Canada is an amazing country and it has so much to offer travellers – the most beautiful landscapes, delicious food, incredible wildlife, brilliant breweries, unique Canada cruises and above all, the wonderful locals.
Don’t just take our word for it though as we’ve asked some canucks to tell us what they love about their own country. Be warned as this article will make you want to pack your bags and visit the land of the Maple Leaf.
Canada’s diverse landscapes
Unsurprisingly Canada’s breath-taking landscapes are also loved by locals and Leigh McAdam, who runs the travel blog Hike Bike Travel and is author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures, is one of them.
She says, “I love Canada for its incredibly diverse landscapes, cultural diversity and friendly people. As one who appreciates wild and untamed wilderness I feel lucky to live in a country that is home to mountain ranges, hundreds of rivers, thousands of lakes, 36 national parks, eight national park preserves, and several hundred provincial parks. In Calgary where I live, I can be in the Rocky Mountains within an hour. I have access to a range of accommodation options from wilderness camping to backcountry lodges to five star hotels. And a great glass of Canadian wine is never far away. Life is awesome here!”
Canada is home to some of the world’s greatest untamed lands and its vast hinterlands are strongholds for some of the most incredible wildlife on Earth.
Its land is a stronghold for black, brown and polar bears as well as the goofy gigantic moose. Its rich waters off the coasts of Newfoundland and British Columbia are chock full of whales and dolphins.
Canadians Dave and Deb, who run the well-known travel blog The Planet D, say, “We love Canada because adventure can be found in every corner. It is so vast and diverse. As outdoor lovers we can’t get enough of it. From ice climbing in Alberta to kayaking on the Bay of Fundy, there is something for everyone. But it’s our wildlife that really gets the blood pumping. Canada is an amazing safari destination where we have walked with polar bears, canoed through quiet lakes to spy on moose, kayaked with beluga whales and listened to the cry of the wolf. Canada is awesome.”
Its craft breweries
Canadian’s love their beer, but they’re more than just consumers – they are the creators of some mouth-watering beers themselves. This is why going on a brewery tour is certainly worth doing during your next holiday to Canada.
Parallel 49 Brewing Company, a Vancouver-based brewery that creates some hugely popular beers such as the pale ale Wobbly Pop, says, “We love Canada for all the awesome craft breweries in the Pacific Northwest. We love our juicy, hoppy IPAs and prefer to enjoy them outdoors.”
Winter in Banff National Park
Whilst Banff National Park is a great place to visit anytime of the year, with Lake Louise and Moraine Lake being just two of the top attractions, the national park is a popular destination in winter.
It turns into a winter wonderland as visitors swap their hiking boots for snowshoes. Canadian blogger Cameron Wears, who along with his wife Nicole runs the Traveling Canucks blog, has previously visited Banff in the height of winter and highly recommends it.
He says, “We love winter destinations and ski resorts so we thought it would be fun to trade the sand for snow this year. After having such a wonderful time road tripping through Alberta this summer, we decided that winter in Banff National Park would be the perfect place to celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary.
“Our trip began in Calgary after a short 1 hour flight from Vancouver. We got super lucky with the visibility as we passed over the Canadian Rockies, which gave us the opportunity to capture some incredible aerial images of the endless rows of glaciers and snow-capped peaks.”
During winter you can go skiing at the Lake Louise Ski Resort, enjoy a dog sled tour through the Kicking Horse Pass at the Continental Divide and play ice hockey on the frozen Lake Louise.
Cameron, adds, “This was by far the best anniversary we’ve ever had. It is going to be incredibly difficult to top this one. Snowshoeing, snowboarding, dog sledding, ice walking at night, five-star dining experiences, rustic mountain lodge in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, en-suite Jacuzzi, crackling fireplaces, hot springs, no television… shall I go on, or is all this gushing making you sick?”
Its vibrant neighbourhoods
Idyllically set between the Pacific Ocean and the Coastal Mountain range, Vancouver is unsurprisingly a popular holiday destination. There aren’t many cities where you could go sailing in the morning and then skiing in the afternoon!
The love for this vibrant city doesn’t just stop with holidaymakers as many Canadians love it too. Will Woods, founder and chief storyteller for walking tour operator Forbidden Vancouver, says, “Canada is immense – bigger than any one person could ever know. But my love for this grand country is local. My life and my work are in Vancouver – on the cobbled streets of Gastown, amongst the huge firs of Stanley Park, by the glistening waters of Coal Harbour. I’m a Vancouver guide and storyteller, and I feel this wonderful city in my bones.”
The food trucks
Another reason many Canadians love Vancouver is because of its food trucks and Yasmin Aboelsaud in an article on the Daily Hive explains why.
She says, “Vancouver’s food truck scene began years ago, and has blossomed into a delicious variety of local flavours – and all at a reasonable price.
