fbpx

The Complete Canada Bucket List for Travellers

by Viola
canada bucket list

Oh Canada! This beautiful country has been my home for the past two decades, yet even I feel like I have barely experienced a teeny tiny fraction of this humongous land. From stunning Rocky mountains on the west coast to laid back maritime vibes on the east coast, Canada offers so much for travelers to explore. With the help of many pro traveler friends, I was able to compile this complete Canada bucket list. You can find the activities for each province and territory arranged in alphabetical order. I hope you are ready for the epic-ness that is about to meet your eyes. Grab your backpack and let’s go!

 

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means, at no extra cost to you, I may earn a commission if you make a purchase. Thanks for supporting!

 

Alberta

Attend the Calgary Stampede

calgary-stampede

The Calgary Stampede is probably the most famous rodeo in the world.  This 10-day extravaganza takes place every July at Stampede Park in Calgary.  With rodeo activities happening in the grandstand, a fun fair, farm exhibitions, dog shows, a midway full of food trucks, and live music; it is a fun-filled day out for all ages.  The daytime rodeos include bull-riding, speed and wagon races, and the hilarious antics of the rodeo clowns.  At night the grandstand hosts an evening show, with a huge stage show, lights, celebrities, singing, and fireworks.  Take a stroll down the midway, where you can try every different kind of fairground food possible – corn dogs, blooming onions, fried butter, funnel cakes and more.  If you’re travelling with kids, take some time out to see the dog show – these incredible dogs perform agility and fetch manoeuvres like you’ve never seen.  The whole of Calgary city gets into the Stampede spirit too, hosting pancake breakfasts, parades and wearing cowboy attire.  Get your cowboy hat ready and prepare yourself for “the greatest outdoor show on earth”!

– Hannah from Hannah Henderson Travel Follow Hannah on Twitter 

 

Canoe on Lake Louise

lake-louise-canada

Simply seeing Lake Louise would be high on any Canadian bucket list, but there’s a more adventurous way of experiencing this beautiful spot. Canoeing on Lake Louise is a truly magical experience, allowing you to escape the crowds on the shoreline and paddle into the middle of the lake for true tranquillity. As you make your way through the water, the glaciers and mountains begin to loom over you and the photography opportunities are endless. The stunning blue water looks magical at any time of day but if you get the chance there is no better time to get out on the lake than at sunrise. The sunrise canoe sessions are run by the Fairmont Hotel and the number of canoes allowed out is capped at 10 boats which make it by far the quietest time of day. You’ll also get an hour and a half on the water and breakfast included for a fraction more than the normal price. The usual canoe rental in the daytime will set you back CAD $115 for half an hour and $125 for an hour (with a maximum of three people per boat), but it is definitely worth it.

-Cat from Walk My World 

 

You may also like:  Epic 2 Weeks Alberta Road Trip Itinerary - See the Best of Western Canada

 

Boat tour from Maligne to Spirit Island

maligne-lake-alberta-canada

Spirit Island is one of the most photographed places in the Canadian Rockies. Backed by Jasper National Park’s rugged, grey mountains, and surrounded by sparkling blue-green water, it’s easy to see why this is such a famous place. This iconic island can be found 14 km from the end of Maligne Lake and is only reachable by boat. You can spend the day paddling to it, but a more relaxing way to get there is on a boat tour. During a boat tour, you will hear interesting stories about Maligne Lake, one of the largest and most attractive lakes in the Canadian Rockies. The lake offers plenty of stunning alpine scenery to enjoy while cruising to the island, including some glaciers nestled among the mountain peaks. Once you arrive at Spirit Island, you will have some time to view the island from a nearby nature trail. The time there is short but sweet, and you’ll surely come home with beautiful pictures and fond memories.

– Rhonda from Travel Yes Please 

 

Watch Sunrise on Moraine Lakemoraine-lake-canada

Moraine Lake in Banff National Park is perhaps one of the most beautiful sunrise spots on earth. You truly have to see it to believe it. The way the sun rises over the horizon and shines on the Canadian Rockies, the mountains turn a shade of pink for a few glorious minutes. While the sun is kissing these mountains, Moraine Lake is lit up to reveal the incredibly bright blue color that makes this lake unique.

