So, eventually, you have made a big move. Now, in Canada, the world’s second-largest country, you’re looking for things to do.
Well, it’s all good and good to say that you only have to visit Niagara Falls in summer, but that’s a huge question if your new home is more than 4,000 km away in Vancouver. Your choices for places to go mostly depend on where you pitch up in Canada. Fortunately, in our travel guides, we have destination-specific listings on what to do in Canada and where to visit locally.
Rather, the purpose of this guide, the one you are reading right now, is to outline some items that can be ticked off in Canada from almost anywhere. Who knows, maybe it will help you make your own decision to become a Canadian! So, you’re in the right place if you want to make every day count, squeeze the most out of every season, go exploring and find the best things to do in Canada. There are many things in this country, but it’s never dull, and don’t let others tell you otherwise…
- Attend a hockey game
Hockey is obviously the most common sport in Canada (ice hockey, for those of you who are unfamiliar with North America).
In Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal, with seven National Hockey League (NHL) teams scattered around the nation, getting to at least one match in the season is a must.
If the ticket prices are out of your league for the NHL, or if you’re in one of the smaller cities or towns with no NHL team, in one of the other leagues, there’s always strong hockey on offer. For a taste of the environment at a fraction of the amount, look out for junior teams playing in the Canadian Hockey League.
2. Try skiing or snowboarding
It’s costly and unpleasant (at least at first), but it’s fun for boys. An adrenaline rush you’ll want to experience over and over again is the sensation of actually “cracking it” and remaining upright while hurtling down a mountain with the wind whizzing past your face.
Canada’s major cities are all within an hour or two of some of the finest ski resorts on the continent, particularly cities out west, and when it dumps snow, it’s time to hit the slopes.
You will pray early enough for the end of autumn and the first heavy blanket of snow, and winter will soon become your favorite season.
3. Head to the water
You’re never far from the sea, no matter where you are in Canada.
This is the country with the world’s longest coastline, as well as the biggest lakes (more than half of the world’s lakes are within the boundaries of Canada, indeed). Connect to that some of the most enticing and wild river networks on Earth, and you have six time zones covering a gigantic, watery playground.
At the Bay of Fundy, you might see the world’s highest tidal range, snorkeling in the Great Lakes, white water rafting in the Rockies, or surfing off Vancouver Island.
4. Get into the festival spirit
In Canada, festival lovers would have no shortage of things to do. This is a nation of festivals, from coast to coast and even in the North.
Montreal stages its annual Complètement Cirque, or circus festival, every July, along with the world’s largest jazz and comedy festivals. It’s the best time of year for visiting the metropolis of Quebec.
Caribana and The Ex are in Toronto. The heart of the Modern West, Calgary, showcases its Stampede, the ideal venue for your rodeo (yee haw!).
Edmonton is simply known as ‘The Festival City of Canada.’ You have Vancouver’s Festival of Light farther west on the Pacific coast, and these pictures give you a glimpse of how spectacular it is. Smaller music and culinary festivals are also being held on Vancouver Island.
You’re pretty much guaranteed a nice time no matter where you are and no matter what time of year it might be.
5. Eat Canadian
Putin. Syrup with maple. Bacon Peameal. TailsBeaver. Tarts of honey. Bars nanaimo. Ferocious salmon. Oh, oysters. Beef from Alberta. Bagels in Montreal style. Berries from Saskatoon. Making smoked pork. Cheese Oka. Of B.C. Only spot the prawns. Lobster from the Atlantic.
There are plenty of things to eat in Canada, just like there are plenty of things to do in Canada. Indulge, indulge.
6. Drink Canadian
Rows of grape vines on the hillside above Okanagan Lake, British Columbia.
Ceasars. Craft beers. Maple whiskey. Ice wine. Okanagan Valley wine. Niagara on the lake wine. Wine, wine, wine. More wine.
Drink responsibly, but drink Canadian.
7. Skate on a lake
After learning to walk and talk, the third thing a Canadian learns is how to skate.
Unless you live right by the ocean, you’re likely to have a frozen lake nearby for at least a couple of months each winter.
Yep, it’s getting cold out, so what are you going to do? Stay on an inconsistent internet stream and keep up with Coronation Street, or put on some skates and be ready to constantly fall on your backside?
Make sure you don’t regret losing chances to find new things to do in Canada when you were young, when you’re old and grey and sitting by the fire (and those bruises on your back are long gone).
8. Go camping
The quintessential Canadian pastime is camping.
Pack the car with a tent and marshmallows, find a lake nearby, bring some refreshments (see above for food and drink tips), and spend the night looking up trying to find all the star constellations you used to know about, but forgot because you were too busy to leave the city for the last few years of your life.
It’s time to explore Canada for real.
9. Take a hike
Why not combine two of the best things to do in Canada together when you’re off hiking, and go for a walk at the same time?
In this great country, every province and territory provides some amazing terrain for hiking.
You still have somewhere to walk, something to climb, and someone to meet and share your time, from the Rockies of BC and Alberta, to the Prairies and the Great Lakes area, and all the way to the Atlantic coast.
Just make sure you know what you’re doing, where you’re going, and that everyone knows where you are if you’re heading out in the mid-winter or mid-summer weather.
And in winter, if you’re hiking, make sure to take this advice.