The attractive Canadian capital with its Gothic Parliament buildings and culinary scene is bursting with diversity. The fact that there are so many things you can do is one of the many reasons why Craig MacDonald, the tour director at Ottawa Walking Tours loves the city.
He adds, “What I love about Ottawa is the wide diversity of options available to locals and visitors alike. If you are into history and culture, check out the numerous national museums and federal monuments.
“Are you an art and indie fan? Then countless galleries and public art displays are found throughout the city centre. Are you a foodie? Ottawa has one of the world’s cutting edge culinary scenes to discover. Travelling with a family? Ottawa has everything you need for family fun from water parks to hands-on activities for the kids.
“Ottawa, in my opinion, is Canada’s most under-rated city. I started Ottawa Walking Tours 13 years ago as a way of showing visitors just how much the Canadian capital has to offer. Often overlooked by visitors in favour of Toronto, Montreal or Quebec City, Ottawa offers everything these cities do but with its own sense of charm and character. I find families and seniors especially appreciate Ottawa’s laidback approach to life with its countless sidewalk cafes, courtyard restaurants, magnificent buildings and cultural attractions.
“You have the ability to be hiking in the Canadian wilderness in the morning, gazing at an artistic masterpiece in the afternoon and then eating at the 4-star pub or restaurant or catching the symphony, ballet or jazz concert at night (and all for less than it will cost you in the bigger cities). That’s what impresses me the most about my favourite Canadian city.”
Its European feel
Ottawa is well-known for its European feel with waterfront patio walks making you feel like you’re in Amsterdam while the little patisseries give you Paris vibes.
Ottawa Walking Tours’ Craig MacDonald, says, “Lastly what I love about Ottawa is its European city feel and yet being so close to the Canadian wilderness we are famous for. Within a 15-minute drive of the downtown core, you can be surrounded by freshwater lakes, hiking trails, dense forests, white-water rafting, hot air ballooning, or in the winter dog sledding or skiing either alpine or cross-country. Quite simply I love Ottawa because it has everything for everyone in a safe, clean and beautiful historical city.”
Canada is famed for its brunch and there are lots of eateries where you can enjoy this classic meal in Ottawa.
Craig MacDonald shares some insider information about where you should head to. He says, “As a tour guide for over 20 years I get this question A LOT!
“My answer has changed over time but now I recommend 2 particular establishments: The Buzz on Bank Street and The Manx on Elgin. Both are just far enough outside the tourist zone so you really feel like you are with “the locals” but still in the downtown core! The food at both places is AMAZING!
“The Buzz offers a different menu every week with a special “sweet” or “savoury” option as well as your typical eggs and bacon plates with the best homefries in town. The Manx has built a solid reputation on serving a great brunch (try the goat cheese frittata) at a reasonable price and is also tied at the top of my list.”
Tracey Pictor, who resides in Toronto and is the writer behind the Journal of a City Girl blog, says one of the things she most loves about Toronto are its people.
She says, “They are the soft-spoken, kind sibling to big brother America. Canadians are unapologetically apologetic and live up to their given stereotype of being the friendly nation. It is not at all uncommon to have an in-depth conversation with a complete stranger on where you are from and how you are enjoying the current summer weather or with a server about how the Blue Jays are performing this season.”
Toronto has become a major style destination with lots of high-end fashion outlets found around every corner and more vintage shops popping up.
This iconic city is also home to lots of convenience stores and other venues that open 24-hours a day.
Tracey Pictor adds, “All day convenience stores, grocery stores open till midnight, coffee and dessert bars open till all hours, these are the little luxuries I love about big city living.”
In case you haven’t heard, Montreal loves it food. As Canada’s foodie capital it is unsurprising that the city boasts an abundance of luxury restaurants and an enviable selection of local produce.
Corbin Fraser, the blogger behind I Backpack Canada, says the food scene is one of the things he loves about Montreal.
He adds, “Whether it’s the baguettes at a local bakery, fresh vegetables from the Jean-Talon Market, a delicious late evening dinner at Van Horne or a 2am poutine at La Banquise. Montreal is jam-packed with incredible restaurants, pubs and delis. You could spend an entire summer in Montreal and barely scratch the surface of the Montreal food scene.
“While there are countless must-eats in Montreal, I personally love walking down Rue Sainte-Denis or Saint-Laurent Boulevard with the sole purpose of throwing caution into the wind and trying something new out on a whim.”
Strolling around Old Montreal is a great way to explore the city as the historic area is home to some iconic sights.
The likes of Place d’Armes, the Basilique Notre-Dame, the Montreal Town Hall and Saint-Paul Street are just some of the great attractions you can see.
Corbin Fraser, says, “Between the countless patios and restaurants, the fresh air, the open park space, the gentle breezes rolling off the Fleuve Saint-Laurent, or the steady buzz of people relaxing and talking, it’s easy to see why so many fall in love with this city.”
Image Credit: GoToVan, The Planet D, Traveling Canucks.