The mountains, lakes, coastlines and valleys will be the backdrop to what will surely be an unforgettable adventure and what better way to travel around and experience the very best this huge country has to offer than with a hire car.
Canada Tourist Board: The official website for the Canada National Tourist Office – a useful resource for planning your trip to Canada.
Know Before You Go: Travel advice for Canada from the FCO.
Things to see and do
- Scale the world’s tallest building, the CN Tower which resides in the city of Toronto. The views are truly, for lack of a better word, breathtaking, and on clear days stretch as far as Niagara Falls.
- Don’t spy on this natural beauty from afar, journey to Niagara Falls, the most famous waterfall in the world, and allow the millions of tonnes of cascading water to give you a little perspective.
- The Rocky Mountains are one of Canada’s icons so no visit here would be complete without witnessing this stunning natural sight.
- Spend a day in Vancouver’s Stanley Park; rollerblade on the tarmac paths which wind through the 1,000 acres with views of sandy beaches. Be sure to enjoy some of the other activities too, such as tennis and the putting courses plus plenty more.
- Trek to the small northern town of Churchill where each year in September you will witness a very special sight; the polar bears pilgrimage. A number of polar bear watching tours operate so you can see them safely and securely.
- For a good dose of fun, spend a day at Canada’s Wonderland, a theme park found on the outskirts of Toronto. Enjoy a thrill on one of the many rollercoasters and frolic in the waterpark.
- Visit the wonderful Gros Morne National Park and choose from whale watching, fishing, skiing, swimming and cycling.
- Granville Island is one of the best ways to spend an afternoon when you are in Vancouver; visit the great restaurants, be entertained by the street performers, browse the markets and just enjoy yourself.
- Both beginners and professionals should seize the opportunity to visit Whistler Blackcomb, one of the world’s largest ski resorts. With a range of runs and fantastic après ski, you won’t be disappointed.
- Spend some time exploring the beauty of Banff National Park and Lake Louise in Alberta. The jaw dropping scenery is the perfect backdrop for no end of outdoor activities from kayaking on the lake to white water rafting and wildlife watching.
Festivals and events
- Winter in Canada is a big deal and Winterlude Festival, held in Ottowa is a great celebration featuring ice skating, ice sculptures, concerts and much more. (February)
- Hosting around 2,000 artists from over 20 countries, the Montreal Jazz Fest is not to be missed. A vast proportion of the 500 concerts and completely free to attend meaning there’s no excuse to miss this fantastic music festival. (June/July)
- Similar to 4th July celebrations in the USA, Canada Day is on 1st July and marks the birth of the country with plenty of celebrations taking place nationwide. (July)
- The Just for Laughs Comedy Festival does exactly what it says on the tin and welcomes renowned comedians from around the world every year. (July)
- One of the country’s best known celebrations is the Calgary Stampede and Rodeo welcoming more than 1 million visitors every year. Don your cowboy hat and enjoy the show. (July)
- An unbeatable celebration of fireworks, the Vancouver Symphony of Fire truly lights up the night sky for several nights. (Throughout summer)
- Relax and enjoy the atmosphere of the annual Edmonton Folk Festival, one of the best of its kind. (August)
- Ranking closely with Cannes and Sundance, film lovers do not want to miss the Toronto International Film Festival. (September)
- Lasting for 9 days every October, the Celtic Colours International Festival is the largest festival of its kind in North America and not to be missed. (October)
- Gratuities are seldom included in Canadian restaurants; however, many add an automatic gratuity of 15% for larger groups.
- It is customary to tip approximately 15% of the total of the bill before tax however, it is personal choice how much you tip overall.
- In hotels it is a good idea to tip any staff member who assists you, including bell boys, valet parking staff, housekeeping and the hotel concierge if they do something extra for you.
- 'Tip jars' are appearing in tourist areas in places that provide counter services - it is not customary to tip.
- It is not necessary to tip if you do not want to; however, many servers are required to give a percentage of their total sales to cover for tips for hostesses, bussers and similar service staff. If you do not tip the server, they are still required to provide this percentage so may lose money.
GMT - 5 to - 8