Canada is a country of maple syrup and polar bears, picturesque lakes and permafrost, hockey and the Olympics. This is one of the most developed and richest countries in the world, it is included in the «Big Seven». Tourism is also actively developing here. Our article will tell you about what Canada can be of interest to a foreign traveler.
Where is Canada located on the map?
The second largest country in the world is located on the continent of North America, between the United States and the Arctic Circle, and is washed by three oceans: the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic. Canada holds the record for longest coastline and has the longest border with the United States in the world.
In addition to the mainland, Canada also owns several islands, the largest of which are Ellesmere, Victoria, Baffin Island, Newfoundland, Banks, Devon.
Climate and nature
There is an opinion that it is very cold in Canada. In fact, this applies to the northern regions, which are characterized by a subarctic and arctic climate. The bulk of large cities is located near the border with the United States, where the climate is temperate. For example, Vancouver Island and the coast of British Columbia have mild winters and hot and humid summers. The Atlantic coast does not spoil the locals: here the weather is very unstable, in winter there are often snowfalls and storms.
Canada is called the «Land of Lakes» for a reason. There are about 4 million of them here. Both the Great Lakes, which are located on the border with the United States, and the many small reservoirs scattered throughout the country are excellent places for tourist recreation. In order to protect the stunningly beautiful nature of Canada, 40 national parks and reserves have been created. The most attractive in terms of tourism include:
State structure and administrative division
The form of government in Canada is a parliamentary monarchy with a democratic tradition. The state is part of the British Commonwealth, its chief is the Queen of Great Britain, who appoints the Governor General. Moreover, each province is an autonomy independent of others, with its own executive and legislative authorities. Today, Canada consists of 3 territories (Yukon, Nanavut and the Northwest Territories) and 10 provinces:
- New Brunswick.
- Nova Scotia.
- Newfoundland and Labrador.
- British Columbia.
- Prince Edward Island.
Cities and resorts
The capital of Canada is the city of Ottawa. It should be noted that it is only the 4th largest. Other major cities in the country are:
Snowy mountain slopes, national parks and even beaches — thanks to these natural resources, Canadian resorts are always full of vacationers. To ski, tourists come to Kimberley, Sunny Peaks, Big White, Fernier, Tremblant, for a beach holiday in the summer — to Nova Scotia, Vancouver, Parley Beach, Magdalena and Prince Edward Islands.
Initially, the territory of modern Canada was inhabited by indigenous peoples — Indians. Science has proven that the Yukon was the home of primitive people as early as 26,000 years ago. Some civilizations disappeared long before colonizers arrived here in the 15th century, others died from unusual European diseases, and others assimilated with other peoples. The descendants of the Indians living today in Canada are few and have much lighter skin.
In 2010, the population of Canada was a total of 34 million people. It is often referred to as the «country of immigrants». This is due to the reputation of Canada as a calm, economically stable, highly developed and peaceful country, which, firstly, attracts many potential «new Canadians», and secondly, has an appropriate immigration policy. So, for 2018, there are 43 different ethnic groups in Canada, the largest of which are:
- Canadians are descendants of the first colonizers (30.9%);
- English (20.1%);
- French (15.1%);
- Scots (14.5%);
- Irish (13.3%).
In addition to them, the country is inhabited by a large number of visiting Chinese, Indians, Dutch, Ukrainians, Italians, Germans.
Language and religion
The two official languages of Canada are English and French. They have the same legal status, but the extent of use in different provinces is very different. So, 85% of French-speaking Canadians live in Quebec, and a significant part of this group inhabits New Brunswick, Ontario, Saskatchewan.
As for religious life, its diversity fully reflects the ethnic composition of modern Canada. 77.1% of the country’s inhabitants are Christians, of which 43.5% profess Catholicism. Among other religions, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism predominate. About 17% of Canadians are agnostic.
The national symbols of Canada are:
- Maple. A leaf of this tree is depicted on the official flag of Canada, and a delicious syrup is also made from maple sap — an invention of the Indians, the most important ingredient in local cuisine and a popular souvenir.
- Beaver, caribou deer and polar bear — the most common representatives of the Canadian fauna.
- black-billed loon — a bird depicted on a coin of 1 Canadian dollar.
The coat of arms of Canada is a complex interweaving of several symbols. On it you can see:
- the crown of St. Edward;
- a golden lion holding a maple leaf in its right paw;
- namet and royal helmet;
- a five-part heraldic shield and a ribbon encircling it with the inscription “Desiderantes Melioreum Patriam”, which translates as “They desired a better country”;
- the motto, written on a turquoise ribbon: “A mari usque admare” (“From the sea to the sea”);
- the supporters, a Scottish unicorn and an English lion, stand on a platform of Tudor roses, French lilies, Irish shamrocks, and Scottish thistles.
In such a large country as Canada, tourists are given the widest opportunities. There are a lot of sights here, both natural and historical. The main tourist sites of the country can be summarized in a short list of the Top 10 attractions in Canada:
- Niagara Falls — located on the border with the United States, a stunningly beautiful water stream on the Niagara River. It falls from a height of 51 m.
