Canada has little in the way of history or monuments, but it more than makes up for it in its stunning scenery and world-class cities. The country boasts of 44 natural parks and national parks, the biggest of which, Wood Buffalo, is larger than the whole of Switzerland! Yes, Canada is big! So choosing where to visit is not so easy. This list will get you started.
The best City: Vancouver
The western city of Vancouver is a natural and an urban playground. This young and vibrant city is chic, hip and health-conscious with its high-fashion boutiques and healthy eateries. The shopping, dining and nightlife scenes are world-class. The suspension bridge and excellent museums add to the charm of the city.
Set among mountains and beaches, the breath-taking scenery is the place for adventure, with hiking, mountain biking, white water rafting and skiing on offer. There are numerous parks surrounding the city, and 11 miles of beaches to relax in. This city truly has everything a visitor could wish for.
The best for Skiing: Banff
In the heart of the Canadian Rockies, the town of Banff is on the border of Banff National Park. It has all the feel of a Swiss skiing village, and it offers the best of the Canadian ski opportunities. Ski down Mount Norquay, hike to the ‘’Hoodoos’’: massive limestone pillars, or up the face of Stoney Squaw Mountain.
When the activity exhausts you, head back to your cosy resort and help yourself to the wonderful food on offer in Banff. Be aware that the restaurants here specialise in meat: elk, bison, venison and trout.
The best Waterfall: Niagara Falls
Canadian Niagara is a must-see on any visit to Canada. It is a top natural wonder of the world, and it’s not hard to see why when you witness the Niagara River rushing over a 170-foot waterfall at 20 to 30 miles per hour. The speeding drop creates a misty fog and a gigantic roar, which you can get up close and personal to on a boat trip.
I will be honest: the town of Niagara is slightly on the cheesy side, with American chain restaurants, quickie wedding chapels and neon-lit hotels. However, it is well worth staying a while and enjoying the falls, the Inniskillin Winery, and the Botanical Gardens.
The best for the Sea: Saguenay-St Lawrence National Park
This marine national park is in Quebec, and was founded in 1998. The village of Tadoussac is situated where the St. Lawrence and Saguenay Rivers converge. The parks’ fjord is a sight to behold, and keep your eyes out for the over fifteen species of marine mammals hiding in the waters.
Kayaking and whale watching are the most popular activities, and you may be lucky enough to witness an endangered beluga whale, of which there are only one thousand left in the wild.
The best Off the Beaten Track: British Colombia
Canada’s westernmost province is a treasure trove of historical settlements, lush rainforest, and secluded islands. Some places to consider include: Stewart, a tiny town surrounded by snow-capped mountains, that gives a delightful insight to remote British Colombia; Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, which is a great place to visit in autumn to see the salmon migration, which attracts a multitude of bears, eagles and wolves; and Salt Spring Island is renowned for mild climate, creative people, and astounding natural beauty.