The glinting glaciers of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and buzzing cafes of Montreal, whale spotting from the pink beaches of Edward Island and cooling off in the spray of the thundering Niagra Falls… welcome to our Canada travel guide.
The second biggest country in the world, Canada is a vast wilderness with pockets of sophistication appearing suddenly in between snow-capped peaks and deep, dark forests. Cities such as Toronto and Vancouver are as cosmopolitan as they come, but trek into the heart of Alaska and you’ll feel as if little has changed since aboriginal times.
So where to start when planning your Canadian adventure?
Here are our picks of the best things to see and do in Canada. And don’t forget to check out our list of 100 things to do in Canada before you die.
Meanwhile in Canada…
What makes Canada, Canada? Sure the mountains that seem to never end and vast flat plains that go past the end of the earth are part of the attraction. But Canada is oh so much more.
Every week we reveal another special Canadian landscape or character you would love to meet.
Welcome to Meanwhile in Canada…
Meanwhile in Canada… we find the world’s most agreeable capital city
Ottawa is a mini version of Canada that condenses the character and aspirations of Canadians into one very pleasing package. This...
Meanwhile in Canada… we fall hopelessly in love with Quebec City
Québec City is a proud Canadian city. It celebrates its French heritage but is neither French nor quite like Anglophone Canada bu...
Meanwhile in Canada… walk amongst bears as they feast on salmon
In British Columbia, experiencing the ‘bear’ essentials in the wilderness is a thrilling experience you’ll never forget. Th...
Meanwhile in Canada… be sure to trip the light fantastic
Viewing the Northern Lights in the Yukon provides one of the world’s greatest – though most elusive and ephemeral – travel s...
Meanwhile in Canada… the strange quirky truth about Niagara
In Niagara and you’ll discover peculiarities such as lovebirds, ice wine, the world’s prettiest promenades, and the war Americ...
Meanwhile in Canada… I tumble into the sugar-plum fairy’s boudoir
Canadians know exactly what cosy means, and have no restraint when it comes to seasonal celebrations, making December the most won...
Meanwhile in Canada… Chinatown serves up gnocchi with Kimchi butter
Vancouver’s Chinatown has a youthful vibe, chirpy nightlife and dining scene that goes far beyond the traditional Chinatown expe...
Meanwhile in Canada… even Vikings turn out to be surprisingly friendly
Travel back 1000 years in Newfoundland and you’ll discover some early European settlers – or rather, their far more agreeable ...
Meanwhile in Canada… leaf peeping is not naughty but nice
The gentle autumn art of leaf peeping is a very Canadian pastime sure to make you dizzy with delight. Or is that just the pumpkin ...
Meanwhile in Canada… The highway less travelled is best
Canada is one of the world’s great road-trip destinations, and a journey across its prairie provinces brings big-sky exhilaratio...
Meanwhile in Canada… take a bath in your hiking boots
Never heard of forest bathing? Then get ready to revive your spirits by indulging in this curious pastime, which involves no water...
Meanwhile in Canada… don’t let a moose lick your car
You can be sure of one thing in the great Canadian wilderness: it comes with plenty of entertaining instructions on how to deal wi...
Meanwhile in Canada… we pick up the scent of elk urine
There’s no one else in the world like Celes Davar. Not even close. No one else has his passion. No one else has his enthusiasm....
Meanwhile in Canada… time to face up to the polar bears
His eyes pierce into mine. Big, almost tearful curious eyes. Just centimetres apart, we stare at each other as our surroundings bl...
Meanwhile in Canada… it’s Byron with bears and cougars
In a country most famous for its Rocky Mountains, I’m bunkered down in a bona-fide surf town where people say dude (a lot) and m...
To say that Canada is big is an understatement. In a country this huge, careful planning is key to making the most of your trip.
Whether you’re keen to answer the call of the wild or curl up with a craft beer in a cool cafe, we’ve got you covered with our curated guide of the best ways to see Canada.
You can fly to Canada directly from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and with one stop from Perth and Adelaide.
