150 Reasons to visit Canada this year (Part 2)

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)!

 

76. Kayak (or snorkel) with beluga whales in Churchill

Feeling adventurous?  Why not grab a kayak or some snorkel gear, head out into the Hudson Bay and spend time with the playful and curious white beluga whales, known as “sea canaries” for the high-pitched sounds they make.

 

Beluga by Steve Snodgrass is licensed under CC BY 2.0

 

77. Eat Ketchup Chips

Ketchup chips are amazing and are very popular in Canada.  It sounds weird, but they’re really yummy.  Old Dutch is the best kind!

 

 

78. Drive through the longest covered bridge in the world

Take a drive (or walk) through the world’s longest covered bridge in Hartland, New Brunswick.  A National Historic Site of Canada, the bridge has been standing since 1901.

 

Longest covered bridge in the world in Hartland

 

79. Learn about the Canadian connection to the Titanic

Canada has several important connections to the TitanicCape Race in Newfoundland was the first one to receive the distress signal, and coordinated the rescue with nearby ships such as the Carpathia; four Canadian ships were sent to retrieve the bodies, bringing them back to Halifax, Nova Scotia where many of them were buried in Fairview Cemetary.  Artifacts recovered from the Titanic can be seen at the Maritime Museum in Halifax.

 

 

80. Share some laughs at A-Maze-Ing Laughter

These 14 bronze sculptures  by Yue Minjun featuring one man laughing in different poses have been located in Morton Park, Vancouver since 2009.  Originally created for the 2009-2011 Vancouver Bienniale, the popular sculptures are now a permanent fixture and definitely a highlight with tourists, who have fun recreating the poses.

 

A-Maze-Ing Laughter by Yue Minjun

 

81. Explore the Bata Shoe Museum

The Bata Show Museum in Toronto is, you guessed it, a museum dedicated to shoes.  The only one of its kind in North America, it has the largest collection of shoes and shoe-related items in the world.  Even if you’re not shoe-obsessed, it’s still a great museum to visit, as it explores the history of footwear through the past 4500 years.

 

 

82. Experience the beauty of Lake Louise

Lake Louise, near Banff, is a picture-perfect area.  With the mountains and the beautiful Chateau Lake Louise surrounding the blue-green water of the lake, you could spend a lifetime enjoying the immense beauty of the area. There are also plenty of activities to enjoy such as hiking and skiing.

 

Lake Louise by Nate Eagleson as licensed under CC BY 2.0

 

83. Have a bison burger

While American Bison (or buffalo, as they are also known) were almost hunted to extinction in the 1800s, conservation efforts have been successful (they are no longer considered endangered) and bison farming is on the rise.  An excellent source of lean protein, bison is often used as an alternative to beef as it is considered to be healthier.  Unlike factory-farmed cattle, bison are typically raised free-range, are grass-fed and are not given antibiotics or growth hormones.

 

 

84. Go for a ride on a wooden roller coaster

Originally built for Expo 67,  La Ronde, an amusement park in Montreal has been around for 50 years.  It has several roller coasters, one of which is a wooden one.  If you’ve never experienced a wooden roller coaster, it’s worth trying, it’s a really cool experience.  It’s a great park, with plenty of rides, attractions and games.  The park is also host to the Montreal Fireworks Festival every summer, the largest fireworks festival in the world.

 

 

85. Saddle up for the Calgary Stampede

The Calgary Stampede, which has been around since 1886, features one of the biggest rodeos in the world.  It’s a massive 10 day event in July that attracts over a million visitors every year.  Events include a parade, a rodeo, chuckwagon racing, a blacksmith competition, a cutting competition, a midway (rides and carnival games), concerts and a market.

 

 

86. Drive on a road made entirely of ice

Canada has the distinction of having built some of the first ice roads in history in the 1930s.  Ice roads are exactly what they seem to be: roads made of ice.  Built on frozen bodies of water (such as a lake, river or sea ice) in the winter months, ice roads allow access to remote areas that do not have permanent road access.  This allows transportation costs to be reduced as food and materials can be brought in by trucks rather than flown in.  Driving on an ice road is a unique opportunity and something you should definitely add to your bucket list!

