5 Places to Visit in Canada for the Country’s 150th Birthday
For those who live in the Great White North there is no shortage of memorable cities, small towns and wild spaces to explore. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or you call Canada home, how do you decide which corner of this vast country to explore first?
Ask yourself, would you like to camp within the lush backcountry, base yourself in a lakefront cottage from which you can tour wineries, or explore the buzz of Canada’s vibrant cities? Regardless of your preference, Canada has something for everyone. So pack your suitcase with some all-season gear and get ready for an adventure.
With such a large land mass, one thing is certain — each province offers its own unique charm. From the Rocky Mountains that jut up in the west to the quaint fishing villages that dot the east coast, Canada is endlessly beautiful and diverse. This year, the country is 150 years old. To celebrate, be sure to add some of these top spots to your itinerary.
Kelowna is the ultimate spot for wine lovers. Located in southern British Columbia in the Okanagan Valley, the region is full of wineries from international names to boutique local operations. With a mountainous backdrop and a lake that glints brilliantly in the sun, it’s hard to take a bad photo here. In 2014 the Okanagan Valley was named the second best wine region in the world by
Book a guided tour of several wineries with a local company and you won’t have to worry about driving! In 2014 the Okanagan Valley was named the second best wine region in the world by USA Today. It’s just a short flight or a stunning drive through the mountains from Vancouver.
The Rocky Mountains
The Canadian Rocky Mountains stretch across Canada’s two most westerly provinces — British Columbia and Alberta. It is here that you’ll find what many Canadians consider the most beautiful natural wilderness area in the country: Banff National Park. It’s also Canada’s oldest national park, established in 1885.
The area is home to some of the best hiking, camping and skiing in the country and the iconic bright blue Lake Louise. For those looking for another level of adventure, white water rafting is popular too. As an added bonus, admission to all national parks in Canada is free this year in celebration of the country’s 150th.
While Canada celebrates 150 years since Confederation, Montreal is celebrating 375 years of its long and storied history, stretching all the way back to 1642. Brush up on your French (but you’ll have no problem getting around even if you don’t speak French) and get ready for some serious celebrations.
Montreal is known for its vibrant arts and cultural scenes, and this year they’re hitting new highs. From the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal to the trendy haunts of Mile End, this bubbly city is packed full of events, exhibits and new openings this year. If there’s any time to visit Montreal, it’s now. Don’t forget to spend a good chunk of your time eating smoked meat sandwiches, fresh-baked bagels and an obligatory poutine.
Ontario’s Lake Country
Within the province of Ontario alone, there are approximately 250,000 lakes, and over 100,000 kilometres of rivers. If you’re looking for a relaxing break within reach of the country’s largest urban centre, Toronto, this is where you need to be. Check out two of the favourite spots for Torontonians to escape to on the weekends:
Muskoka — The District of Muskoka is the most well known and developed cottage destination in the province. Rent a cottage for the weekend and soak up the relaxed atmosphere. Try some maple syrup from Sugarbush Hill Maple Farm, explore Arrowhead Provincial Park, or cruise around on one of the Muskoka steamships.
Thousand Islands — Straddling the border of Canada and the United States in the St. Lawrence River is where you’ll find a collection of more than 1,800 islands. You can take a cruise or better, rent kayaks to explore this archipelago on your own. You can even stay on a house boat to maximize your time on the water. Visit one of many National Historic sites in the area, and admire the splendour of the islands’ castles including Boldt castle and Singer castle.
Halifax in Nova Scotia is a picturesque maritime town known for its nautical history. Stroll along the waterfront boardwalk to soak up that by-the-sea feeling and breathe in the fresh air. Lobster is a must here, but skip the pricey waterfront spots and head into town for a more local experience. Pick up some salt water taffy to fuel the rest of your exploration.
On the other side of the province, flanked by Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world. It’s recognized as one of the seven wonders of North America, and is the best place to do some whale watching.
If you’re ready to experience the ultimate combination of history, nature, and culture during a time when its being celebrated country-wide, then Canada is the place to be in 2017. There is so much natural and urban beauty around every bend, so be sure to bring your camera.
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- 5 Places to Visit in Canada for the Country’s 150th Birthday - February 28, 2017