It’s Canada Day, celebrated as Canada’s birthday in honor of the three original Canadian colonies joining together in a federation.
In honor of Canada Day, let’s look at some of the highlights across Canada, from breathtaking mountain vistas to hip urban centers. You’ll be packing your bags to visit by the end of this list!
Banff National Park
Banff National Park is located in Alberta, and is part of the Rocky Mountain range. It has mountain ranges, great valleys, beautiful lakes and stunning glaciers.
Lake Louise is a favorite destination spot because of its pristine water that has an emerald hue from the melting glacial water that feeds the lake. There is a luxury resort on the eastern shore of the lake, so you can experience nature and the high life simultaneously.
The Crowfoot Glacier can be viewed from the Icefields Parkway, which connects Lake Louise to the city of Jasper.
For those who enjoy mountain climbing, Mount Chephrenis a must-visit in Banff. It is a difficult but rewarding climb, and often involves snowy traverses, so hikers must bring appropriate hiking gear.
Sable Island and National Park Reserve
Sable Island was one of the first Canadian islands discovered by European explorers. It has a unique ecosystem, including the world’s largest breeding colony of grey seals. It’s rough seas, foggy weather and changing sandbars have led to over 350 shipwrecks, and it is nicknamed the “Graveyard of the Atlantic”.
Ivvavik National Park
Ivvavik National Park in the Yukon Territory is a national park with many sites of cultural importance to Native people, a protected calving area for caribou, and some of the best river rafting in the world. Because of its remote location and protected habitats, only a limited number of visitors are allowed each year.
Jasper National Park
Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies includes both hot springs and glaciers, in addition to the stunning mountains, valleys, lakes and streams that create the breathtaking landscapes of the park.
The Columbia Ice Field is the largest field of interconnected glaciers in the Rockies. It is estimated to be at least 140,000 years old!
Angel Glacier is named because of its unique shape the looks like an angel with outstretched wings, and is located on Mount Edith Cavell.
Even though much of the national park is comprised of glaciers and has a reputation of being frozen, the Athabasca Falls are stunning and powerful. The falls flow except on the coldest days, due to runoff from the gorge upstream.
Calgary is one of the largest metropolitan areas of Canada. Growing from a small railroad outpost in the 1800s, it is now a regional economic and cultural hub, with both a cosmopolitan feel and cowboy undercurrent.
For a great view of the city, visit the Calgary Tower, which is an observation tower standing at 626 feet high.
Visitors can gaze out over the city in one of the observation decks or while dining in the rotating restaurant, Sky360.
Back on the ground, the Calgary Zoo is a great place for families to visit. It is internationally acclaimed for its conservation efforts, as well as its commitment to presenting the wild animals in a humane and educational manner.
The Calgary Stampede is an annual rodeo and festival held in Calgary every summer.
It has large exhibitions, parades, a market and even amusement rides in addition to the famed rodeo.
The rodeo is one of the largest in the world, and many of the events are held in the Scotiabank Saddledome indoor arena. The arena is also home to the city’s professional hockey team, the Calgary Flames.
Vancouver has it all, from a cosmopolitan city center and vibrant nightlife to relaxing beaches, activities such as bird watching, hiking, boating, fishing and camping.
Rated as one of the best parks in the entire world, Stanley Park is a mix of natural beauty and careful landscaping.
Totem poles dot the park, commemorating and paying tribute to the Native peoples of the northwest who were largely displaced by European settlers.
VanDusen Botanical Garden is a must-see for tourists, as it has both international vegetation growing throughout and a significant focus on local and regional plant life.
Montreal is a gem of a city. Located in Quebec, it is a primarily French-speaking city, and the European influences are felt throughout the city’s design and culture.
Like any European city, Montreal has its fair share of beautiful churches. Basilique Notre-Dame is located in Old Montreal, which was settled in the 1600s. The cathedral is breathtaking in its beauty and detail, especially when it is lit up at night.
Canada is the second largest country in the world, and as this list shows, there are so many amazing things to discover about this hidden jewel of North America!