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Get your culture fix in Canada
Get your culture fix in Canada
Crack the Hermetic Code in Manitoba
Do your own super-sleuthing in one of North America's most mysterious buildings.
Prince Edward Island: Beyond Anne of Green Gables
While it’s childhood novel Anne of Green Gables that draws most Australians to Prince Edward Island, there are many more reasons to visit this eastern Canadian province.
Undiscovered Ottawa City Guide
Few national capitals reflect their native lands better than Ottawa, where its mix of culture and nature impresses everyone from daytrippers to visiting royal couples; this is our Undiscovered Ottawa City Guide. By Adam Bisby.
To really ‘get’ the Yukon you need to understand the colourful locals
From top-selling authors to painted ladies and Donald Trump’s grandfather’s brothel, the Yukon Territory has a wild and woolly history full of crazy characters. These are the characters, both present and past, you need to know to really understand the frontier that is the Yukon. By Jim Byers.
Spend a storied evening in a First Nations longhouse
Go back in time with the First People in a traditional Canadian longhouse.
The quirky Canadian towns you’ll want to take a detour for
Vancouver you probably know about. Ditto for Toronto and maybe Montreal. But there are dozens of interesting quirky towns in Canada that you definitely should check out on your next visit. Here are eight of former Toronto Star travel editor Jim Byers’ personal favourites. Owen Sound, Ontario There’s a pretty downtown with a great book store called Ginger Press where they not only sell and publish books but also have a cafe. Harrison Park is in a beautiful valley sandwiched between two arms of the massive Niagara Escarpment, a ridge that runs 700-plus kilometres through Ontario and is a UNESCO-protected biosphere. The park offers pedal boats, camping, basketball and, in winter, ice skating. There’s also a lovely Black History Cairn in the park as Owen Sound marked the northernmost terminus of the Underground Railroad, which brought escaping slaves from the US to freedom in Canada. [caption id="attachment_27065" align="alignnone" width="1000"] The Black History Cairn in Owen Sound, Ontario, is a moving tribute to the Underground Railway (photo: Jim Byers).[/caption] Try the Saturday morning farmers’ market, too. Turner Valley, Alberta Less than hour south of Calgary in pretty ranching country, you’ll find a wonderful craft distillery called Eau Claire. Part of the operation is located in the town’s former brothel, this being a hotspot for bootleggers and booze smugglers back in the days of Prohibition. They make several craft liquors, including one of the smoothest vodkas I’ve ever tried. Next door is the Chuck Wagon Cafe and Grill, with legendary burgers and a real Western/cowboy theme. Wolfville, Nova Scotia This is a town you want to give a warm hug to; a tidy spot with one of Canada’s prettiest universities, Acadia. The university’s main hall sits atop a small hill as you enter the town from the west. The main street is only a couple blocks long, but there are cute restaurants and shops. The nearby Tangled Garden is a fine spot to admire floral displays and taste locally made herb jellies. [caption id="attachment_27057" align="alignnone" width="1000"] In Wolfville, Luckett Vineyards sits on a hill with lovely views (photo: Scott Munn).[/caption] Local wineries are getting better every year. Luckett Vineyards sits on a hill with lovely views. They also have a British-style phone booth in the middle of the vineyards, with free calls to anywhere in North America. Sooke, British Columbia [caption id="attachment_27058" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Mom's cafe serves a mouth-watering pie, it's jam-packed with 50 apples in every pie, find it in Sooke, BC, Canada (photo: Jim Byers).[/caption] Victoria, which is on the south end of Vancouver Island, gets less rain than Vancouver. Sooke, which is west of Victoria, gets less than Victoria. That makes this one of the driest, warmest spots in British Columbia in winter. It’s also a fun town that’s home to a great cafe called Mom’s, which makes apple pies the size of a Smart Car (they say they use up to 50 apples per pie) and a great coffee shop called The Stick in the Mud. Sooke Harbour House is a casual but elegant hotel on the water with one of the best restaurants in the country. They practically invented farm-to-table as a food concept in Canada, and the views out over the bay are terrific. Baie St. Paul, Quebec [caption id="attachment_27068" align="alignnone" width="1000"] The décor is Canadian chic mixed with European flair at Le Germain Hotel in Charlevoix, Canada (photo: Jim Byer).