Canada is a North American country made up of ten provinces and three territories. Canada is the second largest country in the world (by total area) after Russia and its common border with the United States is the world’s longest land border shared by the same two countries. It also has the longest coastline in the world. Freshwater is very prominent in the landscape of Canada as well, as the country has 31, 700 large lakes (more than any other country) and there are also fresh-water glaciers in the Canadian Rockies and the Coast Mountains. Canada is also geologically active, and has many earthquakes and potentially active volcanoes.
Canada is a parliamentary democracy, with Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state. The two official languages are Canadian English and Canadian French, with some people able to speak both. Canada traditionally appeals to holidaymakers who love the great outdoors, as it boasts stunning scenery and many spectacular natural assets.
Canadian residents (unlike their US counterparts) receive free healthcare, as it is a medicare system, where doctors invoice the province where they are based. However, visitors from the UK, travelling to Canada are advised that there is no reciprocal healthcare agreement, and that British citizens would be charged for healthcare provided.
Canadian tap water is fine to drink, as sanitary water is abundant in Canada. People rarely get diseases from this source, and Canadians are proud of their hygienic food and drink.
Canada can draw upon a bountiful harvest of natural ingredients that are available on the doorstep, not least fish, including wild salmon from the many freshwater lakes (which can be fresh or smoked as jerky). Other ‘national dishes’ or products are maple syrup (Canada is the world’s largest producer, which is mirrored in the maple-leaf emblem), peameal bacon, butter tart, poutine and Nanaimo bar. Canada is a melting pot of cultures and influences, so there are British, European and French influences to name but a few. Canada is also renowned for good cheeses, famous beers, wild mushrooms and berries and ice ciders and wines.
Electricity - The electricity available in Canada is the same as in the USA and is 110V and uses a “Type B” North American NEMA – 5 – 15 standard outlet. The sockets are not the same shape as the ones in the UK, so a travel adapter will be needed.
Currency - Canadian Dollar (CAD or C)
Driving – on the right
Climate - Canada has a great variety of climate conditions in different parts of the country. Winters can be very cold across the country, and in non-coastal regions, snow can be on the ground for almost half the year, and in some areas of the north, snow can be evident all year round. Other parts of Canada have a temperate climate, whilst some interior locations can experience extreme highs of over 40 degrees.
Clothing – It very much depends on the season that you are travelling to Canada, but if you visit Canada in the Summer, it is still best to be prepared by taking along both warm weather and cold weather clothing, as the weather can vary from region to region.
Where to go?
For history and culture – Aborigines were the first settlers of Canada, and the place to learn more about their history and culture is in British Columbia. Every year, Aborigines from across the area gather together at Klahowya Village and welcome visitors from around the world. They can catch the forest Spirit Catcher miniature train, enjoy craft demonstrations and cultural performances amongst other attractions.
For kids and teens – Prince Edward Island is one of the Maritimes, and is billed as ‘the gentle island’ and is the perfect setting for a family holiday. There are massive beaches and rolling hills, welcoming villages and cosy cottages. It was also the inspiration for the enduringly popular ‘Anne of Green Gables’ series published in 1908, and the magical setting is home to many Anne-based attractions.
Relaxation – What could be more relaxing than saddling up and exploring the outdoor delights of Canada on horseback? Maybe, retiring to a cosy log cabin in the hills to regroup for your next outing....There is some spectacular scenery to be enjoyed in the west of Canada – take your pick from wide open prairies, towering mountains and rugged coastlines.
Action – Nova Scotia is a good spot for a variety of outdoor and sporting activities. You have some world-class golf courses on your doorstep, you can also opt to cycle, hike, surf in the Atlantic or even try your luck whale-watching.
Nightlife – Toronto is a good place to head for as it has the most bars and clubs of any city in Canada, plus it has the largest nightclub in North America. Vancouver and Banff are also recommended.