150 Reasons to visit Canada this year (Part 1)

With Canada turning 150 years old on July 1st, here are 150 reasons why you should visit this year!  With one of the most varied landscapes, climates and people, there are a million different reasons to visit Canada this year (and every year)!


1. Visit the world’s second largest country

Canada is the world’s second largest country, with only Russia being bigger.  Keep that in mind when planning your trip, as many people I’ve met don’t quite realize just how big Canada is and how far things really are from each other.



2. Experience the majesty of Niagara Falls

Situated between Canada and the USA, Niagara Falls is a must-see for any visitor to Canada.  With the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world, it is a spectacular sight.  There are many different ways to enjoy the falls: take a journey behind the falls; take a cruise and get up close and personal; take a helicopter ride and see the sights from above; or take the antique cable car and see the Niagara Whirlpool.  Get an adventure pass and see it from as many different angles as possible!



3. Drive across the Confederation Bridge

The Confederation Bridge, linking New Brunswick with Prince Edward Island is the longest bridge in the world crossing ice-covered water.  Enjoy the beautiful views as you drive across to PEI.



4. Hang out with polar bears in Churchill

The best place to see polar bears in the wild is in Churchill, Manitoba, the polar bear capital of the world.  Take a tour in a tundra vehicle or stay at a wilderness lodge.  There are several tour companies to choose from, check out the list here. The best times to visit are in October and November, though bears can also be seen in summer and winter.


Polar bear at Winnipeg Zoo


5. Walk on the edge at the CN Tower in Toronto

If you’re in Toronto, head over to the CN Tower, the third tallest tower in the world.  Not only will you get beautiful views of the city but if you’re feeling adventurous, you can take a walk on the wild side with the EdgeWalk, where you can walk on the ledge surrounding the main pod, a mere 356m/1168ft above the ground!



6. Try a poutine!

You can’t visit Canada without trying a poutine!  Even better if you can do it in Quebec, where it originated. Consisting of french fries, cheese curds and gravy, it is delicious!



7. Hang out with dinosaurs in Drumheller, Alberta

Known as the dinosaur capital of the world, Drumheller is the place to be if you’re into dinosaurs.  Take a picture with the world’s largest dinosaur, buy some fossils at The Fossil Shop and learn all about these prehistoric animals at the Royal Tyrrell Museum.


World’s largest dinosaur


8. Check out Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables

L.M. Montgomery was born and raised in Prince Edward Island and it inspired many locations in her children’s book: Anne of Green Gables.  Visit Balsam Hollow, the inspiration for the Haunted Woods; Campbell Pond, the inspiration for the Lake of Shining Waters; Avonlea Village, a recreation of the town where Anne lived; Lucy Maud Montgomery’s birthplace; and so much more.



9. Experience the wonder of the Northern Lights

Seeing the Northern Lights (or Aurora Borealis) dance across the night sky is a truly magical experience.  Click here for a map of the best places to experience it across the country.


Aurora Borealis at Yellowknife, Canada by Joon Im as licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0


10. Check out the view at Peggy’s Cove

Home to one of the most well-known lighthouses in Nova Scotia, Peggy’s Cove is a must-see.  It is such a beautiful spot, whether you’re climbing over the rocks, checking out the gorgeous fishing village or checking out the variety of wildlife in the area.


Lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove


11. See where the magic happens with a visit to Parliament Hill

Located in Ottawa, the capital of Canada, Parliament Hill (or just The Hill) is the home of the federal government.  Take a free tour of the beautiful gothic revival building, head up to the top of the Peace Tower for a view of the city or come back in the evening to see the fantastic Sound and Light show, projected right onto the buildings.  If you happen to be in Ottawa for Canada Day (July 1st), Parliament Hill is THE place to be!


Parliament Hill lit up during the Sound and Light show


12. Experience the beauty of totem poles

Totem poles are monumental sculptures traditionally carved by Aboriginal Peoples in Alaska, British Colombia and the Pacific Northwest.  Totem poles can symbolize many things, from events, family lineage, storytelling or they can be a type of architectural feature such as house posts or welcome signs.  They are beautiful, unique handcrafted monuments and are definitely worth seeing in person.


Totem poles at Brockton Point, B.C.


