Canada is one of my favourite places in the entire world. I feel so fortunate enough to have visited various parts of the magnificent country over a number of visits. From the true to season climate, the diverse creatures and the fresh glorious air that runs throughout from the greenery that summons the land. There is no country quite like it!
If you have chosen to visit Canada, you’re off to a flying start. A great choice, if I say so myself. Where to start? From the necessary processes of applying for your visa to the fun and exciting parts of choosing where to travel to and what to see, I have you covered.
Apply for a Canadian visa (eTA)
You may think that purchasing plane tickets seems like the obvious option, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you buy a ticket for a few hundred pounds, then realise you can’t access the country, your non-refundable tickets become redundant, no? Applying for an eTA Canada is simple and straight forward, but what does eTA stand for? Electronic Travel Authorisation. The process takes five minutes, filling out your details on an online form, and you instantly receive a decision once your application has finished. The eTA entitles you to unlimited access into Canada for five years unless your passport expires prior to that end date. Best of all, it only costs a mere £19.95, making it accessible to everyone wanting to visit glorious Canada.
Picking a destination(s) to visit in Canada
Vancouver remains firmly at the top of my favourite places in Canada. This west coast seaport city has everything you could wish for, and more. The city itself is one of the most unique and diverse cities I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. Surrounded by mountains, you can often spot the peaks under the clouds from the hills within the city. Vancouver is also home to a few stunning golden sand beaches, but Kitsilano Beach is by far my favourite. It’s simply the urbanites playground to frolic amongst in nature while remaining as city dwellers, the perfect combination. A few hikes I would recommend when visiting Vancouver would definitely be Butzen Lake and Lynn Valley, both utterly breathtaking with views to die for — you won’t regret it.
Toronto gives you an insight into the true life of a Canadian. Its bright and bustling nature is enough to get anyone excited to explore the city. Toronto’s residents have roots across the globe, bringing a sense of art, culture, music, mixed with a variety of nightlife for all tastes, and hotspots to tickle those taste buds for all you foodies. Toronto’s coffee scene is like no other I have discovered, from colourful lattes, to the best independent, hand-roasted coffee you may ever taste. As the sun sets over Polson Pier, dive into one of the local bars and discover the locally-crafted brews before extending your night out on the town with a drag show, poetry slams or comedy clubs. And, they said New York was the only city that never sleeps…
Where to start? Montréal is an island-based city and remains as one of the largest cities in the Quebec region. Montréal’s culture is like no other, filled with colourful houses, vintage shops and some of the hottest restaurants – some travel across the pond to experience the food scene here. Many of the neighbourhoods act as small towns within themselves, taking you back to French colonial times with cobbled streets and gothic architecture. If you were to try any two things while in Montréal, I would recommend the bagels (they give NYC a run for their money) and the poutine, while the delicacy may be all-around Canadian dish, the Montréalers know how to make it the best!
Banff & Lake Louise
Lake Louise remains at the top of many travellers bucket lists. The aqua lake surrounded by glacial mountains steals the beating heart of many, in natures true glory. The hotspot resides minutes a mere 40 minutes away from the glorious resort town of Banff. Set within a national park with over 6,500 square kilometres of parkland, home to various wildlife including the famous Canadian grizzly bears, elk and moose. Banff is also home to the world-renowned natural hot springs, which proves to be a popular way to warm up after a day of skiing on the mountains. It’s also the perfect destination for thrillseekers who can experience various sports such as water rafting, snowmobiling, or go on a once in a lifetime helicopter tour.
The best times to visit Canada
By this point you have your five-year visa approved, you have chosen the destinations you want to explore but when’s the best time to go? It’s a question asked by many travellers visiting Canada, but it’s simply down to the kind of Canadian experience you want to have. As previously mentioned, Canada is true to its seasons.
Early May to June is low season, but with great weather, which means most travellers get to experience Canada without too many tourists and ensures flights and hotels are more suitably priced compared to peak season. As you move into July, it shoots up to peak season, right through to the end of August, where temperatures rise alongside up to 30 degrees Celcius. It’s the time you can expect all of the attractions and activities to be open, but it’s often better to book these activities at least six months in advance to ensure availability. September and October remain as the “Indian Summer” months, where forests bloom into hues of apricot, and gold, and nature is at its most spectacular point, perfect for nature enthusiasts. The weather is generally warm, around 14 to 18 degrees Celcius but evenings can get quite chilly and drop as low as three degrees, so appropriate clothing is important.
If you’re looking to ski, the best time to visit would be between mid-December to mid-March where snow conditions are at their best, and you have the ability to have the full winter experience while trying out various other unique sports too. Temperatures can go as low as -14 degrees Celcius, so it’s best to bring thermals and extremely warm clothing when exploring.
Have you ever visited Canada?
Until next time…