Canada's natural beauty is the perfect reason for travelers to head north of America. Whether you're going to Canada on a short visit or a long trip, this peaceful, diverse, modern, and advanced country will make you want to return time and time again.
The country offers incredible cities and plenty of urban attractions to choose from. Each city has earned their own reputation and highlight different aspects of Canada's economic strength. The most famous cities are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. It's easy to get around in this vast nation, even in the largest cities there are different options to get around. Canadians are friendly and crime is much lower compared to the USA.
Not many countries in the world can take pride in having several UNESCO World Heritage Sites and with such a diverse biosphere. It has a long coastline, mountains, lakes, forests, artics, and wildlife. One of the most popular attractions in Canada has to be the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks.
A quick look at Canada's History
First Nations Metis and Inuits are the first people to occupy Canada. The first Europeans to arrive in Canada were the Vikings, but they didn't stay long. The aboriginal cultures carried on with their ways until King Henry VII of England sent John Cabot on an expedition in 1497. Cabot claimed the newfound land in the name of the British crown. It was not long before the French sent someone of their own. Jacque Cartier sailed toward St. Lawrence River in the 1530s claiming that Canada was French. The first permanent European settler had been indeed the French, who established themselves in St. Lawrence valley.
Colonisation brought about the massacre and the near extinction of the native people of Canada. French missionaries attempted to convert natives to Christianity. Colonisation brought disease, and smallpox killed thousands. The English and French fought over Canada and after the Seven Years War, in 1763, the Treaty of Paris handed New France to Britain. French kept St. Pierre, Miquelon and eventually Quebec, in 1774. French had the freedom to do things their way and were allowed to keep their laws and faith.
During the American War of Independence, Canada remained loyal to Britain rather than side with the 13 American colonies. When the war was over, a boundary was created between the US and Canada whereby the Great Lakes were used to define the border. Canadians soon began to ask for more rights and the Crown passed a Constitutional Act that divided lower and upper Canada.
People have always immigrated to the country looking for better opportunities. Canada was officially unified as one province in 1867 when Britain passed the British North American Act granting Canada the liberty to govern itself. However, in the early 1900s, the country was still constrained from signing its own treaties or participate in international meetings. When the first world war came to an end, the Statue of Westminster granted Canada its independence. The Canada Act in 1982 ended with the country's remaining ties with the British parliament.
Canada in the 21st century
This North American country celebrates diversity and it is an advocate of immigration, women's rights and is concerned with the environment. When traveling to Canada people will be able to enjoy many outdoor activities and connect with nature. If you're more passionate about music or film, Canadians love to party and there are plenty of festivals and events year-round.
Canada is beautiful any time of the year. If you want to avoid crowds and high prices Autumn might be your best bet. However, there are activities for everyone and the country has plenty to do for families too. Remember to apply for your visa when you plan your trip. Read further for some additional tips.
Canada Basic Information
Canadian Dollar (CAD)
- Time Zone:
When to Go
Due to its geographical location, the weather is similar in most of the country with defined seasons. Certainly, there are variations, especially between the coastal regions and the mountains ranges. Here are our recommendations on when to go to Canada, autumn being an ideal time to avoid crowds and high prices.
Low Season: from November to April. Most places outside the cities are closed and it’s a cold, cold period for Canada. Days are shorter but on the bright side, there are special offers to persuade visitors.
Shoulder Season: May and September and October. During these three months, the temperature is cool but enjoyable. Most cities in Canada are less crowded than summer but bear in mind that attractions have shorter hours.
High Season: June through August. It’s a great season to visit Canada and soak up some sun. Top destinations will be crowded and prices increase by nearly 30%.
*High season in ski resorts is from December through March.
Canada is a good destination for:
Canada Entry Requirements
People who wish to travel to Canada must have a valid passport with a minimum of six months. Visitors from visa-exempt countries have to purchase an electronic travel authorization: the ETA, which is similar to the USA’s ESTA.
Visitors from non-visa-waiver countries are required to apply for a visa before traveling to Canada.
Customs regulations are strict and should be respected by all travelers hoping to enter Canada. You can take 1.5 liters of wine or 1.4 liters of liquor. Gifts shouldn’t exceed 60 USD.
You can travel with up to 10,000 USD without declaring it.
Prescription drugs should come in an original container and that can last up to 90 days.
Canada Country Atractions
Natural beauty is the most important reason why you should visit Canada. The country has dynamic cities with plenty of nightlife and food alternatives. However, you will encounter nature in a pure and preserved estate. Read below for our top choices.
- Canadian Rocky Mountains Parks: a World Heritage Site, there are seven adjoining parks including Banff, Jasper, Kootenay, and Yoho. Nature lovers will be amazed to find mountains, glaciers, hot springs and headwaters of major rivers.
- Dinosaur Provincial Park: located in Calgary, Alberta, this is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Set in the valley of the Red Deer River, the park is known for having found 58 dinosaur fossils. The visitor center has exhibits, there’s a video theater, and fossil prep lab area. Summer has special events for its visitors.
- Nahanni National Park Reserve: renowned for its geologic landform, travelers heading to this park will see sheer granite spires, alpine plateaus, and the Canadian Heritage River. It’s ideal for climbers, hikers, and paddlers.
- Cabot Trail: located in Nova Scotia, this is an absolute must-see when going to Canada. Visitors can enjoy plenty of outdoor activities like golfing, kayaking, hiking, cycling and whale watching. There are artisan shops along the trail and while on the road you’ll be able to admire coasted views.
- Niagara Falls: the breathtaking waterfalls are located in Ontario. It is made up of three waterfalls and has the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the entire world. It’s not only a beautiful sight but an important hydroelectric power.
- Waterton Lakes National Park: This park is perfect for those who want peace and tranquility. Set in Alberta, the park offers mesmerizing sceneries and flat prairies that meet the Rockies. There are inviting lakes and wildlife to be enjoyed.
When traveling to Canada, you can take a pet with the proper documentation. However, you’re not allowed to take fresh fruit.
- You can rent a car to travel through the country but there are certain regulations and speed limits to consider and respect. Driving and texting is dangerous and carries a fine when caught. Smoking in the car with a minor is forbidden. Beware that driving in the winter is no easy task, Canadians advise having extra phone battery and an emergency kit.
- Legal drinking age is 18 or 19 depending on the province. Alcohol can be purchased at liquor stores.
- Canada adds federal sales tax to all goods and services. Each province has their own tax, and both takes are added at the end. Don’t be surprised when your check is 15% higher than what it said on the label or menu.