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Wandering Canada

Many Americans probably consider Canada to be sort of an extension of the United States, except colder. In some ways that may be true: the language in much of the country is the same as in the United States, and we share many of our dominant landscapes—the Pacific Coast, the Rocky Mountains, the Great Lakes, for example. However, Canada is a truly distinct country, with its own unique traditions, experiences, and history. For that reason, it’s well worth a visit!

I’ve been on a couple of trips to Canada, which have included stops in Toronto and Vancouver. The country is vast, though, and there is so much more to see. Hopefully, I’ll have a chance to experience more of it sometime.

Ontario

The political, cultural, and economic heart of Canada, Ontario is home to the capital city, Toronto. More than anywhere in the country, this is probably where ties to the US are strongest.

On my trip to Toronto, we enjoyed the city’s incredibly cosmopolitan culture and neat efficiency. I also took in a hilarious show at the Second City comedy club, where we enjoyed the troupe’s continued tradition of producing top comics. Of course, being a stone’s throw away from Niagara Falls, we had to do a boat tour of the famous waterfall, as well.

Quebec

Quebec, known for its feisty independence and heavily French-influenced culture, almost seems like a different country. Unlike the rest of Canada, French is the majority language here, though English is widely understood and used. Perhaps more than anywhere else in North America, Quebec possesses a distinctive European charm, especially in picturesque locales like historic Quebec City.

Atlantic Coast

The easternmost Atlantic Coast of Canada—Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island—is dominated by maritime culture. Rough storms are common here, where the rugged shore meets the sea. Of all of Canada, this region is probably the closest in character to my own home on the Cape.

The West

The Great Plains and Rocky Mountains continue northward through Canada, and for that reason the Canadian West supports a vigorous outdoor culture. People here are warm, but tough, independent, and well-suited to life in a land where there is little to separate them from winter’s Arctic blasts. Towns are spread out, distances are long, and the views are truly grand!

British Columbia

The mountainous Pacific coast boasts more than its fair share of breath-taking natural scenery, outdoor life, and funky culture. Vancouver may be the biggest draw in this part of Canada, while cruise ships hug the coastline to ogle at the towering mountain peaks, glaciers, and fjords.

I have spent some time in Vancouver, right across the border from Seattle. The city is beautiful, while the surrounding region and ocean is absolutely stunning!

The North

Canada, of course, extends far northward, well beyond the Arctic Circle. This region is a land of tundra and ice, with long cool summers, and bitterly cold and dark winters. Especially intrepid travelers can come here to experience the harsh life of native cultures and witness wildlife in near pristine natural habitat.

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