Best Things to Do in Canada

Best Things to Do in Canada

Experience the Best of Canada

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash
WRITTEN BYBryan Jacinto
PUBLISHED ONNovember 23, 2023
Mountain Landscape with Grazing Goats.

Are you planning a trip to Canada? You're in luck! This guide will help you discover this country's best experiences. Whether you're an adrenaline junkie, nature enthusiast, or history lover, Canada has something for everyone.

This article will guide you through Canada's best activities and attractions. By the time you finish reading this, packing your bags will be your next move.

Diverse Landscapes and Natural Wonders

Whenever you think of Canada, the first images that often come to mind are its diverse landscapes and natural wonders. This country is home to some of the world's most stunning natural delights, ensuring plenty of marvelous sights and activities for nature lovers.

  • The Rocky Mountains: Nestled in the west, the Rocky Mountains house majestic peaks, pristine lakes, and abundant wildlife. Here, you can embark on exciting activities like mountain climbing, hiking, and even fishing.
  • Niagara Falls: No visit to Canada is complete without witnessing the breathtaking Niagara Falls. Straddling the border between Canada and the United States, the waterfalls represent nature's power and beauty. You can view the falls from various lookout points or take the adventurous path and reach the falls by boat.
  • The Northern Lights: Canada's northern regions offer a rare treat - the mesmerizing sight of the Northern Lights. This natural light show features beautiful colors dancing across the night sky, creating a surreal, magical spectacle.

Immersing yourself in Canada's natural beauty, walking its vast landscapes, and breathing in the fresh air constitutes some of the best experiences in this beautiful country.

Wildlife Experiences

If you admire nature and wildlife, Canada offers many breathtaking experiences. Witness the wilderness in its rawest form and the magical interactions of creatures in their natural habitats.

  • The Majestic Rockies: Start your wilderness journey in the Canadian Rockies. Venture into the forests and walk along winding trails that take you deep into the realms of the wild. Spot grizzlies, black bears, and elk while you traverse these scenic trails.
  • Get Up Close with Seals and Whales: Canada's Maritime provinces offer incredible marine wildlife experiences. Dive into the Atlantic waters and swim with playful seals, or sit on a boat to watch magnificent whales breaching the water's surface.
  • The Great Bird Migration: Experience nature's symphony at its best with the great bird migration in Northern Quebec. From staring in awe at the flocks of Snow Geese to spotting rare avian species, it's a delight for any birdwatcher.

So, in Canada, immerse yourself in these enriching wildlife activities, tread lightly, and respect the soul of these creatures' existence.

Cultural Heritage and Indigenous Experiences

You can't visit Canada without immersing yourself in its rich cultural heritage and indigenous experiences. The country proudly shares its fascinating history and intriguing traditions from east to west and north to south.

  • Historic Sites: Discover the story behind the indigenous peoples and European settlers at national historic sites across Canada. These spots, such as the UNESCO World Heritage site of L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland and Labrador, uncover the journeys and challenges of those who shaped the country.
  • Indigenous Experiences: Engage with the rich and diverse cultures of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada, from the Coast Salish people on the west coast to the Inuit of the north. Participate in a powwow, enjoy traditional arts and crafts workshops, or let the rhythm of drum circles mesmerize you.
  • Museum Tours: Exceptional collections at institutions like the Canadian Museum of History and the Royal Ontario Museum provide insight into Canada's past and present, including indigenous narratives that have shaped the nation. Take advantage of Winnipeg's Canadian Human Rights Museum for a thought-provoking and educational experience.

These experiences will let you see the rich culture of Canada, making your trip through this diverse country even more special.

Adventure and Outdoor Activities

Canada presents many opportunities to quench your thirst for adventure if you're a fan of the great outdoors. With its vast landscapes and picturesque views, Canada provides a playground for outdoor activities, promising an unparalleled experience.

  • Mountain Biking and Hiking: In Canada, you can pedal through thick forests and rugged landscapes on a mountain bike or take a peaceful hike along scenic trails. The West Coast is home to some of the world's renowned mountain bike parks, while the East offers over a thousand hiking trails, each with a unique view to marvel at.
  • Winter Sports: If you visit in the snowy season, you're in for a treat. With countless ski resorts across its provinces, Canada is a paradise for snowboarding and skiing enthusiasts. Try ice-skating on Ottawa's world's longest natural frozen skating rink or participate in an epic dogsledding adventure in the Yukon Territory.
  • Water Activities: Canada boasts many beautiful lakes and rivers, offering countless water activities. The choices are endless, from canoeing and white-water rafting in the Rocky Mountains rivers to paddleboarding in Lake Ontario or even sailing along the coast of Nova Scotia.
  • Rock Climbing and Mountaineering: The Canadian Rockies provide rock climbers and mountaineers with exhilarating ascents and challenges. Whether you're an expert climber or a beginner, a mountain awaits you.

