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A total of 36 million people live across a land area of 3.5 million square miles in Canada. The marvel of this country is not only its size—the country’s federation of ten states stretch towards the arctic circle and down to the U.S.A.—but its topographical variety. Mountainous maritime provinces near the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Atlantic provide the greenness of Nova Scotia, while the serrated Canadian Rockies give way to the breezy coasts of British Columbia. No matter the location, Canada is yours for the taking.
Getting to know the heart of Canada means putting your boots on and going for a trek. It could be wandering the Banff National Park, the country’s oldest national park, that gets you close to the core of this epic land: the wild outdoors, where meandering down a small path leads you to a million-year-old glacier—or wild elks and moose. It may also be putting on your shoes to chase the hypnotising green rays in the Yukon night: the northern lights, which twist and twirl at their own rhythm.
The Niagara Falls need little introduction, but what is often missed is that this famous tourist location actually contains three individual waterfalls. The Canadian side is home to the Horseshoe Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls, where platforms in local Queen Victoria Park offer perching views of the famous water cascades in their full glory.
One of British Columbia’s biodiverse troves, Vancouver Island was first explored by British adventurers in the 18th century. Snowy fjords and the bowed beaches of Tofino and Ucluelet today transform the island’s remoteness into a backpacker’s dream—the perfect place to hike, swim, and repose. Go for a hike and breathe in the fresh air: no matter where you are on this island, nature encircles you.
1885 was the year in which the Banff National Park was first founded. Located deep in the Rocky Mountains, the park’s 2,500 square miles of verdant pines and alpine mammals have only grown to encompass the surroundings of the great Canadian wild. Expect grizzly bears, moose, and hundreds of bird species here—not to mention snowy peaks and glaciers.
The Pacific Range town of Whistler received recognition during the 2010 Olympics, but there is a lot more to do in this snug town besides zipping down one of Garibaldi Mountains on skis. Mountain biking, golf, and hikes turn this wintry haven into a summer paradise, nowhere more evoked than in the town’s unruffled main street, where shops and restaurants adorn the mountains around it.
Canada’s geography and climate vary tremendously from east to west, though it is favourable to travel to this vast country in the summer. Across the whole country, travelling from May to Late June allows you to elude the tourist peak volume found in the months of July through September, all the while enjoying the country’s national parks, forests, and lakes. While warm winds and relatively unrainy conditions bless the east coast, the west coast’s sunlight and warm breeze makes it ideal for any outdoor activity. Also bereft of tourists, September to October finds the country in its “Indian Summer” period, where the summer’s mildness begins to fade into the country’s extreme winter period, which usually lasts from mid-December to mid-March. Those who want to experience the country’s ski-season would do well to travel during this period.
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