The second-largest country in the world, Canada is a vast expanse of natural wonders. Known for its outstanding mountain ranges, grand lakes and top-notch skiing, it is without a doubt one of the most visually spectacular countries on the planet. But it isn’t all about nature-with a number of vibrant and cosmopolitan cities calling the country home. As the vast country that it is, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Here are ten top places worth exploring.
Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site
An archipelago off the coast of British Columbia, Gwaii Haanas is rightfully considered to be one of Canada’s most beautiful locations. The park is off the beaten track, only accessible by plane or boat, but for those who make the effort, the rewards are rich and plentiful. The park is home to a wealth of Haida artefacts, with vast totem poles adorning the park. In addition to the astounding natural beauty of the area, the area is culturally fascinating, providing valuable insights into the history of one of Canada’s significant indigenous peoples.
Canada’s largest city is considered to be the most multicultural place in the world, and one doesn’t need to spend much time there to see why. The city is a true melting pot of different cultures and nationalities, and a thriving creative urban centre. The city boasts a wealth of museums, the most well-known being the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario. The nearby Lake Ontario provides easy access to nature and water activities. Canada’s economic and cultural hub, Toronto is not worth missing out on.
The second-largest French-speaking city in the world, Montreal was initially Canada’s main commercial hub before being overtaken by Toronto. Despite this, it has a distinctly different atmosphere, informed by its Quebecois culture. The city is known for its wealth of colonial architecture, which remain well-preserved, particularly in the Old Montreal area. The city is a short drive away from top-quality skiing and hiking. Beautiful and cosmopolitan, Montreal is one of Canada’s best cities.
Banff National Park
The oldest national park in the country, Banff National Park is one of the most beautiful places in the country, an impressive feat. Located in the province of Alberta, Banff National Park is home to a network of jaw-dropping lakes, most notably Lake Louise, one of the country’s most scenic sights all-year round. An additional showstopping view is the magnificent Valley of the Ten Peaks, a sight that needs to be seen to be believed. Furthermore, the park is home to a diverse variety of wildlife such as elk, grizzly bears, lynx and timberwolves. There are few better places to experience the Canadian wilderness than Banff.
Jasper National Park
Banff’s neighbouring national park Jasper comes awfully close to matching its beauty. It retains its diverse range of wildlife. Jasper is known for its jaw-dropping glaciers, a part of the Columbia Icefield as well as its hot springs and lakes. Much like its neighbour, Jasper is a truly magnificent slice of the Canadian wilderness that needs to be seen to be believed.
Skiing in Whistler
Given its mountainous landscape and cold winters, Canada is a country tailored for snowsports. The undisputed capital in this regard is Whistler, a mountain resort town about 80 miles outside of Vancouver, British Columbia. One of the top skiing destinations in North America, Whistler is well-worth visiting for snowsports enthusiasts and those who want to be taken aback by spectacular mountainous scenery.
The Enchanted Forest
One of the more bizarre tourist attractions in Canada, the Enchanted Forest is located in rural British Columbia in a cedar forest. A collection of over 300 fairytale-themed wooden sculptures, the Enchanted Forest is a truly surreal experience and worth a visit for those in search of the country’s lesser-known wonders. Built by artist couple Doris and Ernest Needham during the 1950’s, the forest is a literal treasure trove.
National Gallery of Canada
Located in the country’s capital city of Ottawa, the National Gallery of Canada is the country’s flagship art museum. Known for its distinct architectural design and glass facade, the gallery boasts an extensive collection of art spanning several centuries, movements and artists. Notable standouts include pieces by Gustav Klimt, Vincent Van Gogh and most notably Louise Bourgeois’ ‘Maman’ sculpture, located outside the garden.
Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology
Located on the outskirts of Calgary, Alberta, the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology is arguably the world’s premier museum dedicated to the study of dinosaurs. The museum boasts an astounding collection of over 130,000 fossils. The museum is a bit out of the way but truly is at the forefront of its area of expertise, and accommodating to families as well as those for an interest in dinosaurs.
One of the more far-flung regions of Canada is the Yukon. The smallest region of the country by population, the territory has only one city, which gives one an idea of how remote it is. With a subarctic climate, the Yukon Territory isn’t for everybody, but it is without a doubt one of the most beautiful parts of the country. Mount Logan is one of the most spectacular sights in North America, as the continent’s second-tallest peak while the Yokon River offers similarly spectacular sights. The unspoiled nature of the Yukon is well worth exploring, with a number of activities available to visitors. To sweeten the deal, it is one of the few places one can glimpse the spectacular Aurora Borealis.