13. Have fun at the West Edmonton Mall

Spend a day at the largest shopping mall in North America, located in Edmonton.  Not a big shopper?  There are plenty of other things to keep you busy! With an amusement park; a waterpark; an ice rink; an indoor lagoon with sea lions and an exact replica of Christopher Colombus’ ship: the Santa Maria; an aquarium; a miniature golf course; movie theatres; a hall of mirrors, and a recreation center with bowling, billiards and arcade games, there is something for everybody.



14. Enjoy Canada’s favourite sport

Hockey has long been Canada’s favourite sport, so why not take in a game (whether it be a professional NHL game or an amateur Hockey Canada game) while you’re here?  Even if you know nothing about hockey, it will still be a good time, as hockey fans are very enthusiastic and the game is fast-paced and exciting.


Winnipeg Jets playing at MTS Centre in Winnipeg


15. Try some ice wine

Have you ever heard of ice wine?  Not many people are aware of its existence, as it not that common.  A sweet, dessert-type wine, it requires the grapes to freeze while still on the vine and then to be picked in just a few hours, making it fairly expensive.  Not many countries can produce it and in fact Canada is the largest producer of ice wine in the world.  Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia are the best places to visit vineyards that produce ice wine.


Wine and cheese tasting at Domaine de Grand Pre in Nova Scotia


16. Get up close and personal with a prairie dog

Prairie dogs are the cutest!  Native to North America, you’ll find these squirrel-like rodents in grasslands areas.  They are very social, lively, curious animals that live in family groups in burrows.  You’ll often see them popping out of their holes, standing on their hind legs and running from one entrance to the other.  They are so entertaining!


Prairie dog at Winnipeg Zoo


17. Make a snow angel

If you don’t get snow where you come from, then you’re missing out on one of the most fun snow activities: Making snow angels!  Lie on your back in the snow, stretch your arms and legs straight out and sweep them back and forth.  The hard part is getting up afterwards without destroying what you just created!!!


Making snow angels at Fort Whyte Alive in Winnipeg


18. Hang out with snakes at Narcisse

If you have a fear of snakes, this is probably not the place for you, as every spring tens of thousands of garter snakes (small and harmless) gather in the dens to mate.  It’s a really cool and strange experience to see these mating “balls”, where one female snake can be surrounded by up to a hundred males.  Fall is another good time to visit as the snakes will be returning to their winter dens.


Holding a garter snake at Narcisse Snake Dens


19. Learn about Canada’s immigration history at Pier 21

Similar to New York’s Ellis Island, Pier 21 was the first stop for many immigrants before heading to their final destinations.   Check and see if any of your ancestors passed through and learn about the immigrants that made Canada their home.



20. Take a hike with a wolf

If you’re interested in learning more about wolves and spending some quality time with them, The Northern Lights Wolf Centre in Golden, B.C. gives you an opportunity to walk with their wolf pack.  All the wolves at the centre were born in captivity (such as in zoos) and purchased by the couple who own and run the centre.  Their aim is to promote conservation and to educate the public about these beautiful animals. The wolves live in a 1.25 acre enclosure and are taken on the hikes off-leash so they are free to run around, explore and play.  Read more about the experience here and here.



21. Visit towns with wonderful names

Saint-Louis-du-Ha!-Ha!, Quebec; Dildo, Newfoundland and Labrador; Vulcan, Alberta; Punkeydoodles Corners, Ontario; Sober Island, Nova Scotia; Swastika, Ontario; Spread Eagle Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador; Bacon Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador; Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Alberta; Eyebrow, Saskatchewan; SexSmith, Alberta; Climax, Saskatchewan; Forget, Saskatchewan; Come by Chance, Newfoundland and Labrador; Osoyoos, British Columbia; Nameless Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador; Bastard, Ontario; Finger, Manitoba; Flin Flon, Manitoba; Happy Adventure, Newfoundland and Labrador; Blow Me Down, Newfoundland and Labrador; Entrance, Alberta; Fertile, Saskatchewan; Pain Court, Ontario; Cow Head, Newfoundland and Labrador; Crotch Lake, Ontario; Cereal, Alberta; Love, Saskatchewan; Heart’s Desire, Newfoundland and Labrador; Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan; Keg River, Alberta; Dead Man’s Flats, Alberta; Seven Persons, Alberta; Clo-oose, British Columbia; Mushaboom, Nova Scotia; Spuzzum, British Columbia;  Crapaud, Prince Edward Island



22. Have a double-double at Tim Hortons

No trip to Canada is complete without a visit to Tim Hortons, Canada’s favourite coffee and donut shop for over 50 years.  To be truly Canadian, order some timbits (donut holes) and a double-double (coffee with 2 creams and 2 sugars).



