Canadian provinces stretch from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, from the Arctic Circle to the U.S. border. This country offers a range of experiences as diverse as polar bear tours along the Hudson Bay, shopping for diamonds in Yellowknife, enjoying French heritage in cosmopolitan Quebec, and so many more. Whether you're seeking adventure or looking to connect with culture, you'll find the perfect vacation somewhere in the vast country of Canada.
Ontario, one of the most diverse of all of the Canadian provinces, is home to Canada's largest city as well as its capital. Toronto, the cosmopolitan capital city, is loved for its approachable residents, clean streets, wealth of attractions, and ease of getting around. Places like Hockey Hall of Fame, the CN Tower, and the Second City complement cultural happenings, including ethnic celebrations and one of the world's largest live theater scenes. Over in Niagara Falls, visitors come to admire the natural wonder and to experience the fun attractions that have popped up around the falls.
Canada's capital, Ottawa, also friendly and accessible, is perhaps best loved for its free tourism resources, including the parliament and the tulips that bloom in the spring.
Just over the border from Ottawa, you'll find Quebec, with chic Montreal, historic Quebec City, and countless scenic sites. As the only one of the Canadian provinces with French as the official language, Quebec offers numerous opportunities to experience a rich culture. Montreal, the largest French-speaking city outside of Paris, has its share of sidewalk cafes and boutiques, as well a wide array of museums, kid-friendly nature tours, and the simply stunning Notre Dame Basilica.
Quebec City has the distinction of being the only city in North America with ramparts. Today's visitors can see with the French and the British skirmished on the Plains of Abraham, have tea at the elegant Chateau Frontenac, and enjoy the Carnaval de Quebec, one of the biggest wintertime events anywhere. In January and February, the city transforms into a winter wonderland complete with an ice hotel and a packed schedule of fun things to do.
While Quebec retains its French flair, Atlantic Canada celebrates its British, Celtic, and Gaelic roots. The Canadian provinces along the eastern coast, from tiny, verdant Prince Edward Island to the sprawling Newfoundland and Labrador, offer miles and miles of coastline where you can visit lighthouses, watch for whales, and see authentic fishing villages that keep the old way of life alive. You'll also find vibrant cities, including Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Saint John, New Brunswick, where you can soak in the local culture, hang out in pubs, and taste the local cuisine.
Way over on the west coast, British Columbia offers a mix of coastal adventure, alpine adventures, and Wild West settings. Victoria, the capital, has beautiful gardens and tearooms to spare, while Vancouver combines a vibrant city with outdoor adventure. The skiing in Whistler is some of the best in the world, and plenty of wide-open spaces in northern British Columbia set the stage for amazing camping and hiking.
British Columbia also shares the Canadian Rockies with its neighbor, Alberta. Banff and Lake Louise have picture-perfect lakes, meadows, and chalets, all with the towering mountains in the backdrop. Alberta's two main cities have a flair all their own. Calgary offers the spirit of the old and new West as visitors flock to the summertime Calgary Stampede and visit world-class museums. Edmonton, best known for its huge West Edmonton Mall, hosts more than 30 festivals throughout the year.
Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the two Canadian provinces on the prairie, have seen a lot of growth in their first century. Saskatchewan's Queen City, Regina, and Saskatoon have matured from rough-and-tumble prairie towns to exciting cities where you can enjoy live music, experience First Nations heritage, and see where the next generations of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are trained.
Manitoba, long a gathering point for various cultures, has a vibrant downtown and French Quarter. Winnipeg also hosts Folkorama, a summertime cultural festival with no rival. Up in the northern reaches of Manitoba, you'll have the chance to see polar bears and beluga whales in their natural habitats.
For a truly northern adventure, you could spend time in Canada's territories. The Yukon Territory shares a border with Alaska, as well as gold rush and dog sledding traditions. Yellowknife, the capital of the Northwest Territories, is the center of the Canadian diamond trade, as well as a hotspot for folk music and shopping. Nunavut, the newest territory, is also Canada's largest. Here, Inuit culture and polar landscapes are just waiting to be discovered. In all of the territories, and all of the provinces, too, you'll find nearly endless opportunities for outdoor adventure among the beautiful landscapes of Canada.
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