 

 

87. Learn all about the mounties

What’s more iconically Canadian than the Royal Canadian Mounted Police?  With the distinctive hat and red serge uniform, mounties are a symbol of Canada recognizable around the world.  At the RCMP Heritage Centre in Regina, you can learn about how the RCMP came to be, what it takes to be a mountie, forensic techniques and the role the mounties play in Canadian law enforcement past and present.  If you time your visit right, you can watch the Sergeant Major’s Parade.

 

 

88. Enjoy our fun and colourful money

Canadian money has long been colourful (unlike the more boring money of our neighbours to the south) but in 2011 the banknotes began to be printed from a polymer and so now have a kind of “plastic” feel to them.  They are much more practical than paper money, since you no longer have to worry about accidentally washing them with your clothes or accidentally ripping them.

 

 

89. Hike the Mantario trail

For experienced hikers looking for a challenge, the Mantario Trail might be for you.  It is a 63 kilometre trail winding through the Canadian Shield and boreal forest.  It’s a 3-4 day hike where you can find lakes, bogs, beaver dams, granite cliffs and steep gullies.

 

 

90. Walk across the Capilano Suspension Bridge

The Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of the most popular attractions in Vancouver, and with good reason.  As well as the fun/fear of walking across the bridge suspended high above the trees, there is also the Cliffwalk (walkways that hang from the cliffs), the Treetops Adventure (a series of suspended bridges through the treetops), Kia’Palano (a series of totem poles) and so much more.

 

Capilano Suspension Bridge by David Davies under license CC BY-SA 2.0

 

91. Admire the Rideau Canal

The Rideau Canal in Ottawa is the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It is 202 kilometres and connects Ottawa to the nearby city of Kingston.  The best way to see the canal is by boat, but you can also walk, jog or cycle along the canal.  There are parks and benches along the way, making it a great place to people-watch.  In winter the canal transforms into the largest skating rink in the world, with heated change huts as well as food and drink huts to keep you happy as you skate.

 

Canal by Owen Byrne under license CC BY 2.0

 

92. Celebrate the fur-traders

The Festival du Voyageur is an annual winter festival held in Winnipeg to celebrate the history of the Voyageurs (French fur-traders).  The largest winter festival in Western Canada, it features snow sculpture contests, a beard-growing contest, a snow maze, live music (including fiddling), dance (such as the Red River Jig), traditional French-Canadian foods (such as tourtiere, maple taffy, bannock and sugar pie), Caribou (a fortified wine), an ice bar, people dressed in traditional voyageur clothing and so much more.

 

Traditional clothes at the Festival du Voyageur in Winnipeg

 

93. Take the scenic route

Via Rail, Canada’s passenger train service, offers routes through most of Canada’s provinces.  It’s a great way to see the Canadian countryside and enjoy its beauty.

 

Via Rail Station/Union Station in Winnipeg

 

94. Discover British Columbia’s roots

There is plenty to see and do at the Royal BC Museum.  From the Imax theatre to the Living Languages exhibit to the Terry Fox exhibit to the First Peoples exhibit to the Natural Histories exhibit, you could spend a few days trying to see everything.

 

 

95. Learn about the history of war

Whether or not you have a fascination with the history of war, the Canadian War Museum is still worth a visit.  With permanent exhibits on wars fought on Canadian soil and abroad, and a storage area where you can check out everything from motorcycles to tanks to jet aircraft, it’s a great museum to visit.  The small windows on the sides even spell out a message in morse code that you can try and decipher!

 

 

96. Snowshoe your way through winter

Snowshoes allowing people to walk more quickly over deep snow have been around for over 4000 years, with the traditional snowshoes we’ve come to know tracing their roots back to the Indigenous Peoples in North America.  Traditional snowshoes, which look like tennis rackets for your feet, have mostly given way to more modern snowshoes that are lighter and sleeker but it is possible to try both versions at many places across Canada.  The great thing about snowshoeing is that other than the snowshoe itself, no other special equipment is needed, and they are very easy to use.

