Canada Travel Guide
🗝️ Key Facts
💶Currency: Canadian Dollar ($) (CAD)
🕙Time Zone: -3.5 to -8 GMT
📞Phone Code: +1
🌐Language: English / French (Quebec)
✈️Best time to visit: May to October
🍴Eat: Maple syrup
🍷Drink: Ice Wine
🗺️Don't miss: Niagara Falls, Vancouver Stanley Park, Whitehorse, city of wilderness.
🗺 Menu of Contents:
Only bordered by the USA and Greenland, Canada's location makes it a land of towering mountains, fields of glaciers, pristine lakes, and rocky coastlines. Filled with diverse wildlife and equally diverse landscapes, the Canadian great outdoors is its greatest attraction as a travel destination. Canada attracts nature lovers and sports enthusiasts, with ample opportunity for activities like hiking, canoeing, fishing, skiing, snowmobiling, and even dog sledding in the north!
While the image of Canada is generally that of untouched wilderness, Canada's cities are also extremely interesting, by the proximity of nature, the friendliness of its people, an open and tolerant society, artistic scene and modern urban metropolis with a good quality of services and entertainment options. The cosmopolitan cities spread across Canada offer a high quality of life and a range of sightseeing attractions that will please any traveller.
Much like the US, Canada is vast and each province or territory has developed a distinct cultural character. Some travellers will be enthralled by the French charm and historic fortifications of Quebec, while others will like the Scottish flavour and rich seafaring history of Nova Scotia. Canada could fill a lifetime of different holidays.
There is lots to see and do in Canada, so prepare a holiday to a specific region and come and discover it by yourself why Canada appeals to many, even to settle down to live!
Canada is a very accessible country when travelling from anywhere in the world thanks to important air links which link the country to every continent on the planet. Getting there by air is the simplest and easiest way, but if you are coming from the USA you might find driving a good alternative or travel by coach or train. Specially with cities closer to the border which offer frequent connections and services between the two countries.
When flying to Canada the primarily airline is Air Canada and it's sister airline Air Canada Rouge. You can fly direct to Canada from the main capitals in Europe . It's also well connected to other continents including South America and Asia offering links as far as Japan, China, Australia, Chile or Peru with direct flights. Alternatively you can reach Canada's main cities via one transit stop with multiple airlines options.
Most airlines will fly into Toronto or Vancouver, the two top destinations in Canada, but you can find direct links to Montreal, Quebec, Edmonton, Calgary or St John's. Also it's worth to note that other airlines offer good fares and connections in a more budget style. These airlines are Air Transat and West Jet.
Once in the country transportation is reliable and modern. Roads in Canada are developed and count with good infrastructures. However the distances to travel from one city to another can take days by road. Therefore travelling by air is also the best option when visiting. Again the budget airlines offer the best prices (West jet or Air Transat) but you can also find others like Porter Airlines based in Toronto City Airport or Air North when travelling to the remote Yukon territory.
Each city has a very advanced and comprehensive public transport network which is easy to use, and in some cases it's free of charge in the city centre (for example Calgary). The main cities have integrated transport systems including metro, trains, trams and busses. Please refer to each city for more detailed information.
When visiting Canada's smaller communities or towns, it's a good idea to rent a car as these areas lack of frequent transport links. However some remote areas can only be reached by plane, the northern Canadian territories as a main example during the Winter months.
Most visitors now require a VISA when travelling to Canada. (even on transit). The e-visas are easy to obtain online and are similar to the USA type of Visitor Visa. These ETA, Electronic Travel Authorization VISA's are valid for most EU citizens and other countries included in the visa waiver programme and can be applied online for a fee of $7 (CAD). The visa then is valid for 2 years from the approval of the application with any trip not staying longer than 90 days in the Canada at one time. Note, that if you do not hold the ETA (electronic visa) you will be refused to enter Canada and sent back.
Additionally, you might need to have proof of address in Canada (this can be asked several times before you arrive in Canada). when you arrive, borders can be tighter and can also ask about your funds (cash or credit cards), employment details and plans in Canada.
Canada is located at a high latitude which makes it comparable with weather factors as similar to the Scandinavian countries in Europe. Summer's can be pleasantly warm with plenty or sunshine, ideal for outdoor activities and sports of all kinds. However Winter's can be harsh with temperatures reaching below 0°C in most cities. Abundant snow fall and icy winds are also quite common, specially the further north you travel. Temperatures in the north can plummet to -15°C for most of January and part of February. The best time to visit Canada is mid spring to the end of the autumn. (May to November). Temperatures are pleasant to visit and walking outside during these months.
In addition, take into account that rainfalls are very frequent in Canada and therefore it's a very green country with beautiful scenery. Taking waterproof gear and umbrellas is recommended even when travelling in the summer or visiting forests and doing adventure activities or eco-tourism.
For more detailed weather information in each city or state refer to the Tourism Guides below.
Canada has a wide variety of tastes to satisfy every background, thanks to its large multicultural population, from the classical monster-sized burger and fries, a juicy rare steak, freshly caught seafood or Oriental stir-fry, Canada has a large offering. Food might be comparable to that of it's neighbour, USA, with big portions and plenty of meat's on the menu. However in Quebec area, the French influence is very noticeable. Depending where you go you can find distinct specialities. Look for German-style cuisine in southwestern Ontario, Ukrainian dishes on the Prairies and Asian foods in Vancouver.
Therefore the typical food you can taste in Canada can range differently, depending on the area and cultural influence.
The most popular dishes and food are: Fresh seafood such as mussels, salmon, lobster, prawns, crab and scallops. Steak (the central plains produce first-class beef). Game (try venison, elk, bison or caribou). Poutine (fries smothered in cheese curds and gravy). Maple syrup (often liberally doused on pancakes or French toast). Nanaimo bar (super sweet chocolatey biscuit bar layered with vanilla or custard buttercream and topped with chocolate). Montreal smoked meat (cured beef usually piled high in a sandwich accompanied by mustard). BC roll (British Columbian speciality sushi-roll made with rice, seaweed, grilled salmon and cucumber).
As for drinks, Canada has large wine-producing areas like the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia and the Niagara Peninsula in Ontario. A particular speciality is Ice wine, a dessert wine made from grapes that have frozen on the vine. Canada is home to numerous microbreweries, producing a variety of ales (complete with imaginative names and eye-catching labels).
Having been to Canada several times over the years and visited many of its principal cities, I can say that there is still lots of road ahead to discover! It's a huge country which offers so much to see and do. Canada stands out for me, because of its beauty, the natural scenery and views across lakes, mountains ranges and forests. It offers to the traveller some incredible landscape formations like the Rocky Mountains or the Niagara Falls, just to mention a couple.
In addition, towns and cities are modern, clean, with good transport infrastructure. The cities have lots of interesting sights and history attached to them. The Canadian society is also welcoming, tolerant and friendly. They are well prepared for travellers and offer such an array of tourism activities and programmes. Finally but not least the food on offer in Canada is well varied, suiting for all likes, from vegetarian or vegan to Asian cuisines which are present in every city thanks to the large mixed society backgrounds, specially in cities like Toronto or Vancouver.
Canada is a great country for me, it's easy to travel to, good customer service and has a full range of possibilities waiting to be discovered. Additionally prices are reasonable, for a budget traveller.
(6 times visited)