If you’ve never been to Canada, well, you should! There’s a good reason I spent two years of my life living, working and travelling the world’s second largest country (after Russia) and why I fell in love. I learnt so much living there; here’s the 5 things I didn’t know before visiting:
- Nature is everything
OK, so I knew Canada was naturally gifted, like it’s North American neighbour, but I had no idea it was as naturally stunning as it is. There’s no shortage of turquoise lakes to kayak across, Rocky Mountains to climb (see what I did there?!), or temperate rainforest to discover – all while spying on bears, moose, elk and beavers. Head to the shores and you might find yourself part of an orca pod or swimming with seals, and if you or look to the skies you’ll find eagles, owls and woodpeckers. Nature lovers rejoice!
- Bring your fitness
Since Canada has all that natural beauty to offer, it only seems right that everyone take advantage of it and use it to keep fit – and there’s plenty of ways to do that! Whether that be through snowboarding and skiing its hills in the winter, or hiking them in the summer, or maybe running Vancouver’s sea-front trails, and kayaking through Toronto’s islands, there’s definitely no excuse not to get active and it’s probably one of the first things I noticed about Canadians.
- Eat your heart out, drink your head away
Canada’s 10 provinces and 3 territories are so multi-cultural that you’ll never struggle to find a different cuisine to eat at any time of the day, and every day of the week. Food plays a big part in the country’s major cities – Chinatown in Vancouver is the largest Chinatown in Canada, and Quebec’s dishes are a vibrant mix of French/English/First Nation food. Of course, Canada’s national dish of poutine (fries with cheese curds and gravy) and well-known maple movement is everywhere, too. Drink wise, the West coast is drowning in craft beer – a result of the Pacific Northwest brewery boom. Vancouver has some of the best craft beers, but there’s plenty more to find dotted along the coast and further afield on the East coast.
- Diversity for days
There’s so much history and culture to learn about while in Canada and it’s everywhere you go. First, there’s the country’s First Nations, whose beliefs, art, literature and music are still thriving and celebrated today, as they should be! Then there’s the French Canadians on the East side who are the result of 17th Century colonization, while modern-day cosmopolitan cities like Vancouver and Toronto are brimming with cultural activities.
- Backcountry business
With most of Canada’s people living within 200km of the American border, there’s far more to see when you venture in to the ‘backcountry’. Canada’s 3 territories – Yukon, Northern Territories and Nunavut – are home to polar bears, Inuits, ice-filled plateaus and sub-arctic temperatures. On the West coast, you can also venture to northern British Columbia to find Canada’s only true desert!