Visitors to Canada's westernmost province should pack a long list of superlatives to deploy here; the words 'wow,' 'amazing' and 'spectacular' will only go so far. Luckily, it's not too hard to wax lyrical about the mighty mountains, deep forests and dramatic coastlines here that instantly lower heart rates to tranquil levels.
The breathtaking four-seasonal palette of Ontario's vast wilderness, endless forests and abundant wildlife awaits. Around 40% of Canada’s population lives here for good reason: Ontario is larger than France and Spain combined. Over 250,000 lakes, including the Great Lakes bordering the US, contain a fifth of the planet's fresh water.
Stretching from coastal Horseshoe Bay as far inland as the verdant Fraser Valley, this region encompasses the towns and suburbs within an hour or two by car or transit from downtown Vancouver, including those communities immediately adjoining the city that together are known as Metro Vancouver.
Walkable neighborhoods, drink-and-dine delights and memorable cultural and outdoor activities framed by dramatic vistas – there's a glassful of great reasons to love this lotusland metropolis. Taste-Tripping Don't tell Toronto or Montreal but Vancouver is the real culinary capital of Canada.
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick & Prince Edward Island
Fashioned by the mighty Atlantic, these open-armed Canadian provinces beckon you for chats, chowder and the chance to see whales breach in the distance. A Foot-Tapping Good Time Here's a culture defined by fiddle playing and wearing out the dancing shoes.
Welcome to Toronto, the most multiculturally diverse city on the planet: over 140 languages are spoken. It's estimated that over half of Toronto's residents were born outside Canada, and despite its complex makeup, Torontonians generally get along. When the weather is fine, Toronto is a blast: a vibrant, big-time city abuzz with activity.
If Nova Scotia were a film, its protagonists would be rugged yet kind-hearted, burnt by the wind and at one with the sea. It would be shot against a backdrop of rolling green fields and high sea-cliffs; its soundtrack would feature fiddles, drums and evocative piano scores; and its plot would be a spirited romp around themes of history, community and family.
The largest populated landmass between western North America and New Zealand – around 500km long and 100km wide – Vancouver Island is studded with colorful, quirky communities, many founded on logging or fishing and featuring the word 'Port' in their names. The locals are a friendly bunch, proud of their region and its distinct differences.
Newfoundland & Labrador
With rocky crags, drifting icebergs and puffins flapping by, Canada's easternmost province – and historically its most rebellious – floats in a stunning world of its own. The island that has long moved to its own beat maintains its own time zone (a half-hour ahead of the mainland) and lilting old-world dialect (the Dictionary of Newfoundland English provides translation).
Banff & Jasper National Parks
With the Rocky Mountains stretched across them, Banff and Jasper National Parks are filled with dramatic, untamed wilderness. Rugged mountaintops scrape the skyline while enormous glaciers cling to their precipices. Glassy lakes flash emerald, turquoise and sapphire, filled by waterfalls tumbling down cliff faces and thundering through bottomless canyons.
In the early 20th century, New Brunswick was a very big deal. Millionaire businesspeople, major-league baseball players and US presidents journeyed here to fish salmon from its silver rivers and camp at rustic lodges in its deep primeval forests. But over the decades, New Brunswick slipped back into relative obscurity.
Arcing around Lake Ontario are a number of the Greater Toronto Area’s 'satellite' cities. Day trip the up-and-coming hip strip of Hamilton, or really escape Toronto’s gravity in the delightful villages of Elora, Fergus and the unique Mennonite settlement of St Jacobs.