Canada is a country occupying northern North America, bounded to the south by the United States, to the northwest by Alaska, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean and to the west by the Pacific Ocean. It extends through the Arctic Ocean to the North Pole, making it the northernmost country in the world. It is the second largest country in area, after Russia.
The capital city is Ottawa, Ontario. Much of Canada lies in Arctic regions, however, and thus Canada has only the fourth-most arable land area behind Russia, China, and the U.S. The most densely populated part of the country is the Quebec City-Windsor Axis in the east. West of Ontario, the broad, flat Canadian Prairies spread toward the Rocky Mountains, which separate them from British Columbia.
Northern Canadian vegetation tapers from coniferous forests to tundra and finally to Arctic barrens in the far north. The northern Canadian mainland is ringed with a vast archipelago containing some of the world’s largest islands.
Canada has the world’s largest freshwater island, Manitoulin Island, which divides Georgian Bay and Lake Huron and the world’s longest freshwater beach, Wasaga Beach, on the Lake Huron shoreline. Thanks to past glacial activity in the Canadian Shield, Canada also boasts more freshwater lakes than any other nation, with over a million in Ontario alone.
Canada has a reputation for cold temperatures but, throughout, experiences four distinct seasons. Winters can be harsh in many regions of the country, with frequent blizzards and even ice storms.
Coastal British Columbia is an exception: it enjoys a temperate climate with much milder winters than the rest of the country.
Niagara Falls, Niagara Falls
Three magnificent falls, two American and one Canadian, mark the point at which the Niagara River rumbles over the Niagara Escarpment.
Lake Louise, Banff National Park
Beautiful lake surrounded by woods and hiking trails.
Old Montreal (Vieux-Montreal), Montreal
Stroll, bicycle or take a horse-drawn carriage through the narrow cobblestone streets of Montreal’s famous Parisian-style historic district, filled with cultural landmarks, museums, boutiques, sidewalk cafes and restaurants.
Rideau Canal, Ottawa
One of the oldest landmarks in Ottawa, this canal is filled with boats in the summer and becomes the “World’s Longest Skating Rink” in the winter.
Whistler Mountain, Whistler
This mountain provides some of the best skiing in the world.
Stanley Park, Vancouver
North America’s third-largest park draws eight million visitors per year, many of whom may skate or walk past you on the Seawall, a scenic, 5.5-mile path running along the water on the park’s perimeter. It’s just one of many trails among the park’s 1,000 acres, which also house an aquarium, nature center and other recreational facilities.
Vancouver Whale Watch, Richmond Seasonal, guided tours led by professional naturalists, including whale watching trips, sea lion and birding tours, and other nature and historical tours.
How to get there
Regularly scheduled service to and from major Canadian cities is offered by major airlines throughout the world.
Canada’s national carrier is Air Canada
Most visitors to Canada travel in their own vehicle, or rent one upon arrival.
One of the many trains is the Canadian, which runs between Toronto and Vancouver via Edmonton and Jasper three days a week in either direction. The Canrailpass allows unlimited travel anywhere on the VIA Rail system for 12 days within any given 30-day period.
Greyhound bus service serves areas throughout Canada.
Brant Wildlife Festival (April) – The Brant Festival is held in Parksville and Qualicum Beach in early April each year to celebrate the migratory stopover of over 20,000 Brant geese. Each spring, immense flocks of Brant geese descend on the shores of Vancouver Island for a last major food stop before continuing their amazing journey north to the Alaskan breeding grounds.
Filberg Festival (August) – The Filberg Festival, reputed to be the best Arts and Crafts festival in the Pacific Northwest, offers an amazing selection of the finest quality work, from pottery to hand made toys – all produced by BC resident artists.
Pacific Rim Whale Festival (mid March to early April) – The northward migration of an estimated 21,000 Gray whales along the west coast of Vancouver Island.
Jazz Fest International (June) – Lovers of jazz can take in music by jazz performers from around the world when they grace Victoria’s stages for 10 days and nights in June.
Victoria Classic Boat Festival (September) – Victoria’s Inner Harbour is the place to be on the Labour Day weekend when around 100 classic sail and power boats from throughout the Pacific Coast and beyond arrive for the Classic Boat Festival. Started in 1976.
Eating Dining Shopping
The choices are endless! From boutiques and high-end shopping centres to antique shops and farmers markets. Vancouver, Coast & Mountains offers a shopping experience that will please everyone!
Useful telephone numbers
Emergency Number; Tel 911
Airport Information Air Canada (888/247-2262)
Train station: For Amtrak information, call 800/872-7245.)
Tourist Office: Ontario Tourism 1-800-668-2746
Holiday rents online:
National Transport Line
24 hour medical service