The best time to visit depends on what you're looking to do. Are you interested in learning more? Check out this comprehensive guide on the best time to visit Canada, which provides a detailed overlook of the most optimal moments to ensure your journey is truly unforgettable.

Scenic Journeys

Exploring the vast and picturesque landscapes of Canada can be an enriching experience. Gifted with a wealth of natural wonders ranging from soaring mountain ranges to sparkling lakes, each journey in Canada unfolds a unique and captivating vista.

  • Road Trips: Take a scenic drive along Canada's famed highways. The Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia, a coastal road that takes you along the rugged landscapes of the Cape Breton Highlands, or the Icefields Parkway in Alberta, a 232 km stretch passing through breathtaking Rockies and pristine lakes, are must-see spots. Each bend of the road reveals stunning panoramas that will have you reaching for your camera.
  • Train Journeys: Consider exploring the beauty of Canada from the windows of scenic train rides. Traveling from Toronto to Vancouver, The Canadian train journey unveils the heart of Canada's diverse landscapes. This adventure is unforgettable because of frosted alpine forests, sweeping prairies, and serene lakes.
  • Boat Tours: Take advantage of the coastal beauty that Canada has to offer. Take a boat trip around the charming Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, known for its high tides and prime whale-watching spots. Or, explore the tranquil surroundings of Spirit Island on Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park.

Of course, our words can only give a small taste of the scenic wonderment that awaits you in Canada. Why not venture out for yourself and see this country's natural beauty?

Unique Accommodations

Canada's unique landscape and culture offer an array of remarkable accommodations that can make your stay more memorable. Here are some top choices where you can unwind and rest after your engaging adventures across this vibrant country.

  • Ice Hotels: Experience the beauty of winter inside a hotel crafted purely from ice. The city of Quebec transforms into a winter wonderland with its famous Hôtel de Glace, meticulously carved interiors, and mind-blowing architecture. Rest on ice beds (don't worry, they're comfy and warm) and get a unique lodging experience.
  • Overwater Bungalows: Who said that Overwater Bungalows were only for tropical destinations? You can stay in bungalows suspended just above the water at the Great Bear Lodge in British Columbia. Surrounded by beautiful vistas and stunning wilderness, it's the perfect place for nature lovers.
  • Historic Lodges: The Fairmont Hotels in Banff Springs and Lake Louise are perfect picks if you prefer more historically rich and elegantly preserving lodges. These castle-like accommodations in the heart of the Rocky Mountains will transport you to a different era with their old-world charm.

Intrigued? Let your Canadian accommodation be as spectacular as the scenery! For more details and a comprehensive list of breathtaking places to visit in Canada, check out this article guide here: Best Places to Visit in Canada.

Local Cuisine

Canada's gastronomy reflects its vast multicultural heritage and offers culinary delights to stimulate your palate. Here's a list of what's awaiting you:

  • Poutine: Poutine is the national dish of Canada, made with crispy French fries and cheese curds and topped with a rich brown gravy. This dish originated from Quebec, but it's enjoyed nationwide.
  • Butter Tart: For the sweet tooth, try the Canadian Butter Tart. This sweet dessert is a pastry filled with butter, sugar, and eggs. You can choose from a variety of additions like raisins and nuts.
  • Nanaimo Bars: Named after the city of Nanaimo in British Columbia, Nanaimo Bars are another must-try dessert in Canada. This no-bake three-layered bar has a crumb-based layer, a buttery icing middle, and a smooth layer of melted chocolate.
  • Tourtière: A traditional meat pie, Tourtière is usually served during the holidays. Layered with minced pork, onions, and a medley of spices, all encased within a buttery crust, it's a meal worthy of any time of year.

Canada is also famous for its Maple Syrup. Almost 71% of the world's pure maple syrup is produced in Canada. Try pancakes with maple syrup in Canada, or buy a bottle as a sweet reminder of your Canadian journey!

