Stretching between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, Canada is a colorful canvas of landscapes, dotted with culture-packed cities and towns. The wild coasts, quiet bays and craggy fishing villages of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland give way to the grassy farmlands of Quebec and French-hued Montreal. Expansive lakes dominate Ontario and Manitoba, anchored by bustling Toronto and artsy Winnipeg. The Great Plains meet green forests in Saskatchewan, opening up to the foot of the grand Rocky Mountains in Alberta. From here everything flows through British Columbia, down to cosmopolitan Vancouver and stately Victoria.
Weathered shingled shacks dot the rocky coast of Nova Scotia’s south shore, providing a sea-carved backdrop for cyclists. Bring your hiking boots to discover the lost-in-time fishing villages in Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland. Splash in the mild waters off Prince Edward Island, or get wet on a close-up view of the tumbling waters of Niagara Falls. Rocky Mountain passages are best explored on horseback in Banff National Park. Orcas and Dahl’s porpoises dance in the waters off Vancouver Island. Ski the mighty slopes of Whistler, or sip wine in a café overlooking the cobblestoned rue du Petit-Champlain in Quebec City.
Begin a cultural vacation in Canada with a tour of the colorful Emily Carr canvases of Vancouver Art Gallery. In Toronto, take in a free summer performance by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, or listen to jazz in the shadow of the Canadian Rockies in Banff. Fans of the Wild West can commune with the cowboys at a rodeo during the Calgary Stampede, or marvel at the First Nations vibrantly painted masks and totem poles that dot the parks and museums throughout the western provinces. In the east, 400 years of French culture dominates Quebec City.
Home-grown flavors abound across Canada. In Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the succulent lobsters and ocean-fresh oysters are not to be missed. In Montreal, locals love their pork off the bone or ham hock stuffed with foie gras. Celebrity chefs in Toronto and Vancouver keep palates pleased with imaginative takes on international flavors. Organic fruits and vegetables are found everywhere, especially in the dry climate of Alberta and Manitoba. In the west, pair your meal with an Okanagan Pinot Noir; in the east, drive the Niagara Wine Route to sample the sweet ice wines.
Canada’s heritage stretches from the 19th-century fishing villages on the rocky coasts of Newfoundland to the elaborately carved First Nations totem poles in Vancouver’s Stanley Park. Time-travel back to the 17th century in Montreal’s Place-Royal, or to Quebec City, where the province’s French culture is architecturally preserved in its Gothic basilicas and plazas. Visit the Steinbach Mennonite Heritage Village in Manitoba, or prowl ancient dinosaur habitats at the Calgary Prehistoric Park.