With lush rainforests, rugged beaches, glistening glaciers and snow capped mountains to keep you busy it is the perfect destination for wildlife lovers and adventure seekers alike!
It’s all about the outdoors in Canada, and whether you fancy skiing, snowboarding, hiking, cycling, surfing or spotting some iconic wildlife such as Bears, Caribou or Moose there is something for everyone after an action packed gap year or career break!
- At 3,855,103 square miles, Canada is the second largest country in the world, behind Russia.
- Canada’s capital, Ottawa, has the coldest average temperature of any capital city in the world.
- Canada has its own mysterious lake creature, Ogopogo, who reportedly lives in Lake Okanagan, British Columbia.
- Feel the almighty force of the Niagra Falls on a trip on the Lady of the Mist
- Take a trip to Banff National park, learn or improve your Skiing or Snowboarding, or just take in the amazing mountain scenery
- Visit the only fortified city in North America, the city of Quebec, and take in the atmosphere of the old town area
- Visit the World’s largest fresh water lakes, Lake Superior. With some amazing fresh water beaches, and high summer temperatures in the south, this is a fantastic area for a spot of sunbathing
- Marvel at the cityscape views from one of the World’s tallest towers, the CN Tower in Toronto
Where is Canada?
Canada is one of the largest countries in the world, second only to Russia in terms of territorial size and consisting of a total of 3.8 million square miles. Located in the Northernmost part of North America Canada is the neighbouring country of USA, Greenland, Saint Pierre and Miquelon. With such a large landmass Canada has the longest coastline in the world, touching three oceans, The Atlantic, The Arctic, and The Pacific, it also has the largest land border in the world with the United States.
History of Canada
The first inhabitants of Canada were Native Indian peoples, primarily the Inuit who migrated across a land bridge between Siberia and Alaska around 12,000 years ago. The native people lived off the land, some by hunting and gathering and others by raising crops, there was a large amount of warfare between Aboriginal groups as they competed for land and resources. When Europeans, such as missionaries and soldiers explored Canada they brought with them many European diseases that the Aboriginals were not immune to, and subsequently many of them died. Despite this the Aboriginals and Europeans formed strong economic and religious bonds in their first 200 years of coexistence.
The French settled here in the 16th and 17th century and continuing to trade much of their land with the British and following the American Revolution many Britain’s also settled in Canada. In 1867 the passing of the British North America Act from the British government granted the French and English leaders of the colony of Canada the status of a self governing country. In 1969 French was made equal to English throughout the Canadian national government.
Climate in Canada
Due to large landmass Canada’s climate varies dramatically depending on your location in the country. Generally Canada follows four very distinct seasons, particularly along the US border. Summers tend to be hot and dry on the prairies, hot and humid in central Canada and mild on the coasts. Autumns are often cool and crisp across the country and Spring a pleasant temperature while winters are generally very cold with plenty of snow, with it being milder and wet along the West Coast.
Language in Canada
English and French are the most widely spoken languages in Canada and are recognised as the ‘Official’ languages of the country. The five most widely spoken ‘non- official’ languages are Chinese, Punjabi, Spanish, Italian and Arabic.
Food in Canada
Canada’s cuisine is a mix of many cultures with many influences from American diets. There are a few uniquely Canadian meals that may take a bit of getting used to! ‘Poutine’ is probably the most popular of these, which consists of french fries, cheese curd and gravy which originates from Quebec. Thick pea soup is a popular comfort food across the country and of course ‘Sugar Pie’s’ and ‘Butter tarts’ made with Canadian maple syrup
Festivals in Canada
Canada hosts a whole array of festivals and events throughout the year and if there is an opportunity to have a knees up you can count on a city, town or village to arrange one! The world famous Montreal Jazz Festival which showcases some of world’s top jazz musicians is probably the countries most famous event, however there are plenty more to keep your eyes open for as well. Visit the largest winter carnival in the world in Quebec which includes plenty of parades, ice sculptures, music and dancing. Or how about the Caribana festival in Toronto which has been running for 40 years as a reminder of the ethnic diversity of the city. This energetic and colourful festival spans over three weeks and attracts over one million visitors each year to get involved in the colourful costumes, music and food of Jamaica, Guyana, the Bahamas and Brazil.
Travelling in Canada
With so much land to travel across you will undoubtedly find yourself taking advantage of many types of transport.
Bus and Trams
Buses and trams are the cheapest and most popular way to travel around Canada as they tend to be clean and comfortable and run very regularly. ‘Greyhound’ Canada is the most used bus company due to it’s extensive network around the country and even into the US.
Most of the major cities and towns are connected by train and in some remote parts of the country they provide the only overland access. The train is a more expensive option than the bus but tends to be popular for long journeys due to the speed and comfort it offers. It is cheaper to buy return tickets than one way, and buying your tickets days in advance could make you significant savings.
During the warmer weather cycling is a particularly popular way to travel and great for experiencing the countries beautiful landscape (esspecially for those on a budget!) Many cities have dedicated bike routes and there are plenty of quiet back roads to take if you plan ahead.
With it’s huge coastline and abundance of lakes and rivers boats are a common form of transport in Canada. There are regular ferry services between the mainland and surrounding islands.