23. Revel in the beauty of Haida Gwaii

An archipelago of around 150 islands off the coast of British Columbia, Haida Gwaii is known as “Canada’s Galapagos” because of its wildlife.  Visit the Gwaii Haanas National Park; participate in any number of outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, fishing; spend time among the giant trees; take pictures of wildlife such as bald eagles, bears, whales and sea lions; or visit the Haida Heritage Centre and learn about the Haida people;



24. Find peace at the International Peace Gardens (visit two countries at once)

Accessible by either Manitoba (Canada) or North Dakota (USA), the international peace gardens are a symbol of over 200 years of peace between the two countries. On top of the beautiful landscaping and allowing you to be in two countries at once, the gardens feature a peace chapel, a conservatory, an interpretive centre, the North American Game Warden Museum and twisted girders from the World Trade Center in New York City.  It is a place to admire not only the beauty of nature but to reflect on the importance of peace around the world.



25. Turn back time at the Mennonite Heritage Village

Telling the tales of German speaking Mennonites who immigrated from Russia to Canada, the Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach, Manitoba is a great way to travel back in time.  The village has a lot of restored buildings such as a barn, a church, a general store, a print shop, a one-room school, a blacksmith shop and Canada’s only fully functional windmill.  You can also eat traditional Mennonite food at the Livery Barn Restaurant.


Barn at the Mennonite Heritage Village


26. Try some Hickory Sticks

Hickory-smoked flavoured potato chips in the shape of sticks by Hostess!  They’re delicious, and a Canadian favourite.



27. Get a picture with the Stanley Cup

The Hockey Hall of Fame is a museum dedicated to the history of hockey as well as being a hall of fame.  There are exhibits on players, equipment, trophies, teams, NHL records, memorabilia, a to-scale replica of the Montreal Canadiens dressing room and of course, the Stanley Cup.  Visit the hall of fame, where inductees include Wayne Gretzky (The Great One), Bobby Orr, Mario Lemieux, Gordie Howe and many more.



28. Try your hand at ice fishing

While you’ve probably tried fishing at some point in your life, you probably haven’t yet experienced the fun of ice fishing. Many winter lodges and resorts across Canada offer ice-fishing and provide all the necessary tools, equipment and ice shacks.



29. Send a postcard from Toronto’s First Post Office

Built in 1833, this post office which is also known as Fourth York Post Office, is now a museum and a full-service post office.  Filled with memorabilia and vintage writing tools, learn about the history of  postal services in Canada. Mail your family and friends a unique souvenir by writing them a letter with a quill and ink pot and then having it sealed with wax.



30. Drive on the Transcanada Highway

The Transcanada is a highway system that links all ten provinces and is one of the longest national highway systems in the world.  You can literally drive from one end of Canada to the other, although it would take you approximately 86 hours (without stopping and with no traffic and including two ferry rides) to drive from Victoria, B.C. on the West Coast to St. John’s, NFL  on the East Coast.  It is also known as the Number 1, since it is Highway 1.



31. Walk on a glacier

The Athabasca glacier in Jasper National Park, Alberta is the most visited glacier in North America.  Several companies offer hikes or tours by bus onto the glacier and it is an experience to remember.



32. Rejoice in the beauty of a prairie sunset

I might be biased because I’m a prairie girl, but nothing beats a prairie sunset.  So many people call the prairies boring (which is so not true) with the main gripe being its flatness, but that flatness is also what gives the prairies the most amazing sunsets.  Sky as far as you can see, and a sunset that goes on forever.


Beautiful sunset in Manitoba


33. Explore sand dunes

Spruce Woods Provincial Park in Manitoba offers a diverse mix of environments to explore, from spruce forests, to mixed-grass prairie to a “desert”.  While the Carberry sandhills (or Spirit Sands as they are known to locals) are not a true desert, you can still find cacti, lizards and snakes there.  There are plenty of hiking trails and if you’re not up to it you can go by horseback or take a ride on a horse-drawn covered wagon.  And don’t forget to check out the Devil’s Punch Bowl!



