Canada is the world’s second-largest country by total area, covering an area of 9.98 million square kilometres. The name of the country is said to be coming from the St. Lawrence Iroquoian word kanata, meaning “village” or “settlement”. Canada’s border with USA makes it the world’s largest international land border, and at 202,080 kms, it also had the largest coastline in the world.
Canada has implemented an entry requirement called an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Starting March 15, 2016, travellers who do not normally need a visa will need to get an eTA before flying to or transiting through Canada. This entry requirement applies to foreign nationals who are visa-exempt and who travel to Canada by air. Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travellers with a valid visa. Those who do not need an eTA will be required to obtain a Temporary Resident Visa to enter the country. Entry requirements have not changed for those travelling by land or sea.
Canada is divided into distinct regions – Atlantic Provinces, Quebec, Ontario, Prairies, British Columbia and the North (Northwest & Nunavut)
There are many international airports in Canada, Toronto Pearson International Airport, being the busiest one.
The national anthem of Canada is “O Canada” was commissioned by Lieutenant Governor of Quebec Théodore Robitaille for the 1880 Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day ceremony. After a few revisions, it became to be the current version.
Popular Cities to Visit (partial list only, there are many more sights and cities to visit and this post does not do full justice to the beauty that Canada has to offer) –
Founded in 1826 as Bytown and incorporated as “Ottawa” in 1855, in reference to the Ottawa River (derived from the Algonquin word Odawa, meaning “to trade); Canada’s capital city has a lot of interesting sights and activities to keep you entertained.
Must Visit Attractions –
- Parliament Hill – Overlooking the beautiful Ottawa River, Parliament Hill is the centerpiece of Ottawa’s downtown landscape and the political and cultural heart of the city. The Peace Tower offers an incredible view of the city. The Hill is often the focal point for various festivals and celebrations like Canada Day.Watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony every morning at the front lawn of Parliament Hill. Each evening, witness the awe-inspiring Sound and Light show – a spectacular lighting effects and stunning giant images projected on the Parliament Buildings set to words and music.
- National Museum – best of Canada all in one place – art, history, nature, technology, as well as attractions that focus on Canada’s Aboriginal peoples. Ottawa’s many national museums are full of national treasure and learning experiences.
From the working of a farm to a nuclear shelter situated four storeys underground, there’s something to satisfy everyone.
- Rideau Canal – a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the waterway is the world’s largest naturally frozen ice skating rink in winter.
Must Visit: In 2017, Bytown Museum celebrates its 100th anniversary in conjunction with Canada’s 150th.
- ByWard Market – Established by Lieutenant-Colonel John in 1826, the ByWard Market (also called “The Market” by the locals) is one of Canada’s oldest and largest public markets for farmers and merchants to sell their wares – fresh produce, fashion, décor, and specialty shops.
Must Do: Try the hand-made Beavertail pastries, that are served up with a variety of toppings at special events throughout the year and at the permanent kiosk in the ByWard Market.
The most populous city in Canada, is also the most multiculturally diverse city on the planet: over 140 languages are spoken. It is a leading international center of business, finance, arts, and culture.
Must Visit Attractions –
- Niagara Falls – The World’s most famous waterfalls are a short drive from Toronto. Make a day trip to the Falls, or plan a weekend excursion to include the wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake; or other attractions like Butterfly Conservatory, Bird Kingdom, Diner Theatre or even activities like Golf, depending upon time available, your interests and itinerary.
- Royal Ontario Museum – Canada’s largest museum of world culture and natural history, features over 6 million specimens and artifacts, divided between two main galleries: the Natural History Galleries and the World Culture Galleries.
- Lake Ontario – one of the five Great Lakesof North America, surrounded by the Canadian province of Ontario, and the American state of New York
- Toronto Zoo – home to over 5,000 animals representing over 460 distinct species, including Giant Pandas from China.
- Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada – an interactive, underwater aquarium that exhibits a stunning variety of marine life including the deadly Jellyfish, 65+ year old giant lobsters, Bamboo Sharks, Sand Tiger Sharks, Roughtail Stingrays, Southern Stingray, Green Sawfish, American Lobster, Wolf Eel, Giant Pacific Octopus
Must Do: Take a underwater Trip through Dangerous Lagoon and See these majestic but deadly creatures up close
- Lawrence Market Complex – designed by William Thomas in 1850, it consists of three buildings; the North Market, St. Lawrence City Hall and South Market. The Market Complex is a vibrant and bustling site and continues to be a hub of social and business functions, even today. The South Market with its restaurants, artisans and specialty food vendors; the Market Galley with changing exhibits dedicated to Toronto’s art, culture and history; the Market Kitchen with cooking classes for all ages and abilities; the North Market where farmers arrive every Saturday to sell meat, cheese and other fresh produce and the Sunday antique market, all offer visitors the unique and lively atmosphere of an authentic farmers market and an insight into the 200-year old history of the Complex.
- CN Tower – A famous landmark, an engineering wonder and the tallest building until 2010, offers views upto a distance of 160 kms. A recent attraction, Edge Walk, allows visitors to experience the thrill of walking mid air at 1000+ feet above Toronto.
Best time to visit Ontario is in May, when the city is decked up with thousands upon thousands of tulips in full bloom
Vancouver (And Calgary)
Originally named Gastown and Granville, Vancouver later developed into a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. Forestry and Tourism are the two main revenue-earning industries. The city of Vancouver has taken a number of steps to become a sustainable city, and aims to become the greenest city in the world by 2020.
Must Visit Attractions –
- Stanley Park & Seawall – spread over 400-hectare, Stanley Park is a world renowned park and tourist attraction, and is designated as a national historic site of Canada. Seawall is the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path at 9 kms, and offers a great spot for cycling and walking among aesthetic surroundings.
- Sun Yat-Sen Park and Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden – an authentic representation of Ming Dynasty-era tradition and the first of its kind outside China, the winding paths, rocks, plants, and beautiful vistas along with the unique rock forms, water lily-covered pond, pagoda, and lush plants offer peace and tranquility and are the perfect urban oasis. Entry is free to the Sun Yat-Sen Park, but there is an admission fee to enter the Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.
- Van Dusen Botanical Garden – with its orchid design and a model of sustainability, it is one of the city’s most iconic building. Spread over 22 hectares with elegant landscapes, it houses plant species representing ecosystems ranging from the Himalayas to the Mediterranean and from Louisiana swamps to the Pacific Northwest with its landscaped quarry garden; collection of exotic and native trees; eye-catching free-flying birds; and sculptures is Vancouver’s horticultural jewel, and a major draw for nature enthusiasts, horticulturists and botanists, as well as for film and photo shoots.
- In 2000, a major fire at Ostankino Tower in Moscow, Russia raised concerns of the possibility of a similar tragedy at CN Tower, Toronto. However, those concerns were soon addressed and resolved.
- Residents of Churchill, Canada, leave their cars unlocked to offer an escape for pedestrians who might encounter Polar Bears.
- The Eiffel Tower was almost temporarily relocated to Canada in 1967.
- Yonge Street in Ontario, is the largest street in the world with a distance of 2000 kms.
- Ontario Lacus, a hydrocarbon-lake on Saturn’s moon Titan, is named after Lake Ontario
- Vancouver is nicknamed Hollywood North, because of the presence of major film production studios, making it a major film production centre.
- Favourite sport of Canadians is Hockey – whether it be ice or grass.
- Toronto’s Marilyn Bell Park is named in honor of Marilyn Bell, the first person to swim across Lake Ontario. She accomplished this feat in 1954, at the age of 16.
- The fictional character Winnie-the-Pooh, was invented by A.A. Milne for his son Christopher, and is based on a real bear cub Winnipeg, who was exported from Canada to the London Zoo in 1915.
Special Thanks to Contributors –
Photographs have been contributed by members of this forum Blogger’s World and the rights to those images are retained by them. Images cannot be reproduced or reused without permission of the respective blogger. Blogger’s World or this author does not have permission to use these images anywhere else, except for the purpose of including them in this post.