Festivals and Events

Canada, known for its rich culture and vibrant traditions, annually hosts numerous festivals and events. These celebrations reflect the essence of the country's diversity and spirit.

  • First, embark on a journey to witness the spectacular Toronto International Film Festival. Cinephiles from all over the world flock to this star-studded event to cherish the best of international cinema. It's an opportunity you definitely wouldn't want to miss!
  • Next, experience the culinary delights of Poutine Fest held in Ottawa. This festival celebrates Canada's famous dish, "Poutine," offering many variations that span the globe's culinary landscape.
  • In July, be a part of the grand Calgary Stampede, renowned as "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth." With exciting rodeos, concerts, and exhibits, it's an event that brings the Wild West to life.
  • Lastly, immerse yourself in the breathtaking lights at the Montreal International Fireworks Competition. This event illuminates the night sky of Montreal, offering a visual spectacle unlike any other.

Participating in these festivals and events offers a joyously interactive experience and provides an insightful glimpse into Canada's diverse heritage and lifestyle.

Safety Considerations

Visiting Canada is generally safe but only partially without risk, like all places. As travelers, it's crucial to remain alert and aware of the surroundings. Here are some safety considerations for you:

  • Weather Conditions: Canada's weather can be unpredictable. Depending on the season and province, you could encounter extreme heat, cold, or sudden weather changes. Pack appropriate clothing, stay hydrated, and watch the weather reports.
  • Wildlife: Canada has many nature, including bears, wolves, and moose. Always maintain a safe distance, make noise while hiking to avoid surprise encounters, and never feed the animals. Remember, you're a guest in their home.
  • Familiarize Yourself with Local Laws: Each province in Canada may have different rules and regulations, so it's vital to familiarize yourself with the local laws to avoid any potential inconveniences.
  • Healthcare: The Canadian healthcare system is excellent, but it's vital to have health travel insurance as healthcare can be expensive for non-residents.

Safety always comes first. Make the necessary preparations before your trip and exercise caution during your stay.

Visa Requirements

Whether planning a fun vacation or considering studying or working in Canada, navigating the visa requirements is the first step. Canada's welcoming attitude towards foreigners is well-known. However, knowing what paperwork is needed beforehand can make your journey smoother and stress-free.

Types of Visas

  • Visitor Visa: This is for those who want to travel around, see the sights, or visit family. It's typically valid for six months.
  • Student Visa: This is what you need if you want to study in one of Canada's world-class educational institutions. Keep in mind that it's necessary to have a confirmed admission first.
  • Work Visa: For job seekers or workers who got a job in Canada. You need to have a job offer beforehand.
  • Permanent Residency Permit: This is for those who want to make Canada their home and plan on living there for a while.

Each type of visa has its own set of requirements and documentation procedures. It's essential to check the official website for the most accurate and up-to-date information. Your country's standing with Canada may also affect the visa processes.

Even with a visa, entry to Canada is not guaranteed. Final approval is at the discretion of the Canadian Border Services Agency officer at the point of entry.

Visa Application Process

  • Check if you need a visa: Citizens of certain countries don't need access for short visits to Canada. Double-check before you start the application process.
  • Complete the application form: This is on the official Canadian immigration website. The form varies depending on the type of visa you are applying for.
  • Pay the visa fees: This can also be done online. The fees vary depending on the type of visa.
  • Submit your application: Once you've done the above steps, you can submit your application. Depending on the visa category, you may also need to attend an interview or provide biometric information.

Remember, planning well ahead is essential when applying for a visa. The process can be time-consuming, and delays are common, especially during peak travel seasons. Owning a visa can open up a world of opportunities in the Great White North!

Weather Conditions

If you're planning a trip to Canada, it's important to note that weather conditions can vastly differ across the country due to its large geographical size. Each season offers a unique feel and displays different parts of Canada's beauty.

  • Winter (December to March): Temperatures can go as low as -25°C in some regions. It's perfect for those who relish snow winter sports and the breathtaking winter wonderland views. Don't forget your warm clothes!
  • Spring (April to June): This is a transitional period with cooler but comfortable temperatures. Nature also comes back to life this season - a perfect time for hikes to see the stunning spring blooms.
  • Summer (June to September): See an average temperature of 20°C to 30°C. It's an excellent time to explore the country's countless lakes, parks, and outdoor activities.
  • Fall (September to November): Offers picturesque landscapes painted with vibrant fall colors, with temperatures gradually more relaxed. It's also a less crowded season, making it ideal for tranquil exploration.

