British Columbia visitors need a long list of superlatives when describing their trips – the words spectacular, breathtaking and jaw-dropping only go so far. But it's hard not to be moved by towering mountains, wildlife-packed forests and dramatic coastlines that slow your heart like sigh-triggering spa treatments.
The breathtaking four-seasonal palette of Ontario's vast wilderness, endless forests and abundant wildlife, awaits. Almost 40% of Canada’s population lives here for good reason: Ontario is larger than France and Spain combined. Over 250,000 lakes contain a third of the planet's fresh water.
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick & Prince Edward Island
Fashioned by the mighty Atlantic, these down-home Canadian provinces call you 'Deary,' and offer you hot seafood chowder as whales breach in the distance. Water World ‘Water everywhere,’ you think, as you scan the horizon from the windy clifftop. Then you see it on the water, a fine spray emanating from what appears to be a log.
Alberta does lakes and mountains like Rome does churches and cathedrals, but without the penance. For proof head west to Jasper and Banff, two of the world’s oldest national parks which, despite their wild and rugged terrain, remain well-trammeled and easily accessible. No one should leave this mortal coil without first laying eyes on Lake Louise and the Columbia Icefield.
If provinces were mother Canada's children, Nova Scotia would be the cute kid who charms the world with her lupine-studded fields, gingerbread-like houses, picture-perfect lighthouses and lightly lapping waves on sandy shores. But then you put her in a hockey rink or perhaps a fishing boat in a strong gale and another side comes out.
Newfoundland & Labrador
Canada's easternmost province floats in a world of its own. Blue icebergs drift by. Puffins flap along the coast. Whales spout close to shore. The island even ticks in its own offbeat time zone (a half-hour ahead of the mainland) and speaks its own dialect (the Dictionary of Newfoundland English provides translation, me old cock).
The largest populated landmass between western North America and New Zealand – it's around 500km long and 100km wide – Vancouver Island is laced with colorful, often quirky communities, many founded on logging or fishing and featuring the word 'Port' in their name. The locals are generally a friendly bunch, proud of their region and its distinct differences.
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 is a heavily populated industrialized zone encompassing a number of the GTA's 'satellite' cities. Highway 403 will get you to Hamilton and Brantford, but most will take the 401 for Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo and beyond: it's an impenetrable concrete artery linking Toronto to the US border at Windsor, and the Québec border to the east.