When you do go to Moraine Lake, make sure to hike the Rockpile Trail for the best viewpoint of the lake and mountains. The trail is just a half-mile roundtrip, so it will not be strenuous, and the view is tremendous. A side benefit of heading to Moraine Lake early enough for sunrise is that you’ll likely get a parking spot in the Moraine Lake lot, which is a MUST to make your adventure stress-free. Seeing Moraine Lake at sunrise, you’ll get to have one of the most beautiful visual experiences of your life, and you’ll get a coveted parking spot to explore the Moraine area for the entire day.

– Zach & Julie from Ruhls of the Road  Follow them on Instagram 

 

 

Walk on the Athabasca Glacier

Athabasca Glacier

Looking for a thrill that most other people cannot boast? Want to one-up your friends with tales of adventure? Or just want to try something new that will get your heart pumping? Whatever your reasoning may be, adding a trip to the Athabasca Glacier to your Canadian Bucket List is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Located in the Columbia Icefields along the Icefields Parkway between Banff and Jasper National Parks in Alberta, the Athabasca Glacier is best visited during the warmer months for clearer visibility and the chance to drink melting glacial water. Visitors have the opportunity to board an Ice Explorer bus (which is like a pimped-up school bus with tires the size of an adult), drive out to a cleared section of the glacier, and walk like a penguin while trying not to fall or blow over. Spend time marveling at the view of the Columbia Icefields, taking pictures with the Canadian flag, and sip some of the cleanest water in the world. How many places in the world can visitors walk along a glacier like this?”

– Rachelle from Adventure is Never Far Away Follow Rachelle on Instagram 

 

British Colombia

Surf in Tofino, BC

Tofino-canada

When you think of surfer beach towns on the west coast of North America, your mind likely travels farther south to the sandy beaches of California, but a little known secret is that one of the west coast’s best surf spots is in Tofino, a small town situated on the western shores of Vancouver Island in British Columbia that has secluded beaches that seem tucked away from the rest of the world. Tofino is a bit of a trek to get to from the island’s main city (and British Columbia’s capital) of Victoria, but it’s worth it to include on your Vancouver Island itinerary for the gorgeous views and crashing waves. Once you’ve arrive in Tofino, you’ll find wide expanses of soft sand framed by towering pine trees that are just 15 minutes from a National Park and temperate rain forests. Cox Bay Beach is often considered to be the best of the best when it comes to surfing in Tofino. You can rent a wetsuit (the water is cold so you’ll definitely want one) and surfboard from one of the many surf rental shops in town, and even sign up for a lesson if you so wish, or just sit on the sand and watch the locals catch the waves. 

Gina of OneDayInACity

 

Wine tasting in the Okanagan Valley, BC

Kelowna winery and lavendar

The Okanagan Valley in southern British Columbia enjoys some of the warmest temperatures in Canada. This, plus the abundance of lakes, beaches, hiking trails, orchards, golf courses, and charming towns make the Okanagan a popular Canadian destination for vacationers.

However, over the past couple of decades, the Okanagan has also become known as an epic place for wine tasting. The combination of a dry, sunny climate, fertile soil and natural irrigation create perfect conditions for grape growing and there are now more than 200 wineries in the valley. In fact, the region is often referred to as the Tuscany of Canada.

From small production boutique wineries to large commercial wineries and everything in between, wine lovers could spend months in the region and still not visit everyone. Having said that, the bulk of the wineries are in clusters between the town of Osoyoos in the south and Kelowna to the north making it easy to plan a tasting route. Of course, it goes without saying that you’ll need a designated driver or better yet, book a private car or group tour so your whole party can enjoy the fabulous Okanagan wine.

-Sara & Nathan, from Discover the Pacific Northwest,  Follow them on Instagram 

 

Kayaking in Haida Gwaii

Haida Gwaii Canada bucket list

Haida Gwaii (formerly called the Queen Charlotte Islands) is a beautiful pristine archipelago with a national park that can only be visited by boat or seaplane. The best way to see the islands is on a multi-day sea kayaking trip because this allows you to slow down and really appreciate the beauty of this magical place. Days are spent paddling peacefully between the islands, while nights are spent camping in the woods near pebbly beaches.  Chances are good that you will see bald eagles, black bears, sea lions and perhaps even orcas and humpback whales. 

