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GETTING TO KNOW CANADA



Blessed with ancient forests, rugged mountains, and bustling cities, Canada is astonishingly vast, stretching west from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and north to the Arctic Ocean. Each region has a history and essence distinctly its own, resulting in a rich choice of sights and experiences to explore.

VANCOUVER



Canada’s cosmopolitan western seaport enjoys a stunning location, tucked between an island-studded strait and rugged coastal mountains. The shimmering glass skyscrapers of its buzzing downtown sit alongside trendy restaurants, art galleries, and boutiques in the historic Gastown district. Vancouver is also home to Canada’s largest Chinatown, where mouthwatering eateries can be found on every corner. Beyond the center, abundant parks and gardens call out to be explored, and outstanding First Nations art can be viewed at the University of British Columbia.

VANCOUVER ISLAND



This mountainous island has a wild beauty and a relaxed pace of life. The towns of its southeastern corner offer a lively food and arts scene, while Victoria, the pretty provincial capital, has a charming harbor and fine museums packed with the works of First Nations artists. To the west of the island lies the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, which features miles of lush coastal rainforest and rugged surfing beaches. It is a renowned whale-watching spot, with these popular visitors often venturing so close to the shore that they can be glimpsed from land.

BRITISH COLUMBIA INTERIOR



Thundering waterfalls, majestic rivers, and mineral hot springs are among the beautiful landscapes that lie between the western Coast Mountains and the Rockies to the east. Thanks to British Columbia’s mild climate, orchards and vineyards flourish here in the southern Okanagan Valley. In sharp contrast, the dramatic wilderness of the northern parks includes ice fields, tundra, and volcanic terrain, while the Haida Gwaii islands preserve ancient rainforest.

CANADIAN ROCKIES



Jagged snowy peaks, luminous glaciers, and shimmering turquoise lakes are strung across Canada’s stretch of the Rocky Mountains. Both stunning natural features and a wealth of wildlife  from grizzly bears to bison – are protected in a series of national and provincial parks, which are populated by splendid scenic drives and hiking trails. Outside the parks, the region offers historic towns such as Fort Steele, beauty spots like Kananaskis Country, and the soothing waters of Radium Hot Springs.

THE PRAIRIES



Golden wheat fields and grasslands that reach to the horizon characterize the prairies of central Canada. But this vast area is home to further varied landscapes, from aspen parkland in the west, through the sandy beaches of Lake Winnipeg in the east, to the frozen tundra of northern Manitoba. Bookending the region are the cities of Calgary (best known for its westernthemed events) and cosmopolitan Winnipeg. Those keen to glimpse polar bears or the Northern Lights should head northward, where remote Churchill on Hudson Bay remains a popular place to experience both.

TORONTO



The iconic CN Tower, which dominates the skyline for miles around, is a suitable focal point of Canada’s largest city. Close up, Toronto’s dynamic buzz radiates from the lakefront parks of the Harbourfront, through the shiny skyscrapers of downtown, to the tempting sights and smells of Chinatown and other vibrant ethnic neighborhoods. The city’s cultural offerings are immense; spend your time exploring Toronto’s excellent museums and art galleries, its bustling markets, and its lively historic districts teeming with hip restaurants, bars and boutiques.

ONTARIO



Studded with sparkling lakes and waterways, this enormous province stretches from the Great Lakes to Hudson Bay. Northern Ontario is a land of turbulent rivers, dense forests, and Arctic tundra, accessible only by air and a handful of scenic road and rail routes. The fertile southern and eastern regions have sleepy farming towns, island­dotted bays, and sprawling wilderness areas around Lake Superior and in Algonquin Provincial Park. They are also home to the nation’s capital, Ottawa; Toronto, its largest city; and its biggest visitor attraction, Niagara Falls.

MONTREAL



Montreal is a mosaic of traditionally French and English neighborhoods, sprinkled with multi-cultural communities. This lively mix makes it one of Canada’s most interesting cities. Those fresh to Montreal should head for Plateau Mont-Royal, the best place to catch the unique vibe along with some amazing city views. By the riverfront, the historic buildings and narrow, cobblestone streets of Vieux-Montréal are home to stylish restaurants, bistros and boutiques. The compact city center also offers exquisite churches and outstanding art museums.

QUEBEC CITY



The essence of French Canada can be found in this delightful city that sits on the edge of the Saint Lawrence River, with its European architecture and Parisian ambiance. This is a city for wandering: explore the winding cobbled streets, the splendid cathedrals and civic buildings inside the old city walls, the lively market at the Vieux Port, and the Citadelle with its breezy waterside views. Let the relaxed pace continue into the evenings, when you can soak up the atmosphere with leisurely meals in the charming cafés and elegant squares of the Basse-Ville.

QUEBEC PROVINCE



Each fall, fiery red and gold maple forests transform this French-speaking region into one of the most beautiful places in the country. At its heart is the mighty Saint Lawrence River, bordered in the north by the scenic Charlevoix coast and the Laurentian Mountains, which are dotted with charming French villages and churches. To the south, the rocky cliffs and mountains of the Gaspé Peninsula offer superb hiking trails, while caribou herds and polar bears roam the tundra of the remote Nunavik territory in the far north.

THE MARITIMES



With rocky coastlines, picturesque fishing villages, and long sandy beaches, the beauty and lure of the sea is always close at hand in the Maritimes, though each province maintains a distinctive flavor. New Brunswick is home to French-speaking Acadian villages, quiet coves and the tidecarved Bay of Fundy, while Prince Edward Island, with its emerald farmland and golf courses, is an ideal destination for cycling and hiking. In Nova Scotia, the sparkling bays and weathered fishing towns embody the romance of the sea.

NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR



 In Newfoundland, the mountains of Gros Morne National Park rise high above sparkling blue fjords. Labrador’s landscape is similarly imposing, with coastal vistas that are often set against a backdrop of glittering icebergs. This remotely beautiful Atlantic region is a popular vacation spot due to its friendly, historic towns, wide-open spaces and grand spectacles of nature. It’s also a good place for whale-watching excursions or trips to see Labrador’s caribou herd.

YUKON



The harsh romance of the gold rush days still lingers over this starkly beautiful land, which is characterized by daunting mountains, frozen lakes, and glacial valleys. Beyond the old mining towns of Whitehorse and Dawson City, an adventurer’s paradise awaits. Head into this remote region to hike beneath the soaring peaks in Kluane National Park and Reserve, or canoe the icy waters of the Stewart River. In summer, the midnight sun never sets, while the Aurora Borealis illuminates dark winters with ribbons of colored light.

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES AND NUNAVUT



Still one of the most remote destinations on earth, the vast, untouched terrain of the Northwest Territories will reward those who venture here with superlative hiking. Much of the landscape is harsh, featuring barren tundra, frozen forests, and stark mountains. Yet an abundance of wildlife flourishes here, from great herds of bison to polar bears. Nunavut is also home to the indigenous Inuit, who still practice their traditional lifestyle.

GETTING TO KNOW CANADA GETTING TO KNOW CANADA Reviewed by MELANIE INFINITY on December 25, 2019 Rating: 5

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