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Things to do in Canada, Reasons to Visit Canada

5 Great Reasons to Visit Canada Year-Round

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I absolutely love to visit Canada! With its sprawling landscape, year-round activities and cosmopolitan cities, Canada offers something for everyone. Few countries can compete with the number of natural wonders found in Canada: the majestic Canadian Rocky Mountains, Niagara Falls, imposing glaciers, lush rain forests and three oceans are just a small fraction of the diversity of attractions. Canadians are also well known for being some of the most friendly and welcoming people who place a strong value on family-friendly activities. Couple these fantastic attributes with a strong U.S. dollar, you can certainly see why this Canada one of my favorite family vacation destinations.

5 Great Reasons You Should Visit Canada

1. Natural Beauty

Hands down Canada is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. From dramatic coastlines, calm lakes, cascading waterfalls, majestic glaciers and towering mountains, Canada certainly puts the “awe” in awesome.

Fascinating geological wonders are marbled throughout the vast countryside and provide the most swoon-worthy photogenic backdrops for even the most novice of photographers. Every season tells it own unique story with its changing landscape and temperatures.

2. Fun Things to do in Canada with Kids Year-Round

Admittedly, summer is the most popular time to visit Canada. However, outdoor enthusiasts will be pleasantly surprised to find a variety of fun things to do in Canada year-round. Canadians place a strong emphasis on outdoor recreation, and most provinces are extremely bike and pedestrian friendly.

In fact, did you know Canada will soon boast the world’s longest recreational trail? The Trans Canada Trail will be a staggering 24,000 km and stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific and up to the Arctic Ocean. Construction began in 1992 and is slated to be completed in 2017 — just in time for Canada’s 150th birthday!

The trail will be multi-use and year-round allowing hikers, bicyclists, cross-country skiers, horseback riders and even snowmobilers access to the glorious Canadian countryside. This takes impressive to a new level. There is an interactive map you can check out to see just how amazing (and long!) this trail is!

Fall: Like Canadian maple syrup, Fall is pure natural goodness teeming with vivid colors (think millions of bright red maple leaves) and crisp air. From hiking in Stanley Park in Vancouver to “leaf peeping” in eastern Canada, Canucks welcome fall with a variety of fairs and festivals ranging from music appreciation to carnivals to epicurean extravaganzas.

Consider visiting Cape Breton Island in October. For nine days they host the incredibly popular Celtic Colours International Music Festival, and it’s the largest festival of its type in North America. This unique combination of music and culture features musicians, storytellers and dancers from all over the world. Of course, Fall is also the optimal time to see the Northern Lights! Canada is known for its magnificent displays of aurora borealis.

Winter: No doubt, Canada is chilly if not downright freezing in winter. However, there is plenty for the adventure seeker to do with skiing being an obvious winter choice. But believe it or not, Canada is not all about snow and arctic conditions in the winter. Vancouver and Victoria are actually quite mild and get little snow. Of course, fabulous skiing at Whistler is not too far away!

Winter carnivals are popular throughout the country. Corner Brook Winter Carnival in Newfoundland is an extremely popular event. This festival is usually held around the last 10 days in February and includes plenty of family fun such as ice sculpting, decorated house competitions, skating, snow carving and more. “Leif the Lucky” is the carnival mascot, which is a nod to Newfoundland’s Viking roots.

Spring: Say goodbye to winter and hello to longer and warmer days. Spring arrives early on Canada’s west coast, and it’s not uncommon to see tulips in February! Skiers can still enjoy great snow up until May in Banff or Whistler. (You can hit the slopes for spring break!) Have you always wanted to see a Cherry Blossom Festival? Every year Vancouver hosts an impressive Cherry Blossom Festival in March and April that commemorates the 800 cherry trees given by Japan to the city of Vancouver.

Things to do in Canada, Visit Canada - Emerald Lake, Canadian Rockies

A boat ride on Emerald Lake in the Canadian Rockies is one of the best things to do in Canada with kids.

Summer: There is a good reason why Canada is popular in the summer. From June to August, the days are filled with long hours of sunlight and endless activities. These are optimal months to experience all activities outdoors. Take a scenic train ride through the Rockies, river-raft down a rapid or whale watch in eastern Quebec. The Calgary Stampede is held every year in July in Calgary, Alberta and is a 10-day event billed as “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” attracting over one million visitors per year and features one of the world’s largest rodeos. Giddy up!

3. Traditional Canadian Food

Yes, Canada can satisfy even the most discernible epicurean enthusiasts. Being a multicultural country, international cuisine is not only popular but celebrated. Canada also whips up their own creations which they are understandably proud of. Here are 4 traditional Canadian foods you must try when you visit:

Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is one of those staples that is literally worth its weight in gold. People get all crazy about pure maple syrup. Rumor has it grown men will cry over a bottle of Canadian maple syrup. It is generally used on breakfast items such as pancakes or waffles, but I have known people to add it as a pizza topping! Quebec is the world’s largest producer of maple syrup, responsible for 75% of the world’s output.

BeaverTails: I first encountered BeaverTails at Capilano State Park in Vancouver. As a vegetarian I was a bit hesitant about the ingredients and chuckled when I realized they are a donut like pasty topped with a sweet condiment. I enjoyed a BeaverTail with soft serve ice cream and relished every mouthful!

Nanaimo Bars: Be prepared to go crazy with yumminess. Nanaimo bars put s’mores to shame. They consist of three layers: a crunchy base that might feature graham cracker crumbs and chopped nuts, a custard middle, and a chocolate top. I can guarantee some people even drizzle maple syrup on these…just sayin’.

Poutine: More food from Quebec, Poutine is French fries and cheese curd topped with gravy. It is so loved and adored it nearly has its own national anthem. Heck, even McDonald’s has jumped on the Poutine bandwagon.

4. French Heritage

Canada is a bilingual country with English and French as the official languages. Don’t worry though, most everyone speaks English and signs are posted in both languages. Quebec was settled by the French in the 1600s, and French heritage is still flourishing in Quebec City and Montreal. Both cities offer a very European flair and feel with their charming cobblestone streets, architecture and culture. Families will find this to be an ideal “European-like” getaway without the European price tag.

5. Favorable exchange rate

It has never been more affordable to visit Canada than now. If you have a helicopter ride over Niagara Falls on your bucket list, polar bear viewing in Manitoba or a ski vacation to one of the many resorts, pack your bags as the U.S. dollar stretches much farther than I can ever remember.

Although exchange rates fluctuate, 1 CAD is hovering around .75 U.S. — that gives the U.S. dollar nearly 30% more buying power. Tip: If you live near a large Canadian airport, look at possibly flying from Canada to another international destination. You could save yourself hundreds if not thousands of dollars depending on the class of service you book.

I was amazed during my recent trip to Canada at how affordable everything was, from dining out to excursions not breaking the bank. I am not going to lie and say everything is budget-friendly, but if you compare a European vacation to a Canadian vacation, hands down Canada will win.

So, what are you waiting for? Canada is beckoning you! Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

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