Canada: the land of ice hockey and curling, polar bears and ice road trucking, North America’s vast northern country is made up of 10 provinces and three nearly uninhabitable arctic territories. The vast Canadian landscape offers up some intense weather, sure, but don't dismiss the country as just North America's Icebox. Along with it, some of the world’s greatest skiing, snowboarding, Nordic skiing, ice climbing and mountainous panoramas await. Frozen rivers in some Canadian cities even serve as mid-winter commuter highways - and how many North American cities can claim something that distinctive? Sure those are all cold weather activities, but they are just the tip of the iceberg.
The Canadian population grows increasingly cosmopolitan. Vancouver is steadily gaining ground in the popular imagination as “Hollywood North,” Quebec is ground zero for the “Joie de Vivre” as well as an ever-trendy architectural and cultural destination, and only New York has more high rise buildings than Toronto. Complemented by a number of smaller cities with distinctly attractive cultures, these metropolises make up a diverse urban landscape loved by citizens and visitors alike.
As a natural landscape, Canada is often spectacular. With options for every outdoor enthusiast, adventurers can find a suitable getaway in Canada during any season. The Maritime Provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are scenic Northeastern gems with rugged and sandy coastlines where travelers can catch site of exotic birds, walk out to lighthouses over frozen North Atlantic Ocean water, and enjoy fantastic locally harvested shellfish. Polar bears and beluga whales can be spotted on the Hudson Bay and the thousands of lakes and rivers of the Canadian Shield area are perfect for canoeing, kayaking, waterfall hunting and wildlife sighting. Bear and moose call the Canadian Rockies home and many a winter athlete would love to join them. The fun little mountain town of Banff provides a launching point to the likes of Lake Louise, Sunshine Village and Kicking Horse resort mountains. The area is a thrill for less athletically inclined travelers too, as Jasper and Banff National parks are undeniably stunning to drive or trek through. And, not to be forgotten, the legendary Whistler Blackcomb ski resort is hardly more than an hour north of Vancouver.
The Canadian Climate is generally a cold one. But that is not say Canada is always cold. The southern regions have warm to hot summers, humid in the east and dry in the west, though they rarely breach 90° F. Any potential Canadian traveler should remember that Canada is a large country, so the weather is variable, but count on snow and ice in the winters.
Travelers unaccustomed to hazardous driving might want to avoid Canadian roads during the winter; however, getting around Canada on four wheels is easy when the weather is fine. The roadways are maintained and drives are scenic. Rail is a nice way to get around Canada but is only really proficient in southern Ontario. Most Canadian cities are accessible by air directly or with a single layover from the U.S. with Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal each having major international airports.