The highlight, however, is a trip to SGang Gwaay Llanagaay (English name, Ninstints). This abandoned Haida Village is home to some of the best-preserved totem poles outside of a museum. Seeing the group of wooden faces staring silently out to sea as you paddle towards them is a truly awe-inspiring experience. Very few people in the world have the opportunity to walk through this village, soaking up the atmosphere and admiring the gradually decaying totem poles.  It is truly a bucket list experience.  You can read all about kayaking Haida Gwaii here.

– James Ian at Travel Collecting 

 

Drive the Sea to Sky Highway between Vancouver and Whistler

Sea to Sky Highway British Colombia

The Sea to Sky Highway between Vancouver and Whistler is a Canadian road trip that should be on everyone’s bucket list. This British Columbia highway is only 120km long, but since there are so many beautiful places to stop along the way, it’s best to allow a full day or even two to really enjoy it. 

The drive begins alongside Howe Sound, an ocean fjord, before heading up into the mountains to finish at Whistler, a ski village. The town of Squamish is at the midpoint of the drive, and it’s known as Canada’s adventure capital, home to world-famous hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing. 

While the ocean and mountain scenery out your car window is breath-taking, it’s definitely worth stopping your car at the many viewpoints and waterfalls along the way. If you have more time there are tons of options for things to do. If you’re outdoorsy, you can go for a hike, swim in a lake, bungee jump, or even try your hand at the biathlon at the site of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. If you’re less outdoorsy, try a ride on the Sea to Sky Gondola, a visit to the historic Britannia Mine Museum or a trip to the Squamish Farmers Market. 

-Taryn from HappiestOutdoors Follow Taryn on Instagram

 

Hiking the West Coast Trail in Vancouver Island

West-Coast-Trail-British Colombia

The West Coast Trail is a grueling 75 km multi-day beach and forest hiking trail on the coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Something unique about this spectacular hike is that large parts of the trail is spent hiking on miles of extensive, white sandy beaches. The beaches are separated by beautiful indigenous forest and plenty of wild animals can be seen on the trail, orcas, whales, dolphins, bears, and deer are common. This trail is very demanding when there is a lot of rain with slow progress over difficult terrain including pools of mud, ladders, bridges and cable cars. The West Coast Trail hike is usually completed in 6 or 7 days. It is a wild hike with facilities limited to toilets and bear safe containers at campsites and you have to carry a tent and all food and gear required. It is possible to camp on the beach every night. The West Coast Trail is open from May 1st to September 30th, only 30 people are allowed to start hiking the trail each day so it is recommended to book this popular adventure ahead.

– Campbell and Alya of Stingy Nomads

 

Hike and boat Emerald Lake

emerald lake british colombia

If you are planning a visit to the Canadian Rockies from the British Columbia side, be sure to include a stop at Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park. Emerald Lake is an alpine lake with a color as green as its name and so stunning that you’ll not be able to stop taking photos when you visit.

Two of the most popular things to do at Emerald Lake are hiking and boating. Take a rowboat or a canoe out on to the water, and you’ll not only get in a great workout, you’ll also be able to appreciate the beautiful scenery from the water. The easiest hike you can do at Emerald Lake is the walk around the shore of the lake. Just a little over 3 miles long, the loop around the lake is flat and easy. The trail in forested but you have several openings where you get gorgeous views of the water and the surrounding mountains. Walking this trail will allow you to leave most of the crowds behind, so that you can enjoy the serenity.

The best time to visit Emerald Lake is when the lake is fully thawed, so that you can enjoy boating and hiking. That means any time from mid to late June until mid to late September generally. You can do a day trip to Yoho National Park quite easily from Lake Louise or Banff, or spend a few days in the park.

– Dhara from It’s Not About the Miles

 

Manitoba

Photographing polar bears in Churchill

polar-bear-churchill-canada

Weighing up to 1500 pounds and standing a staggering 8 feet tall, polar Bears are easily the biggest species of bears on the planet. Their habitat is exclusively in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions of the great white north, where there spend so much time at sea looking for seals (their favorite food) that they’re considered a hybrid of aquatic and land mammal. Churchill, Manitoba is one of the few places in the world where you’re pretty much guaranteed to see them in numbers, especially if you visit in October and November. This is when male Polar Bears– hungry and in a weakened state– tend to gather on the shores of Hudson Bay and wait for sea ice to form so they can go out and hunt. Several tour operators (including Natural Habitat and Frontiers North) offer remote mobile lodges right by the Bay: Guests aren’t allowed to leave (except in enclosed “polar rover” vehicles) because they’re practically surrounded by these massive bears. So instead they watch bears sleep, play-fight (their way of establishing hierarchy before it comes time to feed and mate), and curiously sniff at the humans as smells emanate from the lodge’s kitchen. It’s an extraordinary experience, and by the end, you may feel as if YOU are the one in the zoo. But for people who are fascinated by these apex predators of the Arctic, there’s really nothing else in the world quite like it.

