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Canada 150, Great Outdoors, Canada, Life, Events

150 things you have to do in Canada before you die

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Lloyd Braun Jun 30, 2017 5:00 am 7,362

In case you haven’t heard, Canada is celebrating a pretty major birthday.

As our great nation turns 150 on July 1, we’ve rounded up 150 places and things you have to see and do in Canada before you die. From coast to coast to coast, mountain to prairie, and everything in between, here’s some Grade Eh material for your bucket list… (in alphabetical order of provinces and territories)

Alberta

Wayne Gretzky statue, Edmonton

Standing at 9’2″ and weighing in at 950 pounds, this iconic landmark is a must-see for all hockey fans.

Calgary Stampede

Image: Calgary / Shutterstock

You know the deal: drink.

Columbia Icefield Glacier, Rocky Mountains

Plenty adventure awaits in this frozen wonderland, including rides on an Ice Explorer, cliff edge walking, and the glass-floored Glacier Skywalk.

Jasper National Park

Truly one of the most majestic natural escapes in the world.

Lake Louise

A post shared by 365plusx (@365plusx) on

You know, the one from Instagram with the super nice hotel.

Moraine Lake, Banff National Park

Quite possibly Canada’s most picturesque location.

Banff Hot Springs

Destroy your body on the slopes and then relax into the bliss.

West Edmonton Mall

We feel kind of guilty putting a mall on this list, but it’s an undeniable landmark.

Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller

Dinosaur skeletons!

Mountain bike in Canmore
ha ling

Ha Ling Peak/Shutterstock

Best reserved for those on the more experienced side.

Ride the Rocky Mountaineer

Take in some of Canada’s most breathtaking scenery as you wind through mountains, forests, and over rivers. Rocky Mountaineer is the largest luxury tourist train company in the world and serves four routes through BC and Alberta.

The Badlands, Drumheller

The true Wild West of Canada. So wild, in fact, that dinosaurs once roamed this area in abundance.

Bison watch at Wood Buffalo National Park in Northeastern Alberta and Southern Northwest Territories

Alright, so bison don’t really do all that much. Still a better watch than the ending of Dexter.


British Columbia

Arts and Crafts at Granville Island, Vancouver!

The Mecca of handmade goods. If you’re into arts and crafts, this is your calling.

Kettle Valley Trestles, South of Kelowna on Okanagan Mountain

What’s a trestle, you ask? Think railway designer meets rollercoaster tycoon.

See the Orcas, Vancouver Island

Channel your inner Jesse from Free Willy.

Surfing in Tofino

Not just good surfing for Canada. Good surfing, period.

Skiing and Snowboarding at Whistler

Drink every time you or one of your buddies says “fresh pow.”

The Chief, Squamish

Hike the world’s second-largest granite monolith in the world.

The Kootenays 

Rivers, lakes, waterfalls, beaches, mineral hot springs, alpine meadows and snow-capped mountains – see all of the things.

Wreck Beach, Just west of Vancouver

You had us a “clothing optional.”

Kits Beach, Vancouver

Just another one of those amazing things other big cities can’t compete with.

Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, Tofino
tofino

Vancouver Island/Shutterstock

There’s glamping – and then there’s uber-luxe, 5-star glamping. This is the latter.

Gastown, Vancouver

A national historic site that’s widely regarded as Vancouver’s most charming ‘hood.

Chinatown, Vancouver

Pro tip: spend all three daily meals there.

Beer, coffee and art crawl in Mount Pleasant, Vancouver

Step outside downtown for a taste of hip Vancouver.

Canada Place, Vancouver

You know, the one that’s in all the postcards. Stay tuned to the calendar of world-class events.

Grouse Grind, North Vancouver

A 2.9-kilometre trail up the face of Grouse Mountain. In case you were wondering why it was called “grind.”

Miniature World museum, Victoria

These things are always way better than you think.

Osoyoos Desert

Yup, we have a desert. 0% of Americans know this.

Celebration of Light, Vancouver

An annual musical fireworks competition that lights up the sky above English Bay for three nights.

420 in Vancouver

Some excellent stereotypes to be observed here.

Pond hockey in the Rockies

pond hockey

File this under “something to tell the grandkids.”

Haida Gwaii, Pacific Ocean

Some 450 islands 80 kilometres west of the BC coast that offer all the stunning natural beauty you’d expect of their opportune geography.

Go ziplining, Throughout BC

Some outdoor activities just seem to stick in certain provinces (just look at how many places you can bungee jump in Quebec). B.C. is your spot to zip on a line.

