to its reputation. It has some distinct European stylings, along with fantastic restaurants and lots of water surrounding the city.
6. Cool Place You Got Here
A hotel of ice might sound reminiscent of a James Bond film — no, literally, that happened in Die Another Die — but L’Hôtel de Glace in Quebec is 100% real and it’s truly a feat of ingenuity. The hotel melts away every summer before being rebuilt the following winter with 400 tons of ice and 12,000 tons of snow.
7. Pardon My French
Montreal is the world’s second-largest French-speaking city after Paris, and that makes sense since French and English are Canada’s two national languages. You might want to take the opportunity to practice your “Bonjours” because over 7 million people, which is 20% of the country’s population, speak French.
8. The Good Kind Of Stampede
Every July, one of Canada’s biggest events takes place in Calgary: the Calgary Stampede. Branded the “Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth”, the Calgary Stampede offers everything from a full-fledged rodeo to amazing live music to scrumptious food.
While you’re in town, you might as well go check out the nearby Rocky Mountains or the Calgary Tower. Both offer some pretty insane views!
9. Adult Grape Juice
Canada’s wine-making roots go back more than two hundred years, and are in fact older than the country itself! Although it doesn’t receive as much recognition as the big players in the wine market, Ontario’s wine, specifically from the Niagara Region, is earning itself a major reputation for its widely popular selection of vintages. Ontario wineries have actually won a number of international awards.
Checking out Niagara region wineries in the summer is a must. Make the most of the weather and great attractions like vineyard concerts or organized tours.
10. Light Up Your Life
The Celebration of Light in Vancouver draws the biggest crowd of any Canadian event, nearly 1.6 million people in total. It’s easy to understand why, with its stunning pyrotechnic displays synced to music, and other fun festival activities.