–Bret Love & Mary Gabbett of Blue Ridge Mountains Travel Guide

 

New Brunswick

Whale Watching in Bay of Fundy

whale watching new brunswick

Photo by Davide Dalfovo on Unsplash

Bay of Fundy’s coastline stretches from New Brunswick to Nova Scotia and the tips of Maine, spanning over 170 miles. This Bay is so special as it is a protected area for whales to feed and take care of their young. Every year, the whales hang around here prior to migrating warmer waters in the South. If you are lucky, you can see up to 12 different species of whales during a day trip, including Humpback, Finback and Minke whales. The best season to visit is during the summer and early fall months from June to early October, when the whales come out to feed and play. Popular tours departure spots are St. Andrews, Wilson’s Beach and the tip of Grand Manan Island. Plan for at least three hours for the tour. A word of warning for those who tend to get seasick, the boats can be rocky so it’s better to take some Gravol.

Viola of The Blessing Bucket

 

New Foundland

Hiking Gros Morne Mountain 

gros-morne-mountain-newfoundland

Newfoundland is a destination that’s often overlooked when traveling Canada due to the fact that it is an island not easily accessible from the rest of the country. But those who make the journey will be rewarded. Newfoundland is home to some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the country, with access to thousands of kilometers of pristine coastline.

One hike that needs to be on your Canada bucket list is Gros Morne mountain on the West coast of Newfoundland. Climbing Gros Morne mountain is a 16 KM hike that can be done in a day, but it’s not an easy feat. The first four kilometers are gentle, taking you through a beautiful forest to a viewing platform at the mountain base. After that, the challenge begins. It’s an 8-kilometer loop that takes you up almost 500 meters up. At the end,  there is a rough boulder-strewn path to conquer. Once at the top, you will be rewarded by breathtaking views of the Long Range Mountains and the Ten Mile Pond gorge. While challenging, hiking Gros Morne mountain is one of the most memorable activities to do in Newfoundland.

– Lora Pope from Explore with Lora Follow Lora on Instagram

 

Northwest Territories

See the northern lights in Yellowknife

Yellowknife aurora

Photo by Ken Cheung on Unsplash

Seeing the beautiful northern lights is a quintessential bucket list item, and one of the best places in the world to tick this off is none other than Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Yellowknife’s far north location around 400km south of the Arctic Circle means that the quaint town is prime northern lights territory. The best time to see the northern lights in Yellowknife is August to April, when the nights are long and dark. But be warned, Yellowknife can be bitterly cold during winter!

To witness the aurora dancing across the sky, stay up late, rug up warm and check out the Aurora Max website for the aurora forecast and a live ‘aurora cam’. If you want to increase your chances of seeing the northern lights, either rug up at the Aurora Village with pretty (and warm!) teepees and wide open skies, or for the more adventurous join an aurora hunting tour where you drive around the region to find the best vantage points depending on the weather. While you wait for darkness to descend, there’s tonnes of other fun things to do in Yellowknife to keep you entertained during the day!

-Claire aka The Adventurous Flashpacker Follow Claire on Facebook 

 

Drive the Dempster highway to the Arctic Ocean

Dempter highway tombstone territorial park

If your bucket list includes dipping your toes in the Arctic Ocean, you might like the drive up the famous Dempster Highway.  The highway starts near Dawson City in Yukon and stretches all the way up to the Arctic Ocean in Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories.  The Dempster Highway is 879 km one way on a gravel driving road – and there’s only one way to go back – the way you came.  The drive is very scenic.  The southern part is the most scenic, with the drive through Tombstone Territorial Park named for Tombstone Mountain.  Further north, you will cross the Arctic Circle, drive over a high pass between Yukon and NWT, and take seasonal ferries across the Peel and Mackenzie Rivers.  You will cross these rivers by ice if you travel in the winter.   Road hazards include gravel (flat tires and chipped windshields) and mud. Further north, you will see the Inuit towns of Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk.  The best time to do the drive is late summer (late August to early September) when you can see fall colors and the northern lights without the freezing temps of winter.   