Hell’s Gate Air Tram, Boston Bar

Round up the kids and teeter above the raging Fraser River.

Go heli-skiing, Throughout the Rocky Mountains

New meaning to the term “fresh pow.”

VIA Rail across the country (start in Vancouver)

Hop aboard the iconic transcontinental Canadian operated by VIA rail – and stay there for three days and four nights.

Ride the Rocky Mountaineer, Various stops in BC and Alberta

Take in some of Canada’s most breathtaking scenery as you wind through mountains, forests, and over rivers. Rocky Mountaineer is the largest luxury tourist train company in the world and serves four routes.

Stay at the Sonora Resort, Sonora Island

This place sits on its own private island – enough said.

Ski the Powder Highway, BC interior

Seven ski resorts with one weather forecast: powder.

Cruise the Icefields Parkway, Banff

This postcard material drive is worth investing in a motorcycle for.

Sea to Sky Gondola, Squamish

Image: Paul Morrison

Get squeamish in Squamish.

Butchart Gardens, Victoria

There’s a reason these spectacular gardens attract close to a million visitors a year. #nofilter needed for these blooms.

Dive into a hot spring, Kootenay

Mineral hot springs, Rocky Mountains, deep snow – a most Canadian of scenes.

Walk the Capilano Suspension Bridge, Capilano

Soaring 230 feet above the Capilano river below. Nbd.


Manitoba

Wapusk National Park, Hudson Plains ecozone

Ideal is watching bear cubs take their first steps is your thing (it is).

Museum of Human Rights, Winnipeg

Very important stuff within. Fascinating building as well.

Polar bear safari, Churchill

polar bear

People say Canada is all hockey and polar bears. Here, it really is.

Riding Mountain National Park

One of the best places in Canada to watch wildlife in its natural habitat.

Islendingadagurinn, Gimli

Translation: Icelandic Festival. An entire weekend dedicated to celebrating Icelandic culture and descent.


New Brunswick

Tide at the Bay of Fundy

A marvel to behold, there’s nothing quite like walking on the ocean floor.

Village Historique Acadien, Caraquet

Discover life as a 17th Century French settler. The Festival acadien de Caraquet is a fantastic way to soak in the culture.

Saint John City Market

This gem is Canada’s oldest farmers’ market and boasts a massive selection of edibles, crafts, and souvenirs.

Grand Manan Island, Bay of Fundy

Come to watch birds. And the lighthouse.

Hopewell Rocks, Hopewell Cape

hopewell rocks

Also known as the Flowerpot Rocks, they are sculpted by the highest tides in the world.

Discover the sea caves, St. Martin’s, Bay of Fundy

Walk the ocean floor and be keenly aware of the tide schedule.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Navigate Iceberg Alley

Just don’t be like the Titanic. (Too soon?)

Lumsden Beach

Pearly white sand as far as the eye can see. Turbulent weather though.

fogo island inn

Very likely the coolest modern hotel in the country. Hashtag all photos with #views.

Gros Morne National Park, West Coast of Newfoundland

Awaken your inner geology buff and see what our world’s made of.

Hike Signal Hill, St. John’s

Come for the views, stay because your legs hurt.

Reach the eastern tip of North America, Cape Spear

Just a short swim to Portugal.


Northwest Territories

Fish Great Slave Lake, Around Yellowknife

trout

Northern pike, lake trout, Arctic grayling, whitefish – this one’s got ’em all.

White-water rafting in Nahanni National Park Reserve, Fort Smith

An bucket list topper.

Wildcat Cafe, Yellowknife

An institution, even if only because it’s the only one.

Virginia Falls, Nahanni National Park Reserve

Pro tip: flight there. Pro tip 2: do not raft over them.

Observe the great Canadian reindeer migration, Inuvik

If you thought eight reindeer was cool, wait ’til you see this.

The Dempster Highway, Tuktoyaktuk

Just a heads up: you’ll be driving on frozen sections of the Mackenzie River and Arctic Ocean.


Nova Scotia

Peggy’s Cove

peggy's cove

Yes, that lighthouse. The surrounding fishing communities are as charming as they come.

Stay in the Cliff House

Designed by Canadian studio MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects, it is exactly what its name would suggest.

Crystal Crescent Beach, Sambro Creek

When “crystal clear water” really does apply.

Drive the Cabot Trail, Victoria County and Inverness County on Cape Breton Island

Our version of State Route 1. Which is to say, probably Canada’s most scenic drive.

Hike the Skyline Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park

This magnificent trail offers perhaps the country’s best sunset. Just make sure to watch your step.

