Every year, my family and I try to find new things to experience in Canada. I absolutely love it there and each year I go, I feel like I learn more about things there are to enjoy! No matter the season, Canada has a variety of activities for you to experience with either your family or your friends. So if you're thinking of traveling to Canada, here are some things to experience in Canada that should be on your to-do list!
1. Hotel De Glace
Located only 10 minutes from downtown Québec City, the Hotel de Glace is a must-see attraction to discover each winter. It is also one of my favorite things to experience in Canada! From January 5th until March 24th, 2013, you can visit or even spend the night at this beautiful hotel made entirely of ice! There are tons of unique ice sculptures, a bar with glasses made of ice, and even an ice slide you can go down. Definitely do your research first about spending the night if you're the more adventurous type because it's not for everyone!
2. Dog Sledding
I tried dog sledding for the first time ever this year while in Canada and I loved it! I always wondered if dog sledding was cruel to the dogs, but after seeing them in the environment, I could tell right away that they loved what they did! It's a great activity for couples too because you have two people per sled, one who hangs on the back and one who sits in the sled. You learn how to command the dogs and how they work as a team to pull the sled. The winter scenery was beautiful and I loved getting to pet and play with all of the dogs! It's really a unique and fun experience!
If you've never heard of this before, a poutine is a typical Canadian dish (originally from Québec), made with french fries, topped with brown gravy and curd cheese. Don't let the words "curd cheese" scare you away, this snack is amazing, especially after being in the snow all day! Some fast food restaurants in Canada even have this delicious comfort food! When you get to Canada, make it a point to try at least one poutine! I promise you won't regret it...unless you're on a diet!
4. Québec City
Québec City is like getting a taste of pure Old World Europe right in North America! Set atop a cliff that leads down to the St Lawrence River, Québec City is paved with narrow cobbled streets lined with 17th- and 18th-century houses. There are numerous historical plaques marking the battles between the French and British Empires for this piece of land, or a statue representing the French colonists' struggle for survival in English-speaking North America. If the history and architecture aren't enough, then there's always the shops, festivals, and museums to keep you entertained!
5. Niagara Falls
Of course Niagara Falls made it to this list! With more than 6 million cubic feet of water falling over its edge per minute, Niagara Falls is the most famous and powerful waterfall in North America. Other than the magnificent falls, there is also an array of attractions nearby that your whole family can enjoy, including a casino and theme park. Niagara Falls is definitely one of those places you only need to see once or twice, but the Niagara Falls region has much more to discover than the tourist spots!
6. The Mountains
The reason I usually make my way up to Canada every year is due to its amazing skiing and snowboarding mountains! Mont Sainte-Anne, Whistler/Blackcomb, and Fernie are just three of the many ski resorts you can find in Canada. These mountains are absolutely gorgeous and usually get a generous amount of fresh snow throughout the winter months! If you don't already know how to ski or snowboard, you can also try snow-shoeing at many of these resorts! It's a great way to exercise and see the gorgeous Canadian mountains all at once!
7. Try Curling
For those of you who love sports, why not try a completely new sport like Curling? Curling is a sport in which players slide stones across a sheet of ice towards a target area which is segmented into four rings. Curling is very popular in Canada and you can see it on TV there quite often. There are places that allow tourists to go and learn how to play curling with your family and friends. It really is a fun and unique experience if you've never tried it before!
8. Maple Taffy
There's a reason why the Canadian flag has a maple leaf on it. Their maple syrup is amazing and used in everything from whiskey to candy. Maple Taffy is a made by boiling maple sap past the point where it would form maple syrup, pouring it onto the snow, and then lifting it up either with a small wooden stick or a metal dinner fork. It's definitely a delicious sweet treat to try while you're in Canada!
Of course, these are just the experiences I've had in Canada firsthand or have heard about from others. There's no way I could list everything there is to experience in Canada in one article. Have you ever been to Canada and if so, what was your favorite place to visit or favorite activity? If you live in Canada, what are some things that many tourists overlook but shouldn't?