Are you trying to choose a region to visit in Canada? It’s like perusing a restaurant menu where everything looks mouthwatering. People are lured by visions of sky-high mountains and turquoise lakes, but charismatic cities and culture make Canada more than just a pretty face.
Each region is steeped in character and rich with one-of-a-kind experiences. Be sure to bring your appetite, because Canada will sate your craving for adventure.
British Columbia’s landscapes will make your soul sing with a desire to be outdoors. Canada’s westernmost province boasts over 1000 protected parks, woven through with stunning trails and waterways.
The Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island are natural havens where pristine beaches and coastal rainforests invite you to choose your wilderness adventure.
But British Columbia is not just for nature lovers. Mountain towns, cities on the edge of nature, and cultural gems make the province a true crowd-pleaser, and a stellar road trip destination, complete with an excellent chance of spotting wildlife.
Keep an eye out for a Spirit Bear – an incredibly rare black bear with a recessive gene, making it white. You may also be lucky enough to spot orcas cavorting in the Strait of Georgia or catch sight of bald eagles, seals, otters and sea lions who make their home on the west coast.
In summer, the valleys overflow with produce, and any wayside stall can present you with juicy peaches, plump cherries, and velvety apricots. In winter, top-notch ski resorts attract skiers and boarders from around the world, but the vivacious ski towns mean you can have just as much fun indoors.
Inviting in all seasons, British Columbia is ideal for anyone who wants to sample an array of iconic Canadian culture and nature.
Vancouver needs no introduction, but she’s so much better in person.
There’s an epic foodie scene bursting with fresh seafood, Asian-fusion delights, and craft beer and spirits. There are plenty of fine dining options, but you might also enjoy a life-changing meal from a streetside food truck.
Granville Island is a must-visit hub of culture just steps from the heart of downtown, renowned for its boutique galleries, artisan workshops, and Public Market.
Head to Robson Street for a spot of mainstream shopping, or visit Gastown for a stroll through the oldest neighbourhood in the city, where cobblestones and Victorian architecture complete the picture.
On the North Shore, you’ll find Grouse Mountain, home to a wildlife refuge and stunning views of Vancouver in all seasons. The nearby Capilano Suspension Bridge is a delightful thrill; dare yourself to cross the 70-metre drop to the roaring Capilano River.
Vancouver is a metropolitan delight with a postcard backdrop. It’s ideal for anyone craving a city break at a manageable scale.
Whistler Blackcomb is the largest ski resort in Canada, and the rumours are true – this is a game-changing winter escape. But Whistler is also a flourishing community and an exquisite summer destination.
Golfing, hiking, mountain biking and ziplining are just a few activities on offer; there’s also a beguiling foodie scene and fantastic nightlife. Don’t miss a visit to purebread bakery, and be sure to arrive hungry.
The record-breaking PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola connects Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains across a landscape of soaring peaks and majestic forests. This bucket-list experience will snatch your breath in any season.
Anyone with an appreciation for the great outdoors who also likes to indulge in creature comforts will love a Whistler escape.
Just hours north of Vancouver you can explore a landscape that offers everything from the world’s smallest desert to enticing hot springs and emerald lakes.
Animal lovers will be thrilled by a visit to the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, where moose, bison, and caribou are just the start of the list of critters that are cared for in their natural habitats.
Need a break from outdoor escapades? Dive into Yukon’s gold rush history at an array of excellent museums and historical sites. The town of Dawson City was the centre of the Klondike Goldrush and is a must see for visitors.
Visit during the colder months to witness the magic of the Northern Lights, or enjoy some of the best stargazing in the country. A quirky gem is the Sign Post Forest at Watson Lake, a growing collection of signs brought by visitors from all over the world.
If you want to feel truly close to nature, while immersing yourself in incredible history, Yukon is for you.
Banff and Lake Louise
When you think of Canada, the images that come to mind were probably taken in Banff National Park. Pictures can’t do the turquoise waters of Lake Louise and Moraine Lake justice, and the bulk of the mountains are indescribable. It’s a landscape that makes you feel deliciously humble.
