Most iconic experiences in Canada

There are certain bucket-list experiences in Canada that no visit is complete without. From the Northern Lights to the Calgary Stampede or Whistler's ski scene, there's an abundance of must-do experiences to add to your itinerary.
Rise with the tide at the Bay of Fundy
Go with the flow when there world's most extreme tide happens.  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
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 the energetic thrill of an authentic ride with a sled dog team across a frozen Yukon lake.   Bred to enjoy hurtling alongside their sled teammates across icy expanses, the excited barking of huskies anticipating their next outing will greet your ears before you even see them. [caption id="attachment_20709" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Dog sledding on Annie Lake; Yukon.[/caption] Typical tours involve riding either solo or duo, but in both cases you’ll be taught how to steer up to 16 dogs as they rocket full-tilt across one of the Yukon’s beautiful frozen lakes.   With up to 80 centimetres of ice below you covered with a cool 20 centimetres of snow on top, you’ll feel exhilarated as you and your team hurtle from the expansive white bliss of a frozen lake to pull up at your log cabin where a roaring fire awaits. Get going: Mushing is best between November and March. Book a Yukon trip with Adventure World (adventureworld.com.au). Location: Yukon is in the north-west corner of Canada, bordering Alaska. Connecting flights arrive here from Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. By bus you can travel the Alaskan highway on a Greyhound. [caption id="attachment_20710" align="alignnone" width="1024"] It's all smile while dog sledding on Annie Lake; Yukon.[/caption]  “Sway your hips and move from foot to foot as your yelping, barking team of excitable dogs strain at the leash.” – Nikki Bayley   <<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
Take a walk over the wild side for the best view in Toronto
Get on top of the world with one of Canada's best urban views.  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
How to have an epic Whistler ski day
Shred to your heart's content at one of Canada's finest ski resorts.   Read more
Peer through the glass domes of the Rocky Mountaineer
Experience one of the world's great train journeys aboard Canada's Rocky Mountaineer. Frequently named as one of the world’s great rail experiences, the Rocky Mountaineer is the most spectacular way to soak in the majestic beauty of British Columbia and the Canadian Rockies.   Winding its way along five unique routes, each trip is an unforgettable journey through some of the most varied and awe-inspiring scenery on the planet, including lush rainforests, shimmering lakes, cascading waterfalls and the snow-capped peaks of seven distinct mountain ranges.   The train travels only during the day, so you can focus on enjoying the unfolding scenery through unique glass-domed roofs.   It’s no wonder the past 25 years have seen almost two million guests peer at elk and bears, soaring bald eagles, grazing big horn sheep and more. Get going: Experience the Rocky Mountaineer (rockymountaineer.com) from April to October. Learn more with Adventure World (adventureworld.com.au). Location: There are 10 Rocky Mountaineer stations: the main HQ on Terminal Avenue in Vancouver, with one station each in North Vancouver, Kamloops, Calgary, Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise, Quesnel, Seattle and Whistler. “The most luxuriously relaxing way to slide through the Rockies.” – John Lee   <<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
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
Why you need to catch a floatplane to Canada’s Virginia Falls
Soar your way to one of the world's great waterfalls.  Read more
Heli-ski your way to mountains of Canadian bliss
Heli-ski the best run of your life on a powder-filled Canadian slope.  Read more
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 business owners, all eco-conscious entrepreneurs and wildlife enthusiasts who’d set up shop in some of Canada’s most remote places, decided they should work together.   And so, Canada’s Magnificent 7 was established – Tweedsmuir Park Lodge, Churchill Wild, Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort, Bella Coola Heli Sports, Siwash Lake Ranch, Clayoquot Wilderness Resort and Pacific Yellowfin – with the aim of providing truly unique exploratory experiences. [caption id="attachment_20833" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Churchill Wild Seal River Heritage Lodge.[/caption] All of these luxury wilderness lodges have become known around the world for having their own unique take on the Canadian wilderness, and visiting all of them is a rite of passage for those in the know.   Whether it’s heli-fishing, watching polar bears while on safari, staying in a luxury tent or enjoying a cruise down the coast on a private expedition boat, there’s a Magnificent 7 experience to suit your tastes. Get going: Start your journey through the Magnificent 7 (www.magnificent7.ca) and tick off as many as you can in one lifetime. [caption id="attachment_20834" align="alignnone" width="1024"] The Clayoquot Wilderness Resort.[/caption] Location: The Magnificent 7 are spread far and wide across the Canadian wilderness, so access to each of the resorts varies greatly. Your travel provider will be able to advise you on the best ways to gain access. [caption id="attachment_20836" align="alignnone" width="1024"] A walkway leading to the Siwash Resort- photo courtesy of Jeremy Koreski.[/caption] “With apologies to New Zealand, nowhere does luxury lodges quite like Canada.” – 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