Please note: Australian citizens are required to apply for a Canada eTA visa to enter Canada on a short term basis (under 90 days) for general tourism, business, transit or medical purposes.
When to visit Canada
The best season to visit Canada depends on what sort of holiday you’re looking for.
Spring sees the snow gradually melting to reveal forests and wild flowers. March to June are particularly lovely months in Toronto because there are so many cultural things to do, from festivals to exhibitions.
Summer’s long, balmy evenings are ideal for getting out in nature, while September is the peak of the salmon run, meaning your chances of spotting bears are higher than at any other time of the year.
And of course ski resorts such as Whistler and Banff come alive in winter with pristine slopes and countless cozy bars. Not a skier? Check out our guide to Canadian winter festivals that are well worth their air fare.
Seven Canadian winter festivals worth the air fare
Canadians don’t hide from sub-zero winters; they embrace ‘em. Zip up your parka, pull down your toque (that’s a hat!) and h...
Spend a white Christmas at the Chateau Lake Louise
Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? Well, we have the perfect place. No matter which part of the world you hail from, the idea...
How to have the best White Christmas in Canada
With snowflakes and sleigh bells, ski slopes and skating rinks, Canada is the ultimate holiday destination for a white Christmas. ...
Whistler sans snow: why summer is the best time to visit
We all know Whistler Blackcomb is synonymous with snow and slopes, but what happens to Canada’s best-known winter wonderland onc...
Best way to explore Canada
Planning your road trip
Massive and mesmerising, Canada is a country that could have been dreamed up by adventurous explorers.
On four wheels is the perfect way to see it, but knowing your distances is crucial. The drive from Vancouver in the west to Quebec City in the east is more than 3,000 miles.
There are so many things to see on a road trip across Canada it can be hard narrowing down your route. One of the most spectacular is from Vancouver to Alaska, through British Columbia and Yukon Territory. Expect cobalt blue mountain lakes and the shadows of moose through the gloom of the pine forests.
And did you know there was a desert in Canada? Discover rattlesnakes, great wines and the desert of Osoyoos on a quirky road trip to the Okanagan Valley.
Rest and relaxation
Canada’s immense collection of natural wonders lends itself to activity holidays but you don’t have to be an adventurous type to enjoy your visit.
Escaping the cold to luxuriate in a spa is one of the best things to do in Canada in winter. Soak in an outdoor bath on the edge of a rolling cedar forest at Scandinave Spa Whistler or enjoy a calming facial in a snow-dusted log cabin at Thermae.
There are also more than 30 natural hot springs throughout the country. Those at Lussier, British Columbia, are particularly beautiful.
Alternately, embrace life in the slow lane on one of Canada’s most beautiful islands. Dig for giant clams on Prince Edward Island, or explore the Île d’Orléans, which has a smattering of romantic villages surrounded by lush vineyards.
A southern sojourn along Canada’s Route 66
It truly is about the journey, not the destination, as Alissa Jenkins travels the forgotten southern route from Vancouver to Calga...
8 things that surprise every Australian traveller in Canada
Beyond the world-class ski slopes and abundance of wildlife, we explore Canada's lesser-known delights. We all know Canada is hom...
Canada road trips: the most picturesque routes to take
What do you get when roads run across some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes in incredibly isolated locations? You g...
The grand Yukon RV road trip – 25 things you must know
It may be an adventurous road trip, but it doesn’t have to be a bumpy ride. Here, our Yukon expert, Steve Madgwick, shares his ...
Is Canada’s Powder Highway the best road trip in the world?
For skiers there is no road more wonderful than British Colombia's Powder Highway. If you’re a gambler, you can’t miss the La...
Best places to visit in Canada
From Quebec’s 19th century cafes filled with the smell of fresh croissant to Churchill, the polar bear capital of the world, there are no shortage of exhilarating places to visit in Canada.
Plan your trip of a lifetime with our curated guide.
Charming and gregarious, Canada’s handsome capital is one of the best places in the country to visit with kids.
A tour of the elaborate Gothic Parliament buildings which soar above downtown is a must, while the city’s many parks and gardens are the perfect place to appreciate the changing seasons.