 

Snowshoeing in FortWhyte Alive in Winnipeg

 

 

97. Taste a butter tart

A truly delicious Canadian desert, butter tarts have been a favourite treat since pioneering days in the 1600s.  Traditionally made with butter, sugar, syrup and egg, then poured into a flaky pastry and baked, they are easy to make.  You can also get different variations such as with raisins or pecans.

 

 

98. Make a pilgrimage to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre

Located about 30 min east of Quebec City, the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre (the mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus) has been credited by the Catholic Church with miracles of curing the sick and disabled.  About half a million pilgrims from around the world are received every year.  It contains three notable relics and the ceiling is covered in a mosaic detailing the life of Saint Anne.  Even if you are not Catholic or seeking a miracle, it is worth a visit as the basilica itself is quite stunning.

 

Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre

 

99. Check out the competition

The Royal St. John’s Regatta, a rowing competition, is the oldest annual sporting even in North America, dating back to 1816.  Held every August, the regatta is known not only for the races but also for its lakeside entertainment, such as food, drink and games of chance.  Plus, race day is a holiday in St. John’s, so everyone will be out enjoying the day in one way or another.

 

 

100. Celebrate Oktoberfest

The Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest is the second largest Oktoberfest in the world, after the one celebrated in Munich.  It is a nine-day festival celebrated every October with many events such as pancake breakfasts, barrel racing, opening ceremonies, a parade on Thanksgiving, Rocktoberfest (rock concert), a 5K fun run and of course, beer drinking!

 

 

101. Cycle around PEI

If cycling across Canada seems too daunting for you (though a friend of mine has done it), or you’re more of a casual cyclist, consider cycling around Prince Edward Island, Canada’s smallest province.  The island is mostly flat and has a well established trail (the Confederation Trail), making cycling a breeze.  It’s worth renting a bike even just for a day as it’s a great way to enjoy the gorgeous scenery the island has to offer.

 

Cycling in PEI

 

102. Learn about human rights

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg is the first new national museum to be built outside of the National Capital Region.  Opened in 2014, the museum aims to “explore the subject of human rights with a special but not exclusive reference to Canada, in order to enhance the public’s understanding of human rights, to promote respect for others and to encourage reflection and dialogue.”  A stunning building, both inside and out, the museum features exhibits on topics such as the holocaust; genocide; Indigenous perspectives; women’s rights; Canadian journeys; LGBT rights; turning points for humanity; and many more designed to make you think about the world around you and the rights of those here today.

 

Canadian Museum for Human Rights

 

103. Spend some time at a spotted lake

A sacred site to the First Nations people in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Spotted Lake is full of various minerals.  During the hot summer months, most of the water in the lake evaporates, leaving behind the minerals, that then form into colourful “spots” in the remaining water.  As the water and mineral levels change throughout the summer, the spots also change colours, anywhere from green to yellow to blue.

 

 

104. Enjoy a CFL game

For Canadians, soccer is the sport most of the rest of the world calls football while football in Canada is more closely related to American Football played in the United States. Canadian and American football are very similar but have key differences such as field size and team size among other things.  Get yourself some tickets and come out and enjoy a game of what is probably Canada’s second favourite sport (after hockey, of course).

 

Football game at the Investors Group Field in Winnipeg

 

105. Get spooked in a ghost town

Founded in 1901, Val-Jalbert, Quebec was a successful paper and mill town until the mill suddenly closed in 1927, leading to the complete abandonment of the town within a few years.  It stayed abandoned until it was revived in the 1960s by the Tourism office.  With around 40 original buildings still standing, Val-Jalbert gives you an opportunity to transport yourself back to the 1920s.

