A journey across Canada is virtually a rite of passage for Aussie travellers, and from east to west this majestic country offers an extraordinarily rich travel experience. Adam Ford checks in with a list of ten top things to see and do in Canada's key tourist centres...
Canada is the second largest nation on earth and an incredibly vibrant and diverse country.
This is a travel destination where Australians immediately feel at home — and one that will refresh and revitalise the weariest of holidaymakers. From the exquisite natural beauty of the Rockies in the country’s west, to the intriguing French-speaking urban centres in the east, a journey across Canada offers many memorable highlights.
Here are ten top things to do in Canada for first-time visitors.
1. Ride the Rocky Mountaineer
The Rocky Mountaineer is one of the world’s great rail experiences, and travels through some of the planet’s most spectacular scenery. GoldLeaf Service, with its glass domed roof and a la carte dining service, is unforgettable, but however you choose to travel, this will be an experience you’ll talk about for the rest of your life.
Thinking about booking Rocky Mountaineer Gold Leaf Service? In this excerpt from the Tour the World travel TV series, we take you on board the fabulous Rocky Mountaineer for the rail journey of a lifetime in Gold Leaf Service through Canada’s spectacular Rocky Mountains!
Please note: Since we produced this video, RedLeaf Service on the Rocky Mountaineer has been discontinued.
2. Spend a night at Lake Louise
Lake Louise is quite possibly the world’s most beautiful location for a hotel and our tour included a night at the historic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, which is located right on the magnificent lake. Push the boat out on a Lakeview Room during your stay. You won’t regret it.
3. Enjoy high tea at the Banff Springs Hotel
Banff is the adventure capital of the Rocky Mountains. Enjoy some serious people watching in town or hit the outdoor and adventure wear stores, before you head off to the legendary Banff Springs Hotel for afternoon tea.
4. While away a weekend in Vancouver
It’s easy to see why Vancouver is regularly up there as one of the world’s most liveable cities. Paddle-board in the morning, ski in the afternoon. Need we say more?
5. Spot a bear in the wild
OK, so this one doesn’t come for the asking, but if it does happen (and there’s a good chance it will), you’ll never forget it. Travel in spring for the chance to see mums with their cubs.
6. Get lost in Old Quebec City
Quebec City is a walled slice of old-world Europe, the likes of which you won’t find anywhere else in North America. Wandering the winding cobbled streets and taking in the exquisite period architecture is one of the great joys of visiting this destination. Stay at the legendary Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac.
7. See Niagara Falls
Despite the tackarama theme park-style surroundings, Niagara Falls is everything you dreamed it would be. Fulfil your life’s ambition to visit this icon of North American popular culture, and take a ride towards the thundering falls with Hornblower Niagara Cruises.
8. Experience First Nations’ culture in Ottawa
This is a familiar story in some ways, although modern-day Canada seems to have embraced integration with its Indigenous population far more easily than we have back home in Australia. Learn about First Nations’ culture at a fascinating presentation on Turtle Island in Ottawa.
9. Eat breakfast at the top of the CN Tower in Toronto
Get the day off to a great start with breakfast five hundred metres up at the top of the mighty CN Tower in Toronto. Enjoy your weeties with spectacular views of the city and Lake Ontario.
10. Tuck into a plate of poutine
Poutine is Canada’s unofficial and much-loved national dish — chips, gravy and cheese curd all mixed together in one gooey lump of goodness. Montreal is reputedly the spot to sample the world’s best poutine.
Do you have any suggestions to add to our list of ten top things to do in Canada? We would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.
Additional images: Bigstock
This segment of Tour the World was coproduced by Peppercorn Productions — publisher of The Big Bus tour and travel guide.
About the writer
Adam Ford is editor of The Big Bus tour and travel guide and a travel TV presenter, writer, blogger and photographer. He has travelled extensively through Europe, Asia, North America, Africa and the Middle East. Adam worked as a travel consultant for a number of years with Flight Centre before taking up the opportunity to travel the world himself as host of the TV series Tour the World on Network Ten. He loves to experience everything a new destination has to offer and is equally at home in a five-star Palazzo in Pisa or a home-stay in Hanoi.