- CN Tower — a 553 m high TV tower, piercing the sky over Toronto with an arrow. It is the tallest freestanding structure in the world.
- Basilica of Notre Dame de Montreal — a Gothic temple with a stunningly beautiful, majestic interior, the world’s largest organ and two towers.
- Royal Ontario Museum — is considered the largest in all of Canada. About 6 million exhibits are stored here. The building of the museum, built in the neo-romantic style with original elements in the form of giant crystals, is also unusual.
- banff — a national park that attracts skiers, climbers, skiers, skaters and just tourists who want to admire the perfection of nature.
- Capilano Suspension Bridge — a walk along it promises an adrenaline rush, because this 70-meter bridge is stretched over a canyon 137 m deep!
- parliament hill — a complex of buildings where the parliament of the country sits. Anyone can see the unique architecture and visit its halls.
- Castle Frontenac — a medieval chateau, inside which royal interiors await you. The Grand Hotel is located in the castle building.
- Great Lakes — of the 5 famous freshwater reservoirs of North America, combined into one system, 4 are located on the border of Canada with the USA. Lovers of water sports, diving and fishing come here to relax.
- stanley park — Located in Vancouver. Here you can take a walk, enjoying a green oasis in the middle of the metropolis, communicate with animals, see Indian totems, go cycling or jogging, visit the aquarium.
Unlike the “star” classification system familiar to the whole world, in Canada hotels are designated by letters:
- Deluxe (D);
- Superior (S);
- Firet Class (F);
- Tourist Class (T).
The first three points correspond to 5, 4 and 3-star establishments, and the last — to options for a budget tourist (hostels, motels).
For adherents of ecotourism in the country there are a large number of campsites. They can be found in the suburbs of any major city, in nature reserves and national parks.
Restaurants and cuisine
Due to the fact that Canada is a multinational country, here you can find restaurants and cafes of almost any cuisine of the world everywhere. Canadian cuisine itself is famous for its abundance of fish and meat. People here like vegetable puree soups, drink beer, adore pancakes and buns with maple syrup. One of the favorite fast food dishes among Canadians is «putin» — fried potatoes, poured with sauce and melted cheese.
Traveling across Canada, it is impossible not to bring themed souvenirs from there. Among the most popular are maple syrup, soft toys in the form of a deer and a beaver, Canadian whiskey and «ice» wine made from frozen grapes, Native American products and hockey-themed souvenirs.
The currency of the country is the Canadian dollar — it should be used in all cash transactions.
In addition to standard state celebrations, various festivals and other events are held in the country, in which tourists can also participate:
- St.Patrick ‘s Day;
- snow ball;
- Calgary Stumpid;
- Groundhog Day;
- Mardi Gras (Canadian Shrovetide);
- Tulip Festival;
- Canada Day;
- Jazz Festival;
- Thanksgiving Day;
- Festival of Lights;
- Feast of Walruses;
- Festival of Lights in Montreal;
- Newfoundland Memorial Regatta;
- Formula 1 Grand Prix in Montreal.
In Canada, it is customary to tip hotel staff, taxi drivers, hairdressers, waiters, etc. Usually in this case, the amount of the bill is rounded up, or the change is not taken away. The amount of tips in this case ranges from 5 to 20%.
Canada is one of the safest countries on the planet. Tourists here have absolutely nothing to fear (unlike many Asian and Latin American countries). The only sources of problems can be only:
- illegal behavior of the tourists themselves;
- theft from cars, as well as bicycles;
- natural hazards (bear attacks, forest fires, storms, snowstorms and ice storms).
Customs and visa
Visa is the main difficulty in organizing a trip. The probability that you will receive it is 50%, while the list of documents is quite extensive, and the duration of registration leaves much to be desired. To obtain a visa to Canada, you should contact the country’s embassy or one of the Visa Application Centers. They are located in Moscow, Vladivostok and St. Petersburg (Russia), Kyiv and Lvov (Ukraine). In addition to a visa, traveling to Canada will also require a medical policy.
The state of Canada’s transport system is simply excellent, even when compared with Europe. An ideal means of moving between the cities of the country is the plane, since the distances here are considerable. Rail transport is used mainly for cargo transportation, but it is also quite comfortable for passengers. Bus service is also top notch, transported mainly by 2 competing companies, Voyageur and Greyhound. The roads in the country are good and free of charge. Car rental is available from the age of 23.
In major cities of Canada, the public transport system is developed — city buses and fixed-route taxis. Metro is in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver.
How to get there?
The easiest and cheapest way to get to Canada is by purchasing a ticket for a flight from one of the European companies. Lufthansa, Alitalia, Finnair, KLM, Austrian, British Airways and others fly there. Aeroflot operates regular flights from Moscow to Toronto. Another option is to get to Canada via the USA. However, in this case, you will need to apply for a transit visa.