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8 reasons to visit Canada this year

"The cities are vibrant, famously friendly and chic, the wilderness is simply breathtaking. It’s time to discover this wonderful land for yourself

Enjoy the urban hip of Toronto

The world’s best cities

No less than four Canadian cities appear in the world’s top 25 in the annual Mercer Quality of Living index – far ahead of London, New York or Paris. From the urban hip of Toronto to the old-world charm of Montreal, from the political and historical hub of Ottawa to the wide open spaces on Vancouver’s doorstep, these are four distinctly different but liveable cities, rich in diversity and modern in outlook. Whether you love art or nightlife, cutting-edge cuisine or comfort food, architecture or artisanal markets, Canada’s cities are vibrant, smartly planned spaces designed to be accessible and experienced fully.

Awesome landscapes

The thundering majesty of Niagara Falls

Everything in Canada is on a monumental scale: the trees are taller, the lakes deeper, the colours more intense. Whether it’s the romance of standing in front of the thundering Niagara Falls, the excitement of driving high in the Rockies from Banff to Jasper along the Icefields Parkway, the thrill of exploring deep inside the majestic waterways of Algonquin Provincial Park or the opportunity to visit Haida Gwaii and experience First Nations culture at first hand, there are unforgettable vistas from coast to coast.

Diverse wildlife

Canada is the perfect place to spot grizzlies

Canada is teeming with wildlife, from the grizzlies, sea lions and eagles of the Great Bear Rainforest, to the moose and wolves of Algonquin Provincial Park, up to the polar bears of Hudson Bay. Watch the mighty salmon run and see the cycle of life play out in front of your eyes, or head out to sea – eastwards or westwards – to be awed by the proximity of whales, dolphins and other marine life. Make your trip by kayak or canoe to experience the allure of these magnificent creatures up close and personal.

A country for all seasons

The Rideau Canal is the longest skating rink in the world

At whatever time of year you visit, Canada lays on a different kind of adventure. Try Vancouver in the spring, as the blossoms burst forth on the city’s 40,000 cherry trees and the hiking trails open into the still-snow-capped mountains. Summer sun calls for watersports: canoe a glacier lake, kayak the Gulf Islands or swim in the ocean. In the autumn, the mixed forests of the eastern provinces put on an unforgettable display in reds, oranges and yellows. As for winter, in Canada there’s no business like snow business: ski or snowboard, tube or toboggan, ice fish or dogsled — or skate sedately along Ottawa’s historic Rideau Canal, the largest skating rink in the world.

Great rail journeys

Train is the ideal way to see Canada’s stunning scenery

Canada’s railroads offer epic journeys that hug the landscape from coast-to-coast and province-to-province. Cover the east, from Quebec to the Maritimes or Ontario, or follow the Gold Rush route through the Rockies, carving your way through otherwise inaccessible terrain. Have time on your hands? Travel from Vancouver on the west coast all the way to Halifax on the east, taking in the full sweep of this remarkable country in comfort and style – and with the prime viewing offered by the domed observation cars. The soundtrack may no longer be steam, but there’s no denying the romance of rail.

Great food

Contemporary Canadian dining features seasonal and sustainable ingredients

It’s not all poutine and maple syrup in Canada (although both are delicious). Local, seasonal and sustainable are the watchwords fuelling the contemporary dining scene, as chefs as far apart as St Johns and Vancouver make waves on the culinary stage. And while the bountiful produce and fresh seafood speak for themselves, the best chefs are constantly reaching for innovative ways to present it. Wild salmon, bison, elk, sablefish, pickerel, fresh berries, fiddleheads… the list goes on. Add in the excellent wine-growing regions of Ontario and British Columbia, and the healthy craft beer and spirits industry, and you won’t find it hard to eat and drink well."...

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