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After a year in which we have been asked to work from home and had to endure lockdowns as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, many people are looking ahead to book their next holiday.
With one of the longest ski seasons in the world, countless UNESCO World Heritage sites and some of the most incredible natural wonders that you can see on the planet, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Canada holidays are at the top of many people’s list of places to visit once the pandemic is over.
To help make your decision easier, we’ve compiled 10 reasons why you should visit Canada on your next holiday.
•Delicious food and drink
•Northern lights in the Yukon
•The Rocky Mountaineer
•Driving and camping in its national parks
•Skiing and other winter sports
1. Great outdoors
Source: Dave Brett
With scenic coastlines, magnificent mountains, sprawling prairies and picturesque forests, you can certainly say Canada is home to some spectacular scenery.
The different landscapes and cultures across the territories and provinces in the country are incredibly diverse with some regions home to icefields and mountains and others to world-class beaches and coastlines.
The great outdoors is one of the main reasons why so many people book flights to Canada from the UK as there are lots of activities to enjoy and photo opportunities to be had.
The scenery and great outdoors is something Emma Gilbert, who runs the travel blog Forever Lost in Travel, absolutely loves.
“Without a doubt, one of the things I love most about Canada is the beautiful scenery, it’s like nothing you’ve seen before. The Canadian Rockies are spectacular with some of the tallest snowy mountains and bluest glacier-fed lakes you’ve ever seen. There’s no feeling like hiking to a secluded spot looking out on the most incredible views in every direction. Canada is certainly a playground for anyone who loves the great outdoors.
“My best advice is to explore as much outside of the cities as you do within them. I live in Vancouver which is an amazing city with plenty of activities and delicious food to keep anyone happy. But the thing I love most about Vancouver is the proximity to the mountains, the ocean and parks. Rent a car and get out into nature for either a day trip or a longer getaway. Definitely don’t go anywhere without your camera as there’s always something to see.”
While the likes of Niagara Falls and the Rocky Mountains are what most people associate with Canada’s great outdoors, there are lots of other places you can enjoy in Canada.
Dave Brett is the blogger behind Travel Dave UK and he told us about some of his favourite places in the country.
He said: “The one thing that I love most about Canada has to be the incredible outdoors. From trekking around in the wilderness of the Fundy Trail, New Brunswick to hiking up to the top of Robson Glacier, British Columbia. Canada has it all, and you can’t beat turning off your phone and heading out into the great outdoors and being surrounded by nature.”
2. Delicious food and drink
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While other countries might be more well-known for their food and drink, it does not mean Canada isn’t home to some of the best food and drink out there.
The different cultures mean the cuisine is varied and there are lots of innovative breweries that are producing local beers in places like Ontario and Nova Scotia.
The dining scene in Canada is vibrant with many restaurants and cafes offering farm-to-table cuisine and, especially in the Maritimes, serving up some of the freshest seafood you can enjoy in the world.
If you’re visiting Canada then you have to try poutine, which is considered the national dish. The hot and gooey dish includes chips smothered in rich gravy before being topped with cheese curds or cheese sauce.
Emma Gilbert told us about why she loves the cuisine on offer in the country: “Canada is a melting pot for different cultures so take advantage of some of the international cuisine available in any big city and don’t be afraid to go an extra block away from your hotel, you never know what hidden gem you might find.”
3. Northern Lights in the Yukon
The Yukon is one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights as it has one of the longest seasons for these spectacular light shows in the sky. From August to April, you can spot the Northern Lights on a clear night as much of the territory is beyond the Arctic Circle.
Due to its location in the north, you will find the winter days are short like they are in the UK and this means that you have more time and a better opportunity to spot the aurora.
The Yukon, however, offers much more than just the Northern Lights as it boasts everything that is great about Canada. It is home to pristine national parks, large mountain ranges, scenic towns, and a plethora of animals.
Scott from the Quirky Travel Guy told us why he loves the Yukon so much and what you can expect if you visit the territory in the coming year.
“I have a special affinity for the Yukon territory of Canada because it’s such a unique place. There’s nothing like seeing the glaciers of Kluane National Park from above in a bush plane, or spotting bears and moose while hiking around Whitehorse.
“I especially love the quirky, small-town charm of Dawson City. Tourists can take an evening cruise on the Yukon River, head to the Downtown Hotel bar to consume the infamous Sourtoe Cocktail or relive the Gold Rush days by panning for gold.
“For the most memorable visit, come during the annual Dawson City Music Festival in July or Discovery Days in August, when the town of 1,375 grows dramatically as visitors from outside the territory come to enjoy the music and festivities.”
4. Amazing cities
With the likes of Toronto being just over seven hours away from the UK, it’s easy for you to go on a city break to Canada for a few days or a bit longer.
We’d certainly recommend you visit some of Canada’s iconic cities during your trip as they are not only friendly and welcoming but are full of fantastic attractions that you won’t want to miss.