Come winter, skate on the Rideau Canal and escape the cold in the National Museum of Canada, a futuristic treasure trove made of pink granite and sparkling glass towers.
This West coast seaport is a regular on ‘the world’s most attractive cities’ lists for a reason.
Cradled between snowy mountains, idyllic seascapes and forest wildernesses, it is a cosmopolitan hub with a thriving arts scene and dazzling historic architecture.
There are countless cultural things to do in Vancouver and you’ll find lashings of inspiration with our comprehensive city guide.
Perching on Lake Ontario’s northwestern shore, achingly-cool Toronto is the most multiculturally diverse city on the planet.
One of the best things to do in Toronto in June is a leisurely art tour of West Queen West, Toronto’s hippest hood. Enjoy the spring sunshine as you pop into galleries like Propeller and the Birch Contemporary and keep your eyes peeled for bright splashes of street art.
Feeling brave? Try the EdgeWalk at the CN Tower, which is 356 metres above the city…
If you prefer your thrills of the culinary variety you’re in luck, because there are more fantastic places to eat in Toronto than any other city in Canada.
There are so many things to see in Banff, located bang in the middle of Canada’s very first national park, that there is no best time to visit.
In summer, glide through ultramarine lakes on canoes as eagles soar over head and in winter experience the thrills of Lake Louise’s ski slopes. Find more inspiration with our ultimate Banff ski guide.
Be sure to catch the Banff Gondola to the summit of Sulphur Mountain for epic views over the Rocky Mountains.
Turn up the speakers and get your dancing shoes on for a trip to Montreal, the music capital of Canada.
Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Arcade Fire and Neil Young are just a few of its gifts to the world and a visit to Downtown’s many music venues is still one of the top 10 things to do in Montreal.
Expect crooked pubs and 18th century buildings contrasted with the best cultural and arts scene in the country… Throw in the fact that the ski slopes of Bromant and Le Massif are a short drive away and you’ll begin to see why Montreal is regularly voted one of the most livable cities in the world
What it’s like to visit the polar bear capital of the world
Swim with curious belugas, spot majestic polar bears nursing cubs and see the Northern Lights dance across the night sky in the re...
Yellowknife: the best place to see the Northern Lights
It’s worth heading into the wilderness from Yellowknife for a few nights to enjoy the silence, get a crick in your neck – and ...
Canada’s hidden gem: Bruce Peninsula, Ontario
With gorgeous coves, well-preserved shipwrecks and ice-cream shops, the little-known Bruce Peninsula in Ontario is a wonderful pla...
Your ultimate guide to Vancouver City
This staple of ‘World’s Most Beautiful Cities’ lists combines a wealth of natural and man-made assets with a stunning settin...
9 quirky towns cities of the Canadian prairies
A road trip through Canadian prairies will turn up some truly fascinating and unique towns. From a town that honours the Starship ...
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Top things to do
With its fascinating blend of French, English, American and Aboriginal culture and mysterious swathes of wilderness, there are enough incredible things to see in Canada to last a lifetime, let alone a single trip.
Whether you prefer to spend your days exploring Nova Scotia’s boutique distilleries or camping in Yellowknife Park beneath the eerie glow of the Northern Lights, you won’t be short of epic experiences.
Get inspired with our curated guide of the top things to do in Canada.
Outdoor activities and adventures
OH Canada! Where do we even begin…
Does learning to surf at the famously laid-back Tofino take your fancy? How about snorkelling with beluga whales in Manitoba? Have the most clandestine chasms and remote mountain meadows of the Canadian Rockies to yourself with a heli-hiking trip, or set off for the ultimate Arctic adventure, spotting polar bears and sowy foxes as you go.
Don’t blame us if you don’t end up catching that flight back home…
Tours and sightseeing
On a country of this scale (and with such extreme weather), a tour can be the best way to focus your trip and allow you to push your experience to the limits.
Why not live like a cowboy in Canada’s Grasslands National park or cruise Ontario’s tranquil canals on a luxury barge?