Whale watching

One of those things everyone’s dreamed of one day or another. It’s as fulfilling as you’d imagine.

Ingonish Beach

A fantastic beach with the added bonus of being able to surf.


Nunavut

See the Hudson’s Bay Company’s first Canadian trading posts

Who could have guessed such a humble beginning would develop into the enterprise it is today?

Mount Thor, Auyuittuq National Park, Baffin Island
mount thor

Wikimedia Commons/Matthew Baynton

If the Leaning Tower of Pisa were a mountain.

Mount Asgard, Baffin Mountains

A twin peaked mountain with two flat-topped, cylindrical, rock towers – it’s like someone cut off the top with a saw.

Dogsled through the Arctic

The best – and only way to get around.

Narwhal spotting, Baffin Island

Yes, Narwhals – kind of like sea unicorns.


Ontario

Jays Game at Rogers Centre, Toronto

Sunshine, open roof, day-drinking – does it get any better?

Niagara Falls

Sure, the whole town’s a tourist trap, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the falls are absolutely spectacular.

niagara falls

Kensington Market, Toronto

Artisanal shops, street art, a vibrant community, and small town charm combine to make this one of Canada’s coolest neighbourhood.

Caribana, Toronto

Celebrate all things Caribbean at the largest festival of its kind. The less clothes, the better.

Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory, Niagara Falls

No, you’re not one phone call to Life Alert away from “old age” – spending hours watching butterflies is damn awesome.

Pride weekend, Toronto

Reminisce about the most fun weekend you’ve ever had. That pretty much captures the spirit of Pride.

Skate on the Rideau Canal, Ottawa

A Canadian classic. Follow it up with a visit to…

Parliament Hill, Ottawa

See where the decisions you passionately love and hare are made.

CN Tower, Toronto

Toronto/Shutterstock

Sure, looking at and from atop is nice. But the real adventure is walking along its edge.

A camping weekend at Algonquin, Between Georgian Bay and the Ottawa River

Especially noteworthy: howling with the wolves during the winter season.

Prince Edward County

50 vineyards, 30 wineries, 80 reasons to book a staycation immediately.

Wasaga Beach

Sure, it’s a little Jersey Shore, but the beaches in and around Wasaga are still some of the best in the country. Shout out to Sauble Beach a little further north.

Hockey Hall of Fame, Toronto

The Shrine. A must for any hockey-lover.

Terry Fox Monument, Thunder Bay

Pay tribute to one of the greatest Canadians to have graced our land.

The beach at Sandbanks National Park, Picton

Sandbars and dunes for days. Hence the name.

A weekend in Muskoka

The quintessential plot for a beer commercial.

The Diefenbunker

Built between 1959-61 to house Canadian leaders during a nuclear attack, it now serves as Canada’s Cold War Museum.

VIA Rail across the country (start in Toronto)

Hop aboard the iconic transcontinental Canadian operated by VIA rail – and stay there for three days and four nights.

Canada’s Wonderland, Vaughan
canada's wonderland

Leviathan at Canada’s Wonderland has a max speed of 92 mph.

Always a good time despite the tweens.

Swim the Tobermory grotto. And then…

Really awesome if you can hold your breath for 15 seconds. Really scary if you can’t.

Canoe the Great Spirit Circle Trail, Manitoulin Island

A great way to experience the culture of eight First Nation communities.

Dine at Canada’s best restaurant, Toronto

Yes, lots of debate here (Canada’s 100 Best says it’s Alo). But honestly, you’ll find an incredible culinary adventure anywhere in the city.

St. Lawrence Market

Considered by some as the world’s best food market. One visit and you’ll probably agree. Don’t skip the peameal bacon sandwiches.

Navigate the Thousand Islands, St. Lawrence River

More than a salad dressing, indeed. Boldt Castle is an especially enchanting sight to behold, as are the surrounding waterfront mansions.

Watch a Shakespeare play, Stratford

What this town’s really about – pre-Bieber.


Prince Edward Island

Anne of Green Gables, Cavendish

See the setting for one of Canada’s most famous novels, written in 1908 by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Confederation Bridge
confederation bridge

Photo: Welcome PEI

Enjoy almost 13 kilometres of serene views over the Abegweit Passage as you cross from New Brunswick to P.E.I. or vice versa.

The red sand

Cliche but cool souvenir tip: put it in a jar and gift to everyone you know.

PEI National Park, North Shore

Over 50 kilometres of hiking and cycling trails await among the province’s most beautiful setting.

Singing Sands beach, Souris

To answer your silent question: yes, it actually does sing, and it’s one of the few beaches in the world with sand that does so.

