I’ve got a confession to make – I know nothing about Canada… except maple syrup is pretty tasty on pancakes.
A visit to Canada has been something I’ve always wanted to do, but time or money has always stopped me as well as a little bit of “it’ll be there next time” attitude. This year I’m making the time and doing a month-long trip through five of Canada’s provinces with the help of Tourism Canada and many of the regional tourism boards which I’ll introduce to you along the way.
After a little research Here are 23 Canadian Experiences I can’t wait to take part in as I cross the country.
Researching this trip I found out that Vancouver Island is the biggest Island in the Pacific East of New Zealand; not only that but it has plenty to offer visitors. With lively beach resorts in Tofino, a bustling food culture, mountain ranges and plenty of adventure sports I’m excited to spend a few days in Victoria and surrounds.
Eat world-class gelato in Vancouver at Bella Gelateria
I’ll be in Vancouver for around 4-days and one thing I will be doing is trying James Coleridge’s multi-award winning gelato. Using traditional gelato making techniques James won two awards at the Firenze Gelato Festival in 2012 for his salt-crusted maple syrup gelato – and that’s exactly what I’ll be tasting!
Capilano Suspension Bridge
If you’ve seen photos of a suspension bridge amongst tree-lined forests chances are you’ve seen the Capilano Suspension Bridge as it stretches 450 feet across the Capilano river. Along with a cliff walk and a tree top adventure, I’m looking forward to spending a day so close to the city but with the atmosphere of being truly out amongst nature.
Grouse Mountain Zipline
I’ve only had a couple of experiences zip lining and none were particularly lengthy so I’m nervously excited about taking on the five-line circuit on Grose Mountain. The zip lines can be five lines or three lines and offer views across Grouse and Dam Mountains – exciting!!!
Learn to Stand-Up Paddleboard
SUP – or Stand Up Paddling boarding – is a Hawaiian sport which is fast becoming the new workout craze. I’m hoping to try this but I’m not sure where to try – Jericho Beach (for people watching), Deep Cove (for a taste of the Wilderness), Granville Island (urban experience), or the English Bay Bathhouse (nearest location to the city). Which should I do?
Eat from Vancouver’s Street Food Cart Scene
Vancouver has a thriving Street Food Cart scene and I really want to taste as many flavours as I can! A great tool I’ll be using to hunt down food cards is the free Vancouver Food Cart App. What’s on my list so far? Japadog and Cartel Taco!/p>
Visit Granville Island
House-made beers, vibrant markets, boutique shops and galleries – need I say more about why I’m excited to check out Granville Island?!
White Water Rafting through Athabasca
I tried white-water rafting in Colorado and I can’t wait to try it again on the Athabasca River in Alberta. Considered a heritage river because of its history related to the fur trade exploration as well as one of the most beautiful I can’t wait to get my adrenaline hit amongst the natural beauty.
When I heard ‘tramway’ I assumed it’d be an actual tram (a la San Francisco-style) heading through the alpine tundras of Jasper National Park. What I quickly found out is that it’s more a gondola-style (like the enclosed capsules on the London Eye) ride on Canada’s longest and highest guided aerial tramway. Lakes and mountain views in Canada’s Rockies – I can’t wait!
Take a motorcycle through the Canadian Rockies
I am very apprehensive about motorcycles since I managed to burn myself on one when I was younger (people, exhaust pipes are hot!) When I read about the chance to take a ride through the Canadian Rockies in a chauffeured motorcycle sidecar I was excited – but my second thought was to worry. I can’t wait to share this story with you and hopefully get over my fear.
See wild bison and learn how they shaped the prairie history
As a city slicker, the most exotic thing I’ve seen is a cow (and a few kangaroos and koalas) so seeing wild bison up close is going to be exciting!
One of Canada’s Signature Experiences, I’ll be learning about the Aboriginals, pioneers, and animals that shaped Manitoba’s Prairie which will hopefully also give me the opportunity to learn a little more about Canadian history.
