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Visiting Canada: What to see when visiting the ‘Great White North’

Visiting Canada: What to see when visiting the ‘Great White North’

22 Sep 2018 Angela Matthews Family, Self Drive, Tours, Travel Tips

Did you know that Canada is the world's second largest country? As such, there's a lot of ground to cover for any tourists that decide to visit the Great White North.

The good news is, you'll have a lot of fun doing it. There's something for everyone in Canada. Whether you're looking for mountain views that will take your breath away or bustling city life with shopping and food to die for - let's break down our must-sees by city.

Québec City, Québec

If you have a passion for history, winter carnivals and first-rate French food, look no further than Québec City. Cobblestone streets line your path to stunning 17th and 18th century houses. Winter is the best time of year to visit as the city comes alive with the famed Winter Carnival, as well as some of the most scenic skiing in the country. Here are our highlights:

Enjoy the range of artists at Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec 
You'll need at least half a day to explore all the artwork at this stellar museum. Home to works from early French colonies to Québec's most popular abstract artists, there's a little bit for everyone at Musée National des Beaux-Arts.

The museum also hosts frequent exhibitions by artists from across Canada, and beyond. Once you've had your fill of art, enjoy a bite to eat at their on-site cafe or restaurant.

Ski through the Plains of Abraham
Cross-country skiers should head over to the Plains of Abraham. Once the site of a battle which gave it its name, the trails offer views of the St. Lawrence River on one side, and the city skyline, including the iconic Chateau Frontenac hotel, on the other.

Dazzle at the Winter Carnival spectacles

Every year Winter Carnival draws people from all over the world. And it's no wonder, considering just how jam-packed it is with activities. From the legendary night parades to the annual canoe race down the frozen waters of the St. Lawrence River - you'll be spoiled for choice. Make sure to visit the iconic Bonhomme's Ice Palace and enjoy a warm treat after having a go on the ice skating rink!

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island (PEI) is as pretty as Lucy Maud Montgomery describes it in her famous novel ‘Anne of Green Gables’. Defined by lush, rolling green hills and shores lined with golden sand, PEI is a seaside village you won't want to miss. Here are a couple absolute must-dos:

Take a stroll through Charlottetown 
Charlottetown has all the big-city benefits with none of the pitfalls. Walking along the streets feels like taking a stroll through an outdoor history museum.

With a growing culinary scene to boot, you'd be missing out by not making Charlottetown a priority stop while in PEI. Enjoy some freshly caught seafood paired with an abundance of fresh produce while looking out on the water - the stuff dreams are made of.

Visit the Green Gables Heritage Place
You can't go to PEI without visiting the very house that inspired the setting for 'Anne of Green Gables'. In 1937 the house became part of the national park and it's now considered a national heritage site. Celebrating Lucy Maud and Anne with exhibits and audio-visual displays, you can partake in a range of tours of the house during your visit.

Toronto, Ontario

Did you know that over 140 languages are spoken in Toronto? According to Lonely Planet, this Canadian city holds the title of the most diverse city on the planet! When the sun comes out, Toronto is a bustling city, full of vibrant characters and exciting attractions. Let's run through the highlight reel.

Watch an ice hockey game

It wouldn't be a true Canadian experience without ice hockey! The 13-time Stanley Cup–winning Toronto Maple Leafs have plenty of games at Toronto's very own Air Canada Centre.

While nearly every game sells out, a handful of same-day tickets go on sale through Ticketmaster at 10am and at the Air Canada Centre ticket window from 5pm. If you can fit it into your schedule, it's well worth the money. The environment at Canadian hockey games is passionate and lots of fun!

Eat your way around Kensington Market
Kensington Market provides visitors with an eating tour that guides them through decades of immigrant cultures. The market is bordered by Little Italy and Chinatown and was named a National Historic Site in 2006. Without a doubt, this is the most multicultural area you'll find anywhere in the city. The neighborhood is chock-full of eclectic shops and eateries serving up authentic food from China, Japan, the Caribbean and South America. Bring your appetite with you.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Sitting on the westernmost side of the country, near the coast of the Pacific Ocean and surrounded by the North Shore Mountain Range, Vancouver is a nature-lovers paradise. With plenty of activities on during any time of year, you'll be able to enjoy walks, sights, hikes and even some swimming!

Swim in the Kitsilano Pool
Kitsilano Pool stands as one of the world's largest saltwater swimming pools. For less than AUD $7 you can swim here with the family! The outdoor summer pool is located near the beach, cafes, and neighbourhood of Kitsilano and remains open May to mid-September.

Hike up the steep Grouse Grind trail
The Grouse Grind trail is so steep that it's affectionately nicknamed "Mother Nature's Stairmaster." Running for 2.9-kilometres, this trail is a tough climb, so it's not recommended for anyone seeking out a leisurely hike. Once you reach the top, the sweat-inducing climb is worth it, as you'll get some breathtaking views of the city. Some quick facts from the Grouse Grind official website:

  • Elevation Gain: 853 metres (2,800 feet)
  • Base: 274 metres above sea level (900 feet)
  • Summit: 1,127 metres (3,700 feet)
  • Total Stairs: 2,830
  • Statistics: Over 150,000 people hike the trail each year.
  • Average Time: It takes most people up to an hour and a half to complete the hike. For novice hikers, we recommend 2 hours.

Ready to jet off to the Great White North? With stops like those, we'd be surprised if you weren't itching to book your trip to Canada right now! Luckily, our team of travel experts are here to help you plan out the perfect trip. To get started, find your local Travellers Choice agent today!


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