10 of the Best Things to Do in Canada
Featured destinations: Canada
Published 30 March 2016
Canada is like nowhere else on earth. It combines a wild rugged character with urban sophistication: think eclectic city hubs like Vancouver, Quebec and Toronto, standing side-by-side with the vast Rockies, or the Arctic wilderness further north. This mammoth, multicultural behemoth has neverending opportunities for travel, which is why we’ve taken the difficulty out of choosing where to begin. Start your Journey with one (or why not five?) of these 10 things to do in Canada:
Niagara from the Canadian side
Feel the thunder of Niagara Falls
From the Journey Behind the Falls to the Hornblower Cruise that takes you right into the refreshing spray of the cascades, Niagara is utterly unmissable. If you’ve been to the east and not visited: shame on you! Likewise, if you’ve visited from the USA side: give yourself a slap on the wrist. Everyone knows that this mighty trifecta of waterfalls is best viewed from the Canadian side – perhaps from the comfort of a helicopter if you’d prefer a bird’s eye view. Whether you cruise, walk or fly around it, the experience is likely to stick with you forever.
Experience it on our East Coast Wonders Journey.
The start of the Icefields Parkway (Image: Alexandra Gregg)
Take a glacier-filled road trip along the Icefields Parkway
The Icefields Parkway was made for mini road trips. Cruise that iconic, mountain-flanked stretch of tarmac that runs through Jasper National Park – all 140 miles of it – and you’ll be rewarded with beauty at its most raw. Think mirror lakes, time-warp towns and glistening glaciers. Our top tip? Take your time. It’s easy to whizz along the tarmac in less than four hours, but if you do you’ll be missing all the highlights like the Athabasca Falls, Columbia Icefields and Peyto Lake.
Experience it on our Western Canada Peaks & Cliffs Journey.
Green Gables House on Prince Edward Island
Visit Prince Edward Island, the spot that inspired Anne of Green Gables
Bookworms and lovers of childhood literature will delight at Prince Edward Island (PEI) – the eastern isle behind Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables franchise. You can explore locations made famous in the novels, as well as a recreated version of Avonlea village, Anne’s fictional home. You can even catch a performance of ‘Anne of Green Gables: The Musical’, Canada’s longest-running musical, having been performed in PEI every year for over half a century.
Speak to one of our Travel Experts about building your tailor-made Prince Edward Island Journey.
Onboard the Rocky Mountaineer (Image: Alexandra Gregg)
Get inside Canada’s iconic peaks onboard the Rocky Mountaineer
Travelling aboard the Rocky Mountaineer is as luxurious as train travel gets. It’s also as scenic as train travel gets. On the two-day Journey through the Clouds or First Passage to the West routes you’ll see the dry landscapes of the canyons, contrasted against the wetter climates of the Rockies. Don’t worry if it rains, or if it’s too hot to stand out on the vestibule – whatever the weather the scenery will be incredible and accompanied by five-star wining and dining too.
Experience it on our Rocky Mountaineer Journey.
The Northern Lights in the Yukon
Go Aurora-hunting in the Yukon
Seeing the Northern Lights tops many a bucket list, but ticking off this item isn’t easy – the dancing, swirling colours of the aurora borealis can be pretty elusive. All that being said: the Yukon is one of the best places to spot the natural phenomena. Not only is it blissfully isolated (and therefore fairly free of light pollution), but it’s located above the Arctic Circle. Visit between September and March and you’ll have a strong chance of witnessing this iconic light show, as well as spotting Arctic wildlife like polar bears, grizzlies and the majestic Arctic fox.
Experience it on our BC & Yukon Winter Wonders Journey.
Spring skiing in Whistler (Image: Whistler Tourism)
Pull on your skis in snowy Whistler
Whether you’re the type of person who wants to put their feet up next to the fire, sipping on a hot chocolate while everyone else gets cold outside, or if you prefer to hit the slopes hard, Whistler is the place for you. It boasts 8,100 acres of snow-dusted hills and runs – perfect for beginner and experienced skiers or boarders – as well as some of the most decadent ski resorts on the planet. Be sure to sample the chilli and dark, caramel maple milk or peppermint dark flavours of hot chocolate at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler.
Experience it on our West Coast Wonders Journey.
Chateau Frontenac in Quebec
Learn about French-Canadian culture in colonial Quebec City
Quebec City is beloved across Canada. It has the fairytale Chateau Frontenac – the most photographed hotel in the world – the historic Citadelle of Quebec, and the annual SAQ Festival, which, every August, pays homage to life in 17th and 18th century France. Old Quebec, a historic district within the city, was even inscribed by UNESCO in 1985. This majestic French-speaking hub is the only walled city north of Mexico, so when you walk its three-mile-long fortifications you’ll know you’re be doing something you can’t do anywhere else in North America.
Experience it on our Discover Summer in Quebec Journey.
The view of Toronto from the CN Tower
See all of Toronto from atop the CN Tower
Towering 553 metres above Toronto, the CN Tower is the world’s tallest building and free-standing structure. To put that into perspective, that’s five and a half times the height of Westminster’s Big Ben! From the LookOut level, visitors will benefit from uninterrupted views across the city and even as far as the USA. Those who aren’t afraid of heights and want to step out of their comfort zone can also set foot on the gulp-inducing EdgeWalk: a full circle, hands-free walk around the tower’s exterior ledge.
Experience it on our Eastern Canada in-Depth Journey.
Vancouver from Stanley Park (Image: Alexandra Gregg)
Explore the best of Vancouver
Vancouver is simply irresistible. From the laid-back suburbs of East Van to the historic yet up-and-coming Gastown, it’s got every style covered. Intrepid travellers will feel right at home here: you can spot humpback whale and orcas off the coast; cycle through Stanley Park – the third biggest park in North America; tackle nature’s stairmaster (aka the ‘Grouse Grind’) on a trip up Grouse Mountain; and shop for fresh seafood, doughnuts and vegetables on Granville Island, a spot renowned for its unmissable market stalls.
Experience it on our Best of Western Canada Journey.A hungry spirit bear
Search for the elusive spirit bear in Klemtu
Canada is bear country. Take a trip through rural or mountain areas and you’ll see grizzly warnings everywhere: in the visitor centres, on the roads, on attraction signs – the lot. But one you won’t see advertised often is the Kermode or ‘spirit’ bear. That’s because sightings of this shy bear (a subspecies of the black bear but born with a cream-coloured coat) are extremely rare. Your best chance of spotting one is in the tiny fishing village of Klemtu, nearly 300 miles north of Vancouver. Spend a few days at the Spirit Bear Lodge here, and you’ll find out about Kermode conservation, visit the Great Bear Rainforest and, if you’re lucky, catch a glimpse of this gorgeous animal in its natural habitat.
Experience it on our Vancouver & the Bears Journey.
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