[/caption] This is a lovely village east of Quebec City, nestled in part of a crater created when a monster-sized meteor hit millions of years ago. You’ll find a lovely village lined with cute shops and some pretty wild art, Quebec not being known for its conservative nature. Le Germain Charlevoix (Charlevoix being the name of the overall area) is a fantastic hotel on land that used to be one of Canada’s largest farms. [caption id="attachment_27056" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Le Germain is a hotel in Charlevoix, it's built on land that used to be one of Canada's largest farms (photo: Groupe Germain Hotels).[/caption] The food is sublime, even for the high standards of Quebec, and rooms are done in a variety of styles with nods to the agricultural history of the area and plenty of European design flair. You can skate on the natural rink or soak in hot tubs in winter. In summer, try cycling or whale-watching on the St. Lawrence River. Summerside, Prince Edward Island Many tourists flock to Charlottetown, the capital of PEI, or to Cavendish to see Anne of Green Gables country. But Summerside is a fun town of its own with a pretty waterfront. [caption id="attachment_27059" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Norman Zeledon is the owner of the food truck The Gallery, he whips up tasty fare, find him in Summerside, Prince Edward Island (photo: Jim Byers).[/caption] The Galley is a fine food truck run by a fellow from Nicaragua named Norman Zeledon, who can whip up everything from slow-cooked porchetta to Salvadoran slaw to Mennonite-style pickle soup. Holman’s ice-creamery is in a lovely, historic home with a pretty garden and wonderful ice-cream (try the lemon-blueberry). Not far from Summerside are the famous Bottle Houses of PEI: a series of buildings (including a chapel) fashioned from more than 25,000 empty bottles. Gananoque, Ontario [caption id="attachment_27061" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Steel Style Garage sells clothes in Gananoque, Ontario (photo: Jim Byers).[/caption] This pretty town in Eastern Ontario sits on a river that flows into the mighty St. Lawrence and is known as the gateway to the Thousand Islands – a series of 1,700-plus (someone counted) islands and islets that dot the St. Lawrence, many in Canada but some in the US. Tour boats can take you on educational tours, with tales of piracy, rum-runners and War of 1812 heroes (on both sides of the border). The town has a great brewpub and a restaurant/coffee shop called The Socialist Pig, where members who buy several coffees are known as ‘card-carrying Socialists’. Nearby Kingston is a fine city of its own. Gros Morne, Newfoundland [caption id="attachment_27055" align="alignnone" width="1000"] The magnificent Gros Morne National Park (photo: Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism).[/caption] Gros Morne is more of a region than a city, but it’s a marvellous part of Newfoundland. Woody Point is a small community on beautiful Bonne Bay that hosts an annual writers’ festival. The event attracts many of Canada’s top authors and also entertainers. You can take lovely sea kayak rides around Bonne Bay and perhaps encounter whales or other sea life. Nearby Gros Morne National Park is one of the prettiest areas of Canada, with boats that will take you up a deep, water-filled chasm that’s technically not a fjord but looks very much like one. Anchors Aweigh is a local band that puts on rollicking, entertaining shows. When I went, they had a rubber-faced guy playing the accordion while dressed in women’s clothing. The band’s leader introduced him as ‘Canada’s best cross-dressing accordion player’ – nothing if not specialised. Canada got you intrigued? Here's some more reads we think you may like: The seven best road trips you've never heard of and one legendary drive 9 Quirky towns and surprising cities of the Canadian prairies Prince Edward Island: Beyond Anne of Green Gables Ontario's Thousand Islands var axel = Math.random() + """"; var a = axel * 10000000000000; document.write(''); <br /> <iframe src=""https://6628166.fls.doubleclick.net/activityi;src=6628166;type=publi0;cat=dc_au01g;dc_lat=;dc_rdid=;tag_for_child_directed_treatment=;ord=1?"" width=""1"" height=""1"" frameborder=""0"" style=""display:none""></iframe><br />
Jam along to New Brunswick’s Jazz and Blues Festival
Tap your toes and feast your eyes at one of the world's most gorgeous music festivals.
Make merry with L’Acadie in Canada’s New Brunswick
Live, love and be merry in a festival about Acadian culture.
