Greatest cultural experiences in Canada

Cultural experiences allow a whole new depth and appreciation when discovering a new destination. From carnivals and festivities to historic landmarks and First Nations culture, these are the best cultural experiences in Canada.
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 his great powers to transform into a giant beaver and, by slapping his tail in the sea, created the peninsula now known as Nova Scotia.   For 10,000 years, these First Nation people have lived on this land, and you can visit the Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site to learn about this Indigenous culture through current generations of Mi’kmaq people. [caption id="attachment_21211" align="alignnone" width="1024"] A traditional Mi'kmaq boat- photo courtesy of Eric le Bel.[/caption] Hear stories from spiritual leaders at Wagmatcook Culture and Heritage Centre, see ancient artefacts at the Museum of Natural History, take a tour of the largest collection of petroglyphs in North America – literally history carved in stone – documenting people, animals, hunting, fishing and, later, sailing ships, men with muskets and Christian symbols.   Join four days of family festivities at the Millbrook Pow Wow, and canoe the traditional Mi’kmaq waterway routes.   And, of course, visit Glooscap Cultural and Heritage Centre to learn about this mythical figure born from a bolt of lightning in the sand, whose name means “man from nothing”. Get going: For a Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site trip consult pc.gc.ca. [caption id="attachment_21212" align="alignnone" width="1024"] A traditional Mi'kmaq boat- photo courtesy of Eric le Bel.[/caption] Location: Kejimkujik is 197 kilometres from Halifax Stanfield International Airport. Ferries from St John in New Brunswick sail into Digby, which is 86 kilometres from Kejimkujik. “Another park that barely receives a single plaudit back home but in itself could be a fair reason to head to Canada's wild, woolly east coast.” – Craig Tansley   << 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('');  Read more
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, experience new things and create unforgettable memories. Montréal’s International Jazz Festival could be just the ticket you’ve been looking for.   Spread out over 10 music-filled days each June to July, 3000-plus musicians from unknown up-and-comers to veteran virtuosos take to the stage for almost 650 concerts – most of them free. [caption id="attachment_20815" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Music fans enjoying the Montreal Jazz Festival[/caption] More than 2.5 million head-bobbing, finger-clicking fans swarm here each year, and in 2006 the mega-jazz festival scored a Guinness World gong for the world’s largest.   You don't even need to be a super knowledgeable jazz fan to have a great time here: just head to a gig and absorb the vibe.   Loyal buffs soak up the sonic bliss of the classic genre and the uninitiated get to sample a different world of music while rubbing shoulders with a brand new crowd.   You dig? [caption id="attachment_20816" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Revellers at the Montreal Jazz Festival.[/caption] GET GOING: Dust off your dancing shoes and book your tickets for the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. Find out more: [www.montrealjazzfest.com]. LOCATION: While the Jazz Festival is officially hosted in the heart of Quartier des Spectacles in the eastern portion of downtown Montréal, huge swathes of the city are given over to the event, from concert halls to open streets, cafés, bars and more. Just get to Montréal and follow the tunes … [caption id="attachment_20818" align="alignnone" width="1024"] And overflowing crowd at the Montreal Jazz Festival.[/caption] “A must for music fans. The sheer number of concerts and variety of music during this 10-day festival is staggering.” – Rob McFarland   << 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('');  Read more
Explore 400 years of history in Old Québec
Stroll back in time, treading the streets of a city that's more than 400 years old.  Read more
Going with the floe on a Canadian polar sea adventure
Discover a whole new world near the polar north of Canada. Read more
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 dish or the word – comes from, but most etymological stabs involve meanings that touch on “mess”, “mixture of leftovers”, “hodgepodge” and even “bad stew”.   Regardless, only an outdoor-mad culture like Canada’s, where everyone hikes, skis or wrestles grizzlies, could develop a dish this deliciously bad for you and not have everyone slip into a carb-induced coma. [caption id="attachment_20944" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Poutine Chez: a Canadian classic[/caption] There are variations, but basically what you do is take a plate of twice-cooked French fries, cover them with fresh cheese curd then pour hot spicy gravy over the top.   The guilty pleasure of an entire nation, great poutine is served in greasy spoon diners and ski lodges across Canada.   But to sample it as close as possible to the source, Québec’s Le Chic Shack has a classique version that will see you through a long day.   If you’re stuck for time, there are more than 10 Chez Ashton fast food chains in Québec City alone with a decent poutine plate that’s plenty for two to share. [caption id="attachment_20945" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Poutine with sausage: a twist on a Canadian classic[/caption] If you’re still not done, head to one of the Cochon Dingue cafes brimming with amazing food, including, you guessed it, poutine. GET GOING: Any day, any time, you’ll find somewhere serving poutine in Québec. You’ll find plenty on Travelmarvel’s Eastern Canada and New England Cruise. LOCATION: Served all around Québec City and region, some menus are only in French, but thankfully poutine is poutine no matter what the language, so it’s incredibly easy to find.   << 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('');  Read more
Crack the Hermetic Code in Manitoba
Do your own super-sleuthing in one of North America's most mysterious buildings.  Read more
Spend a storied evening in a First Nations longhouse
Go back in time with the First People in a traditional Canadian longhouse. Read more
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.  Read more
Make merry with L’Acadie in Canada’s New Brunswick
Live, love and be merry in a festival about Acadian culture. Read more
Kiss the cod and become an honorary Canadian in Newfoundland
You made it! Now drink some grog, and kiss a fish to celebrate. Read more
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. Read more
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('');  Read more
Cruise among the Palaces and Palisades of Canada’s glorious Thousand Islands
Meander back in time aboard a classic Canadian day cruise.  Read more
Glide along the world’s largest skating rink in Ottawa
Get you skates on and glide along one Canada's prettiest canals. Read more
Go in search of the elusive Canadian Spirit Bear
Journey into the soul of the Canadian wilderness and meet the Spirit Bear.  Read more
Saddle up for the Calgary Stampede
Channel your inner cowboy at the world famous Calgary Stampede. Read more
Explore yourself at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights
Explore yourself and the nation at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Read more
Experience the rush of gold fever in Canada’s wild Klondike region
Travel like the settlers of yesteryear in the historic Klondike.  Read more
Drink your way back in time in ye old New France
Drink your way back in time in ye olde New France. Read more
Soothe your soul by paddling Ontario’s Great Spirit Circle Trail
Get in touch with the spirits of Canada in north-eastern Ontario.  Read more
Seeking refuge: Discover the story of immigration in Canada
Learn about the story of modern Canada at the Immigration Museum at Pier 21.  Read more
Celebrate Celtic colour and culture in Cape Breton
Channel your inner William Wallace right in the middle of Canada. Read more
Tread the earth’s exposed mantle at Gros Morne
See the inner working's of this planet of ours at Gros Morne.  Read more
Step into the island home of Canada’s beloved Anne of Green Gables
Frolic like one of literature's favourite daughters on Prince Edward Island.  Read more
Get insight into Inuit life in the Torngat Mountains
Have a cultural experience at one of Canada's most remote, but also most beautiful locations. It's number #29 in the 100 things to do in Canada before you die. Read more
Kick up your heels and experience the magic of Carnaval de Québec
Revel at the wonderful Carnaval de Québec, one of the world's largest outdoor festivals. Read more