Tucked in between the United States, Greenland, and the Arctic Circle lies the expansive country of Canada. Home to famous cities like Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary, it’s fast becoming a sought-after destination for travellers, adventure seekers, nature lovers and families. If you’re planning a trip to Canada, we want to help you get really excited about it – because it’s a big deal and a great country to visit!
Here are five ways to build the excitement for your upcoming trip to Canada.
1. Set the scene with right movie
Just in case you weren’t already amped from reading countless tour guides and scouring the web for postcard-perfect pictures of Canada, we think you should go one step further. Take a day or two to visually soak up the beauty of the country you’re about to visit with a few top-notch movies set in Canada. These are two of our favourites:
- Scott Pilgrim vs The World
o This movie was shot completely and entirely in Canada and it showcases a little bit of the cool factor that one can expect from it. It highlights a lot of the local hangouts for Toronto’s youth (including its incredible music scene), giving you a taste of real life in the city.
- Brokeback Mountain
o Although it’s said to be set in Wyoming, it was actually filmed in the beautiful Canadian Rockies and the province of Alberta. Some of the landmarks you can look out for include Moose Mountain, Fortress Mountain and Mount Lougheed. If you’re into nature and hiking at all, you should definitely plan a trip to at least one of these beautiful locations.
- One Week
Not only does this movie have Dawson’s Creek very own Joshua Jackson, it’s the ultimate Canadian love letter. After Joshua Jackson’s character is diagnosed with cancer he decides to take a motorcycle trip across the country, beginning in Toronto and ending in Tofino, British Columbia. Along the way, he passes by a handful of both iconic and lesser-known landmarks that range from kitschy like Sudbury’s Big Nickel to the classy and extravagant like the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta. One thing’s for sure, after watching this movie you’ll be itching to see every corner of this beautiful nation.
The Canadian Rockies are one of our most favourite places in the world. The vastness of the mountains, many shades of blue coloured lakes and all the wildlife. In spring, watching little bear cubs learning to walk, play and follow mama bear is a rare feeling of true connection with nature. One of the best places to see it all is Banff National Park. Road trip from Banff to Jasper offers endless stops for hiking, swimming in alpine lakes and making lifelong memories. We’ve been lucky to live near the Canadian Rockies and visited Banff many times. Hopefully,everyone will get a chance to see the untouched nature Canada has to offer. – Maya and Michal, Travel with the Smile
2. Find a book that will get you familiar with Canada
We’re certain you’ve been Googling Canada on a daily basis to get your fix of excitement, but here are a few books that can take it one step further. There’s nothing like a classic, handheld book (or Kindle version) that you can page through at your leisure, right?
- 25 Places In Canada Every Family Should Visit
o If you’re doing the family vibe, then you must get this book, as it will underline all the family-friendly places you need to get to during your trip. If you haven’t added these to your itinerary, then perhaps it’s time? Get the book (or Kindle version) on Amazon here.
- Anne of Green Gables
Nothing quite inspires us to explore Canada’s East Coast quite like this 20th-century book series about a rambunctious young red-headed orphan named…you guessed it, Anne. Mistakenly assigned to a quiet family of farm owners on the beautiful Prince Edward Island, the adventures Anne gets herself into have inspired people from all over the world to travel to Eastern Canada for decades.
- The Great Canadian Bucket List
o This is your one-stop guide to all the things you should be squeezing into your Canadian adventure for a whole load of “one of a kind travel experiences.” Get the book or Kindle version on Amazon.
3. Hang out with wildlife so there are no surprises
If there’s one thing that Canada has in abundance, it’s wild animals, and they tend to frequently hang out in civilised locations alongside humans. This is especially true in the towns and villages that are a little more remote. Perhaps a trip to the zoo or your local nature reserve will equip you with the appropriate reactions to seeing wild animals in public. You might spot a moose, definitely some squirrels, badgers and porcupines, while coyotes have also been known to traverse Toronto.
I absolutely love how stunning the Rocky Mountains are. There is nowhere on the planet quite like it: insanely blue lakes, enormous peaks and some of the most beautiful drives ever.Our personal favorite spots:
- Waterton Lakes National Parks has the best and most exciting hikes
- Driving the Icefields Parkway between Banff and Jasper – seriously stunning views the whole way!
