Spotlight on Canada
Canada's wild northern frontier, which has etched itself into national psyche, and its distinct patchwork of peoples have created a country different from the USA. The edginess between Canada's indigenous, French and British traditions gives the nation its complex three-dimensional character. Add to this a constant infusion of US culture and traditions brought by migrants to form a thriving multicultural society. With its history, people, landscape and natural beauty, Canada offers well-known cities, attractions, parks and regions making for wonderful educational, inspiring or just plain fun destinations. Don't pass up a chance to explore the less-travelled areas, too - at the fringes of the inhabited world, great challenges, eye-opening experiences and hospitable people await.
Banff – Situated in the heart of Banff National Park in Alberta's Rocky Mountains, Banff is a 1.5-hour drive from Calgary and just a short trip from mountain towns of Lake Louise, Kananaskis Country and Canmore. It's a unique place to visit. A train whistle blows in the distance as a reminder of the area's railway roots while designer shops dot the streetscapes. From a sleepy summer resort town with closed doors in winter months, Banff has grown into a year-round attraction. Lured by wilderness and the variety of outdoor activities, people from all over the world are drawn to Banff National Park each year. They venture into the area looking for their slice of the Banff experience, whether it's in restaurants, shops, museums, cultural activities, or adventures in the wilderness. On Banff's bustling main avenue, virtually every language from German and Japanese to French and Spanish can be heard. Yet only minutes away from all the action, a quiet walk along the banks of the Bow River is a reminder the town is located inside Canada's premier national park and a United Nations World Heritage Site!
Quebec – Because Quebec City is Canada’s most historic city and the only walled city in North America, it was classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Treasure by. Visitors are greeted by an authentic, profoundly French city. The city features winding, cobbled streets with 17th- and 18th-century stone houses and churches, graceful parks and squares, and many monuments. Great emphasis has been placed on Québec nationalism, and the city has become a symbol of glorious French heritage. Visit the oldest church in Québec, Our Lady of Victory, dating from 1688. See the cellars of Maison des Vins, where Québec Société des Alcools sells more than 1,000 kinds of rare vintage wines in a warehouse dating from 1689. See the exhibits at Civilization Museum. The most striking building is celebrated landmark Château Frontenac. Looming high above St. Lawrence, the turreted building with its slanting, copper roof is an impressive sight. Built to accommodate colonial governors, it is now a hostelry.
Toronto It’s been called “a city that works.” As the capital of Ontario and Canada’s largest city, Toronto has become a dynamic cosmopolitan hub known for entertainment, culture, sports, high fashion and big business. The city boasts more than 20,000 retail stores and restaurants. Yet for such a large city (current population is 4.4 million) it is miraculously clean, safe and friendly. Tourists are drawn to the charm of the Lake Ontario waterfront district, the high-rise splendor of the popular Yonge Street, and the trendy shops and quaint cafés along College Street and Queen Street. With a flourishing music and performing arts scene, Toronto is very popular with young people.
Ottowa is beautiful to visit and one of the most culturally diverse cities in Canada. Its magnificent boulevards, exquisite gardens and regal architecture are captivating. The city is home to the country’s national monuments and museums. There is Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, National Arts Centre and National Gallery of Canada. Several museums present displays telling Canada’s heritage, such as Royal Canadian Mint, Museum of Nature, Canadian War Museum, Aviation and Currency Museum and Canada Science and Technology Museum. Parliament Hill is heart of Canada’s democratic system. Stay for the Changing of the Guard ceremony or the Sound and Light Show. Enjoy a stroll along Rideau Canal, where lush gardens, impeccably groomed streets and pathways invite exploration. In winter, this waterway becomes the world’s longest ice-skating rink! Ottawa is speckled with attractive streetscapes holding many unique shops, boutiques, galleries and dining areas in their folds, all ready to discover.
Vancouver is a thriving metropolis surrounded by natural beauty. With parks, beaches, gardens, museums, art galleries and the second-largest Chinatown in North America, Vancouver lives up to its promise of offering something for everyone. With modern buildings set against green, rolling hillsides, this city is breathtaking; no location offers a more spectacular view than Stanley Park - with a zoo, aquarium, totem poles and honking geese. A short walk from the park leads to Robson Street, which offers the town's best window-shopping. Stores with European flavor share the avenue with delicatessens and tea rooms ready to serve. As architectural heart of the city, Robson Square features a central plaza with a food fair and an old provincial courthouse, which now houses Vancouver Art Gallery. Be sure to stop at 8 Pender St. - "the narrowest building in the world." Other points of interest include the Museum of Anthropology; Japanese-style Nitobe Memorial Garden; and VanDusen Botanical Garden. Capilano Canyon is site of the world's longest and highest suspension footbridge.