Hockey homeland, the seventh most immigrated, and the third oil-rich country in the world. These are the three brief facts about Canada, the country that has existed only for a couple of centuries.
It is a good and cosy place for everyone. People of different ethnicities and origins cruise happily through their lives under the Maple Leaf Flag.
Canadian tolerance in religion and a friendly attitude towards newcomers have made this country the haven for migrants from all over the world.
Canada is one of the youngest states in the world. It obtained its current name and international recognition in 1867, a hundred years later than the USA did.
At present, Canada is in the top five of all significant world rankings in terms of education, the level and quality of life, environmental and personal safety.
Millions of people wishing to emigrate dream about Canadian citizenship
Thirty-seven million people live here. It equals the number of residents of Tokyo, the most populated metropolitan city in the world.
English and French have been the two official languages since 1967, which is linked to federalisation policy and the existence of English-speaking and French-speaking populations.
The French-speaking part of Canada is the province of Quebec where people are mainly francophones.
The rest speak English, but bilingualism is mandatory in all official spheres of life.
Even the Prime Minister delivers his speeches in both languages.
Canada is a parliamentary monarchy. Queen Elizabeth II is Canada’s head of state and the Sovereign; however, she plays a symbolic role in political life.
The Prime Minister who is the head of government rules the country.
The national currency is the Canadian dollar (CAD), which equals approximately 1.25 USD.
Despite Canada being the second largest territory in the world, a rather small part of the country from Quebec to Windsor is inhabited.
The other space consists of abandoned fertile lands of solid rocks, rivers, and lakes.
There are three million lakes scattered around Canada.
The Great Lakes are the main legend of the North American continent. They make the entire freshwater system that includes one-fifth of the Earth’s water reserves.
Lake Michigan is entirely located in the United States whereas the other four - Ontario
Erie, Superior, and Huron - are along the 9,000 km-long Canada-United States border, which is the longest terrestrial boundary in the world between two countries.
Canadian climate cannot be described very briefly. One thing is certain: snow lies in most of the regions for eight months every year.
But as Canadians joke, the other four months are the time for roadmending.
Winters in this part of the North American continent vary.
An average temperature may range from -15°C to -45°C, however, there used to be times in Yukon when the temperature dropped to -63°C.
The further to the north, the harder the winter. Thus, summers there are shorter and colder.
In much of the country, summer is very hot. The temperature rises to 35°C - 40°C, but northern regions remain colder with an average temperature of 5°C - 6°C.
Travelling to Canada from the other continents is easy: just buy a plane ticket.
Within the North American continent, the choice is not limited by flights. Railway, car, or bus trip is possible.
Travelling inside the country is a joyous experience. All the services are developed excellently, be it the railways, or bus lines.
Important: you need a visitor visa or Electronic Travel Authorization (not both) to go on a trip to Canada.
It is a procedure that consists of submitting the necessary documents along with their translation into English and French (if required) and authentication.
A hotel, apartments, hostel, or motel constitute the four main types of accommodation in any country of the world.
Canada is not an exception.
Whereas a hotel room is the most expensive comfort here, a hostel, as elsewhere, is the cheapest one.
Budget hotels offer rooms that cost 30-50 USD while hostels charge 15-20 USD.
Clean rooms and polite staff are the greatest features of Canadian hotels.
Even crowded hostels always provide their clients with fresh linen, a comfortable bed, and free coffee.
Minuses: chargeable parking facility, general lack of free breakfasts, and fee-based Wi-Fi.
Interestingly, free Internet access is offered more often in cheap Canadian hotels than in fashionable five-star Hiltons or Sheratons.
Here are some options of affordable accommodations in different Canadian cities:
- Pangea Pod Hotel is a three-star hotel located in Whistler, British Columbia. In hotel suits, there are sitting rooms, nice bathrooms, comfortable beds, air conditioning, microwaves, and even dishwashers.
- Mountain View Inn is a small and very cosy hotel overlooking the startling Canmore mountains in the province of Alberta. Here are family rooms with a full set of necessary household utilities like air conditioning, fridge, ironing equipment, and hairdryer. All rooms include an en-suite bathroom.
- Abri du Voyageur Hotel is a two-star hotel in the biggest Quebec city - Montreal. It is located in Quartier des Spectacles, the district where music and theatre festivals take place. The rooms include standard facilities like a hairdryer, air conditioning, phone. Besides, there are so-called kitchenettes to cook any food.
