Canada is the great outdoors. It’s where grizzly bears pace on the banks of fast-flowing rivers during salmon spawning season. Where Niagara Falls plunges to depths of almost 60 metres. Where you can spot orca on a zodiac boat from Vancouver Island. And where you can spend days in Hudson Bay observing majestic polar bears.
It’s also where you can take the road trip of a lifetime, through the Rocky Mountains. The combination of razor-sharp snow-capped peaks, bracing mountain air, lush alpine meadows and dense forest is truly magical. It’s hardly surprising the Rockies are considered one of the most beautiful wilderness areas in the world. When you need to take a break from the wheel and stretch your legs, there’s hiking in Banff and Jasper National Parks plus kayaking on Lake Louise.
If you’d rather not drive, you could take the Rocky Mountaineer train. From the comfort of the dining carriage you can spot moose, black bears and eagles as you carve your way through the mountain’s otherwise inaccessible terrains.
Canada is rich in varied, cosmopolitan cities. Vancouver is where chic city life meets the great outdoors. It’s one of the only places we can think of where it’s possible to try your hand at skiing one day and take to the water in a sailboat the next.
Set between snow-capped mountains and the sea, you can take a canopy walk across Capilano Suspension Bridge, explore historic Gastown and indulge in Granville Island’s vibrant food scene. We also recommend getting a taste of the unique fusion of French and British cultures (and cuisines) in the cities of Quebec and Montreal.
No trip to Canada, however, is complete without a visit to Niagara Falls. There are few opportunities in life to get so close to the raw power of nature. Whether you cruise the waters at the foot of the Falls, soar above them in a helicopter, or simply stand as close to the thundering waters as you dare, it’s an experience we’re certain will stay with you forever.
During winter, when the snow falls fast, thick and deep, the resort town of Whistler is hard to beat. It’s incredibly family friendly and with its pedestrianised village, caters equally well for first-timers, seasoned skiers, snowboarders and snowmobilers.
When to go
Given its size, Canada’s climate varies greatly. Broadly speaking, it’s cold in winter and hot in summer – with coastal areas being less extreme in each case.