Hello, fellow travelers! Today we travel to Canada, our northern neighbor! We drove around Canada for a month and found it a wonderfully lovely country with many sites to explore. These are the five things you’ll love and five things you’ll hate about your trip to Canada.
Hate #1: Large size and remote locations
This isn’t necessarily a negative thing, but there is a lot of ground to cover if you want to see “all” of Canada, and there are some very remote locations in Canada. It takes nine hours to go from Prince Edward Island to Quebec, yet both are in Eastern Canada! Driving between tourist spots in Canada can take a long time. Cell reception is also patchy in distant places, so always fill your gas tank before driving out onto the open road. Fortunately, the roads are in decent condition, and snowplows arrive fast in the winter.
Love #1: Canada’s Natural Beauty
Canada is one of the most picturesque countries we’ve ever seen. There is truly something for everyone in Canada, from the mountains and coastline of British Columbia to the Canadian Rockies with ski towns like Banff and Lake Louise, Niagara Falls, and the rugged beauty of Canada’s East Coast. In Churchill, you can even go on a polar bear safari. Canadian cities are fantastic but make time to experience the country’s natural beauties.
Hate #2: Sales Tax and Tipping
If you are visiting Canada from Europe, you will be startled to learn that the price you see on the menu or on the price tag is not the price you pay for goods and services. Like the United States, Canada adds a sales tax to the price, which is only added at the cash register. A federal sales tax, a province sales tax, and, in some cases, a city tax are all levied. This can add anywhere from 5% to 20% to the original purchase price. When dining out in Canada, plan to tip between 15% and 20% of the bill.
Love #2: Canadians
It’s more than a stereotype! You can’t help but love Canada since its people are so pleasant and helpful. Everyone we met along the way was polite and helpful, eager to advise us on what to see and skip in Canada. It’s not simply superficial niceness; it’s genuine. Canadians are truly nice and loving people who like showing visitors around their country.
Hate #3: Canadian Pedestrians
Pedestrians have the right of way everywhere in Canada. Thus they are a little more empowered than you may be used to in other nations. They will simply walk into the crosswalk, so if you are driving, you must watch pedestrians.
Love #3: Multiculturalism in Canada
Whereas the United States is a melting pot of civilizations that eventually merge into one, Canada has multiple distinct cultures that remain distinct. The most noticeable is French culture, as French is the official language of Quebec and many Canadians speak both French and English. Canada appears to celebrate cultural diversity rather than strive to consolidate it. Many Canadian cities have vibrant Chinatown neighborhoods, and Vancouver truly feels international.
Hate #3: Canadian prices
Canada is not inexpensive. It’s not outrageously priced, and pricing may change as you travel to other cities and areas, but it’s not exactly a bargain trip. Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto are the most costly cities in Canada, however costs are often comparable or somewhat higher than in the United States.
Love #4: Diverse Attractions in Canada
Canada truly has something for everyone! We’ve previously mentioned the natural beauty, which brings with it hiking, bicycling, skiing, boating, kayaking, and any other outdoor sport you can think of. If you enjoy spectator sports, hockey is Canada’s second religion, so watch a game. Canadian cities offer magnificent architecture, and the country’s multiculturalism means you can experience a variety of unique cuisines.
Hate #5: Winters in Canada
Most people either love or despise winter, and if you visit Canada during the winter, you are undoubtedly aware of what you are in for. Canada may get extremely cold in the winter, and most locations get lots of snow. The further north you travel, the harder it becomes. If you are not interested in winter sports such as skiing or ice skating, the best season to visit Canada is in the spring, summer, or fall.
Love #5: Canadian Poutine
Poutine is Canada’s official dish. You start with French fries, then add cheese curds and gravy. This is the basic poutine; people go crazy with additional toppings like beef. When you visit Canada, you must try poutine. Poutine can be found anywhere in Canada, from a fine dining establishment to a roadside shack. Tim Horton’s and maple syrup are two more Canadian staples.