15 experiences you can only have in Canada

Canada is a multi-faceted country that is bursting with memorable experiences. You have a world-famous mountain range, striking Pacific and Atlantic Ocean coastlines, the world’s highest concentration of lakes, arctic terrain, and cosmopolitan cities.This exclusive mix makes for once-in-a-lifetime experiences that you won’t find anywhere else. Known as Canadian Signature Experiences, these tours and activity packages are offered by local Canadians who are passionate about their country and love to share their knowledge with visitors. There are over 100 experiences on offer, covering everything from ventures into the Arctic to foodie tours in the big cities. There is something for everyone but we have rounded up 15 of most memorable experiences to give you an idea of why Canada is one of the world’s most unique holiday destinations.

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Canada is a multi-faceted country that is bursting with memorable experiences. You have a world-famous mountain range, striking Pacific and Atlantic Ocean coastlines, the world’s highest concentration of lakes, arctic terrain, and cosmopolitan cities.

This exclusive mix makes for once-in-a-lifetime experiences that you won’t find anywhere else. Known as Canadian Signature Experiences, these tours and activity packages are offered by local Canadians who are passionate about their country and love to share their knowledge with visitors. There are over 100 experiences on offer, covering everything from ventures into the Arctic to foodie tours in the big cities. There is something for everyone but we have rounded up 15 of most memorable experiences to give you an idea of why Canada is one of the world’s most unique holiday destinations.

1. Witness the highest tide in the world

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New Brunswick in Atlantic Canada is home to the Bay of Fundy – where you’ll find the world’s highest tide. You can witness the high tide from the cliffs, but you can also walk along the ocean floor when the tide is out and admire the erosion on the Hopewell Rocks.

2. Voyage into the Niagara Falls

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No holiday to Ontario is complete without a day-trip to Niagara Falls. While admiring the falls from the sidelines is still a breath-taking experience, everyone should voyage beyond the falls into the 130-year-old tunnels where you can hear the thundering Horseshoe Falls all around you.

3. Live 19th Century British Military Life

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On the island of Nova Scotia you can fire the rifles, eat the food, and live the life of a 19th century soldier at the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site of Canada. The Citadel was once a key defence point of Halifax Harbour and the Royal Navy Dockyard

4. Witness the aurora borealis

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The Yukon is one of the best places on earth to witness the stunning Northern Lights. Tucked into the corner of northern Canada and far away from any of the major cities – your chances of spotting this beautiful display are very high. Book yourself a guided tour into the wilderness to increase your chances.

5. Bike through the Canadian Rockies

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We all know about the iconic Rocky Mountaineer and the self-drive opportunities – but did you know that you can book a bike trip through the stunning Rocky Mountains?

6. Explore the Arctic

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If you’ve ever wanted to embark on a wilderness adventure through the Arctic – Canada is the place to do it. Several adventurous tours are on offer: including a cruise around Baffin Island, sailing through the Northwest Passage, a dogsled ride in Nunavut, and an arctic safari where you’ll be on the look-out for polar bears, beluga whales and the mysterious narwhal!

7. Ride an Olympic Bobsleigh

At Winsport in Calgary, you can ride down the track made famous by Team Jamaica during the ’88 Winter Olympic Games, which was also featured in Disney’s Cool Runnings film. The pilot will slide a group of 4 through 10 turns hitting speeds of 80+ km/hr and you will feel the force of over 2 G’s!

8. Sail along Iceberg Alley

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Newfoundland & Labrador is home to the fascinating Iceberg Alley, where you can get up close to these natural wonders. You can choose to stand on the shore and view them or you can book a day cruise that also includes whale watching!

9. Immerse yourself in Cowboy Culture

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In both Saskatchewan and Alberta, you can fully immerse yourself in the cowboy culture that is integral to the culture of these two provinces. Including a horseback ride through the prairies, ranch-style meals, and cowboy storytelling.

10. Fish for your own dinner

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Love seafood? The Atlantic province of Prince Edward Island serves it up fresh at its many seafood restaurants. Some of it was caught literally 10 metres from the table, but if that’s not quite fresh enough – you can also catch your own. Book yourself onto either a (or both!) lobster fishing tour or a clam digging adventure, where you’ll then boil your catch on the shore for a beach-side feast!

11. Walk along the edge of the CN Tower

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You’ve seen the images of the CN Tower soaring above the Toronto skyline. Now imagine looking out over the edge with only a harness. It is the world’s highest full circle hands-free walk, and circles the top of the Tower’s main pod, 356m/1168ft (116 storeys) above the ground.

12. Hunt for fossils

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Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta is one of the richest dinosaur fossil locales in the world. Fifty-eight dinosaur species have been discovered at the park and more than 500 specimens have been removed and exhibited in museums around the globe. The park is also noted for its striking badland topography.

13. Stay in a hotel made from ice

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Twenty minutes north of Quebec City you’ll find Hôtel de Glace, aka the Ice Hotel. Home to 42 rooms with intricate ice sculptures, this is one hotel experience for the bucket list. You can even get married there!

