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Discover Canada
Canada is a vast, diverse and sometimes desolate country, with most of its population living in cities tucked on its southern border.
It is the second largest country in the world, yet its population numbers less than that of Tokyo's Metropolitan area. When most people think of Canada they think of hockey, polite people, Tim Hortons and freezing temperatures. All of these are accurate, but in the years we spent living there we learned that it has a whole lot more to offer.

Canada, not just Americas hat.

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Canada is enormous, covering 3,855,103 square miles. At the time of writing, the Canadian dollar is at a near all-time low which makes it a perfect time to travel here and get more bang for your buck. We recommend visiting in the summer, as winters in most of Canada can be cripplingly cold and snowy, with temperatures falling as low as -40 degrees, even in the cities. Of course, this also makes it a great destination for winter sports, with Canada boasting some of the best ski resorts in the world.

Toronto makes a great hub for your Canadian adventure, with Niagra Falls, Montreal and Ottowa all within reasonable driving distance. It is the largest city in Canada, and has lots of budget accommodation available, although it can get expensive downtown.

How to plan your trip:
How you spend your time in Canada depends on your interests, budget and time restraints. In the southeast, you have Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Quebec City to choose from, as well as the more remote provinces of Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island & Nova Scotia. Niagra Falls, a 2-hour drive from Toronto is a popular destination, and really shouldn't be missed.

Northern Ontario is a well-kept secret, with thousands of lakes and miles of virtually unexplored wilderness. It is the ultimate destination for fishing, hiking or kayaking in the summer, and skiing & snowboarding in the winter.

British Columbia in the west features glacial mountains, rugged coastlines, volcanic hot springs and rainforests (yes, rainforests). The city of Vancouver is a good starting point, with top tourist destinations such as Whistler, Victoria & Squamish just a stones throw away. While you're here go visit the Great Bear Rainforest, the planet’s largest intact coastal temperate rainforest, and search for the elusive 'Spirit Bear'.

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Ellesmere Island

Transport.
Because of Canadas large size, most people travel between cities by flying. Domestic flights are expensive in Canada, with airport fees and taxes some of the highest in the world. A very common way around this problem for Canadians is to drive across the border to the US and fly from there. As most of the population lives near the border, this is a relatively simple plan which travelers can take advantage of as well. Of course, the downside to this is you may need to apply for another visa before you fly.

Via Rail trains are a safe and comfortable option for travel in Canada. The cross country line stretches from Nova Scotia in the east to Vancouver in the west. Book ahead for better prices and to make sure you get a seat. The journey between Toronto and Vancouver is one of the most renowned train journeys in the world, with sleeper and old fashioned "dome" cars where you can take in the breathtaking vistas. It is not, however, a cheap option, with economy prices from around $400. A sleeper will cost you up to $1500 per person!

Visit their website here to book your journey.

Greyhound and Megabus (Ontario & Quebec) operate between most big cities for reasonable prices as well. You are usually limited to 1 piece of luggage (up to 50 lbs) on these busses, so bear this in mind when you plan your trip

Driving can also be a viable option, however, gas prices are high and buying or renting a car can be a bit of a runabout. Each province has its own rules and regulations for this, so be sure to brush up on these. The drive across Canada it will take around 8 days, with 10 hours a day on the road.

Driving times between major cities:
St John - Montreal:  8-9 hours
Montreal - Toronto:  5-6 hours
Toronto - Winnipeg:  21 hours
Winnipeg - Calgary:  12 - 13 hours
Calgary - Vancouver:  10 hours

Accommodation.
Canada has a large selection of accommodation options, from budget hostels to boutique hotels and b&bs. As with most other things in Canada, it isn't cheap, but it's possible to find good value if you search around.

In popular ski towns like Whistler, Kootenay or Big White you can rent out quaint chalets year round, though prices tend to skyrocket during peak season.
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Toronto

Urban nights:
As with all big cities, you can find a wide array of hotels, motels, b&b's and guest houses to choose from. Check airbnb and staydu for good deals in prime locations. Couchsurfing is popular in Canada, and using this option can really help stretch your budget.

Stay in nature:
As long as you're visiting in the summer, Canada has lots of options for camping, both backcountry or at an established site. National parks have fully equipt campsites for a fee, ranging from $15/night for a primitive site to around $40/night for all the bells and whistles.

There are also plenty of private campgrounds and free sites to choose from. Check out www.camping-canada.com for information on where to go.

Canim Lake, BC


Where to spend your money:


Do:
Visit some of the breathtaking National Parks in Canada. Banff National Park in Alberta is the oldest park in Canada. It spans 2500 square miles in the Canadian Rockies and is a perfect getaway for hiking and exploring.

Canada is world-renowned for its skiing, with the world class resorts of Whistler & Kamloops in BC, Banff in Alberta and Mt Tremblant in Quebec open all winter. Visit between the months of November and March for one of the best skiing & snowboarding experiences in the world.

Eat:
The national dish of Canada is Poutine and it can be found everywhere and in every restaurant. A traditional poutine consists simply of fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. With its origins in Quebec, poutineries often have many variations, with toppings such as pulled pork, bacon, sausage & chicken. Other classic Canadian dishes include Montreal smoked meat (cured, spiced & smoked beef brisket), Peameal bacon (brined pork loin rolled in cornmeal) and of course, maple syrup.

Drink:
The drinking age is 18 in Quebec, Manitoba and Alberta, with everywhere else being 19. Alcohol is not sold in supermarkets, gas stations & corner stores, (although this is set to change in the coming years.) In Ontario, you can only buy alcohol from certain retailers, including The Beer Store and the government owned LCBO.

Canadians are very fond of their craft beers, with most bars serving a varied selection of locally brewed beers, as well as offerings from international micro-breweries. Big name Canadian beers such as Molson, Labatt & Moosehead are also popular here.

The Caesar is a classic cocktail made from vodka, clamato juice (yes, that's clam & tomato juice), Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and a stick of celery, and is the national drink of Canada

Now That You're In Canada.
Go shopping in the USA. . The price of clothes & electronics are much higher north of the border, so take the chance to head across for some cheap shopping. Nearby cities such as Buffalo and Seattle provide lots of opportunities to snag a bargain and are fun cities to visit for a day. Brush up on import laws before you go, as there are limits to what you can bring to Canada without paying taxes.

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Natural Wonders

Urban Wonders

Curios

  1. Algonquin park
  2. Vancouver
  3. niagara falls
  4. banff national park
  5. montreal
  6. Hockey Hall of Fame
  7. tofino
  8. St Johns
  9. Calgary Stampede

Algonquin Provincial Park

Vancouver

Niagara Falls

Banff National Park

Montreal

The Hockey Hall of Fame

Tofino

St John's

Calgary Stampede