– Lisa of TheHotFlashPacker 

 

Nova Scotia

Visit Peggy’s Cove LighthousePeggys Cove

Visiting the Peggy’s Cove lighthouse in Nova Scotia is a must see if you’re visiting the east coast. Located under an hour from downtown Halifax, it is worth the short trip to spend a few hours here. 

No matter what time of year you visit, be sure to bring layers! Since it’s on the oceanfront, the wind can be very cold and strong. Spend some time hiking along the rocks in the area, but just be sure to stay off of the black area of the rocks since that’s where the waves hit which makes it dangerous to stand on. Luckily, the lighthouse itself is far enough away from the water, so feel free to get up close and take pictures! 

If you want to avoid crowds, it can be a good thing to come in the morning, especially during the summer months! Peggy’s Cove also has a restaurant overlooking the lighthouse and the ocean which is worth a visit if you’re feeling hungry.
Be sure to also check out the local art galleries and small shops while you’re in the area!”

– Amber of She’s Catching Flights Follow Amber on Instagram

 

Drive the Cabot Trail

Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia

The Cabot Trail is an (almost) 300 km circular scenic drive in the northeast of Cape Breton in Nova Scotia. The entire road can easily be driven in a day, even with multiple stops for scenic views.

The picturesque views range from beaches and coastal rocks pounded by waves to rolling forests and views across bays and out to sea. There are plenty of places to pull off the road and admire the differing views as you drive the trail.

If you want to take longer than a day, there are many attractions on the route or just off it. Hikes into woods or to waterfalls and out to peninsulas are plentiful. Local craft shops dot the route offering all manner of local products. A short detour from the main road will take you to Cabot’s

Landing which is one of the possible landing points of John Cabot who sailed over from Bristol, England in 1497. The trail is a great drive throughout the warmer seasons but is especially beautiful when the autumn leaves swathe the land in bands of colour.

– Lee and Stacey of One Trip at a Time Follow them on Facebook 

Nunavut

Go dog sledding in Iqaluit

dog sleding

Photo by James Padolsey on Unsplash

Iqaluit is the capital of Nunavut, a territory with a beauty so otherworldly it will take your breath away. Here, the white arctic landscape stretches on and on. You will feel a sense of humbleness and awe as you gaze towards the vast tundra. Completely off the beaten path, Iqaluit is a great place to be in nature and try some new winter activities. Inupak Outfitting is a good company that offers many unique experiences such as ice fishing, igloo building workshops, backcountry skiing, and more. A must-try is dog sledding. You get to feed and care for adorable dogs, who will in turn take you for a ride on the tundra on a traditional Inuit sled. How cool does that sound?!

– Viola of The Blessing Bucket

 

Ontario

Exploring Parliament Hill and take a river cruise in OttawaDempter highway tombstone territorial park

Exploring Ottawa – the nation’s capital – should definitely be on your Canada bucket list. Located in the eastern part of Ontario, Canada’s capital is a booming little city. With immense green space and many historical buildings, there is tons to do and see in Ottawa One of the best places to visit is Parliament Hill – the heart of Canadian democracy. This area houses the Canadian Parliament buildings but there are also numerous statues and other historic artifacts around the grounds. You can snap a photo of the Library of Parliament and visit the famous Centennial Flame in front of the Peace Tower. Behind the buildings, you’ll get amazing views over the Ottawa River into the province of Quebec. Speaking of river, another great activity is to hop on a cruise of the Ottawa River for great photos of Parliament Hill from below. The best time to do a cruise of the river is definitely in the summer time since Ottawa can get pretty frigid in the winter. However, winter in Ottawa allows for skating the world-famous Rideau Canal, the world’s largest skating rink beside Parliament Hill.

– Eric from Ontario Away, Follow Eric on Youtube 

 

Take a cruise on Niagara Falls

niagara-falls-canada

Niagara Falls is one of the most legendary waterfalls in the world. This huge waterfall straddles the border between Canada and the US and can be reach from Toronto on an easy day trip. There are several ways to see the falls such as zip-lining over it, taking a helicopter tour, but the best way is actually the classic Hornblower Cruise that will bring you up close to the falls. It’s so thrilling to feel the full force of the water spray as the boat approaches closer and closer. Keep in mind this is the fastest flowing waterfall in North America and you will definitely get drench. So bring extra clothes to change!

