With borders that stretch from the Arctic to the United States, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, Canada merits a reputation as The Great White North. A massive country, with vast swaths of land virtually unexplored and unpopulated, Canada is rich in natural resources and desolate wilderness. Present day Canada however, is one of the most modern, progressive nations in the world and very divergent from the bygone era of fur trappers and Catholic missionary settlements.
Indeed, with the majority of the population in neat urban pockets, there is a lot more to Canada than beavers, moose, polar bears, igloos, Celine Dion and the RCMP. All fine symbols, but endure as they may as sources of pride, Canada has many other faces to display to the world.
The big three of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver for one, represent the most popular destinations for tourists to Canada. In terms of quality of life, landmarks, restaurants and cultural attractions, they consistently rank among the very best in the world. Other towns in Canada however, while not of the metropolis variety, deserve some attention. For sheer hospitality and scenery, these towns do Canada proud.
The most populous city among the Maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, in addition to Nova Scotia ? Halifax is a little jewel. The downtown core is quaint enough, pretty even, and makes for a fine and enjoyable stroll. You can navigate the town and get a sense of it in a day. The harbour front is a popular congregation spot and features a plethora of bars and decent restaurants.
Perhaps the best of Halifax however, is outside the city centre, where couples in search of a romantic retreat by the Oceanside can book a beautiful and inexpensive bed and breakfast. For a little adventure off the beaten path, visit an oyster farm or rent a car and go for one of the most beautiful scenic drives in the world on the Cabot Trail. Indeed, the towns of Nova Scotia, outside of Halifax proper, are some of the most picturesque in Canada.
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The capital of the vibrant province of British Columbia is a study in stark contrasts. At once a throwback to the Commonwealth era of Canada, with landmark hotels that still observe afternoon tea and lush, tidy English gardens in full bloom, Victoria also features some of the most iconoclastic forward thinkers in the country. As such, the population here is an amicable mix of traditionalists and bohemians with a penchant for rebellion.
No matter what your philosophy, the city has a lot to offer. Mild and pleasant weather for the better part of the year for one, without the harsh winters Canada is notorious for around the world. Bookstores, fine restaurants ? some of the best on the Pacific Coast in fact ? and cute little thrift shops dot the town. A stay here allows for easy forays into parts of the vast British Columbia wilderness, where ecotourism and recreational pursuits form a vital part of daily life and indeed, the fabric of the community.
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Newfoundland and the territory of Labrador comprise a sizable chunk of land that dwarfs many nations in Europe. The capital of the province is a rugged town in comparison to hectic Toronto and oh so hip Montreal, with a lot of hospitable charm and mirth. St. John’s hugs the Atlantic coast and represents extreme east in Canada. As such, in terms of sensibility and customs, the city has more in common with Ireland than with the rest of the country. To illustrate the point geographically, St. John is closer to the Emerald Isle than to Vancouver. The scenery around the town and indeed, Newfoundland as a whole, is unreal and shamefully, devoid of widespread appreciation in Canada.
A recent injection of cash into the tourism industry however, endeavours to draw more visitors to the province, as well as the territory of Labrador. St. John’s is a convenient jump off point to get out and trek in some unspoiled, unbeatable wilderness, not just in comparison to Canada but to the rest of the world. The best way to appreciate the town is to mingle about the main drag with locals and hit a raucous tavern to hear traditional East Coast music ? i.e. Irish music. Who knows? If you make nice with some merry fisherman, you may score an invite to take part in a lobster expedition. This being an Atlantic province, it would be crazy to leave St. John’s without a fine sample of fish and seafood in your stomach. The stuff flows with abundance here and is dirt cheap and as fresh as you will find.