14. Visit the world’s first museum dedicated to human rights

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In Winnipeg, Manitoba, you’ll explore 11 galleries covering different aspects of human rights. Including the life of Indigenous Canadians, the Holocaust, the long campaign for human rights, and where society and human rights are today.

15. Watch the sunset from the stunning Cabot Trail

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The Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia is one of Canada’s most scenic drives. It laps around the top of Cape Breton Island and passes through scenic mountain ranges as well as seaside towns. Remember to stop and catch the sunset over the Atlantic Ocean during your journey.

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10 things to do in Halifax, Nova Scotia

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Halifax is a beautiful town with a fascinating history. As such, it is home to an incredible assortment of enriching visitor attractions. And the scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean certainly don’t hurt.

Halifax is also small in comparison to other cities, so you’ll easily make your way around all these sights within a week-long holiday. It’s just a matter of deciding which one to start with.  

1. Admire Titanic artefacts at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

Nova Scotia is the closest landmass to the final resting place of the ill-fated Titanic. As such, many artefacts washed up on its shores and are now on display in the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. The Museum is home to a permanent Titanic exhibition, which includes wreck wood, mortuary bags (many of those who perished are buried in Halifax), and a pair of washed-up children’s shoes.

2. Discover the stories of over 1 million immigrants at Pier 21

Pier 21 is to Canada what Ellis Island is to the USA. It operated as an ocean liner terminal and immigration shed from 1928 to 1971, and is now the home of The Canadian Museum of Immigration.

At the museum, you can view the crates Dutch immigrants used to bring all their belongings across the Atlantic, play dress-up in period costumes, and take their Customs Challenge to see which of your items will be allowed or confiscated.

3. Stroll through the Halifax Public Gardens

The Halifax Public Gardens is the oldest Victorian Garden in North America. Officially opened in 1867, the Public Gardens has retained their original Victorian character, and organise horticultural and historical tours. During the summer the gardens are usually open between 7am to 1/2 an hour before sunset.

4. Experience the craftsmanship of hand-made crystals at NovaScotian Crystal

NovaScotian Crystal is Canada’s (and one of the very few in the world) only maker of mouth-blown, hand-cut crystals. They employ the traditional tools and techniques of European crystal makers that were brought to Canadian shores by Irish immigrants.

NovaScotian Crystal ship internationally, but they have a physical shop along the Halifax Waterfront. You can also watch their craftsman work their magic in the Showroom.

5. Hike along secluded trails on McNabs Island

McNabs Island is over 22 km (14 mi) of hiking trails, a variety of forested and coastal settings, historic sites, and interpretive panels. It once played a major role in defending Halifax Harbour, and is home to the fascinating Fort McNab. It is also a hot spot for bird watching.

6. Eat local produce at Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market

Halifax is home to an incredible selection of farms, wineries, and local food manufacturers. One of the best ways to sample these delicacies is to visit the Seaport Farmers’ Market, where you can sample and purchase a wide variety of products from baked goods, hand-made soaps, fresh fish, independent jewellery, locally brewed alcohol, and local crafts.

7. Tour one of the oldest breweries in North America

Alexander Keith Brewery was founded in 1820 and tours are organised by guides dressed in period clothing. India Pale Ale is the most popular beer brewed at Alexander Keith’s Brewery, but you can also try other brews, like Red Amber Ale, Premium White and Original Cider. Tours of the brewery last around one hour, including tastings (if you are of legal drinking age). After the tour, you can shop in its on-site store.

8. Appreciate Atlantic Canada’s largest art collection at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia

The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia collects, preserves, and exhibits more than 17,000 artworks. It focuses on visual artists with strong ties to Nova Scotia (such as Maud Lewis) and the other Atlantic Provinces. Aside from their permanent collection, they also host temporary exhibitions that, in the past, have included Autism Arts, Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience, and Gold: A Nova Scotia Treasure.  

9. Become a soldier for a day at Halifax Citadel National Historic Site

Halifax’s ocean-side location has made it a natural target for military invasion over the years – so obviously a good defence lookout was in order. Completed in 1856, Halifax Citadel National Historic Site is officially called Fort George (named after Britain’s King George II) and is actually the fourth in a series of forts to sit atop what is now known as Citadel Hill.

The Halifax Citadel National Historic Site gives visitors the opportunity to explore the history of the fortress. Tour the Halifax Citadel Army Museum, which showcases Canadian military history, starting with the First World War and its “Road to Vimy and Beyond” exhibit through to modern-day conflict. Or sign up for the three-hour Soldier for a Day program where you’ll get fitted for an authentic uniform, learn to drill, and fire a rifle (or, for those under 16, play the British Army’s field drum).

10. Wander along Halifax Waterfront boardwalk at sunset

To mark the end of your Halifax adventure we recommend taking a relaxing sunset stroll along the Waterfront. While many of the businesses and shops (some of which we’ve mentioned above) will be closed by this point, this the best place in the city to catch an Atlantic Canada sunset.

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