A train tour is a nostalgic way to see the country and the Rocky Mountaineer harks back to Canada’s golden age of rail travel. Sip martinis and relax on velvet seats as monumental vistas flash by.
Skiing and snowboarding
With its long winters and profusion of rugged mountains, Canada is a winter sports enthusiast’s paradise.
Whistler and Banff are the fun-loving poster girls of Western Canada’s ski scene. It’s here, mostly in Alberta and British Columbia, that you’ll find the legendary deep powder snow that sprays like champagne at the lightest brush of a ski.
In Eastern Canada, much of the action is focused on Quebec’s gentle slopes which are peppered with historic villages and family-fun hotels that have barely changed in generations. There’s plenty for non-skiers to get excited about too… Check out our guide to Canadian winters for non skiers.
The best time to visit Canada for snow is from December to March.
Festivals and Events
From Calgary’s stampede to Shambhala, one of the biggest music festivals in Canada, your bound to find an event to get you excited.
Edmonton’s Fringe Theatre Festival is the oldest and biggest of its kind in North America, and is something of a rite of passage for theatre folk. The Montreal Jazz Festival is the biggest in the world, while New Brunswick’s is far more intimate. Read all about it here.
The weather might be cool for Quebec’s Winter Carnival, but it’s an utterly heartwarming tradition that’s great for families. With its winter sports, ice sculptures and parades, it’s one of the best things to see in Canada in winter.
A rapid journey along Canada’s Nahanni River
The Nahanni river began as a meandering prairie river but, as the mountains formed, it maintained its course and cut canyons into ...
The luxurious Canadian cruise you’ve always dreamed of
Passengers can frequently spot wildlife such as orcas, bald eagles or sea lions along the coastline of British Columbia. The wate...
Snorkelling with the belugas of Hudson Bay
While snorkelling in Arctic waters, Birgit-Cathrin Duval forgets how cold the water is as she sings with the Beluga whales in an u...
Would you walk amongst grizzlies with a BC bear whisperer?
In order to not just see grizzly bears but walk with them, one has to get up early and develop a strong olfactory fortitude, write...
Connect with Nova Scotia’s historic Mi’kmaq culture
Step (or paddle) back into a time of Canadian legend, lore and foundation. According to Mi’kmaq legend, the hero Glooscap used ...
Feel the rhythm at Montréal’s International Jazz Festival
Become a hep cat at one of the world's greatest music festivals. Here’s what you need out of a vacation: meet new people, exper...
Experience the thrill of a dog sled ride across Yukon’s frozen lakes
Glide across the frozen expanses of the Yukon powered by man's best friend. No visit to Canada is complete without experiencing t...
Escape the Aussie crowd on Canada’s secret ski highway
We discover the true heart of Canada in amongst some of its greatest snow spots. This morning a ‘granola type’ (as they call ...
Heli-hiking the stunning Canadian Rockies
Hike with all the wonder, but none of the effort aboard a helicopter. Seemingly insurmountable monuments to nature’s beauty, th...
Frolic at sea with the orcas off Vancouver Island
Meet the ocean's most incredible mammal as part of a boat ride to remember. Ironically the great white whale of whale watching is...
Choosing your Canada accommodation
You’ve been wowed by Canada’s natural beauty. Now it’s time to explore its spectacular hotel landscape.
Have you always fantasised about a remote mountain lodge to call your own? How about a heritage townhouse with just a handful of ultra-luxe bedrooms?
Whatever you’re dreaming of, you’re sure to find it in Canada.
Best hotels in Canada
Some of Canada’s hottest hotels are eco-lodges, complete with organic farms, solar panels and furniture crafted by local artisans. Check out some of our favourites here.
When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing like curling up in a cozy yet stylish mountain lodge. We scoured the country to bring you seven of the most gorgeous.
And when it comes to lake lodges, we reckon you can’t beat Blachford, which is perfectly located for watching the Northern Lights from the comfort of an open air bathtub.
For something super unique, try the Hotel de Glace, an ice palace that’s melted and rebuilt every year.
In true North American style, Canada takes a go big or go home approach to luxury hotels.