 

 

106. Walk down Ragged Ass Road

Yellowknife is home to a uniquely named stretch of unpaved road called Ragged Ass Road.  Started as a joke by one of the street’s property owners in 1970, the name stuck and was officially recognized by the city in the mid-2010s.  It is one of the most well known streets in Canada, with singer Tom Cochrane naming an album and song after it.  There is even a shop where you can buy all kinds of Ragged Ass Rd merchandise.

 

 

107. Visit Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

Buffalo jumps are a traditional hunting method used by Indigenous peoples for thousands of  years to kill bison in large quantities.  Head-Smashed-In is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the best preserved examples of buffalo jumps.  There is an interpretive centre that is built directly into the sandstone cliff and offers exhibits on the Plains peoples, the buffalo hunt, the impact of Europeans on the Indigenous population and the archaeology used at the site.  There are also workshops on how to make moccasins and drums.

 

 

108. Listen to the singing sands

Basin Head Beach in PEI is known as the Singing Sands Beach for the squeak it produces when you walk on it.  A fairly rare phenomena, there are beaches and sand dunes around the world that have reported singing sands, though scientists have yet to fully understand why or how it works.

 

Singing Sands by Anthony J under license CC BY 2.0

 

109. Shop at Hudson’s Bay Company

Founded in 1670, Hudson’s Bay Company was originally a fur trading business and was once the largest land-owner in the world.  In the early 19th century, HBC began moving towards selling general merchandise with the first department store being built in Calgary in 1913.  Check out the Hudson’s Bay Company Collection: a line of clothing, accessories, traditional items (such as the wool point blanket) and items for the home featuring the signature red, yellow, green and indigo stripes.  They also have the Canadian Olympic Team Collection featuring the very popular red mittens (part of the proceeds of the collection go to supporting Canadian athletes).

 

 

110. Try a delicious nanaimo bar

Nanaimo bars, named after Nanaimo, B.C., are a no baking required sweet Canadian treat.  Originating in Canada in the 1950s, it has a wafer-crumb layer, topped with a custard-flavoured butter icing and then topped with melted chocolate.  You can find different varieties and flavours, including coconut, mint, caramel or peanut butter, for example. Definitely worth a try!

 

 

111. Spend time with Vikings

Gimli is a town in Manitoba in a region known as New Iceland.  Settled by Icelandic immigrants in the 1870s, it has preserved the Icelandic culture and the Icelandic language and celebrates its heritage every year with an Icelandic Festival.  Located on the shores of Lake Winnipeg, Gimli is a popular day/weekend trip from Winnipeg.

 

 

112. Celebrate atheticism at the Invictus Games

The Invictus Games are a type of paralympic sporting event, but for armed services personnel and veterans who have been injured, wounded or are sick.  The Invictus Games were created by Prince Harry and were first held in London in 2014.  He believes the games will “demonstrate the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and demonstrate life beyond disability”.  This year they will be held in Toronto.

 

 

113. Float in Canada’s Dead Sea

Little Manitou Lake in Saskatchewan is known as Canada’s Dead Sea as it has a high salt content.  While its salinity is only about half of that of the Dead Sea, swimmers are still able to easily float in the waters.  It’s a really weird experience and one that everyone should try at least once in their lifetime.

 

 

114. See a one-of-a-kind living space

Habitat 67 in Montreal, is a housing complex designed by architect Moshe Safdie.  It was built in 1967 as a pavilion for the World’s Fair, Expo 67, and is now one of the most recognizable buildings in Montreal.  Habitat 67 is made up of identical prefabricated concrete forms organized in different combinations to create 146 residences of differing shapes and sizes, giving it its unique look.

 

 

115. Visit a castle

Toronto’s Casa Loma, built between 1911-1914,  is a house built in the Gothic Revival style.  Originally used as a residence,  Casa Loma was then briefly a luxury hotel before being turned into a tourist destination.  It was also used during WWII to hide research and production of sonar, used to detect German U-boats.  It has been used as a location in films such as X-men, Chicago and The Pacifier, among others, as well as tv shows.  The house and grounds are included in the admission price, as well as an audio guide and a viewing of the Sir Henry Pellatt documentary.

