If you’ve visited Canada then you already know why Lonely Planet picked Canada as the number one country to visit in 2017. I’m sure you already know about Canada’s spectacular mountains, lakes, rivers, amazing wildlife and is home to the impressive Niagara Falls. With such incredible natural assets, it’s no wonder Canada is a bucket list destination for many travellers.
According to Lonely Planet there’s a “wave of positivity” within Canada “unleashed by its energetic new leader Justin Trudeau” and exciting events planned for the country’s sesquicentennial. Canada’s “exciting fusion food and mysteriously underrated wine” and a favourable exchange rate rounds off the list of compelling reasons to visit in 2017.
So if you’ve been hankering to go on a train journey through the Rockies, see a grizzly or polar bear or fly over Niagara Falls, 2017 is the year to do it. Here are 20 reasons why Travel2next thinks Canada deserved to be right at the top of your bucket list.
1-Canada’s cities celebrate in style
Throughout 2017, from the west coast to the east coast, Canada’s cities will be celebrating the nation’s 150th year since Confederation.
From Vancouver to Toronto to Halifax, there will be lots of great reasons to do a city hop through Canada.
At the top of the list, the country’s capital Ottawa has a calendar of events that will blow your mind.
2-Montreal turns 375
As it happens, Montreal is celebrating a big birthday too.
The stylish French Canadian city has been preparing for their big bash for the last three years by unleashing a wave of creativity to revitalise pockets around the city.
Along with puppets and street parties, Montreal’s outdoor attractions have gone high tech, with public digital art, podcast walking tours and bridge lights that reflect the online buzz around Montreal.
3-The Alaska Highway turns 75
Going on a road trip along this iconic route will be even more captivating in 2017 as communities celebrate its history along the way.
The Alaska Highway is one of the world’s most amazing constructed wonders and a road trip through a landscape legendary for its beauty.
4-Free entry to Canada’s national parks
If you love the outdoors, then Canada is the place to go in 2017.
Parks Canada is celebrating Canada’s 150th by offering free admission to national parks, national marine conservation areas and national historic sites in 2017.
It’s a fantastic time to go camping, glamping and hiking in Canada’s national parks. There are national parks in each of the 13 provinces and territories.
5-Canadian history is cool
Before Canada became a nation, explorers and fur trappers arrived at this largely uninhabited land in search of fortune and a new life. What they found was a a world of natural wonders.
Right around Canada, there are educational and historic sites where you’ll have fun brushing up on history. For instance, did you know that Canada abolished slavery before the British?
6-Prince William and Kate loved Canada
William and Kate visited Canada with their children Prince George and Princess Charlotte in September 2016.
7-The Northern Lights are awesome
Looking up into the night’s sky at a green shimmering curtain falling above you is an experience you’ll always remember.
The Aurora Borealis is the greatest natural light show north of the 60th parallel.
Named after Aurora, the Roman goddess of dawn, and Boreas, the Greek name for north wind, this natural phenomenon is worthy of being high on your bucket list.
8-Canada is a top spot for a driving holiday
9-The Rockies are nature on steroids
Canada’s Rockies is possibly the world’s most beautiful mountain range. It’s a remote and magical landscape with a vast wilderness of mountains, lakes, glaciers and valleys.
10-Canada’s ski fields are world class
If you’re a keen skier or snowboarder, I’m sure you already know that Canada’s ski fields are up there with the best in the world.
2017 is a great year to plan that trip to Whistler, Banff, Sun Peaks, Big White or SilverStar. And if you’re looking for a new ski resort to test your skills on the slopes, there are plenty of ski fields off the beaten path that will wow you too.
11-Canadian castles out of a fairytale
The turrets and stonework of castles across Canada decorate the Canadian landscape like props in a fairy tale.
Visit a castle or treat yourself to a stay in a grand hotel with a view.
12-Canada’s forts are impressive
Canada’s Sesquicentennial year will be a fantastic time to visit and explore Canada’s historic places.
Among them are some impressive forts where you can step back into history and absorb the atmosphere of Canada’s historical battles and rebellions.
From the Fortress of Louisbourg and Halifax Citadel in Nova Scotia to Fort Henry in Ontario, watch history come to life.
13-Canada’s landscapes are a photographer’s dream
Whether you’re a skilled photographer or a weekend snapper, it’s easy to take a good photograph in Canada.
Whip out your camera or smartphone, point and snap, and you’re likely to go home with a swag of digital memories your friends will envy. And if you’re a professional photographer like Sean Scott there are just too many beautiful places in Canada to capture those winning shots.
14-Canada is fun for couples
Another Instagrammer, Kyle Mulinder (@BareKiwi), returned to Canada years after he worked there as a sea kayak guide.
On his recent trip with his partner, he discovered that Canada has several wonderful places to visit as a couple.
If you’re looking for a compelling holiday destination for two, here are some spots you’ll love.
15-Churchill is the Polar Bear Capital of the World
It’s the self-proclaimed polar bear capital of the world. But with about 17,000 of the world’s estimated 25,000 polar bears in Canada, it’s a title that few would contest.
Churchill is also the most accessible place to see polar bears as hundreds of polar bears roam the region.
The polar bear is a species threatened by the loss of sea ice due to global warming.
16-Canada’s World Heritage sites are waiting to be discovered
Canada has 18 World Heritage-listed sites, including the world-famous Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks. But there are plenty of other World Heritage wonders that are equally as impressive but not as well known.
If you loved the Canadian Rockies, you might like Nahanni National Park in the Northwest Territories or Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland too.
17-You can ski and surf on the same day on Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island is one of the few places in the world where the mountains are high enough and the surf is challenging enough to make this a great combination to experience in one day.
In less than two hours from landing, you can be skiing at Mount Washington or catching waves near Tofino as you watch the whales cruise past.
18-Canadian sugar shacks are delightful
Wrap your lips around some hot taffy or dig into a traditional Québécois meat pie drizzled with maple syrup, try some maple smoked ham and pancakes and other tasty delights.
Quebec is the home of sugar shacks, where you can indulge your taste buds with the flavour of maple syrup.
A tradition introduced to New France in the 17th century, visiting a sugar shack is a Quebecois tradition for the whole family.
19-Everyone needs to tick Niagara Falls off their bucket list
Straddling two countries, Niagara Falls is a 12,000-year-old natural wonder.
Did you know the first person to take the plunge over Niagara Falls in a barrel was a 63-year-old schoolteacher (Annie Edson Taylor), who pulled her stunt in 1901?
You won’t get the chance to get in a barrel but here are some other ways to tick Niagara Falls off your bucket list and there’s the charming town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, which was the first capital of Upper Canada.
20-Visitors to Canada often stay forever
Canada is a multicultural country, home to people from many parts of the world. Aussies, in particular, seem to fit in and find their niche, especially in the mountainous regions.
If you happen to hear an Aussie accent while visiting Canada, chances are it’s someone who went there for a year but ended up staying forever. To me, that’s the ultimate endorsement that Canada deserves the number one spot!
Over to you now. Which part of Canada would you like to visit?