5 things I wish I knew before visiting Canada
Today’s post comes to us via Rachael from Hilltops and Flipflops. Hailing from the southern coast of the UK, Rachael and her boyfriend Elliot recently moved to Canada, where they blog about travel, “hilltops” (their love for hitting the slopes), and “flipflops” (their love for sunny destinations).
If you’ve never been to Canada, well . . . you should. I’m currently living and working my way around the world’s second largest country (after Russia) and I’ve fallen in love. I’ve learnt so much already, but here’s the 5 things I wish I knew before visiting.
1.Nature is everything
This might seem obvious, but with Canada sitting right above the USA, it can be easy to assume it’s the same as its North American neighbour. It’s similar, yes, but it has so much more to offer – especially when it comes to natural beauty! There’s no shortage of turquoise lakes to kayak across, Rocky Mountains to climb (see what I did there?!), or temperate rainforest to discover – all while spying on bears, moose, elk and beavers. Head to the shores and you might find yourself part of an orca pod or swimming with seals, and if you or look to the skies you’ll find eagles, owls and woodpeckers. Oh, and anyone who’s anyone in the cities has a do.
2. Bring your fitness
Being that Canada has so much natural beauty to offer, it seems right that everyone’s taking advantage of it and using it to keep fit – and there’s plenty of ways to do that! Whether that be through snowboarding and skiing its hills in the winter, or hiking them in the summer, or maybe running Vancouver’s sea-front trails, and kayaking through Toronto’s islands, there’s definitely no excuse not to get active.
3. Eat your heart out, drink your head away
Canada’s 10 provinces and 3 territories are so multi-cultural that you’ll never struggle to find a different cuisine to eat at any time of the day, and every day of the week. Food plays a big part in the country’s major cities – Chinatown in Vancouver is the largest Chinatown in Canada, and Quebec’s dishes are a vibrant mix of French/English/First Nation food. Of course, Canada’s national dish of poutine (fries with cheese curds and gravy) and well-known maple movement is everywhere too. Drink wise, the West coast is drowning in craft beer – a result of the Pacific Northwest brewery boom. Vancouver has some of the best craft beers, but there’s plenty more to find dotted along the coast.
4. Diversity for days
There’s so much history and culture to learn about while in Canada and it’s everywhere you go. First, there’s the country’s First Nations, whose beliefs, art, literature and music are still thriving and celebrated today. Then there’s the French Canadians on the East side who are the result of 17th Century colonization, while modern-day cosmopolitan cities like Vancouver and Toronto are multi-cultural in every way.
5. Backcountry business
With most of Canada’s people living within 200km of the American border, there’s far more to see when you venture in to the backcountry. Canada’s 3 territories – Yukon, Northern Territories and Nunavut – are home to polar bears, Inuits, ice-filled plateaus and sub-arctic temperatures. Venture a further south in to British Columbia and you’ll find Canada’s only true desert!
The globetrotting wordsmith behind Take Me With You, Sierra specializes in sustainable, smart blogging strategies for part-time travel bloggers. Her wanderlust has taken her across 3 continents and 11 countries. She is the creator of the free ecourse, Travel Blog In 5.