Things to Do in Canada
The economic and cultural capital of Eastern Canada, Halifax is known for its maritime charm and friendly community. The city’s vibrant Waterfront district makes for a beautiful stroll along the harbour as you pass by artsy boutiques, pubs featuring live music, and restaurants offering fresh seafood from the boats of local fishermen. The harbour is also home to the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, documenting the experiences of those who came to the northern nation from afar. Nearby, Peggy’s Cove and the colourful fishing town of Lunenburg make for unforgettable day trips as you follow the Nova Scotian coastline, lined with quaint lighthouses looking stoically out to sea.
As the second-largest Francophone city in the world, Montreal pulses to its own beat. The bilingual hub is famous for its legendary nightlife and festival scene celebrating both local and international artists. The lively Quartier des Spectacles offers over 80 venues dedicated to performing and visual arts of all kinds, and special celebrations happen throughout the city year round. French and English influences collide in the architecture of Old Montreal, whose maze-like cobblestone streets date back to the 17th century and now are home to chic restaurants, bars, and boutiques. In the middle of the city is Mount Royal, a small mountain that offers views over the downtown core and the leaf-lined neighbourhoods of the city’s artsier counterparts, where the smell of fresh bagels floats through the streets.
Regularly topping the charts as one of the world’s most diverse cities, Toronto is a cosmopolitan feast for the soul. From the eclectic thrift shops of Kensington Market, allow the smell of freshly-pulled noodles to guide you to the streets of Chinatown. Afterwards, enjoy a fruity gelato in Little Italy or pastel de nata in Little Portugal; international eats are one of the greatest claims to fame for the city. The CN Tower, once the world’s largest free-standing structure, stands tall over Toronto, giving character to its brilliant skyline. Arts and culture are celebrated throughout the city in underground venues and traditional theatres alike, with cinema given a particularly warm welcome during the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival.
Nestled into the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Banff is Canada’s most iconic nature escape, famous for its rugged peaks, alpine forests, and opportunity for adventure. Outdoor enthusiasts take to the hills on skis, snowboards, and snowshoes in winter, swapping them for hiking boots and mountain bikes when the seasons change. The sparkling glacial waters of Lake Louise and Lake Minnewanka lie just a few kilometers from the town’s centre, where you can glide across the turquoise reflection of surrounding mountain peaks by kayak or canoe. The town itself is a picturesque mix of chateau-style hotels, independent boutiques, and relaxing spas with a strong community spirit and support for local artisans. Keep your eyes peeled, as the occasional deer has been known to strutt across Banff Avenue.
Whistler is the best-known ski town in North America, and for good reason. The sparkling slopes of Whistler Blackcomb see millions of visitors each winter who come in search of an adrenaline rush as they ski or snowboard their way between snow-capped pine trees. At the foot of the mountain, Whistler’s chalet-style pedestrian village is a friendly cluster of warm bars and restaurants offering up après-ski fare, casual dining, and upscale eats alike. For non-skiers, spas and saunas make for a peaceful escape from the cold, and snowshoe trails out into the forests could bring you face to face with wildlife. In the summer, the opportunities for hiking and mountain biking are endless, leading you through pine valleys, floral meadows, and glacier-fed lakes.
Vancouver is unlike any place on earth, combining a cosmopolitan centre with sea, sky, and mountain all in one place. Nature and urban culture exist in harmony, giving you the option of strolling through ancient rainforests in the sprawling Stanley Park and then going for drinks in the West End only minutes later. Walk along the Seawall at sunset for ocean views before exploring the nightlife scenes of Granville Street or Yaletown. Grab some fresh fruits and pastries for a picnic at Granville Public Market then head out to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, where you’ll dangle above the waters below and immerse yourself in the fresh scent of pine.
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