34. Hug a giant tree


British Colombia is home to some of the biggest and oldest trees in Canada.  Go for a hike, admire the magnificence of the Douglas Firs and see how many people it takes to circle the trunk.  Cathedral Grove, in MacMillan Provincial Park is one of the most popular spots to visit these giants.



35. Stay in a Chateau

A designated National Historic Site of Canada, the Chateau Frontenac is an iconic symbol of Quebec City and a beautiful example of chateau-style hotels built by railway companies in Canada.  Built in 1893 at the top of the Cap Diamant (Cape Diamond), the hotel overlooks the St. Lawrence river and offers beautiful views of the city.  It is possible to enter the lobby as a visitor to admire the architecture and some historical items.  You can also get a guided tour.



36. Learn how money is made

The Royal Canadian Mint, where all Canadian coins are minted, has two locations, one in Ottawa and one in Winnipeg, with both locations open for tours.  The first Canadian Mint was opened in Ottawa in 1908 (and is a National Historic Site of Canada) and produces collector and commemorative coins, bullion and is where the master tooling is done.  The Winnipeg location produces all the Canadian coins in circulation, as well as circulation coins for other countries such as Norway, Thailand and Barbados, to name a few.


jc4555.JPG by Mark Goebel under license CC BY 2.0


37. Go thrill-seeking at Canada’s Wonderland

Located just outside of Toronto, Canada’s Wonderland is the country’s biggest theme park.  It’s open from May to September and has 16 roller coasters!  It also has a water park, events, shows and so much more!



38. Kiss a codfish

Known locally as a screech-in, kissing the cod is an optional tradition for non-Newfoundlanders to become honorary Newfoundlanders.  It involves a shot of screech rum (a local rum), recitation of a limerick and the kissing of the cod.  It’s a really fun experience!



39. Try a caesar

The Caesar is Canada’s (unofficial) national cocktail.  The most popular mixed drink in Canada, a traditional caesar consists of: vodka, Clamato juice (clam and tomato juice), Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, lime, celery salt rim and a celery stick.  Basically it is like a Bloody Mary, but so much better because the clam juice gives it an extra kick.


Caesar at The Pint in Winnipeg


40. Photograph arctic wildlife

The Yukon Wildlife Preserve offers the opportunity to see arctic animals in their natural habitats.  You can take a bus tour or do a self-guided walking tour where you will see animals such as arctic foxes, elk, moose, mountain goats, bison, thinhorn sheep and caribou, among others.  There is also a diverse range of landscapes in the 700 acre preserve, from rolling hills to wetlands to steep rock cliffs.



41. Explore The Forks

The Forks, an historic meeting place for aboriginal people for over 6000 years, is a National Historic Site of Canada and is one of Winnipeg’s best and busiest attractions.  Named The Forks because it is where the Assiniboine and Red rivers meet, it offers something for everyone.  There are shops, restaurants, buskers, festivals, concerts, a riverwalk, gardens, the Oodena Celebration Circle, a hotel, the Manitoba Children’s Museum, the Manitoba Theatre for Young People, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and lots more.  Come wintertime, it is home to the world’s second longest naturally frozen skating trail.


Looking down at The Forks in Winnipeg


42. Visit Canada’s largest island

Baffin Island, the largest island in Canada and the fifth-largest in the world, offers visitors the chance to try and see many things that are unique to the North.  Whether it’s dog sledding, polar bears, watching the Northern Lights or exploring the Inuit culture, Baffin island has something for everyone.



43. Visit a golden boy

The Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg is a beautiful example of neoclassical architecture.  It is also the home of the Golden Boy, perched atop the cupola.   There are free guided (and self-guided) tours available, pointing out the hidden symbols and codes in the architecture as well as secret hieroglyphic inscriptions and other mysteries.


Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg


44. Celebrate Canada Day!

Every year, we celebrate Canada Day on July 1st, the day the Constitution Act was enacted in 1867 and Canada became a dominion.  Canada Day is always a fun celebration across the country, with special events, fireworks, food and drink, entertainment and a whole lot more.  This year will be an incredible year to celebrate as we turn 150!  The celebrations will be bigger and better than ever!


