This becomes quite obvious when planning a trip through this vast and varied land. However, thanks to the ease of modern transportation, it’s never been easier to merge your United States holiday with a trip further north with cheap flights to Canada, the makers of maple syrup.
With more space to explore, a brilliant exchange rate, and an abundance of delicious French-inspired food, it’s shocking that Canada isn’t on more Aussie bucket lists.
The first stop needs to be the increasingly popular city of Vancouver. Vancouver has a solid reputation for liveability, consistently ranking in the top ten cities of the world. A recommended “must-do” is to take a leisurely stroll through Stanley Park. It’s easy to jump off a bus at the edge of the hustle-bustle of the cityscape and step over an invisible boundary of thick greenery. While the park is over 400 hectares, visitors can get around easily by hopping into an old-fashioned horse and cart. Another popular attraction includes the totem poles located at Brockton Point within the park. So popular in fact, these rank as British Columbia’s most visited attraction. As the park’s paths veer away from the thick and leafy vegetation, it wrapped its way along the water. Here, it is said that you can catch a glimpse of seals as they breach the water.
Cheap and Cheerful
The Canadian dollar sits relatively on par with the Australia dollar, sliding around the realm of AU$1.10. The difference is considerable when looking at the almighty Euro or American dollar. A trip to Canada is bang for the Aussie buck.
Arguably the home of the world’s nicest people, it is indisputably to the world’s most beautiful mountain range, the Rockies. The Canadian Rockies mountain range is a breathtaking region of snow-capped peaks, pristine lakes and unimaginable wildlife. There are five national parks to choose from, with the most notable and commonly visited being the Banff National Park, it’s also the country’s inaugural national park. The town planners of Banff had the foresight to line up the town’s main avenue with the picture-perfect view of Cascade Mountain. They must have known what a renowned tourist magnet the exquisitely beautiful region would become. While the Banff National Park is home to both the terrifying Grizzly and black bears, the most common sighting on the trip are usually an abundance of adorable squirrel and the occasional moose.
If you’re keen for some celebrity sightings, then make sure you’re in town during September. The annual Toronto International Film Festival attracts just under 500,000 film buffs each year to witness the latest in cinematography. Films that bode well at the TIFF are often fan-favourites to take out the big trophies during the upcoming award seasons. Trade the sparkles of bright lights to the vibrancy of fireworks at the world’s largest fireworks competition. For three stunning nights every summer, Vancouver hosts the Honda Celebration of Light – an international competition and festival. The world’s best forewords designers and pyrotechnicians compete, stun and delight locals and tourists alike. It’s a must-see.
Poutine. It’s a quintessential French-Canadian dish that warms you inside out. While different restaurants put their special spin on the old classic, it’s essentially French fries topped with melted cheese and thick gravy. Cheese on chips? Genius level hospitality. Another common Canadian treat is the Beavertail. Just imagine a healthy slice of deep-fried dough, layered with your choice of toppings. You can’t go past Nutella, obviously, but some cafés will add Reese’s Pieces, banana, peanut butter and more deliciousness. Signature meals of the nation aside, the calibre of food, in general, is impressive. Forgot the mass meals of their neighbours, cities like Vancouver boast a very trendy food and bar scene with fusion and niche cuisines to try and devour.
You can’t miss the French flavour when you visit certain parts of Canada. It’s particularly evident in cities like Quebec and Ontario, as well as the Maritime provinces. The effects of French settlement in the 1600s still lives on and can trick your senses into believing you’ve travelled onto the European continent. The biggest giveaway is the bilingual skills of its people. While it is easy to navigate for English speaking tourists, it is lovely to hear the echoes of French syllables floating over the crowds. Quebec, especially, is in touch with its European roots. A rich and distinct history make it a memorable tourist destination.