– Viola of The Blessing Bucket

 

 

CN Tower Edge Walk, Toronto

The CN Tower is a must-do attraction for anyone visiting TorontoThis iconic architecture used to be the tallest free-standing structure in the world and was named one of the seven modern wonders of the world. Instead of just visiting the observation deck like everyone else, why not take it to the next level and do the adrenaline pumping Edge Walk. You will be led to walk hands-free on the ledge encircling the top of the tower’s main pod, with safety rope of course. Lean over the edge and get a panoramic view of Toronto. While your knees may be shaking and your armpits sweating, the right to brag about this experience afterwards is definitely worth it. Fun fact, did you know that more than 150 proposals have taken place during the Edge Walk? Maybe some idea for you if you are traveling with a partner. 😛 

– Viola of The Blessing Bucket

 

You may also like:  Fun Toronto Itinerary by a Local - 5 Days Worth of Exciting Things to Do

 

Play escape game in a real castle in Toronto

casa-loma-toronto

Yes, we are featuring Toronto a lot in this list, only because it is the most populous city in Canada so naturally, there are many exciting things to do here. One of them that not many people actually know about is that Casa Loma, Toronto’s stunning Gothic revival style castle, offers crazy cool escape games. These are unlike any old escape room that you’ve been to before. The set at Castle Loma is obviously a real historic site. There are 5 games which all have awesome story themes and are beautiful executed in their visuals. You will encounter hilarious and clever actors in each game who will facilitate your escape in the game. It is a fully immersive experience. The best game is arguably the Dragon’s Song, a fantasy themed escape game that will capture the hearts of any Game of Thrones Fan. Read more about the Casa Loma escape game here.

– Viola of The Blessing Bucket

 

Chase fall colours around Ontario

algonquin park canada

Photo by Viola of The Blessing Bucket

Unlike some other countries, Canada has four full seasons and fall is a wonderful time to visit. And fall in Ontario is extra special. There are many great spots to take in the autumn foliage but two of the most popular spots in Ontario are Algonquin Park and Muskoka.

Muskoka has been named as one of the best places in not only Canada but the world to see the fall colours. It’s like nature has created a beautiful canvas of vibrant oranges, yellows and reds. There are a ton of things to do in Muskoka in the fall, from festivals to beautiful hikes, and so much more. The best time to visit Muskoka for peak fall colours is between late September and early October.

Algonquin Park is another popular destination for locals and tourists alike to take in the incredible fall colours. The park boasts a multitude of hiking trails, many with sweeping views of the brilliant fall forests, and even just driving through will fill you with amazement. The best time to visit is late September, early October but to avoid the crowds visit during the week.

– Stephanie of The World As I See It. Follow Stephanie on Instagram

 

Skate an ice trail through a forest in the MuskokasCanada-Bucketlist-Skating-Trail-Ontario

Ice skating a trail through the forest lit up with tiki torches is a unique activity to do if you are visiting Ontario during winter. While you can find outdoor rinks in many places, there are very few forest skating trails in Ontario. The Muskokas are also one of the most beautiful areas of the province and look like a winter wonderland when covered in a fresh layer of snow.

Located in Arrowhead Provincial Park, just outside of Huntsville, this ice trail is open from January to March every year. It’s possible to skate during the day around this circular trail, but going for evening skates feels really magical. On some Thursdays, Saturdays, and Valentines, Arrowhead hosts Fire and Ice skate nights. The trail is illuminated by hundreds of tiki torches as you skate through the snow-covered evergreens with the stars twinkling above.

It’s a very popular activity for people visiting the Muskokas. Try to arrive right at opening time if you want to join a skate night. Arrowhead can be visited as a day trip from Toronto as it is about 2.5 hours each way. Arrowhead is one of the few parks in Ontario that offer equipment rentals so if you want to try out snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or skating, you can rent on site.
-Brianna, of Curious Travel Bug Follow Brianna on Instagram 

 

Saskatchewan

Visit the Great Sandhills sand dunes

Great Sandhills Saskatchewan

A place that most travelers may not even know about in Saskatchewan is the Great Sandhills. Located close to Sceptre, Saskatchewan, these sand dunes will appear all of a sudden out of nowhere. These sand dunes change all the time with the wind as they reshape, form ripples of waves on the sand and take on new forms. The wind will blow away all the footprints so it looks like nobody has ever been there before and you are the first to discover it. Walk amongst the sand dunes and feel as though you are transported to somewhere else other than in the prairies of Canada. If the winds are right, the steep side of the dunes will be a perfect place to slide down and have some fun! The Great Sandhills is one of the hidden gems in Saskatchewan that make a unique place to visit in Canada.