14 must-see Canadian cultural institutions
From glittering, urban galleries to funky music spots and quirky displays, there’s no shortage of culture spots in Canada. 1. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Heritage Centre Regina, Saskatchewan Everyone loves a Mountie in a crisp, red uniform, right? The Mounties are probably Canada’s most cherished icon (other than the moose and Wayne Gretzky), and you can learn all about them at this centre. You can also catch the Sergeant Major’s Parade and a virtual-reality experience with the RCMP’s famed ‘Musical Ride’. 2. The Diefenbunker, Ottawa During the height of Cold War fears in the 1950s and ’60s, Former Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker had a four-storey, 300-room bunker built to house government officials and military officers in case of a nuclear attack. It was nicknamed the Diefenbunker, which you can tour and see how folks would’ve lived for a month or longer under the ground, safe (they hoped) from radiation. A bit weird, but interesting. 3. Audain Art Museum, Whistler This is a new addition to Whistler’s cultural scene, which already boasts performing arts spaces and the highly regarded Squamish-Lil’wat First Nations Cultural Centre. The Audain is in a lovely, airy building in Whistler Village and features brilliant works by British Columbian artists of both an historic and contemporary nature. You’ll find works from the likes of Emily Carr and a vast collection of First Nations masks. They also have temporary exhibits. 4. Northern Arts and Cultural Centre, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories You’re near the roof of the world, but you’ll still find a lovely, 297-seat theatre complex and a centre that puts on concerts by top artists and programs, including visits by the likes of the Montreal Jazz Ballet. naccnt.ca 5. Old and New in Calgary The Glenbow Museum in Calgary features everything from fluorescent minerals and Tibetan sculpture to displays on cowboys and pioneer women. Specialised tours can be organised for groups with a particular interest. The new Studio Bell/National Music Centre opened in downtown Calgary this summer and features displays on famous Canadian musicians, including the likes of Neil Young, Drake, Celine Dion and Shania Twain. [caption id="attachment_26253" align="alignnone" width="667"] From Tibetan sculptures to fluorescent minerals, The Glenbow Museum in Calgary offers an enriching experience for all (photo: Canadian Tourism).[/caption] 6. Beaverbrook Gallery, Fredericton, New Brunswick The emphasis is on Canadian artists including Alex Colville, Christopher Pratt and Lawren Harris. They also do thought-provoking installations from contemporary artists and from the likes of Salvador Dali. Fredericton is a small city, but the museum punches far above its weight. There’s a small but charming gift shop displaying locally made handicrafts and jewellery. A new $25-million expansion will open next year, complete with a cafe, youth art space and a prominent space for Dali’s El Santiago Grande, which is currently on tour. beaverbrookartgallery.org [caption id="attachment_26248" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Showcasing works by Canadian artists, contemporary artists and also Salvador Dali, Beaverbrook Art Gallery is a worthwhile visit in the city of Fredericton (photo: Canadian Tourism)[/caption] 7. U’Mista Cultural Centre, Alert Bay, British Columbia This is a small but memorable centre in a remote part of B.C. that’s dedicated to the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations people. You’ll find intricately carved totem poles as well as treasured masks and ceremonial objects confiscated in 1921 during an outlawed Potlatch, a traditional occasion of feasting and ceremony. Through great lobbying and effort, the Kwakwaka’wakw have managed to reclaim the sacred pieces from museums in Canada, the US and other places. umista.ca 8. Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Winnipeg This is a relatively new and glorious piece of architecture on Winnipeg’s riverfront. The soaring interior space is inspiring, as are the displays dealing with human rights issues in Canada and around the world. It’s the first museum in the world dedicated to "the evolution, celebration and future of human rights". humanrights.ca For something a little more mundane but also more musical, hit the Salisbury House restaurant on Stafford St and check out their displays of rock and roll memorabilia from local boy Burton Cummings of The Guess Who. [caption id="attachment_26261" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Dedicated to exploring Human rights issues, this marvelous architectural structure runs along the Winnipeg riverfront.[/caption] 9. The Art Gallery of Ontario The AGO was given a huge facelift a few years ago, thanks in part to Ontario-born architect Frank Gehry. There’s a stunning cafe on the top floor and a lovely main atrium area, with plenty of light and soft wood tones. You’ll find art from Canada and around the world. The AGO also is attached to an historic home called The Grange, where you can enjoy afternoon tea or a glass of wine by the fire in winter. 