- Canoeing on Emerald Lake – the color is mind-blowing and the experience is surreal. – Lou & Rob, Elite Jetsetter
4. Practice eating maple syrup with everything
When something as delicious as maple syrup is sourced predominantly from your country, then you can’t be faulted for wanting to eat it with everything. Perhaps that’s why their flag sports a beautiful red maple leaf? But when you taste the real deal…you’ll understand the passion! Get your hands on some 100% pure, quality maple syrup and practice eating it with some of your favourite foods like:
- Pancakes smothered in maple syrup – hands down the best thing ever
- Maple syrup and mustard glaze on chicken wings
- Maple syrup candied bacon
- Maple syrup, lemon, balsamic vinegar and olive oil salad dressing
As I’m a city girl at heart, the main highlight of any visit home to Canada (I’m a Canadian living in Berlin, Germany) is getting to experience the culinary delights of my home town of Toronto. While Berlin is considered to be international, it has nothing on Toronto. Whenever I’m home, I love heading to different parts of the city, be it Chinatown, Little Italy, or other lesser known neighborhoods to sample different styles of food. Hitting up the markets are also a treat, as places like St Lawrence Market offer up some of the best food in town including Toronto’s iconic peameal bacon sandwiches. – Cheryl, Cheryl Howard
Travel to: Canada
We’ll say it now…you’re welcome! These tips will inspire a life-changing, irresistible desire to get yourself to Canada and experience the real deal up close. Bon Appétit!
Food is definitely one of the biggest highlights in my Canadian experience. Living in Toronto has opened my taste to culinary cuisines from all over the world due to its cultural diversity. Being a seafood lover, Canada has exposed me to some of the best seafood available in the world exposing me to specialties from both the west coast of British Columbia and the east coast of Nova Scotia. As well, with the abundance of wildlife in Canada, you can try meat from a wide variety of animals from Moose, Elks and Bison to Rabbits, Wild Boars and Bears.One of my most memorable experience was kayaking 10.2-km round-trip to eat freshly caught and fried pickerel for the Paddle and Shore Lunch during the 9th Annual Great Canadian Kayak Challenge and Festival. It was truly a unique Canadian experience. Being here has exposed me to a lot of first time experiences including fishing, skiing, and the very special glamping in the Boreal forest. There are so much more to explore in Canada, and I can’t wait to experience each one! – Raymond, Travelling Foodie
5. Build a great Canadian playlist
So before you blame Canada for Justin Bieber, you need to thank them for great music legends like Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and The Tragically Hip. You can assemble the perfect cross-genre playlist to get pumped for your trip to the Great White North with a little research; you might even be surprised by how many artists or songs you loved and didn’t know where Canadian. If you’re into alt-pop add some Alvvways or Arcade Fire to your mix. If you’ll be taking a road trip then you absolutely need to make sure you’ve got Bachman-Turner Overdrive, The Guess Who or Gordon Lightfoot on hand.
- The Food: Toronto offers a diverse range of food options for everyone to enjoy, even the pickiest of eaters. From the popular Quebec dish – poutine (which you should try at Smoke’s Poutinerie) – to sushi, burgers & fries, milkshakes (get the most delicious milkshake at Peace Treats), churros, and the World Famous Peameal Bacon Sandwich at Carousel Bakery in St. Lawrence Market – there really is something for every type of eater in Toronto.
- The Locals: EVERYONE I encountered in Toronto were extremely friendly. I’m not exaggerating either, I’ve never experienced such great hospitality when traveling until I visited Toronto. If you’re lost, you can easily go up to someone and they’ll eagerly help you get to your destination (or in my case, someone will come up to you and ask if you need assistance getting somewhere).
- Graffiti Alley: This was probably the biggest highlight for me because I am personally obsessed with street art. This is a free activity that you can spend 30 minutes, or more, enjoying if you’re in the Queen Street West area. Graffiti Alley is exactly what it sounds like, an alley filled with beautiful graffiti – you’ll see plenty of people hanging around this alley taking photos. – Paula, Curly Hair Adventures
We could go on for days but why not just head north and catch a show to experience Canadian music for yourself?