Attending the annual Canada Corroboree on Tuesday night, I thought I would write a little post on the beautiful country that is Canada. Everyone is familiar with the typical sights but I wanted to share some perhaps lesser known regions and what they have to offer:
When most people think of Alberta, they think of the emerald waters of Lake Louise and the snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains. But what about a music festival, a rodeo or experiencing native Indian culture? Calgary, as a contemporary Canadian city, has a lot to offer year round but in particular during the crazy Calgary Stampede period.
This July 8 - 17, the 104th annual Stampede, this friendly city will be overrun by revellers looking to either take part in the action or be a spectator. There is something for everyone! The Calgary Stampede Music Festival is now known as one of the biggest music festivals in North America with country music acts amongst other big-name performers. In 2016, Indian Village will be moved to a bigger and better location at Enmax Park. It has been a tradition since day one of the Stampede, even when it was not as socially acceptable as it is today, to welcome the native Indian people to participate in the festival and share their culture.
There are things to do in Calgary year round like visiting the Heritage Park Historical Village to get a sense of Canada's history or catching a glimpse of the city skyline against the Rocky Mountains at Fish Creek Provincial Park. This is the largest urban park in Canada!
Travel Tip: When you arrive at Calgary airport, if you are not sure where to go, why not make use of the White Hat Volunteers as they are known. These volunteers greet new arrivals at the airport with warm Western hospitality and give a great first impression of this friendly city.
Quebec is a diverse province from the rest of Canada in that it has quite a strong French influence due to its founding by a French explorer back in 1608. Strolling the cobblestone streets of Quebec City, the capital of Quebec province, one might perhaps mistake it for Paris with its gourmet food stores, boutiques and art galleries. Popular shopping areas include: Petit Champlain District, Rue Saint-Jean and Nouvo Saint-Roch.
The district of Old Quebec is a UNESCO world heritage site with the famous Chateau Frontenac, now a Fairmont hotel, that dominates the skyline perched atop a hill. As you would expect, the French influence remains with the cuisine in Quebec with a blend of French, Canadian and First Nations influence. Typical Quebec dishes include: cretons (a cold meat spread), soupe aux pois (pea soup), poutine (if you have not tried this, do it now!) and tarte au sucre (sugar pie).
Did you know: Chateau Frontenac is known as the most photographed hotel in the world.
Churchill, Manitoba is home to a lot of things. First, you have polar bears, the not-so-gentle giants. October/November is the ideal time to catch a glimpse of the elusive white bear against the white tundra (icy expanse). A Tundra Buggy Experience is the ultimate way to immerse yourself and get up close with the wildlife: arctic foxes, arctic hares, beluga whales and caribou. Polar bears even come up to the buggy windows that is how close you get! The Tundra Buggy Adventure ventures out into the Churchill Wildlife Management Area in the Buggy which is where you sleep and eat whilst spending maximum time keeping an eye on the wildlife surrounding you. In the winter time the Tundra Buggy goes out in hope of viewing the magical Northern Lights.
Beluga Whales, known as the 'Canaries of the Sea', are intelligent and friendly creatures which you can interact with via kayak, boat, zodiac or even, if you are brave enough, snorkelling. Check out this amazing video of a boy from Brisbane who played cello to interact with the Beluga Whales.
For a complete list of 100 things to do in Canada Before You Die, check out International Traveller's article.