10. Club Lafayette, Ottawa Nicknamed The Laff, this is one of the city's oldest pubs. A guy named Lucky Ron plays there every Saturday afternoon and there's a big singalong, with fans shouting out words and Lucky Ron playing his guitar with a beer bottle. Good, down-home, country-style fun in a city that has an unfair reputation as a government town. 11. Montreal in summer The Montreal Jazz Festival is a summer highlight in Canada, with top acts from around the world playing in the city that gave us both Oscar Peterson and Leonard Cohen (okay, and William Shatner). There are paid, indoor shows as well as free, outdoor concerts all over the city. Summer also means the Montreal Cirque Festival, where you’ll get amazing acrobatic feats performed at free outdoor shows in the park and on the streets. A couple years back I attended a performance by something called the Barbu Foire Electro Trad, featuring folks throwing pies in the face of a naked man. 12. The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Halifax, Nova Scotia The museum is located on the pretty boardwalk in town, which runs three kilometres along the Halifax waterfront. There’s a major display on the Titanic, including a replica of a Titanic deckchair. Kids will enjoy the Theodore Tugboat exhibit, which focuses on the cartoon-style boats that tour the harbour. [caption id="attachment_26251" align="alignnone" width="1000"] The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic runs along the Halifax waterfront, its exhibits can be enjoyed by the whole family[/caption] 13. The Canadian Potato Museum, O’Leary, Prince Edward Island The lowly spud? Not in PEI, where it’s a vital crop. You’ll find displays on the history of the potato, which came from South America, as well as a PEI Potato Hall of Fame. Did you know Marie Antoinette reportedly used to wear potato flowers in her hair? I suspect not. Finish it off with a baked or jacket potato with sour cream, bacon, onions or other goodies. 14. The Rooms, St. John’s, Newfoundland A pretty museum that displays wonderful art and details the rich history of this province, including Viking explorers and Irish immigrants. You’ll get awesome views from a hill high above downtown St. John’s, too. <br /> <iframe src=""https://6628166.fls.doubleclick.net/activityi;src=6628166;type=publi0;cat=dc_au012;dc_lat=;dc_rdid=;tag_for_child_directed_treatment=;ord=1?"" width=""1"" height=""1"" frameborder=""0"" style=""display:none""></iframe><br />
Kiss the cod and become an honorary Canadian in Newfoundland
You made it! Now drink some grog, and kiss a fish to celebrate.
Perch yourself on the edge of the world at Fogo Island Inn
Experience hospitality that is both rugged and luxurious at Canada's Fogo Island Inn.
Indulge your sweet tooth at a Canadian maple sugar shack
Let your taste buds have a holiday at a traditional Québécois sugar shack. No visit to the country that reveres the humble maple leaf so wholeheartedly is complete without a pilgrimage to a traditional “cabanes à sucre”, or sugar shack. [caption id="attachment_20846" align="alignnone" width="666"] A woman enjoys some maple syrup at a sugar shack.[/caption] The onset of spring signals the moment maple sap begins to flow in earnest, which means the annual maple syrup harvest isn’t far behind. A uniquely Québécois tradition, the 200 or so sugar shacks still in operation throw open their doors to visitors from all over the world eager to join in the fun. Long tables are laid and vast platters are ordered for crêpes, tarts, ham, bacon, pies, veggies . . . It’s considered extremely poor form not to cover everything in delicious maple syrup. [caption id="attachment_20847" align="alignnone" width="1024"] A sugar shake worker ladles out maple syrup.[/caption] Then, when you’re almost too full to move, head out into the chill and make your own maple taffy by dripping syrup directly onto the snow. It’s a tradition that dates back centuries, and yet the window each year is tiny – the start of March to end of April and that’s it, so be sure you don’t miss out. GET GOING: Tuck in at a sugar shack (Québecregion.com/en/maple-sugar-shacks) from March to April. Or book an Eastern Canada, USA & Canada New England Cruise from Scenic. [caption id="attachment_20848" align="alignnone" width="652"] It's tasting time at a sugar shack.[/caption] LOCATIONS: Scattered throughout rural Québec Province, surrounding Montréal and Québec City, you’ll find tiny family-owned sugar shacks, as well are larger more commercial operations, within a comfortable driving distance. “Reaching Sucrerie de la Montagne in rural Québec takes a little effort, but it’s worth it to experience an authentic sugar-shack feast served in the middle of a maple forest.” – Katrina Lobley << Previous | Next >> Return to the ‘100 Things to do in Canada Before You Die’ countdown var axel = Math.random() + """"; var a = axel * 10000000000000; document.write('');
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