In summer, there are hiking, biking and paddling opportunities for days, which all come with the high probability of a wildlife sighting. In winter, the famous slopes of Sunshine Village, Lake Louise Ski Resort, and Mt Norquay live up to the hype, delivering fluffy powder snow and epic views.
The town of Banff and hamlet of Lake Louise are thriving mountain communities, with alluring shopping and dining options to complement your adventures. Don’t miss a visit to Whitebark Cafe for the best coffee in Banff, or high tea with gobsmacking views at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
Banff and Lake Louise are ideal for anyone looking for an accessible way to enjoy the majesty of the mountains. The views from Banff Avenue may be enough to fill your Instagram feed for days.
Jasper National Park is home to another iconic Canadian image. Spirit Island is a tiny copse of evergreens, set in glistening blue waters against a backdrop of mountain splendour. Views like this greet you at every turn on a visit to the Canadian Rockies’ largest national park.
Get an elevated overview on the Jasper SkyTram, cruise the waters of Maligne Lake, or go rafting on the Athabasca River. But two feet and a heartbeat are your best props for exploring Jasper; there’s a vast network of hiking trails, with a range to suit all ability levels.
Downtown you’ll find a great selection of restaurants, including the excellent Jasper Brewing Co., which dishes up modern pub fare and locally brewed beer.
Jasper is a true mountain escape. It’s a busy place in summer, but you’ll still feel slightly off the beaten track in this small but sparkling community.
Canada’s central province is not as flashy as some of her neighbours, but adventures are thick on the ground.
Churchill, Manitoba is considered the polar bear capital of the world. These white beauties should be viewed from a distance, but you can jump in a zodiac to get a little closer to the friendly beluga whales. Churchill is also one of the planet’s highest-rated spots to view the Northern Lights, with auroral activity 300 nights of the year.
Manitoba’s gorgeous lake country, boreal forests and rolling tundra invite you to paddle and hike to your heart’s content, and urban delights also beckon.
The picturesque capital of Winnepeg is home to the wonderful Canadian Museum for Human Rights, as well as the culinary delight of the historic Forks Market. It also hosts over 100 unique festivals per year, so there’s always a reason to celebrate with the locals.
Manitoba can show you a Canadian way of life that is less affected by tourism; although you’ll have some company when it comes to polar bear and beluga whale adventures.
What else can you uncover in Canada?
Canada offers adventures that are as diverse as the vast landscapes it comprises. For every experience you’ve read about, dozens more are waiting to entice you with inimitable moments of wonder.
Did you know you can cruise through Arctic islands in northwest Canada? Sail by icebergs, visit Inuit communities that are miraculous in their very existence, and spot walruses, narwhals, and polar bears.
Foodies will wallow in the world-renowned dining scene in Montreal: a French-flavoured city dedicated to art, music, and living life to its fullest. Montrealers love to throw a festival, and there’s always a party happening among the city’s architecturally diverse streets - especially during hockey season.
If you’re dreaming of skiing or snowboarding Canada’s famous powder snow, add a couple of lesser-known gems to your list. Nestled in interior BC, Sun Peaks is the second-largest ski resort in Canada, boasting a picturesque European village and a range of terrain that will tickle sliders of all levels.
Another BC beauty is Panorama Mountain Resort. Enviable terrain and a true ski-in, ski-out village compliment the namesake views, ensuring a superb winter escape that locals are keen to keep a secret. You don’t have to breach the backcountry to try heli-skiing - they’ll pick you up in the village.
Is culture, nightlife, and entertainment on your radar? If so, Toronto ticks all the boxes. This cosmopolitan metropolis sits proudly along Lake Ontario and is home to the Hockey Hall of Fame. With vast green spaces, historic buildings and an abundance of museums, there will always be more to explore.
And who could forget Niagara Falls? Only 90 minutes from Toronto, this waterfall will overwhelm you with its sheer magnitude, whether you board the Niagara City Cruise for a close encounter or try to comprehend its power from the boardwalk.
Canada is bursting with marvels; all you need to do is choose the ones that furnish your idea of a bucket-list adventure. Contact your Travel Associates advisor today to start designing your exploration of this truly spectacular country.