Celebrating Canada Day at Osborne Village in Winnipeg



45. Take joy in the beauty of art

One of the oldest museums in Canada, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is still considered one of the best art museums in the country.  With 5 pavilions filled with modern and contemporary art; old Master paintings; Quebec and Canadian art; Inuit art; and a sculpture garden, to name a few, you could easily spend hours there. The newest pavilion, the Michael and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace, also offers a beautiful view overlooking the city.



46. Test your skills and try to escape the Diefenbunker

Built as an underground bunker during the height of the Cold War, the Diefenbunker, as it is known (a play on bunker and John Diefenbaker, the then Prime Minister), became Canada’s Cold War Museum in 1998.  Built between 1959 and 1961 and set 75 feet underground, visiting the museum is a unique experience.  For an even more unique experience, try the world’s largest escape room: Escape the Diefenbunker.



47. Go for a Ride with the RCMP

Every summer between May and October, the RCMP Musical Ride is performed in communities across Canada.  It is an opportunity to see the troop of riders and horses perform intricate figures and drills set to music, requiring precise control, timing and coordination.  See the schedule of performances here.




48. Try skijoring

Ever heard of the sport of skijoring?  No?  You’re not alone.  A relatively new sport, skijoring is a hybrid of cross-country skiing and dog sledding.  Basically, a skier is pulled by a harness attached to one or two dogs (or even a horse).  It’s a great way to enjoy winter!



49. Get honked at by Canadian Geese

You can’t visit Canada without seeing Canadian Geese.  Distinctive-looking and highly adapted to living in urban areas, you will see them everywhere in spring, summer and fall, until they migrate south to the U.S. for winter.  In spring and fall, you will see flocks flying above in impressive V-formations, heading to their summer or winter homes.  Highly social animals and monogamous, in spring you will see groups of geese and their goslings wandering around, feeding, or walking in a row with one of the adult geese leading at the front and the other at the back.  They are very beautiful birds, but be careful to not get too close, as they are also highly protective and can attack when they feel threatened.  If you hear a hissing sound, then you are too close and should back away.


Canadian Geese in Winnipeg


50. Head to the beach

While Canada has plenty of beautiful beaches on both the Pacific and Atlantic Coasts, there are plenty of beautiful beaches inland as well, as Canada has the most lakes in the world.  Wherever you are, you are never very far away from a beach!


Grand Beach in Manitoba


51. Walk over waterfalls

Impressive year-round, Montmorency Falls is located about 15 min east of Quebec City.  There are several ways to view the falls and see it from different perspectives: whether it’s the panoramic staircase; the suspension bridge above the falls; ziplining across; hiking the cliff trails; cycling the bike paths; or taking the cable car up;  In winter, splashes from the falls freeze and form what is known as the Sugar Loaf, a cone of ice at the base of the waterfall.  There are also several ways to enjoy the falls in winter, such as snowshoeing, winter hiking and ice climbing.


Montmorency Falls


52. Celebrate multiculturalism at Folklorama

Folklorama is the largest and longest-running multicultural festival in the world.  Held for 2 weeks every summer, Folklorama celebrates the cultures of people who have made their home in Winnipeg from all over the world.  There is traditional food, dance, music and cultural displays from countries such as India, Scotland, Mexico, Korea, South Sudan and Brazil, to name a few.  Closer to home, there is a First Nations pavilion and a French-Canadian pavilion.


Irish pavilion at Folklorama


53. Laugh until you cry

The largest international comedy festival in the world, Just for Laughs is held every July in Montreal.  Founded in 1983, there are French-speaking and English-speaking acts, local and international acts and even non-verbal acts (such as acrobats and pantomimes).  It has featured comics such as Kevin Hart, Trevor Noah, Louis C.K., Sarah Silverman, Judd Apatow, Janeane Garofalo, Jerry Seinfeld, Ali Wong, David Spade, Laverne Cox, Howie Mandel, Craig Ferguson, Chris D’Elia, John Mulaney, among others.  If you’re a comedy fan, this is one festival you don’t want to miss.



54. Celebrate aboriginal traditions, art, culture and history

Connect with Canada’s First Nations at the First People’s Festival in Montreal.  A week-long celebration, the festival features works by aboriginal filmmakers, arts such as soapstone carving or traditional dolls, music and so much more.