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 from Old Town Québec, a stay there feels like being on another planet. [caption id="attachment_21264" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Ice-glass drinks are up at the ice hotel.[/caption] A winter-only structure erected using 16,000 tonnes of snow and ice, the Ice Hotel is like few others in the world in that it is utterly destroyed every spring, only to be rebuilt at the end of autumn with a new theme and new additions to the guest rooms, chapel, bar and restaurant. [caption id="attachment_21265" align="alignnone" width="666"] A guest reaches for a frozen glass at the ice hotel.[/caption] While the 2018 theme is yet to be announced in December, 2016's “time and space” motif invited guests to contemplate their perceptions of the universe while sipping cocktails in the frozen bar, or tucking themselves into warm, arctic sleeping bags atop a wooden bedspring on an ice-based bed, inside your personal ice chamber.   For guests concerned with getting cold feet, a stay here includes a mirror room at the nearby Four Points by Sheraton – but once you check in we’d be surprised if you wanted to leave the silent perpetual evening of your very own ice castle. [caption id="attachment_21266" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Guests at the ice hotel kiss in the hot tub.[/caption] Get going: Check in to the Hotel de Glace between January and March each year (hoteldeglace-canada.com). For more cool accommodation, go here. [caption id="attachment_21267" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Two guests check into their suite at the ice hotel.[/caption] Location: Hotel de Glace is just a 30-minute drive west of Québec City, on the banks of the Fossambault-sur-le-Lac. “Score bragging rights for life and bed down in a frozen palace for the night, wrapped up cosy and warm in a thermal sleeping bag on a soft bed of fur.” – Nikki Bayley   << 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
Go wild in Churchill on a polar bear safari
Test your nerves on a journey to meet one of the world's most amazing animals. 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
Pedalling around Vancouver’s picturesque Stanley Park
Experience one of Canada's most tranquil city parks in Vancouver. Vancouver’s Stanley Park offers myriad recreational opportunities, be it swimming off one of its pretty beaches, strolling in the botanical or Chinese gardens, marveling at the many landmarks and totems, or relaxing on one of the beautifully kept lawns. [caption id="attachment_20584" align="alignnone" width="666"] Totem poles in Stanley Park.[/caption] But the best way to experience all 400 hectares of the peninsula is atop a rented bicycle, as the park has an intricate system of purpose-built pathways – including a fringing 10-kilometre loop, ideal for running, which is around the seawall. [caption id="attachment_20585" align="alignnone" width="1024"] One of Stanley Park's lovely paths.[/caption] Offering stunning views of the city to the south, Vancouver Harbour to the east, Lions Gate Bridge and the mountains to the north and sparkling English Bay to the west, walk the entire loop in a leisurely three hours, or knock it over by bike in just over one. [caption id="attachment_20586" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Vancouver's Stanley Park from the air.[/caption] There are many opportunities to picnic, sightsee or tackle a dirt mountain-biking track. Get Going: Spokes Bicycle Rentals has been offering high-quality bikes for rent since 1938. Travel there with APT Touring. LOCATION: Close to downtown Vancouver. [caption id="attachment_20587" align="alignnone" width="1024"] MS Maasdam Cruise Ship on the St. Lawrence River.[/caption] “Join the locals in jogging around the park – a perfect cure for jetlag.” – 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
Get your motor runnin’ with a Harley ride down Canada’s Icefields Parkway
Get hog-wild on one of the world's great motorcycle journeys. Read more
Hurtle through history aboard The Canadian
Wend your way across a great nation aboard a great Canadian train. Read more
Allow your woes to float away on Canada’s Lake Louise
Relax alongside, on, or perhaps even in Canada's beautiful Lake Louise. Read more
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 Las Vegas Strip.   If you’re a fashionista, you can’t miss Rodeo Drive.   But if you’re a skier, you can’t miss Highway 95A, lovingly referred to as the Powder Highway because of the sheer density of world-class ski resorts that crouch around that one long, loose loop of bitumen carving through the Kootenay Rockies. [caption id="attachment_20841" align="alignnone" width="1500"] The gorgeous Kimberley Alpine Resort.[/caption] Clustered around the south-east corner of British Columbia, the Powder Highway encompasses a collection of eight alpine resorts.   While each is large enough to singularly host an entire holiday, there is a certain charm to a multi-destination trip.   Hitting all eight ski areas might be logistically difficult, but if you really wanted to take a crack at it, try starting at the far south-eastern point on the loop at Fernie, then track north-west to Kimberley, further north, for a few well-groomed runs at Fairmont Hot Springs with the kids. [caption id="attachment_20840" align="alignnone" width="1500"] Fun rules at Fernie Alpine Resort.[/caption] Duck west for a stop at Panorama, then continue north to Kicking Horse to practise your glade-skiing.   A curling, western arc will take you back down to Revelstoke for some extreme powder carving, then you need to gun it a long way south to reach Red Mountain and finally Whitewater, the last of the big eight, to complete the roughly 800-kilometre loop. [caption id="attachment_20839" align="alignnone" width="1500"] The sun rises over Fernie Mountain- phot courtesy of Henry Georgi.[/caption] Get going: Most resorts on the Powder Highway (powderhighway.com) will have good ski snow from late November to April. Travel there with Ski Max Holidays. Location: The Powder Highway starts about 10 hours’ drive east from Vancouver, BC, or two-and-a-half hours’ drive west from Calgary. “BC skiing isn’t only about Whistler. Join the in-the-know locals at some of the province's finest alternative resorts instead.” – John Lee   << 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