Deep sea fishing

The best part, of course, is dining on your bounty almost immediately after catching it.

Eat all of the lobsters

There is simply no better place to indulge in this most drool-worthy, buttery Atlantic delicacy. Sorry, Maine.

Clam digging, Province-wide

Way more fun than it sounds. Align your trip with the PEI Shellfish Festival.

Quebec

Montreal Canadiens game

One of the best hockey atmospheres in the world. Preferably when the Leafs are in town.

Notre-Dame Basilica, Montreal

notre dame

A crown jewel of Quebec’s rich religious heritage.

A weekend at Tremblant, Mont-Tremblant

Go for the slopes, stay for the apres.

Formula 1 weekend, Montreal

A staple of the F1 circuit, Montreal is alive day and night for this world-class racing showcase.

Osheaga, Montreal

Coachella North. Seriously, who isn’t playing?

La Ronde, Montreal

Canada’s second largest amusement park behind Canada’s Wonderland.

L’International des Feux Loto-Québec, Montreal

The most prestigious and largest fireworks festival in the world.

Carnaval de Quebec, Quebec City

Your chance to hang out with that Bonhomme fellow your teacher kept talking about in French class.

Saint Joseph’s Oratory, Montreal

Behold Canada’s largest church. Sacre Coeur Lite, but no less impressive.

Hotel de Glace, Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier

Yup, a hotel of ice, complete with 44 rooms and theme suites.

Stay at the Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City

chateau frontenac

The most photographed hotel in the world – and for good reason. Original hotel built in 1893.

Wander Old Montreal

Step a few centuries back in time and take in Canada’s most charming neighbourhood.

Spend a night in a longhouse, Wendake

Check into the Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations for truly original accommodation.

Cruise the Magdalen Islands

One of Canada’s best-kept secrets with stunning beaches, red cliffs, and unlimited outdoor activities.

Montreal Jazz Fest

Canada’s premier showcase of jazz, and the largest jazz music festival in the world. Around 3,000 artists perform during the 10-day celebration.

Hit the sugar shacks, Rural Quebec

We couldn’t make a Canadian “before you die” list without maple syrup, could we?

Stuff yourself with poutine, All over Quebec
poutine fries

theofficial_sydney/instagram

Honour this national treasure the right way by going straight to the source.

Bungee jump, Wakefield

*Google searches “can you die from a 200 foot fall into a quarry?”


Saskatchewan

Prince Albert National Park

An oasis of natural wonders and cultural treasures.

See Mac the Moose, Moose Jaw

A very, very tall (32 feet) moose.

Royal Saskatchewan Museum, Regina

Showcasing the natural, geologic, and First Nations history of Saskatchewan.

Wascana Centre, Regina

A 9.3 square kilometre park built around Wascana Lake – the perfect spot to spend a summer day.

Wanuskewin Heritage Park, Saskatoon

Explore the lands of the first inhabitants of the area around Saskatoon with a full program of First Nations activities.

Drive the Prairies

prairies

Some say you can actually see the earth’s curve somewhere over the horizon.

RCMP Heritage Centre, Regina

Appealing for both history and fashion buffs.

Grasslands National Park, Val Marie

So you don’t have to play pretend cowboy.

Athabasca Sand Dunes, Laronge

Bet you didn’t see that coming. A marvellous wonder, albeit a bit out of the way.


Yukon

Experience the Northern Lights

Probably the best place in the world to do so.

Yukon Wildlife Preserve, Whitehorse

Featuring 13 species of northern Canadian mammals in their natural environment, including the ever-so-awesome mountain goat.

Emerald Lake, Southern Yukon

Notable for its intense green colour (obviously). Like the Northern Lights, except in a lake.

SS Klondike National Historic Site, Whitehorse

SS Klondike was the name of two sternwheelers that plied the upper Yukon River between Whitehorse and Dawson City in the early twentieth century. Basically, they were the economic engine of the entire territory.

RV road trip

yukon territory

“I’m taking an RV through the Yukon” just sounds so great. Make it happen.

Take in the midnight sun

24 hours of sunlight are what dreams are made of – for about 24 hours, and then it’s a nightmare.

Kluane National Park, Southwest corner of the Yukon

You know you’ve always wanted to add “looking at icefields” to your hobbies.

Tombstone Territorial Park, Central Yukon

Tombstone Mountains? Yup. We’re starting to lose count of just how many mountain ranges run through Canada. Be sure to check out Grizzly Lake.


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Lloyd Braun
I used to sell computers, now I write for them.

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