The weather can be unpredictable sometimes and differ significantly within regions. So, it's always wise to check forecasts closer to your travel dates and plan accordingly for a comfortable and memorable exploration of Canada.

Transportation Options

As the world's second-largest country, Canada offers many transportation options to explore its vast and diverse landscapes. The proper mode of transport will make your journey across Canada as exciting as the country itself.

  • Airlines: Flying could be your best bet for covering long distances quickly in Canada. The country has a well-developed air network with international airports in big cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal and several regional airports facilitating easy access to more secluded areas.
  • Rail Travel: Nothing quite matches the romance of rail travel, and in Canada, you can experience transnational journeys that offer spectacular scenery. Companies like VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer offer routes that pass through Canada's dramatic landscapes, from sparkling lakes to majestic mountain ranges.
  • Road Travel: Canada's road network is comprehensive and well-maintained, making road trips a favorite option for many travelers. Whether renting a car, taking a bus, riding a bike, or using rideshare services, Canadian highways, and scenic routes promise an unforgettable road trip experience.
  • Public Transit: Major Canadian cities boast efficient public transit systems that include buses, streetcars, light rail, and subway lines. They are practical, economical, and often the fastest way to get around within city limits.
  • Ferries: With a longer coastline than any other country, Canada offers numerous ferry services. Use these to explore the coastline, visit picturesque islands, or cross rivers where bridges are scarce.
  • Biking and Hiking: Lastly, Canada's numerous trails offer lovely biking and hiking options for the more active adventurers. They are a healthier, environmentally-friendly way to explore and allow opportunities for intimate experiences of Canada's breathtaking nature and wildlife.

For a more flexible travel plan, consider renting a car. The country's extensive road network allows you to explore independently. Remember that in Canada, driving is on the right-hand side of the road. If you're planning to hit the road, here's a comprehensive driving guide for Canada that will help you understand the rules and give you some crucial tips.

Healthcare and Travel Insurance

Health and safety should be your key considerations when planning a trip to Canada. Although Canada has top-rated healthcare facilities, these services may not be freely accessible for travelers. Therefore, it is advisable to secure travel insurance to cover any unforeseen medical expenses during your visit.

Select an insurance plan offering emergency hospitalization and medication coverage, especially if you have pre-existing medical conditions. Be sure to understand the range of your coverage thoroughly. Some policies may not include high-risk activities such as certain winter sports and adventures to remote areas.

In case of a health issue in Canada, you'd typically need to visit a healthcare facility. It's essential to keep your insurance information handy for ease of service. Furthermore, pharmacies for basic healthcare needs and prescriptions are conveniently located nationwide.


Embracing Canada's linguistic diversity is an essential part of your journey. As a bilingual country, the official languages are English and French, so you'll likely hear both throughout your travels. While English is predominantly spoken in most provinces, Quebec is primarily French-speaking. However, don't worry if you're not fluent in either language, as many Canadians are multicultural and can speak multiple languages.

Most signage, menus, and tourist information are in English and French. So, rest assured, language barriers are unlikely to hinder your exploration and enjoyment of this great nation.


When it comes to currency, Canada uses the Canadian Dollar (CAD), divided into 100 cents.

Coins include the nickel (5 cents), dime (10 cents), quarter (25 cents), loonie (1 dollar), and toonie (2 dollar). Notes are available in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 dollars. Exchange rates can vary, so checking the current rate before you travel is essential.

Most places accept major credit cards like Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. However, having some cash handy for smaller transactions or places that don't accept cards is always a good idea. ATMs are widely available for withdrawals; watch for possible foreign transaction fees. If you prefer not to carry much cash, consider traveler's checks, which are widely accepted across Canada.

Remember, when budgeting for your trip, account for sales tax and tipping, which can add to your total cost.

Local Laws and Customs

When traveling to Canada, you'll discover that Canadians are known for their politeness and respect for laws. However, it's essential for you to know and abide by the country's local laws and customs to ensure a hassle-free stay.

While common laws about not driving under the influence and observing speed limits are a given, other regulations might be unique to Canada. For instance, taking bear sprays into certain national parks is illegal, and smoking laws vary across provinces.

Besides the laws, there are certain social norms to keep in mind. Canadians value personal space and privacy, so keeping a respectful distance in social interactions is best.