 

 

116. Wander through a one-of-a-kind forest

Visiting Sign Post Forest in Watson Lake, Yukon along the Alaska Highway is a unique experience.  Consisting of over 100 000 signposts, you can spend a lot of time wandering through the rows checking out the welcome signs, license plates, streets signs and others.  You can even add your own, if you wish.  Started in 1942 by soldier Carl K. Lindley while recuperating from an injury, he was ordered to repair and paint a directional sign and decided to add one that indicated the direction and mileage to his hometown of Danville, Illinois.  Other people followed suit and it has snowballed from there.

 

 

117. Let your inner trekkie out

The town of Vulcan, Alberta was originally named after the Roman God of Fire, but has since come to be associated with the fictional planet Vulcan from Star Trek, the birthplace of Mr. SpockThe town has embraced the Star Trek connection and there is a multitude of Star Trek related tourist sites/events such as: a replica of the Starship Enterprise; themed murals and signs; Spock Days (an annual convention); a Star Trek Walk of Fame; and Vul-Con (an annual convention).  Don’t forget to visit the Tourism and Trek Centre, where you can get tourist info, play The Vulcan Space Adventure VR game and see Star Trek memorabilia.

 

 

118. Snorkel with salmon

Campbell River, the “Salmon Capital of the World”,  offers visitors a unique opportunity: to snorkel with up to a million salmon that make their way up the Quinsam River to spawn. It’s an amazing experience to float down the river surrounded by salmon and should definitely be added to your bucket list.  Don’t forget to keep an eye out while you snorkel, luck may be on your side and you’ll see a black bear, an orca pod, eagles, deer, beavers or other animals and fish.  Destiny River Adventures provides fully-equipped guided tours from mid-July until late September.

119. Spend the day in the park

Stanley Park in Vancouver was voted Best Park in the World by TripAdvisor in 2014.  With an array of things to do and see and beautiful views, it’s no wonder it was voted the top park by TripAdvisor users.  You can walk, job, cycle or rollerblade along the seawall; take a ride on the miniature train; head to the beach and enjoy the sun; visit the aquarium; take a horse-drawn tour around the park; visit the gardens; take a picture in a hollow tree; admire the totem poles; visit the Lost Lagoon; or eat at one of the cafes.  Whatever you’re in the mood for, you’ll find it at Stanley Park.

 

 

120. Experience the wonder of the tides

The Bay of Fundy is one of Canada’s most amazing natural phenomenons.  It has the largest tidal range in the world, at 16.3 metres (or 53.5 feet).  On average, it takes about 6 hours and 13 minutes for the tide to go from low to high (or vice versa), which means you can walk out and explore the seabed for miles before the tide returns.  To really witness the effects of the tide, it’s best to return to the same spot at both low tide and high tide.  There are plenty of other things to do such as whale watching tours or exploring the sea caves and rock formations.

 

Low tide at the Bay of Fundy

 

121. Try some wine in the valley

The Okanagan Valley in British Colombia is the second largest wine region in Canada after the Niagara Peninsula.  If you love wine, this is a great place to visit as not only can you visit different wineries you can also enjoy the incredible beauty of the area, with the lakes and mountains, or fresh fruit such as cherries, apricots, apples, peaches, pears and plums.

 

 

122. Go on a whale-watching tour

Canada is home to a variety of whales and there are many whale-watching tours available.  From Orcas and humpback whales in British Columbia, to belugas in Northern Manitoba, to minkes and blue whales in Quebec, to finbacks and humpbacks in the Maritimes, there is no shortage of whale watching experiences.  In some places, you don’t even need to take a tour, you can watch these magnificent mammals from shore as they pass by on their migrations.

 

 

123. Cheer on Canadian athletes

The Canada Games are a biannual (alternating between summer and winter) multi-sport event being held this year in Winnipeg.  Featuring athletes competing in 19 summer sporting events, it’s a celebration of Canadian athletes and a chance to cheer on possible future Olympians.