55. Get your hippie on

The Winnipeg Folk Festival has been a summer staple for over 40 years.  Named one of the top ten music festivals in the world by Delta Sky magazine, it has hosted performers such as Jann Arden, Barenaked Ladies, Elvis Costello, Coeur de pirate, Feist, Emmylou Harris, Iron and Wine, the Irish Rovers, K.D. Lang, Sarah McLachlan, Oasis, the Strumbellas, Brandi Carlile, the Shins and many, many more.  It’s a chance to listen to great music from both local and international artists and to let your inner hippie out.



56. Journey back in time at Louisbourg

The Fortress of Louisbourg in Nova Scotia is a National Historic Site of Canada.  Originally founded in 1713, the fortress was besieged twice and was destroyed in the 1760s.  In 1961, the government of Canada together with a team of archaeologists  began a massive historical reconstruction effort, recreating a quarter of the town and fortifications.  There are guided tours available or you can explore on your own.  There are also demonstrations on cooking, music, dancing, crafts, military drills, etc… and you can buy bread from the stone bakery as well as replica 18th century gifts and memorabilia from the gift shop.


Fortress of Louisbourg



57. Be captivated by Gros Morne

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Gros Morne National Park is one of Canada’s most beautiful parks.  With a wide variety of scenery such as mountains, fjords, beaches, cliffs, bogs, barren lowlands and waterfalls, Gros Morne will take your breath away.  It is here that the theory of tectonic plates was proved.  And don’t forget the wildlife you may see, everything from moose to bears to whales!


Gros Morne by Gilad.rom under license CC BY 3.0


58. Visit an underground city

The Underground City, or RESO as it is also known, is a series of tunnels connecting offices, hotels, universities, shopping centres, convention halls, banks, apartments, train  and metro stations in downtown Montreal.  With over 32km of tunnels, you could spend days exploring and still not see everything. While the name is slightly misleading (not all of it is underground, as it is multi-level), it is worth a visit (especially in the cold winter months)!



59. Go white water rafting in Golden

Kicking Horse River in Golden, B.C. is one of Canada’s top whitewater rafting destinations.  The river is divided into three areas: Upper, Middle and Lower with class I to class IV rapids, making it suitable for beginners to experienced rafters.




60. Discover the Tunnels of Moose Jaw

With a population of 33,000 people, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan may not be at the top of your list of places to visit, but stop for a visit anyway and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you find.  With a fascinating look into Canada’s history, a tour of the Tunnels of Moose Jaw is a must.  Originally built as an underground steam system, they were used to hide Chinese rail workers who were unable to pay the head-tax or who were being persecuted during the Yellow Peril.  Entire families lived in the tunnels.  During Prohibition, the tunnels were used for rum-running, gambling and prostitution, and Al Capone was rumoured to have had a stake in the bootlegging operations there.



61. Put your car in neutral and let it magically roll uphill

Magnetic Hill in Moncton, New Brunswick is a gravity hill.  It is definitely worth experiencing for yourself, it’s so cool!  You drive down to the bottom, put the car in neutral, take your foot off the brake and the car will roll up the hill backwards, it’s the weirdest thing!


Magnetic Hill in Moncton


62. Try a hearty bowl of Quebecois-style split-pea soup

For over 400 years, yellow split-pea soup has been a staple in the Canadian diet.  Easy to make, thick and hearty, it is the ultimate comfort food on a cold Canadian night.  Traditionally made with yellow split-peas, salted pork and herbs, it is simple yet delicious.  If you want to take some home with you, make sure to get a can of Habitant Pea Soup, the closest thing to homemade.


Pea soup tasting at Festival du Voyageur in Winnipeg



63. Experience lake life

Canada is home to the most lakes in the world as well as some of the biggest lakes in the world.  A favourite summer pastime in Canada is to head to the country and enjoy lake life for a weekend, week or even the entire summer.  The cottage industry is really big and many Canadians have cottages that they head out to every weekend in the summer (and even in winter).  Cottages can be anything from a simple mobile home to elaborate second homes complete with hot tubs and boats and everything else you can imagine.  Many people rent out their cottages when they are not using them, so it’s possible for everyone to experience lake life.  There is so much to do at the lake: kayaking, canoeing, hiking, bonfires, swimming, fishing, reading in a hammock, boating, paddleboarding, etc…


Kayaking on Caddy Lake in Manitoba


64. See a steam clock in action

There are few functioning steam clocks still in existence in the world (though the ones that are, were mostly designed and built by Canadian horologist Raymond Saunders) and three of them just happen to be in British Columbia.  The most famous one is the 1977 Vancouver Gastown Steam Clock, the first one built by Saunders.