Note that you must communicate primarily in French in Quebec due to the province's language laws. Observing these local customs and laws shows respect for the country's traditions and adds to the overall pleasantness of your Canadian adventure.


You'll find robust connectivity in cities and major tourist locations when traveling through Canada. Canada boasts widespread 4G and 5G networks, ensuring a seamless internet experience.

Free Wi-Fi is also commonly available in cafés, hotels, and some public areas, allowing you to stay plugged into the world throughout your Canadian adventure. However, connectivity might be limited in remote parts such as certain parks or wilderness areas.

Before heading to these destinations, download the necessary information or maps for offline use. Prepaid SIM cards are readily available for international visitors if you want to maintain uninterrupted connectivity. Always check your mobile provider's roaming charges and coverage before your journey.

Time Zones

Due to its vast geographic spread, Canada covers six different time zones. Knowing this fact can help you accurately schedule your activities and avoid confusion.

  • Atlantic Standard Time (AST): Those traveling to Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Labrador will find themselves in AST.
  • Eastern Standard Time (EST): This is the timezone for Ontario and Quebec, where some of Canada's major cities, like Toronto and Montreal, are located.
  • Central Standard Time (CST): This applies to parts of Nunavut, Ontario, and Manitoba.
  • Mountain Standard Time (MST): Provinces, including Alberta, parts of British Columbia, Northwest Territories, and parts of Nunavut, are in MST.
  • Pacific Standard Time (PST): This timezone covers British Columbia and Yukon, perfect for those heading west to Vancouver or for an immersive Klondike Gold Rush experience.
  • Newfoundland Standard Time (NST): This unique timezone only applies to Newfoundland and parts of Labrador and is the only one of its kind in Canada, being a half hour ahead of its neighboring AST.

Canada observes daylight saving time. So, from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November, each time zone is ahead by an hour.

Tipping Etiquette

When visiting Canada, it's essential to understand the local tipping etiquette to engage appropriately and respectfully with staff in the service industry.

Generally, it is customary to tip between 15% and 20% of your total bill before restaurant taxes. If you're dining in a group of six or more, your bill may automatically include a gratuity of 18%. Tipping isn't just reserved for dining experiences, though. Taxi and Uber drivers, hairdressers, massage therapists, and tour guides usually expect a 10-15% tip.

Leave a daily tip of CAD $2- $5 for hotel services like housekeeping. Remember, each tip significantly contributes to their income, and every penny is appreciated.

Sustainability and Environmental Impact

Canada has various amazing natural wonders, from stunning mountains to beautiful forests and lively oceans. Protecting these treasures is a priority; sustainable tourism is so important. It helps keep these gems healthy and vibrant for generations to come.

So, be a conscientious traveler by adhering to the specific rules, especially in national parks and heritage sites. They're there to help minimize the impact of tourists on the environment.

Around the country, communities and businesses are going green. They're exploring renewable energy, sustainable farming, and promoting eco-friendly products. By supporting these initiatives, you play a part in fighting global warming and preserving Canada's biodiversity.

If you're thinking about how to further reduce your environmental impact, consider how you travel. Bike, walk, or use public transportation when you can. Flying? Some airlines offer carbon offset programs. They allow you to contribute to environmental projects that balance out the emissions from your flight.

International Driving Permit for Canada

Remember to get your International Driving Permit (IDP) for Canada! This globally recognized document translates your driver's license into ten languages and gives you the authority to drive a private car in Canada. It's convenient during any unexpected encounters at the roadside.

Why get an IDP, you ask? Two words – flexibility and convenience. With an IDP, you can rent and hit the road in any vehicle across Canada. While Canada generally respects foreign licenses, rental firms often prefer an IDP. And, in the unfortunate event of a mishap, an IDP can help clear things up with the local police.

Remember, you must apply for your IDP in your home country before you jet off to Canada – getting one after arriving is impossible. And believe us, the last thing you want is to navigate legal complexities when you could be marveling at Canada's stunning scenery.

Closing Thoughts

Canada is a treasure trove of experiences, boasting stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, thrilling wildlife encounters, and delightful local cuisine. This vast country promises every traveler an extraordinary adventure, whether you're here for a family holiday, a solo exploration, or a group journey. It's an experience that will capture your imagination and create unforgettable memories.

Ready to embark on your Canadian adventure? Maybe you already have a bucket list or have experienced this country and have a story to share.

Feel free to leave a comment below.

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