Things to see and to do in Canada

Things to see and to do in Canada
Updated 2024-03-21 11:52

If you've recently relocated to Canada, you might be curious about how to spend your free time. Here's a rundown of the different activities you can enjoy during your time here.

Having a good time with family and friends in Canada is easy. Just figure out what you want to do for a day or even a weekend. If you're seeking a change from the usual routine of dining out, catching movies, and visiting bistros, the country offers a multitude of attractions. From zoos and amusement parks to national and provincial parks, waterfalls, rivers, and mountain ranges, there's no shortage of options.

Except for the West Coast, Canada experiences lengthy winters. However, this doesn't stop Canadians from venturing outdoors. Ski resorts are easily accessible, even beyond the Rockies. You can also try activities like snowshoeing or snowmobiling. Remember to dress warmly, especially at the extremities, and adhere to safety guidelines on hiking trails. Canadians are generally active, with numerous gyms, swimming pools, and sports complexes available.

Nature walks in Canada

Currently, there are around forty national parks throughout the country, along with provincial parks, all aimed at preserving ecosystems. These parks offer a chance for visitors to explore the diverse wonders of nature. You'll come across visitor centers with knowledgeable naturalists to assist you on your hikes, along with camping facilities and picnic areas. Some of these parks are conveniently located near urban areas.

In urban areas, there are recreational parks perfect for a family day out, with opportunities for picnics and sports activities. During winter, you can lace up your ice skates for a workout right in the heart of downtown! Some cities also offer snowmobile and snowshoe trails, although not all of them are free. Thanks to Canada's numerous waterways, many cities provide access to beaches, be it along the ocean, a lake, or a river.

Different types of parks in Canada

National parks are identified on road signs with a white beaver on a brown background, or in Quebec, with the Sépaq logo. The majority of them aren't open throughout the entire year, as it depends on weather conditions. It's advisable to check in advance. Several provincial parks close from mid-October to mid-May, with some offering limited activities during this period. Keep in mind that there might be an admission fee for certain parks.

If you're lucky and not too noisy, you might encounter bears or, more commonly, deer and moose. We recommend respecting nature during your visit: don't smoke, avoid cutting anything, pick up your litter, and resist the temptation to feed the animals.

If you're into excitement and adrenaline, theme parks are the way to go. In Montreal, you can check out La Ronde, drawing massive crowds daily with its thrilling rides. Roller coaster enthusiasts will be thrilled by the Goliath ride, reaching speeds of over 100 km/h. Additionally, there are traditional rides for the little ones, speedy trains, and even a pirate ship.

Here are just a few of the parks you can visit: Atlantic Splash Adventure in Nova Scotia, Calaway Park in Alberta, Playland at the PNE in Vancouver, and Canada's Wonderland in Ontario.

Zoos and museums in Canada

Toronto is home to one of the world's largest zoos, featuring around 5,000 animal species in a natural setting inspired by various continents. The Calgary zoo showcases numerous species alongside a botanical garden and a historical park featuring life-size dinosaur reproductions. Zoos can also be found in New Brunswick, Quebec, and Manitoba. Montreal offers the Biodome, housing diverse animal species like penguins and otters. Additionally, Canada's major cities are rich in museums, ensuring that history and art enthusiasts won't be disappointed.

Crossings in Canada

If you're ready for a multi-day hike, consider crossing the Rockies on the Great Divide Trail. Embark on a journey spanning over 1,000 km and encounter a range of breathtaking landscapes. Explore the natural wonders on foot, observe wildlife, and even try your hand at rafting and park sightseeing. The route offers campsites and youth hostels for accommodation. The Rockies are ideally visited in June or September.

If you love road trips, you might be considering a cross-Canada journey from east to west. Plan for at least two weeks to travel from Montreal to Vancouver. If you have the luxury of time, you can make stops in Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, and Calgary, and even venture into the United States.

In classified ad websites and expat Facebook groups, you'll frequently encounter listings for converted vans for sale. Opting for this solution, if it fits your budget, allows you to save on hotel expenses during your journey. If you're traveling solo, you can also post a classified ad to find a companion for your trip.

Northern Lights in Canada

Canada is a top destination for witnessing the Northern Lights, and they are visible throughout the country, even near major cities. However, certain times and locations offer more favorable conditions for this phenomenon. The further north you venture in Canada, the more vivid the auroras become. The Northwest Territories, Yukon, Northern Quebec, and Nunavut stand out as some of the best places to experience this breathtaking natural spectacle. To determine where and when to catch the aurora borealis, you can utilize the online tool provided by the University of Alaska.

Useful links:

Visiting Toronto

Visit Montreal

Tourism Ottawa

Tourism Saskatchewan

Tourism Alberta

Tourism New Brunswick

Tourism Yukon

Tourism Newfoundland and Labrador

Tourism Canada

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