I have a little confession to make. Canada is my favourite country in the world. Please don’t tell the other countries I have visited, as I’m sure I’ve professed my love for each during my time there. The reality is, nowhere on earth has captured my heart more than the beautiful nation that is Canada. So if you want to explore Canada as part of a group, by road, on your own or by rail, here’s my guide to travelling around Canada.
Travelling as a singleton
Being single is a fantastic excuse to travel the world, enjoying the freedom of having no ties and Canada is a brilliant place for the singleton to explore with a wide range of cultures, sites and experiences to see and try out. Winnipeg is a fantastic example of this, with a widely diverse culture. Lying in the heart of Canada, Winnipeg is the state capital of Manitoba and sits on the edge of the Prairies. There is much to see here including a visit to the Royal Canadian Mint where guided tours will show you how the money in your pocket is made. You should also make a visit to The Manitoba Museum and to The Forks National Historic Site which is a well-known meeting place.
If you do feel like meeting someone then Winnipeg singles are spoilt for choice when it comes to romantic destinations to take your date to. The city plays host to its own Theatre centre, opera, ballet and symphony orchestra which make for a wonderful evenings’ entertainment. The French Quarter is a wonderfully romantic place, with its boutiques and little cafe’s and Assiniboine Park is not only home to a Zoo, but also to an outdoors theatre allowing you to cosy up under the stars.
Toronto is arguably the most famous city in Canada, thanks largely to the iconic Niagra Falls. The city makes the perfect destination for a group tour and indeed there are many tours on offer throughout. Within the city, make sure your group takes a trip up the CN Tower which was once the tallest building in the world. It’s a long way up to the top, but what a view you’re treated with once you make your way there. My heart was in my mouth as I stood on the panels of glass that look down the 342m to the ground. If there are members of your group who are braver than I, you can also take an EdgeWalk on the outside of the tower! The tower offers special services for tour groups so visit their website for more information.
There are many other group tours available in Toronto. There are many food and drink tours available, such as with The Beer Lover’s Tour Company. Many of the cities museums offer special tours for groups and can be contacted individually to arrange these- I would personally recommend visiting The Hockey Hall of Fame to learn about the National sport. Of course, it goes without saying that there are many tours available of Niagra Falls, least of all a trip on the Maid of the Mist which takes you as close to the falls as you can possibly get.
The Canadian highways are vast and take you wonderfully through the countryside. There aren’t many experiences in life that I’ve enjoyed more than the many Canadian road trips I’ve been on. Car hire is readily available throughout the country, with the many airports being great locations to pick your car up from. I would definitely recommend road tripping through the Rocky Mountains for a truly memorable vacation.
Start in Calgary, the home of cowboys and if you’re visiting in July, the home of the legendary Calgary Stampede which is one of the biggest rodeo’s in the world. Calgary sits on the edge of the Rockies so it’s a short drive from here that takes you into the most glorious natural landscape you’ll ever enjoy. Follow the Trans-Canada highway through to the mountain towns of Jasper and Banff and be in awe of the endless mountains, lakes, forests and rapids. Make sure you stop off at the Colombia Icefield within Jasper and at Lake Louise in Banff. Keep your eyes peeled for bears, elk, moose and eagles that will seemingly appear out of nowhere. Words truly cannot describe how beautiful the landscape is here, but without a doubt a road trip here will certainly be one of the most scenic drives you’ll ever do.
I’ve always felt that exploring Canada by rail is like exploring Canada when my ancestors first made their way to settle their homes here. There’s something endlessly romantic and traditional about railroading which makes it such a wonderful prospect for anyone travelling with a partner, whether you’ve been married for years or recently found each other. If you’ve a fair bit of time on your hands, what can be better than going from coast to coast, from Halifax on the eastern coast to Vancouver on the Western Coast. Or if you’re in need of the railroad experience but in a shorter space of time, try Canada Rail’s 9 day trip from Toronto to Vancouver.