Canada is a vast country with six different time zones. It is surrounded by the contrasting Pacific and Atlantic seaboards. It has many rivers and lakes that can satisfy your urge to do some fishing or enjoy water sports. It offers a variety of sightseeing options, ranging from the urban centers like Ottawa and Toronto to the lonely and isolated Eskimo regions alongside the frozen seashores of the Hudson Bay.
Besides, the Rocky Mountains provide some breathtaking views of the valleys below. Here are some of the happening places to visit, or things to do, which will serve as a guide to an exciting tour of this large country.
The capital city, Ottawa is famous for its historic Rideau Canal, which is connected to the Ottawa river. Also, the Parliament building is a historical monument worth paying a visit to. You will also get to see a perfect blend of traditional and modern art in the various museums across the city. The Canadian Museum of History is one of them. Many historical artifacts are preserved here, along with their background information. The National Gallery is one more place which has a magnificent collection of photographs, sculptures, and artwork of many famous artists such as the Group of Seven, Tom Thomson, Monet, Picasso, Renoir, Van Gogh, Bacon, etc. If you are a crazy shopper, especially one who loves outdoor shopping, then ByWard Market is the place for you. This market dates back to more than 200 years. With a cheerful atmosphere at any time of the day, this place is an absolute must-see.
A gondola ride is the best thing to do in the Banff National Park, situated in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. It boasts of extremely breathtaking bird's eye views across 360 degrees during the eight-minute ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain. The gondola ride elevates you from a height of 698 m to 2,281 m. After arriving at the upper terminal, there is no end to the fun and adventure. The Banff Summit Walk is a 1km long self-guided route, that takes you to the Sanson's Peak Meteorological Station and the Cosmic Ray Station National Historic Site. The interactive 'Giant Compass' is also present at the upper summit terminal rooftop. Encountering the conserved local wildlife including the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep is an unforgettable experience. Though these animals are friendly for most parts, it is still advisable to keep a safe distance, as they are wild animals after all.
Cave and Basin, and Boardwalk Trails
Canada has a total of 43 national parks. The oldest one, Cave and Basin National Historic Site has an open-air mineral pool with growing mat and algae. There are naturally occurring warm mineral springs inside the cave. The Discovery Boardwalk Trail situated above the bathing pavilion, the Marsh Boardwalk Trail, the Sundance Trail, Greenwich Park Trail, and many more small walkways provide you an insight into the history of this park.
The Glacier National Park protects a portion of the Columbia Mountains Natural Region. Endangered animals like mountain goat, caribou, and grizzly bear are protected here along with the unique stands of old-growth hemlock and cedar trees. The Rogers Pass is also situated here. The scenic and mountainous Jasper National Park is a world heritage site. The Sunwapta Falls and Athabasca Glacier are located here. The Kootenay National Park is rich in its ecology and varied landscapes. Yoho National Park is where the secrets of ancient ocean life and animal species are presented.
There is no need for an introduction to this amazing creation of nature. It is situated on the Niagara river, along the international border of Ontario and the US state of New York. There are three falls, with The Horseshoe Falls being the largest one, the American Falls, and the smaller Bridal Veil Falls. It is the main tourist attraction in Canada and the most visited spot for honeymooners. 'The Maid of the Mist' boat cruise, which is the oldest tourist attraction, is named after an ancient Ongiara Indian mythical character. These cruise boats carry the passengers to the thundering rapids of the falls from both sides.
Adventure and Sports
Hiking is the main attraction in almost all the national parks. The long-distance foot paths include the Voyageur Trail, surrounding the northern shores of Lake Huron and Lake Superior; the 690km Bruce Trail from Queenstown on the Niagara River to Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula, etc. Both cross-country and downhill skiing can be enjoyed in all the major resorts such as Revelstoke, Whistler, Whitewater, Red Mountain, etc. Canoeing is also one of the major sports. You can do both boat and airplane drop offs. It is most challenging in the Northwest Territories and in British Columbia, whereas rivers and lakes in Ontario also provide exciting opportunities. You can also enjoy ice hockey, American football, Canadian football, especially in Toronto where these sports are hugely promoted.
Toronto is the most famous city for shopping with its high-end boutiques, discount stores, huge shopping malls, and designer shops. St. Lawrence Market, Kensington Market, Yorkdale, and Eaton Center are some of them. West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, was the world's largest indoor shopping mall until 2004 and found a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records. It contains more than 800 stores, 110 eateries, a hotel, and a huge water park. Montreal also has some of the trendiest shopping districts. 26th December, Boxing Day, is the biggest shopping day in Canada. It is the day when you can get great bargains. You can buy the best butter tarts, ice ciders, Neige Apple Ice Wine, coins especially the 'toonie,' and the triple-layered chocolate Nanaimo bars.
It can be said that in Canada, you can experience the hype and buzz of New York City, tranquility and peace of the old English countryside, and the wilderness of Africa, all in one country. It has to be one of the most geographically diverse places on the planet.