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Introducing Canada

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Bow River Valley, Banff National Park © Travel Alberta

Canada Travel Guide

The vast country of Canada is a land of windswept prairies, towering mountains, fields of glaciers, pristine lakes and rocky coastlines. Filled with diverse wildlife and equally diverse wilderness landscapes, the Canadian great outdoors is its greatest draw card as a travel destination. Canada's wild allure is magnetic for nature lovers and sports enthusiasts, with ample opportunity for activities like hiking, canoeing, fishing, skiing, snowmobiling, and even dog sledding.

While the image of Canada in most people's minds is one of untouched wilderness, Canada's cities are also extremely worthwhile, and the country's urban destinations are attracting ever more attention. Whether you'd like to attend a rodeo in Calgary, marvel at the museums in Ottawa, browse the restaurants and art galleries of Toronto's Distillery District, or have a picnic in Vancouver's Stanley Park, the cosmopolitan cities spread across Canada offer a high quality of life and a range of sightseeing attractions that will please any traveller.

Much like the US, Canada is vast, and each province or territory has developed a distinct cultural character. Some travellers will be enthralled by the French charm and historic fortifications of Quebec, while others will rave about the Scottish flavour and rich seafaring history of Nova Scotia. Canada could fill a lifetime of holidays.

Best time to visit Canada

The weather in Canada is extreme, ranging from frigidly cold in winter to uncomfortably hot in the peak of summer. The size of the country and the vast variability of terrain also means that the climate ranges quite drastically between regions. Canada is a year-round destination, attracting winter sports enthusiasts in the snowy months, and nature lovers in autumn with glorious fall foliage; however, the best time to visit Canada is generally summer (June to August), when it is hot and lush. May and September are the best times to go for smaller crowds, as few American and Canadian families travel at these times. Read more on Canada's Climate and Weather.

What to see in Canada

- Stroll the cobblestone streets of Vancouver's historic Gastown district.

- Visit the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

- See the enormous collections at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

- Take in the panoramic view of Toronto from the top of the CN Tower.

What to do in Canada

- Ride the Maid of the Mist to get a close view of the famous Niagara Falls.

- Get a taste of French-Canadian culture in Winnipeg's St. Boniface district.

- Hike on the Columbia Icefields in Jasper National Park.

- Go skiing at Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies.

Getting to Canada

There are dozens of direct cheap flights to Canada from the US and the UK, mostly to major hubs like Toronto Airport and Montreal Trudeau. As most cities in Canada are close to the US border, driving to Canada is a popular way to get there as well.

Read

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, In The Skin of A Lion by Michael Ondaatje, Klee Wyck by Emily Carr, and Consolation by Michael Redhill

Listen

Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Arcade Fire, Celine Dion, and Alanis Morissette

Watch

Brokeback Mountain (2005), Taking Lives (2004), One Week (2008), The Grey (2011) and Toronto Stories (2008)

Drink

Ice wine or ice cider from Ontario and British Columbia.

Eat

Pancakes with maple syrup and fresh British Columbia salmon.

What to Buy

Hockey memorabilia and Native American art.

What to Pack

The warmest clothes possible (when travelling in winter).

What's on in Canada

The biggest rodeo in the world takes place each summer when Calgary hosts the famous Calgary Stampede.

Did you know?

Ninety percent of Canada's population lives within 100 miles (160km) of the US border.

A final word

An untamed wilderness dotted with cosmopolitan cities, a holiday in Canada really is the best of both worlds.

Become our Canada Travel Expert

We are looking for contributors for our Canada travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Canada or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.