Here we take you through some of the cities that you can visit:
•Toronto – With world-renowned restaurants, a vibrant sports scene, lots of attractions and museums, it’s little surprise why the city is so popular. It’s a great starting point if you are looking to explore more of Ontario.
•Montréal – The city is incredibly diverse with more than 80 languages spoken here. There are a variety of attractions you want to visit while in the city such as the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, Parc Jean Drapeau and Montréal’s famous public markets.
•Vancouver – This city offers you a bit of everything as you can go sailing or kayaking in the morning and skiing in the afternoon as it is ideally located between the Pacific Ocean and the Coastal Mountain Range.
•Calgary – The city is home to the world-famous Calgary Stampede and is just a stone’s throw away from the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
READ MORE: What to do in Toronto in 48 hours
5. Unforgettable Wildlife
One of the things which are high on many people’s list when booking a holiday to Canada is spotting some of the country’s most famous animals and there are lots you can potentially see.
The tiny village of Churchill might seem an unassuming and remote town, but thousands of animal lovers visit so they can meet the local residents – polar bears! The best time to view these magnificent animals is October and November.
Emma Gilbert spoke to us about some of the other animals you can see. She said: “Canada has a lot of wild animals including bears, cougars, wolves and more. Never go hiking without a bear bell and bear spray, and always tell someone where you’re going.”
There are also lots of wildlife in Canada’s oceans and you could potentially see Orcas, Minke Whales, Humpback Whales, Harbour Porpoise, Dall’s Porpoise, Harbour Seals, Harp Seals, Hooded Seals, Elephant Seals and Steller and California Sea Lions during your holiday.
6. Friendly locals
Canada is regarded as one of the world’s friendliest countries in the world and in fact, a study back in 2016 found that Canadians were the world’s friendliest people.
Canadians are proud of their country and are eager to show you around, so if you ever get lost you should just ask a local for directions and they will be happy to help you on your way.
Even in provinces like Québec where French is the main language, you will still be welcomed with wide, open arms.
7. Rich culture
No matter which part of Canada you are visiting you’ll find people, culture and communities that encapsulate the past of the country. There is a rich indigenous culture that can be found across the country and you can enjoy First Nations art in the likes of British Columbia.
The First Nations people are the largest group of aboriginal peoples in Canada, with more than 600 recognised bands across the country. The Inuit are also from Canada and they mainly live in the Arctic areas, while the Métis people are a distinct group that came from the multicultural interactions of the Europeans and the First Nations people. The Métis people live across the country and make up approximately 30% of today’s Aboriginal population.
8. The Rocky Mountaineer
The Rocky Mountaineer train journey is one of the most iconic railway journeys in the world, not only do you get unrivalled views of the Rocky Mountains from its glass-roofed double-decker carriages, but the incredible hosts make sure you’re comfortable and tell you fascinating stories about the different places you travel past.
The Rocky Mountaineer train is an iconic symbol of Canada and after being founded in 1990 it has been on many avid travellers’ bucket lists for years since.
The Rocky Mountaineer has three principal routes, and these are the First Passage to the West route (Vancouver to Banff/Lake Louise), Journey Through the Clouds (Vancouver via Kamloops to Jasper) and Rainforest to Gold Rush (Vancouver via Whistler to Jasper).
9. Driving and camping in its national parks
Canada’s national parks are home to some spectacular landscapes that are among the world’s most beautiful natural sights. There are more than 40 national parks you can visit in Canada and they are varied with some home to temperate rainforests and others Arctic tundra.
One of the best ways to explore Canada’s national parks is to rent a car or motorhome and camp in the national park you are visiting.
Some popular drives you can go on include:
•The Cabot Trail (Nova Scotia)
•Icefields Parkway (Alberta)
•Badlands Parkway (Saskatchewan)
•Yoho Valley Road (British Columbia)
If you are thinking about visiting a national park, then Dave Brett recommends picking up a Parks Canada Discovery Pass.
“My best advice for travellers heading to Canada would be to pick up a Parks Canada Discovery Pass. One pass lets you visit more than 80 Parks Canada destinations for an entire year. Save time at the gate, hang your pass in your car, and you’re good to go and explore. It’s an excellent idea as revenues are reinvested to support Park Canada’s visitor programs, services, facilities, and conservation efforts. You can also purchase a single-location pass which is available at 50 national parks and historic sites.”
READ MORE: All Your Canada Motorhome Questions Answered
10. Skiing and other winter sports
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Canada is a hugely popular destination for skiing holidays as the country is home to some of the best powder in the world.
There are world-class ski resorts across Canada like Whistler, Sun Peaks Resort, Big White Ski Resort, Big 3 in Banff and Tremblant to name just a few. All the resorts have a range of runs so even if you’re a novice there will be runs that you can go down.
On top of skiing and snowboarding, you can enjoy other winter sports such as tubing, snowshoeing, and sledging or if you want to relax you can visit the restaurants at the resorts or enjoy Scandinavian-style spas.
Here are just 10 reasons why you should visit Canada (there are lots more, of course) and if you want to head here on your next trip then you can book Canada holidays with Canadian Affair.