 

 

124. Work on your surf skills

With the longest coastline in the world, the most lakes in the world and lots of rivers, there are plenty of spots in Canada to do some surfing.  The most popular spot is Tofino in British Colombia, the country’s unofficial surf capital, which has been named one of the best surf towns in the world by National Geographic.

 

_MG_2913 by Tucker Sherman under license CC BY 2.0

 

125. Try a tasty beavertail

BeaverTails (or Queues de Castor) are delicious pastries meant to resemble, you got it, a beaver’s tail.  Consisting of fried dough and topped with various things such as cinnamon & sugar, chocolate hazelnut or maple, they make a tasty treat.

 

Beavertails at the Festival du voyageur in Winnipeg

 

126. Explore Cape Spear

Cape Spear is the easternmost point in Canada and a beautiful area to explore.  Located near St. John’s, Newfoundland, the cape features the oldest surviving lighthouse in Newfoundland, as well as remnants of a WWII defence battery that you can walk through.  There is a visitors centre where you can buy your ticket to visit the restored original lighthouse.  It is also an access point for the East Coast Trail if you want to do some hiking.  Be an early bird and arrive in time to watch Canada’s first sunrise of the day.  Keep your eyes peeled for humpback whales breaching the water as well as other whales and dolphins.

 

 

127. Drive Highway 93

Highway 93 in Alberta is a scenic highway that runs from Banff to Jasper.  Known as Banff-Windermere Parkway south of the Trans-Canada Highway and Icefields Parkway north of the Trans-Canada, it is one of the most beautiful drives you can do in Canada.  Wind your way through the Rocky Mountains, past beautiful glacier-fed lakes, past waterfalls, through lush valleys and past ancient glaciers.

 

 

128. Get vertical at Mount Thor

Mount Thor, also knows as Thor Peak, boasts the greatest vertical drop on Earth (in fact, it’s MORE than vertical, with a 105 degree overhang), making it a popular rock climbing spot despite it’s remoteness in Auyuittuq National Park in Nunavut.  There are plenty of other activities to do in the area, for those who aren’t expert rock climbers, such as hiking, backpacking and skiing.

 

 

129. Skate on the world’s second longest naturally frozen skating trail

Winnipeg is home to the Red River Mutual Trail, the second longest naturally frozen skating trail.  While it may not be the longest (that would be the Lake Windermere Whiteway in British Columbia), it has certain advantages over Lake Windermere in that: it is in the middle of the city and thus is accessible to everyone; has plenty of local and internationally-designed warming huts along the way; and has a fine-dining pop-up restaurant.  There is also a curling rink and a hockey rink.

 

Busy day on the Red River Mutual Trail

 

130. Visit Pingualuit Crater Lake

Located in the very north of Quebec, on the Ungava Peninsula, Pingualuit Crater Lake is an impact crater.  It was created over a million years ago when a meteorite crashed to earth, forming the almost-perfectly round lake-filled crater we find today.  The lake is one of the deepest in North America, one of the purest freshwater lakes in the world, and is one of the most transparent lakes in the world.  With no real outlets or inlets, the water in the lake accumulates from rain and snow and is only lost through evaporation.

 

 

131. Go fishing

Fishing is very popular in Canada, both commercially and for leisure.  With the longest coastline in the world and the most lakes in the world, there is no shortage of places to fish.  From fishing on the riverside to fishing from a boat on the lake to deep-sea fishing to fly-in lodges in the bush, there are fishing opportunities for everyone, whether you’re a casual fisherman or a master angler.

 

 

132. Walk through tunnels

Located near the town of Hope, B.C., the Othello Tunnels are a series of 5 old train tunnels and bridges that have become a popular hiking trail and are part of the Kettle Valley Railway Trail.  Cutting through the Coquihalla River Canyon, the tunnels offer spectacular views and beautiful scenery as you hike through the granite cliffs.

