Canada is a great destination for backpackers who wish to experience the wilderness and real beauty of North America. The people of Canada are very easy going and cities such as Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal are places well worth a visit. Please take into account that Canada is one of the largest countries in the world. You can’t just hit the road and expect to be in the other end of the country within 24 hours. It usually takes days, so be prepared!
What to see in Canada
Most people come to Canada to enjoy the fantastic national parks in the western provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. Here you will find stunning national parks such as Banff, Jasper, Kootenay and Glacier, located in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. You can also visit Vancouver Island which is known for its unspoiled seashores and British charm in the provincial capital of Victoria. In the middle of Canada there is nothing - indeed there are plenty of populated areas and very nice people - but there really aren't that much to see for travellers since its just prairies for miles and miles. The fun comes back when you reach the eastern provinces of Canada such as Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia.
Canada is not the US!
Please bear in mind that Canada is not the US. Do never make that mistake of comparing a Canadian to an American. Canadians really have their own traditions and way of living and they are proud about it. If you visit to Canada combined with a stay in the US, so you may even notice the small differences in everyday life. Canadians are very friendly and enjoy talking to international travellers, so don't hesitate to engage in a little social activity or small talk, whether it is at a fancy high street bar or at the local village diner.
Yes, it may get cold in Canada
Even though Canadians has plenty of square kilometres per resident, most of the population lives in close proximity to the US border. Up north the roads are scarce and winter hits hard from October to May. No one really bothers going there unless they have a profound interest in tundra and polar conditions. However, if you are a winter sports enthusiast and enjoy skiing, snowboarding, skating, ice hockey etc. then Canada is a cool place to visit during winter. Banff and Whistler in western Canada are some of the greatest ski resorts in the world and each year thousands of backpackers travel to Canada to enjoy the true meaning of powder snow.
Travel east in Canada
Canada is a lot more than Rocky Mountains and grizzly bears. In the easternmost part of the country you'll find the maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. It's smaller provinces but has a lot of charm and Canadian history to offer. Don't miss out on the heritage site Louisbourg and Cape Bretton Highlands National Park on the very top of Nova Scotia.
Citylife in Canada
When talking about great city experiences in North America, New York, San Francisco and Washington DC always come to mind, but the metropolitans of Canada are often overlooked, which is a shame. In the Northwest, Vancouver is far more interesting than Seattle just a couple of hours away and in the province of Ontario you can enjoy a couple of days in Toronto, the largest city in Canada. It is possible to fly directly to Toronto from several European cities which make Toronto a nice starting point for a North American journey. Montreal and Ottawa are located in the French-speaking province of Quebec and is a great experience since the culture here is different from the rest of the Continent.