The Fairmont brand has been leading the charge since 1907 and still owns many of the most prestigious hotels in the country. With its lake and glacial setting and whimsical turrets, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is perhaps the most ostentacious of the lot.
An exclusive hideaway in the Discovery Islands, Sonora Resort is among some of the most rugged coastal scenery in Canada. Their team of First Nations guides will help you track down grizzlies between August and October.
Nothing makes one feel closer to nature than a night spent under the stars and Canada has no shortage of camping spots to choose from.
Fall asleep to the sound of the surf when you camp at the Pacific Rim National Park’s Long Beach, which has 22 km of tawny sand, or wake up to the weird glow of the Athabasca Glacier in the Jasper National Park.
You can also learn more about Canada’s First Nations history by camping in an aboriginal-owned teepee. Find out more here.
Bee Hotels in British Columbia: a Buzzworthy affair
A series of bee-centric experiences in the Pacific Northwest of Canada invites visitors to learn about the role fuzzy pollinators ...
Meet the “Magnificent 7” eco-resorts in Canada
Venture to seven Magnificent resorts that are the jewels in the Canadian eco-travel-crown. Several years ago, a group of Canadian...
There’s a Canadian ice hotel that’s destroyed and rebuilt every year
Sleep in a real ice palace, alongside a frozen lake, on glassy moonlight. Although the Hotel de Glace is just a 30-minute drive f...
More than a place to sleep: Canada’s iconic Fairmont hotels
Stay in a luxury Canadian Fairmont hotel, that's also a destination itself. Canada’s stunning collection of Fairmont hotels and...
Best places to eat in Canada
Alongside their infamous politeness, Canadians are also known for their hearty, wholesome cooking. So what food do they eat in Canada?
Every region has its specialities: Ontario’s kitchens are often filled with the smell of warm butter tarts, Newfoundland’s fishing communities love fish and brewis (salt cod and pork scratchings) and Calgarians can’t get enough of spicy Caesar cocktails.
Roll up your sleeves and get stuck into our tasty guide of the best places to eat in Canada.
Where to find the best maple syrup
As synonymous with Canada as grizzly bears and Ryan Gosling, Maple trees are the country’s official symbol as well as a key contributor to breakfasts everywhere. In fact, Canada produces more than 90% of the world’s maple syrup.
Most of it comes from gorgeous Quebec Province, where traditional sugar shacks still open their doors every March, inviting visitors in to sample their wares and make chewy syrup taffy in the snow.
Sucrerie de la Montagne has been drawing the crowds for more than 30 years, while Cosman and Webb produce top quality organic syrup on their third generation family farm.
Where to find the best Poutine
A delectable combination of french fries, cheese curds and gravy, poutine has been Canada’s culinary calling card since the 1950s. It’s top of our list of what to eat in Canada when you visit, particularly during those cold, crisp winter nights.
La Banquise in Montreal offers more than 30 varieties (try the addition of hot smoked Montreal meat), while Belgian Fries in Vancouver serves an exotic butter chicken variety.
Forget beef and sink your teeth into these Calgary dishes
It may be the heartland of Canada's beef country, but Calgary has a surprising number restaurants that will make you rethink the c...
12 crazy only-in-Newfoundland foods you must try
From Climax candies to beer made from icebergs, here are 12 crazy Newfoundland foods to discover, if you dare. By Nikki Bayley....
The Canadian comfort food you need to try at least once
Indulge in a little face-stuffing in Québec, sampling a local classic. No one is positive where the original poutine – the di...
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 map...
Follow Vancouver Island’s quirky food trail
A ferry hop from the mainland, Vancouver Island is crammed with local culinary experiences well worth hunting down. Local writer ...
Better than a doughnut, bite into a beavertail in Ottawa
Bite into a sweet, sticky piece of Canadian culture that you won't regret. The stunning scenery isn’t the only thing of beauty ...
Live large on lobsters on Prince Edward Island
Dine on the freshest lobster in the world on Prince Edward Island. Lobster has been shorthand for culinary luxury worldwide for t...
