Canada, a country that’s just over 150 years old, has long held a place in the British imagination and is a place that many of you want to visit. If you have a yearning for wide open spaces, exceptional wildlife and dramatic nature and vibrant cities, it is a superb choice, but do remember to get your eTAthe mandatory travel permit to travel to Canada without a visa. It’s ideal for holidays and trips of less than 6 months.
If you’re after wildlife on a larger scale, Canada certainly has much to offer. Whale watching, including magnificent killer whales, on the Pacific coast, off Vancouver Island, on migratory routes, along with dolphins, seals, sea lions and bald eagles. On the east coast the cetaceans you can see are beluga and sperm whales, truly awesome, jaw-droppingly large. Bears, both black and grizzly, in British Columbia are most easily spotted when they’re emerging from hibernation in spring. For polar bears, head to Churchill in the Arctic, as the bears wait for ice to form on the Hudson Bay. Endangered Leatherback turtles little changed over millennia, are found on the West and East coasts as they migrate to their warmer, southern nesting sites.
On the Great Lakes, Niagara Falls has to be one of nature’s most extraordinary sights: with a drop of over 50 metres, comprising three powerful waterfalls, it’s on the border with the USA and just 120 kilometres from Toronto. All of Canada’s National Parks are an exceptional reminder of the raw, natural beauty throughout the country, whether on the coast or in the rugged interior, where pristine lakes and majestic mountains dominate the scenery. This natural heritage, and its preservation, is very much part of Canada’s appeal. Try parks in the Yukon for a wilderness experience, forests and lakes are omni-present, with the history of the First Nations at the heart. And if you’re keen to see the Aurora Borealis, Canada, away from urban centres and light pollution, is terrific for marvelling at these ‘dancing swords’ of light, especially if you’re in the far north. For a National Park with relatively easy access, try Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands Provincial Park in Ontario, where you might spot a moose (on the loose) or a beaver, Canada’s national animal.
The Rockies are one of Canada’s enduring attractions, with train travel on the aptly named Rocky Mountaineer being very popular. Start in Vancouver and travel via Kamloops to either Banff or Jasper, or take an alternative journey from Vancouver to Jasper, travelling through Whistler and Quesnel. Whichever you pick, glacial mountain scenery, glorious lakes and untouched forests create a setting for unrivalled natural glory.
Canadian cities are an exciting mix of old and new, with history and modern sophistication comfortably rubbing shoulders. Ottawa, the capital city, sits on the river of the same name. In 2010 it received the ‘World Festival and Event City’ award. So pick your theme and plan a trip then. May, for example brings the Festival of Tulips, the result of a strong like between The Netherlands and Canada. East Coast Vancouver is internationally recognised a clean, green and environmentally sustainable city as well as having a pleasantly mild climate. With great nightlife in its West End and Yaletown districts, theatre, music and museums, plus a real outdoor vibe, it is a truly eclectic place in which to spend a few days. Toronto, Canada’s largest city, situated on Lake Ontario, has a diverse population which is reflected in its restaurants and entertainment. It’s also home to many of Canada’s major museums.
Canada, of course, requires a visa – the eTA Canada travel permit. It’s easy enough to complete the eTA application form and we recommend that you check what are the requirements for the eTA before completing it. With your eTA sorted, you’ll be able to travel to this wonderful country without any worries.
There’s no question that Canada, whilst a young country, is filled with a huge variety of holiday options, whether you fancy a city break, a self-drive holiday along the Atlantic or Pacific coasts, a wildlife tour or skiing in the winter. Once you have your eTA, you’ll be spoilt for choice!
- Seamless ski safari in Canada by Louise Hudson
- Celebrate Canada’s 150th in the Maritime Provinces by Gillian Thornton
- Culinary experiences in British Columbia, Canada by Louise Hudson
- British Columbia’s Wonderful Wilderness and Wildlife by Louise Hudson
- Ten reasons to visit Atlantic Canada by Gillian Thornton