It is difficult to think of a country that is more varied or beautiful than Canada.
Canada’s eastern heartlands is a region rich in diverse cultures, landscapes and lifestyles. Dynamic Toronto is home to the bustling markets in Kensington and Chinatown, ritzy Yorkville and the CN Tower, with Niagara Falls not too distant. Montreal boasts one of the most exciting food scenes in North America, as well as being a mecca for lovers of the arts, with over 250 theatres and dance companies. Historic Quebec City maintains its grip on French Canadian identity, its Old Town a living museum to the 17th and 18th centuries, whilst Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, is home to the National Gallery, Art Gallery and Canadian War Museum. When in any of Canada’s cities, you are never far from extraordinary landscapes and outdoor activities. From Ottawa head for Gatineau Park or to the Georgian Bay Islands, Ontario’s prettiest spot, whilst in Quebec, island hop around the Mingan Archipelago, explore the Laurentians, or drive and hike the Gaspé Peninsula.
Calgary, in the Province of Alberta, is perhaps most known for its annual Stampede, and is also the best place to start a drive through the Rockies. Superlatives reign when it comes to describing the awesome scenery of this region of Canada, whose highlights include the Icefields Parkway, Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Moraine Lake and Mount Robson, the tallest peak in the Rockies. At the end of a journey west, the city of Vancouver awaits, deserving of its billing as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. A walk around Canada Place, Granville Island, Grouse Mountain, Stanley Park and the Museum of Anthropology should top your sightseeing list then from Vancouver, take a 2½-hour ferry trip to Vancouver Island and visit the delightful picture-postcard city of Victoria. The capital of British Columbia’s architecture and gentle lifestyle is a reminder of the city’s British colonial past.
The vast Cariboo Chilcotin region stretches 375 miles from Alberta to the Pacific Ocean. To the east, the rolling Cariboo Mountains, where towns such as 70 Mile House, 100 Mile House and 150 Mile House follow the Gold Rush Trail, Williams Lake – BC’s stampede capital – blends history and frontier flair, and the museum in Quesnel is home to ‘Mandy’, the haunted doll. Chilcotin follows the Fraser River Valley and reveals a land of beautiful rivers, hoodoos, jagged mountains and deep lakes such as Anahim, Nimpo and Chilko. At its western coastal fringes lies magnificent Great Bear Rainforest, the largest of its kind in the world.
Ever since North America’s first ski lift was built here in 1931, the Laurentians have been Montreal's year-round holiday playground. About a 1½ hour drive from Quebec City – 4 hours from Montreal – the landscape ranges from rounded mountaintops to soft, rolling hills boasting more than 9,000 freshwater lakes and a host of Alpine-like small towns. In the winter, skiing, snowboarding, dogsledding, ice climbing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling can all be found at Mont Tremblant, whilst in the summer months, the regions offers activities such as rafting, kayaking, hiking, camping, and golf.
Just a 10-minute ferry ride and a world away from the hubbub of Toronto’s city life is the boho oasis of Ward’s and Algonquin Islands, lying on the Toronto Islands archipelago cut off from the mainland during a violent storm in 1858. The communities of 262 quirky cottages on tidy, tree-lined lanes date back to the days of the confederation in 1867, when leading Toronto families summered here. There were no cars then and still none allowed today and even now, only owners’ children and spouses can inherit the family properties.