Forget vegemite, feast on a smoked meat sandwich in Montréal
Open wide and get ready for one of the world's greatest sandwiches. Talk about indulging the senses. With a deceptiv...
Craft beer in Canada: everything you need to know
From bold IPAs and puckering sour beers, to smooth pilsners and chocolatey stouts, Canada’s craft beer industry has it all. Bett...
Skiing in Canada
Powdery snow covers the slopes outside, the festive season has begun and you’re wrapped up by the fire inside your luxurious winter lodge watching the snow fall softly out the window. Could there be a more magical scene? A snow holiday in Canada is a bucket-list trip for many Australians – and for good reason too.
The country is renowned for the quality and quantity of its snow and its many ski resorts, including Jasper, Whistler, Banff, Panorama Mountain Resort, Fernie, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, Revelstroke, Sun Peaks and SilverStar, which cater to all levels and interests –they’ve even thought of the non-skiers.
But for those keen to hit the slopes you’ll find everything you need to know about skiing in Canada here. If you’re looking for extreme runs, you’ll want to read our guide to Canada’s six scariest ski slopes.
The 7 best winter lodges in Canada
When comfort is key, these Canadian lodgings rule the roost for a winter stay. 1. Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge The Fairmont Jasper...
The Ultimate Panorama Ski Guide
Little things go a long way on a ski holiday, so it’s a good thing secluded Panorama resort, overlooking the Rocky Mountains, ha...
The Ultimate Kimberley Ski Guide
Sunny Kimberley Alpine Resort and its friendly namesake town share a mountainside, a Bavarian theme and a mining legacy. Why itâ€...
The Ultimate Fernie Ski Guide
Together with its namesake town, Fernie ticks all the right boxes when it comes to epic ski vacations. Why it’s a secret gem C...
The Ultimate Kicking Horse Ski Guide
Four enormous alpine bowls and scores of chutes lure skiers and snowboarders who like it steep, deep and incredibly scenic to KHM...
The Ultimate Revelstoke Ski Guide
Home of the biggest vertical drop in North America, Revelstoke offers the off-piste experience on its marked trails, as well as a ...
The Ultimate Big White Ski Guide
Mix mountains of snow with thousands of slopeside condos, abundant child-friendly amenities and a superb ski school, and you’ve ...
How to have an amazing ski-free winter holiday
From snowshoeing and dog sledding to watching the Northern Lights, these ski-free activities make winter look particularly cool. ...
The Ultimate Sun Peaks Ski Guide
A near-flawless village, activities galore and sensational sunny slopes make this three-mountain destination a complete ski packag...
The Ultimate SilverStar Ski Guide
It’s all about balance at this family-friendly mountain, where world-class downhill and cross-country skiing mix with myriad oth...
14 reasons why winter in Canada is worth an Aussie summer
Considering embracing winter in Canada? Here are 14 genuinely convincing reasons why you should escape the festive family scrum an...
Why Non-Skiers Will Love A Ski Resort Holiday
Gone are the days when Canadian ski resorts meant hitting the slopes and not much more. From Scandinavian spas to fondue fountains...
How to have the best White Christmas in Canada
With snowflakes and sleigh bells, ski slopes and skating rinks, Canada is the ultimate holiday destination for a white Christmas. ...
Canada’s 6 greatest adrenalin pumping ski slopes
Double black diamonds ahead! Canada’s most extreme runs can give even the experts pause for thought. 1. Hawaii Five-O – Black...
Canada’s 7 top terrain parks
Terrain parks grew up in Canada. Freestyle skiing debuted at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, and one of the first snowboarder...
The Ultimate Jasper Ski Guide
If you're looking for pristine mountain scenery, Jasper's condo-free Marmot Basin makes the most of its spectacular national-park...
The Ultimate Whistler Ski Guide
With a massive 3300 hectares of terrain, there’s room for everyone here. Hotshots, novices, families, couples and the party crow...
The Ultimate Banff Ski Guide
This iconic national-park destination is full of winter pursuits such as ice-skating on frozen lakes and sleigh rides. Oh, and don...