Canada travel guide




Canada Travel Guide

Where to go in Canada

Canada's most southerly region, south Ontario , contains not only the manufacturing heart of the country and its largest city, Toronto , but also Niagara Falls , Canada's premier tourist sight. North of Toronto there's the far less packaged scenic attraction of Georgian Bay , a beautiful waterscape of pine-studded islets set against crystal-blue waters.

Québec , set apart from the rest of the continent by the profundity of its French tradition, focuses on its biggest city, Montréal , which is for many people the most vibrant place in the country, a fascinating mix of old-world style and commercial dynamism. The pace of life is more relaxed in the historic provincial capital, Québec City , and more easy-going still in the villages dotted along the St Lawrence lowlands, where glittering spires attest to the enduring influence of the Catholic Church.

Across the mouth of the St Lawrence, the pastoral Gaspé peninsula - the easternmost part of Québec - borders New Brunswick , a mild-mannered introduction to the three Maritime Provinces , whose people have long been dependent on timber and the sea for their livelihood. Here, the tapering Bay of Fundy boasts amazing tides - rising and falling by nine metres, sometimes more - whilst the tiny fishing villages characteristic of the region are at their most beguiling near Halifax , the bustling capital of Nova Scotia .

Back on the mainland, separating Ontario from Alberta and the Rockies, the so-called prairie provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan have a reputation for dullness that's somewhat unfair: even in the flat southern parts there's the diversion of Winnipeg , whose traces of its early days make it a good place to break a trans-Canadian journey.

Moving west, Alberta's wheatfields ripple into ranching country on the approach to the Canadian Rockies , whose international reputation is more than borne out by the reality. The provincial capital, Edmonton , is overshadowed by Calgary , a brash place grown fat on the region's oil and gas fields, and the most useful springboard for a venture into the mountains.

When to go to Canada

Spring, summer and autumn are all ideal for touring, though if you want to ski you'll naturally have to come in winter or early spring.

For campers and those who want to visit the far north, the summer months of July and August are best. Summer is also when many of the country's festivals take place.

Note that the peak tourist season is between Victoria Day (late May) and Labour Day (early September). Although spring and autumn have fewer crowds, lower prices and a more relaxed pace than the summer months, some visitor-oriented facilities and attractions may be closed during these shoulder seasons.

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