 

 

133. Enjoy a Canadian beer

Canada has been brewing beer ever since it was first introduced here by European settlers in the seventeenth century. Canadian beer is some of the best in North America, with some of the oldest and most popular brands being Molson Canadian, Alexander Keith’s, Labatt’s, Kokanee, Sleeman’s and Moosehead.  These days, microbreweries/craft breweries/brewpubs are where it’s at, with hundreds of them across Canada serving a variety of flavours and tastes.  Get yourself down to one and start tasting what Canada has to offer.

 

 

134. Spend time with bisons

Wood Buffalo National Park is the largest national park in Canada, the second largest national park in the world, the largest dark-sky preserve in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  There you will find large herds of free range bisons (also called buffalos),  the endangered whooping crane and one of the world’s largest inland deltas.  And of course, being so far North, you can also enjoy the beauty of the Northern Lights.

 

 

135. Keep it Riel at the St. Boniface Museum

Located in the oldest building in Winnipeg (as well as being the largest traditional oak log building in North America), the St. Boniface Museum explores the  history and culture of the Franco-Manitobans and the Metis people, as well as the religious orders (the building used to be a Grey Nuns convent) and First Nations that helped build the community.  There is also an exhibit dedicated to Louis Riel, the Father of Manitoba and a leader of the Metis people.

 

 

136. Experience a Grand Gathering

The Grand Gathering (or Le Grand Rassemblement) is a collection of over 80 stone and wood sculptures emerging from the St. Lawrence River.  Created by Marcel Gagnon, the pieces are inspired by the movement of the sea and its tides and are placed at different depths so that they appear and disappear as the tide ebbs and flows.  The sculptures can be visited up close at low tide, and there is also a visitor centre where you can learn more about the artist and his family.

 

 

137. Have a drink in George Street

If you’re visiting St. John’s, Newfoundland, you can’t leave without going for a drink in one of the many establishments lining George Street. Known for having the most bars and pubs per square foot of any street in North America, there is always a good time to be had in George Street. The street is only open to vehicular traffic in the mornings, making it a pedestrian-friendly zone in the afternoons and evenings.  It’s also host to a Mardi Gras celebration in October and the George Street Festival in August, a 6-day event in August leading up to the Royal St. John’s Regatta.

 

 

138. Taste a Sugar Pie

A traditional French-Canadian desert, sugar pie (tarte au sucre) is a sweet treat and is a must-try.  While similar to desserts found in France and on which they are based, the Canadian version is usually made with maple syrup.  Sugar pie is most likely a precursor to the butter tart.

 

 

139. Take a ferry to Granville Island

One of the most popular neighbourhoods in Vancouver, Granville Island is worth checking out.  A popular shopping district, the island is home to over 250 businesses ranging from a public market to a water park to food stalls to artist studios.  There is much to see and do in Granville Island and you could easily spend a day exploring its secrets.

 

 

140. Get up close and personal with beavers

Eager to meet Canada’s National Animal?  Then head over to Hinton, Alberta to hike the Beaver Boardwalk, a 3km elevated path through wetlands and a beaver pond.  The pathway features interpretive signs, two observation areas and seating.

 

 

141. Drive the Cabot Trail

A scenic highway on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Cabot Trail is a must see.  The scenery is breathtaking, with ocean views, winding roads, the Cape Breton Highlands, old-growth forests and so much more.  There are plenty of activities to do along the way: hiking, whale watching, kayaking, camping, golfing, cycling, and horseback riding, as well as plenty of restaurants featuring local seafood, artist workshops and cultural heritage sites.  You might even see a moose or two.  So take a day (or 5!) and spend some time exploring this beautiful area.

 

 

142. Try Tourtiere

Tourtiere is a traditional French-Canadian dish which is essentially a meat pie.  It’s been a Christmas and New Year’s staple in French Canada since as early as the 1600s, though you can now buy it year round.  Usually made with ground pork and spices in a buttery, flaky crust, other ground meats or wild game can also be added to enhance the flavour.