65. Get bugged

The Montreal Insectarium is the largest insect museum in North America and one of the largest in the world.  Dedicated to featuring insects from Canada and all over the world, there are exhibits as well as live insects you can observe.  And this summer they will be featuring Insect Tastings, foods such as burgers or tacos that feature insects in them, if you’re brave enough to try.



66. Visit an Igloo Cathedral

Originally built in 1972 then destroyed by an arsonist in 2005, St. Jude’s Cathedral in Iqualuit, Nunavut was finally rebuilt in 2012.  Shaped like an igloo, the cathedral has the greatest area of any Anglican diocese in the world.  The cathedral itself is well worth a visit, and you can also attend services held in English or Inuktitut.



67. Spend a night in jail

Ever wondered what it would be like to spend a night in jail?  At this Ottawa hostel, you can!  Well, a former jail at least.   The Nicholas Street Gaol was a maximum security jail from 1862 to 1972 and has been run as a hostel by Hostelling International since 1973.  You can even sleep in the former cells, some of which still have their original bars.  There are also daily tours of the top floor which used to be death row.  And if you’re into staying in haunted places, it is #9 on Lonely Planet’s list of Top 10 spookiest buildings around the world.



68. Taste a Montreal-style bagel

Most people in North America associate bagels with New York, but did you know that Montreal has its own distinctive bagel style?  Smaller, thinner and with a larger hole than New-York style bagels, Montreal bagels are sweeter and denser and are baked in a wood-fired oven.  In certain shops you can still watch them being made by hand.



69. Touch the toe in Dawson City

Since 1973, for those brave enough, no visit to Dawson City, Yukon has been complete without becoming a member of the Sourtoe Cocktail Club.  In this case the name says it all, as to join the club you must consume a shot with a (real) mummified toe in it!  It may sound crazy, but to date, over 100,000 people have joined the club, where the only rule is: “You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but your lips have gotta touch the toe”.



70. Be amazed by Little Limestone Lake

Little Limestone Lake in Manitoba is considered to be the biggest and best example of a marl lake in the world.  Marl lakes are lakes that change colour depending on the temperature of the water.  Little Limestone Lake can go from clear to turquoise blue to milky blue-white and is definitely a sight to behold.



71. Try kicksledding

A kicksled is basically a chair mounted on skis whereby you stand on one runner and “kick” off with the free leg to make the sled move.  Originating in Scandinavia around 1870 and used commonly in those countries, the kicksled was introduced in North America in 1940.  It is a fun way to get around in winter.



72. Catch a performance by the RWB

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet is Canada’s oldest ballet company, the longest continuously operating ballet company in North America and is considered to be among the best dance companies in the world.  Past notable dancers with the RWB include Evelyn Hart and Mikhail Baryshnikov.  Watching the RWB perform The Nutcracker is a Christmas tradition.



73. Try some fresh Canadian maple syrup

Quebec is responsible for producing 70% of the world’s maple syrup.  Indigenous Peoples have been using maple syrup for hundreds and possibly thousands of years (as there are no written records, it’s impossible to say for how long exactly).  It’s a sweet, nutritious treat that can be used in a variety of ways, such as in baking, on foods such as pancakes or waffles or ice cream, as a sweetener (it can be used instead of honey) or even with meat.  Maple syrup production happens in late winter/early spring and there are many farms you can visit to see the process first-hand and try some fresh syrup.



74. Delight in a dog sled ride

Dog sledding is definitely a unique experience and one that should be on your bucket list.  This traditional mode of transportation has been around for over a thousand years.  Feel the wind on your face as you race across the snow, being pulled along by a team of Huskies or Malamutes.




75. Long John Jamboree

The Long John Jamboree, held every year at the end of March, offers the residents of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories a chance to celebrate the end of a long, dark winter and the welcome arrival of spring. Held on the frozen Great Slave Lake, the jamboree features an igloo building demonstration, snow beach volleyball, an ice skating disco, a curling bonspiel, a Sugar Shack, Yellowknife’s Got Talent competition and so much more!


Click here for reasons 76-150 to visit Canada this year!!!


Have I missed anything?  Do you have a must-see that you feel should have been included in the list?  Let me know in the comments!

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