- Toronto Travellers Home is a three-star hotel located in Toronto in a vivid area of Asian quarter and markets. The rooms are plain but cheap. This hotel may not be suitable for those who have got used to having a quiet rest. There are bathrooms in select rooms, but microwaves are shared.
- Auberge Des Arts is a budget hotel in Ottawa, located in the Lowertown neighbourhood, five minutes from the National Gallery and Royal Canadian Mint. This is a bed and breakfast type, and bathrooms in select rooms are shared.
To find accommodation in Canada, you may also rent a room, an apartment, or a house.
However, here are some peculiarities. It is highly unlikely to find an apartment for rent via the website of an estate agency online.
Canadians do not rent the dwellings to foreigners via the Internet.
So you will need to look for rental options directly in the city or town where you are planning to stay.
Places to See
There are a few countries in the world that treat nature so gently as Canada does.
Canadians maintain the immense beauty of forests, lakes, rivers, and mountains as clean as possible.
There is a simple fact that only one-third of this enormously large North American state is inhabited by people, the other 70% have not been brought under cultivation.
Canadians are wary of bossing around wild nature.
The number of national parks and reservations increases annually. At present, they make 10% of Canada’s territory.
Wild animal hunting is forbidden in the country, so the only thing that the fans may take is photos, not a shotgun.
Which destinations can attract visitors to this beautiful place of North America?
Both nature enthusiasts and admirers of guided tours around cities will definitely satisfy their curiosity.
Gros Morne National Park
Mountains, fjords, cliffs, and waterfalls make the unique beauty of this territory located in Newfoundland far from civilization.
The beauty of wild nature can be seen if you walk through mountain trails or embark on a motorboat tour around these magnificent places.
Those willing to take the most risk may enjoy a kayak tour, which will surely get the adrenaline going.
It is a large 400-hectare park in western Vancouver. This place is always crowded regardless of the weekday.
Couples, mothers and children, and sportspeople like walking along the Seawall.
Tourists also enjoy such local attractions as aquariums, Beaver Lake, and other spectacular places.
The biggest Quebec city has a place where time has stopped.
Everything looks like it used to be many years ago: Notre-Dame de Montréal cathedral, old City Hall, and market square.
To boost the effect of time-travelling, there is an opportunity to go on a horse carriage tour through the narrow, crooked streets of the historical centre of the city.
Rocky Mountains (British Columbia)
This is one more locality worth visiting for those who love wild nature.
Mountainous areas, crystal-clear lakes, and dense coniferous forests are so beautiful and unique within their primaevalness that UNESCO has included them into the World Heritage list.
CN Tower (Toronto)
A visit to the biggest Canadian city should necessarily include spectating one of the highest world’s towers.
This 550-metre-high construction is 200 metres higher than the Eiffel Tower, its French counterpart.
CN Tower is visible from anywhere in Toronto, but the most striking effect happens at night when it is illuminated with thousands of lights.
Tourists and local residents chant praises to the 360 Restaurant that fully revolves once in 72 minutes.
The above-mentioned destinations do not make Canadian top five - they are just a few marvellous places worth a visit.
It is unrewarding and pointless to rank the country’s localities because Canada is magnificent in every corner.
Canada is a multinational country.
A growing number of newcomers from all over the world every year affects the menu of Canadians as well.
Here and there in every city or town, a visitor will be pleased with Asian restaurants, Turkish and Arabian coffee shops, pizza places, ordinary cafes, and food courts.
What local residents eat is a distinctive assortment of English and French dishes that originated from ancient ancestors who came here to reclaim the continent’s lands long ago.
Besides, there are the unique dishes of First Nations people who have lived here since time immemorial.
The USA, as Canada’s closest neighbour, has had some effect on Canadian cuisine too - eating fast food is a common thing.
And yet: what do Canadians eat?
They do like having scrumptious square meals. Meat is eaten in every house, be it turkey, mutton, or pork cooked in different varieties.
As a rule, it is garnished with all kinds of stews, salads, and baked puddings.
The first-course meals include pumpkin, cabbage, or tomato soups, and flavourful meat broths with crisp toasts.
Maple syrup is a traditional sauce in Canada, which complements every morning of Canadians leaving for work, school, or university.
It is impossible to imagine toasts, pancakes, and waffles being served without this very sweet and stiff sauce.
It is even an ingredient of cornbread.
Though getting to Canada may be a multi-step procedure because of visa arrangements, the one who became lucky enough to obtain it will come here to stay for a while and will never forget how beautiful this country is.