Saddle up for the Calgary Stampede
Channel your inner cowboy at the world famous Calgary Stampede. Read more
Go grizzly cub spotting at British Columbia’s Knight Inlet Lodge
Meet one of Canada's most gorgeous animals - the grizzly cub.  Read more
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 resorts are more than just places to rest your head – they’re genuine tourist attractions in their own right.   Each holds a special place in the history of the nation, such as the Fairmont Banff Springs, opened in 1888 as Canada’s first grand railway hotel.   Without exception they are architecturally splendid, like the Edwardian era Fairmont Empress on Vancouver Island, and most take full advantage of the world’s most sought-after destinations, such as the Fairmont Château Lake Louise, a sublime 19th-century former chalet perched on an emerald-hued glacier lake in the heart of World Heritage-listed Banff National Park. [caption id="attachment_20623" align="alignnone" width="1024"] The Fairmont Lake Louise is one of the most beautiful hotels in the world.[/caption] They’ve played host to countless famous names, such as John Lennon and Yoko Ono, who recorded Give Peace a Chance at one of their famous staged Bed-Ins for Peace at Montreal’s Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth.   Winston Churchill held wartime strategy sessions with Roosevelt at the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Québec City in 1943.   Synonymous with luxury, steeped in history and visually breathtaking, a stay in a Fairmont goes beyond mere hospitality; it’s an experience to be treasured. [caption id="attachment_20621" align="alignnone" width="1024"] The famed John Lennon Suite, at the Fairmont Queen ELizabeth.[/caption] Locations: Fairmont Empress, Victoria   Fairmont Royal York, Toronto   Fairmont Winnipeg   Fairmont Chateau, Whistler   Fairmont Royal York, Toronto   Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, Québec City   Fairmont Château Laurier, Ottawa   Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth, Montreal   Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge   Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise   Vancouver alone is home to four Fairmont properties, with 15 more spread out across Canada. Visit fairmont.com for the full list of hotel and resort locations. [caption id="attachment_20624" align="alignnone" width="675"] The stately Fairmont Empress.[/caption] Get going: Book a historic stay at a Fairmont Hotels & Resorts property (fairmont.com) or take the Grand Tour of Canada & Alaska with Scenic (scenic.com.au).   “The perfect iconic Canadian experience.”  – Nikki Bayley   <<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
Bewitched by lights in remote Yellowknife
Experience one of the great natural wonders in the beautiful Canadian north. 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
Feel the spray of Niagara Falls aboard Canada’s Hornblower
Experience the awesome power of one of the world's most famous waterfalls.  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
Why you need to bask under Canada’s beautiful midnight sun
Experience the beauty of perpetual daylight under Canada's midnight sun. Read more
Go in search of Nunavut’s mystical narwhals
Meet one of world's most mystical creatures  Read more
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 deceptively simple smoked meat sandwich that could take on (and beat!) many of New York City’s finest delis, Schwartz’s in Montréal has been a local institution for nearly 90 years. [caption id="attachment_21034" align="alignnone" width="667"] The wonderful smoked meat sandwich.[/caption] You’ll rarely approach without encountering a huge line of people craving the famed beef brisket that lies within, but for the true pilgrim patience is rewarded.   Sitting shoulder to shoulder in the packed surrounds is an unforgettable way to tackle your smoked meat sandwich on rye with just the right amount of tangy yellow mustard, and, of course, a cherry coke to cut through the fat and work its magic on the saltiness of the main event. [caption id="attachment_21035" align="alignnone" width="667"] The facade of Schwartz's in Montreal.[/caption] Nothing this delicious is ever easy to come by so do your time and get in line.   You won’t regret it.   But if you are time-poor, here’s a tip: the lengthy lines are for the full dine-in experience.   If you just want to be blown away by the sandwich, skip the queue and grab one from the take-out counter next door. It’ll still taste incredible on the street. GET GOING: Fill your belly at Schwartz’s Deli (schwartzsdeli.com) from 8 ’til late. [caption id="attachment_21036" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Diners enjoy the sandwiches at Schwartz's.[/caption] LOCATION: The oldest deli in Canada, Schwartz’s can be found at 3895 Saint-Laurent Boulevard, Montréal’s cultural and culinary artery known locally as “The Main”.   << 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