 

 

 

143. Explore the Exchange District

Winnipeg’s Exchange District, located in the downtown area, is a National Historic Site of Canada.  With its plentiful Chicago-style influenced heritage buildings and a variety of shops, restaurants, boutiques, galleries, nightclubs, museums and Winnipeg’s Theatre District, the Exchange District is well worth a visit.  You might even see a film crew while you walk around, as it is often used as a stand-in for the city of Chicago. There are plenty of festivals and events to be found in the summertime in Old Market Square, and don’t forget to keep an eye out for the ghost signs (faded signs/advertising painted onto buildings), as the Exchange District is home to a large concentration of ghost signs.

 

 

144. Sleep on a bed made of ice

Not many countries (7 to be exact) can boast about having a hotel made of ice, but Canada is one of the lucky few.  Since 2001 the Ice Hotel has been built every year in Quebec City and has become very popular. Made entirely of snow and ice, there are 44 rooms and theme suites (some with fireplaces) to choose from. For those who don’t want to experience a night in the cold, daily tours are available.  For those looking for a unique weeding experience, you can also get married in the ice chapel.

 

 

145. Spend an afternoon with gophers

This wonderfully weird museum has been in operation in Torrington, Alberta since 1996.  Featuring stuffed gophers posed to look like townspeople in different scenarios, the World Famous Gopher Hole Museum is definitely unique.  The dioramas range from a wedding to playing pool to camping to a gas station, with each gopher lovingly dressed and posed.  If you’re in Calgary, consider driving the hour and a half to Torrington and checking out this one-of-a-kind museum.

 

 

146. Experience the midnight sun

Canada’s northern territories are known as The Land of the Midnight Sun.  Most people have experienced the days lengthening in the summer months but did you know that the further you get away from the equator (so the further North or South you go), the longer the days will get?  And if you get close enough to the Arctic Circle (or Antarctic if you go South), you will experience the Midnight Sun, where the sun never sets and is visible in the sky for all 24 hours.  It’s a phenomenon that truly needs to be experienced.  As a bonus, many of the cities and towns up North have festivals that occur around the summer solstice, so there is plenty to see and do.

 

 

147. Hang out in the trees

If you’re tired of hotels and want to try something different, why not spend a night in a tree house in Vancouver Island’s rainforest?  Free Spirit Spheres, a treehouse resort, caters to those looking to get away from it all, enjoy the beauty of nature and  live out a childhood dream.  There are three spheres available: Eve, Eryn and Melody; and they book out pretty quickly, so if you want to spend a night up in the trees, you’d better reserve early.

 

 

148. Take a ride on the Prairie Dog Central Railway

A fun family day out, the Prairie Dog Central Railway is a heritage railway operating a fully-restored vintage 1900-era train.  The train runs most weekends and holiday Mondays from May to September and there is a Halloween Express train available in October.  The train does a 4 hour trip leaving from Winnipeg with a stop in Grosse Isle, where you can visit local vendors and souvenir shops, before returning to Winnipeg.  It’s a fun way to explore the beauty of the prairies.

 

 

149. Learn all about the potato

Think you know all there is to know about potatoes?  Think again!  Visit the Canadian Potato Museum in Prince Edward Island to learn the history and culture of the potato and see potato-related artifacts.  If potatoes don’t interest you, there is also a collection of antique farm equipment, a community museum, a gift shop and several heritage buildings.  And of course, there is a country kitchen specializing in potato dishes (you can even make your own potato fudge!).  Don’t forget to take a picture with the world’s largest potato sculpture!

 

 

150. Visit a basilica

The Notre-Dame Basilica is a must-see when you visit Montreal.  The basilica itself was built in the Gothic Revival style with gorgeous stained-glass windows and is furnished with intricately carved wooden statues.  Beautifully decorated, the vaults are a deep blue with golden stars, while the sanctuary is painted with blues, purples, reds, gold and silver.  It’s an incredible building, inside and out.

 

 

Although Canada was hopefully already on your bucket list, with 150 more reasons to visit, there is no excuse not to finally book that trip!  And for my fellow Canadians, 150 reasons to go out and explore this beautiful country of ours!

 

 

 

Click here for reasons 1-75 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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