Hermetic Code Tours of the Manitoba Legislative Building
Growing up I wanted to be a spy, seriously! My best friend and I made up our own secret codes but I never considered that architecture can hold codes too. Another of Canada’s Signature Experiences, I’ll be learning about how a hermetic code has been built into the Manitoba Legislative Building and what it says.
Visit Graffiti Alley (Rush Lane)
I’ve shared posts about graffiti art from around the world – including Melbourne and Paris – so to hear that Toronto has a thriving street art scene I immediately put it on my list of things to see. Rush Lane, nicknamed Graffiti Alley, in Downtown Toronto has ever inch of its walls covered in art and probably the best-known part of the city to see the street art scene.
Take a trip to the Toronto Islands
When someone told me that Toronto had islands I thought they were joking with me, but turns out there is in fact a small chain of islands in Lake Ontario. Famed as the largest car-free community in North America, it’s city beach and summer adventure activities, it sounds like the perfect place to take a day-trip visit when in Toronto.
Take to the SkyWalk at CN Tower
One of Toronto’s top attractions, the CN Tower is an icon of the Toronto skyline so what better way to see the city than whilst doing its EdgeWalk. The world’s highest full-circle, hands-free walk, if that doesn’t get my blood pumping during my trip, I don’t know what will!
Stay in a castle at Fairmont Château Laurier
A landmark of downtown Ottawa, the Fairmont Chateau Laurier is a stunning luxury hotel. I’m excited to see what it offers for visitors making the trip to Ottawa.. and the chance to stay in a castle!
Sleep in a Jail at HI Ottawa Jail Hostel
It couldn’t be more different from the stay in the Fairmont Chateau Laurier and a heck of a lot more scary, but I’ll be spending a night in Ottawa’s most unusual accommodation – in a jail cell.
Learn about the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Along with maple syrup and beautiful landscapes, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are one of the countries most famous icons. At Ottawa’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Musical Ride Centre you get the chance to learn about the Mounties, the horses and their role in today’s society. I won’t lie – I’m most excited to be getting up close to the beautiful horses!
See Niagara Falls from the Canadian side
It’s somewhat corny and on many millions of travellers visit each year but Niagara Falls has captivated many, and I would love to see them (and it would be my first waterfall!) I’ve been told by friends who’ve visited both sides of the falls – they stretch across the US/Canada border – that the Canadian side is much more beautiful than the US-side, so I hope to see both and weigh in on the debate.
One of the hills in Montreal, the site is home to a beautiful view across the city as well as some nice walking paths. I’m most hoping to see a Tam Tam Jam – a Sunday tradition where Montrealers and visitors play the hand drums on the east slope of the mountain.
Try Poutine, Maple Syrup, and Smoked Meat Sandwiches
I’ve had maple syrup before but when in Canada you must have more!. There are two new foods on my radar which I’ve been told I have to try – Canada’s famed poutine and Montreal’s smoked meat sandwiches.
See the Underground City
While I’ll be visiting in summer the Underground City’s purpose is best seen in winter. Winters in Montreal means snow… and a lot of it at that! Under the streets of Montreal lies a 12km2 complex housing shopping malls, hotels, restaurants, cinemas, museums, universities and more!
Jet Boat on the River St Lawrence
The River St Lawrence has a series of rapids, perfect for white water rafters or people who want their adrenaline kick another way – jet boating! I’ve heard that the one-hour ride lets you see a mixture of cityscape and wilderness so I can’t wait to try this… and get soaked in the process!
I’m barely scratching the surface on this trip to Canada and I’m sure there will be plenty of other adventures I’ll encounter along the way. To follow along with the trip be sure to check out the Travel Tracker page, Facebook or through the #ExploreCanada hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.
What would you add to this list?
Do you have any tips for travelling in Canada?
I’ll be heading over to Canada with help from the
Canadian Tourism Commission, TBEX, VIA Rail and regional partners.
All thoughts and opinions are, as always, my own.