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What to Know About Traveling in Canada

Updated on June 25, 2015
Canadian Rockies.
Canadian Rockies.

Canada is a beautiful country, and Canadians take pride for its spectacular nature. There are beaches along the western and eastern coasts, snow-capped mountains, and sunny prairies. Farms dot the plains and green forests galore abound throughout much of the country.

Canada is also proud for its diversity and culture. There are people from different countries who live throughout the country. The national anthem is titled “O Canada,” and the country became a nation on July 1, 1867, with John McDonald being its first prime minister.

So if you're an avid traveler who enjoys new surroundings, Canada is a fine country to travel in. There are enough big cities that have good restaurants and recreation worth checking out. Highways stretch from coast to coast and the provinces are filled with wildlife that deserves hours of sightseeing. Just take a look at what this amazing country has to offer for visitors.

Standard of living

Visitors can see that the United States and Canada are neighbors and they both share similar characteristics. Both control the majority of the world's economy. People go to work in the morning and then come home in the evening, navigating through heavy traffic in big cities. Schools operate quite the same as well. Americans do need to be aware that Canada uses the metric system for speed limit signs and measurement. So Americans will have to adjust to kilometers per hour (KPH) as they travel on Canadian highways.

Crowds of shoppers walk along a street in Quebec City.
Crowds of shoppers walk along a street in Quebec City.

Highways

Highways stretch in this vast country. Most of them are in Ontario and Quebec, where they circle around Toronto and other urban areas. Driving on the Trans-Canada Highway is a wonderful way to capture the beauty Canada has to offer. You will be expected to see some mixed deciduous and evergreen trees in the east, acres of wheat and grain in the prairie provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and the Rockies out west. French-style buildings stand near the streets of Quebec, with many bilingual road signs printed in French and English.

Major cities

The cities in Canada are bustled with typical city life: traffic, businesses, busy people and recreation. Ottawa is the capital of Canada. Toronto is the capital of Ontario, the province, but one must be reminded it is not the capital of the country. Ottawa is located on the Ottawa River, which snakes along part of Quebec’s border. Over one million people live in the metropolitan area, some of it in Quebec.

Toronto, a global city, is the largest city in Canada, and more than two million people call it home. It has plenty of ethic restaurants and neighborhoods worth visiting, which comes as no surprise since nearly half of Toronto’s population is foreign. Montreal is the second largest city in the country and is the second largest Francophone city in the world, after Paris. Calgary, with wonderful mountain resorts nearby, just approached one million people in 2011 and it stands as the third largest city. Other major Canadian cities worth traveling to include the diverse Vancouver, nestled in the Rocky Mountains; prairie city Winnipeg; and Halifax, a big fishery port.

Toronto is Canada's largest city.
Toronto is Canada's largest city.

Provinces

Canada has ten provinces and three territories. Ontario and Quebec have the most residents and both rely on manufacturing for the economy. Saskatchewan and Manitoba are known for having plenty of sunshine and great farming. British Columbia and Alberta are mountain provinces. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador are all near the Atlantic Ocean. Further north, the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut are territories which are ideal for ice fishing and watching polar bears.

What is also interesting about the provinces is that most people live near the United States' border. Canada may be the second largest country in the world area wise, but its density is sparsely populated. In this case, about eighty percent of the population lives near the U.S. border.

Weather

Canada has a reputation for having lots of snow cover and being quite chilly. Snow cover stays on the ground practically all winter long, except in some parts along the Pacific coast. The highways can get snow-covered very quickly, so use caution while driving.

Nevertheless, Canada’s heavy snows provide plenty of fun and excitement for skiing, which is part of Canada’s backbone for income. Visitors can also take in part of the annual Winter Carnival in Quebec City, where the celebration is held in January and February. Summers are either cool or mild, and can get hot sometimes for all major Canadian cities. Still, the season is a wonderful time for some hiking, camping, or fishing practically anywhere in the Great White North.

Skiers enjoying the slopes at Sun Peaks Resort in British Columbia.
Skiers enjoying the slopes at Sun Peaks Resort in British Columbia.

Canada is an amazing country to travel in. It is indeed a nature playground; there is always something to do or see there. With plenty of wildlife, festivities and varied cuisines, no one can ask for more.

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    • Samuel Smart profile image
      Author

      Samuel Smart 2 years ago from United States

      You're welcome! One day I may visit Quebec City and learn more about the Chateau Frontenac hotel.

    • lyoness913 profile image

      Summer LeBlanc 2 years ago from H-Town

      Canada (My Homeland) is definitely the beautiful country you speak of. One of the richest heritage has it's roots in hockey- you'll find hockey towns everywhere you turn, rich foods unique to Canada, beer unlike any other, hospitality, and very friendly people. Thanks for the nice write up!

      -Wendi

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