– Nicole of The Passport Kids Follow Nicole on Instagram 

 

PEI

Walk in the footsteps of Anne of Green Gables

PEI-Canada

Photo by Ben Turnbull on Unsplash

Prince Edward Island is perhaps most famous for being the picturesque setting in the world famous story of Anne of Green Gables. If you are a fan of the classic tale, you won’t want to miss PEI on your trip to Canada. There are several places to go for finding the fictional village of Avonlea.

There are a number of attractions located in Cavendish which is the region of Prince Edward Island that was home to Lucy Maud Montgomery and where Anne Shirley’s fictional village of Avonlea would have been located. First of all, you must visit Green Gables Heritage Place. The heritage site that includes the green roofed farmhouse that was Anne Green Gable’s house. You can also walk the Haunted Wood Trails that were in the stories, meet character dress as Anne (Especially fun for kids!), visit the resting place of Lucy Maud Montgomery, and so much more. Check out this article for more Anne of Green Gable activities to do in PEI. 

– Viola of The Blessing Bucket

 

Quebec

Climbing Monmorency Falls in Quebec City

montmorency-falls-quebec

Quebec is an essential stop if you are travelling across Canada, both for the historic Quebec City and a beautiful nearby waterfall that’s 30 metres higher than Niagara. Late summer and early autumn are good times to visit Montmorency Falls, when the water is flowing at its fullest. 

Here, you can see the falls in several different ways, including from a bridge across the top and by cable car. The most adventurous way to experience the falls is by climbing them, as part of a group tour.

You don’t have to have any experience to do this activity, it’s accessible even for first-time climbers, though it’s not for the faint-hearted. Called via ferrata, Italian for ‘iron road’, you are attached to a steel cable fixed to the rock, along the entire climbing route. 

After a comprehensive safety briefing, the group puts on the helmets and harnesses that will connect you individually to the climbing route. The first challenge is to descend towards the powerful falls on a 300-metre zipline that spans a deep crevice. This is exhilarating enough, and then the climbing begins.

 With your harness attached with carabiners to the cable and an expert leader monitoring the group, even if you made a misstep, you couldn’t fall far. Iron rungs, pegs, carved steps and ladders help you position your feet confidently as you scale the sheer rock-face. 

For some people, this adrenaline pumping experience is still nerve-wracking. But there’s nothing like the feeling at the top, knowing that you have scaled this magnificent 83-metre high waterfall. 

– Claire of Backpacking Bella

 

Join a French immersion program in Quebec City

quebec-city-canada

If you are looking for a true cultural exchange, why not participate in a French immersion program in Quebec, the largest French-speaking city in Canada? You will get to hone your French language skills, and get to know this beautiful heritage city. If you are not sure which school you want to study at, BLI Quebec may have you covered all year round.

The length of the program can be a week to a few months, depending on your budget and your time. It offers part-time, full-time, and intensive programs; allowing you to practice all aspects of French from grammar, vocabulary, and communication. The class is small and usually held from the mornings to the early afternoons with an hour’s lunch break. There are a few activities outside the classroom where you can get to see the old Quebec, search for poutine, wine tasting, and socialize in bars and restaurants. The program offers a home-stay accommodation option, which means that you will spend most of the time listening and speaking only French.

If you are a Canadian citizen or PR resident,  you should also check out the Explore program. This is an awesome government-funded program for both adults and teens. 

There are lots of places to visit in Quebec City in your spare time. You will likely visit the Ice Hotel, Montmorency falls, walk around the old town, and attend winter carnival. The most unique part of being in a French immersion program is that it gives you an extended period of time to get to know Quebec City than barely passing through it as a tourist, and you will make life-long friends with your classmates and host family.

-Julie of Always on the Way Travel  Follow Julie on Pinterest

 

See Old Montreal

old-montreal-canada

If you’re still in the process of planning a trip to Canada, make sure to put a stop in Old Montreal on your list. This historic center of Montreal dates back to the middle of the seventeenth century and the beginnings of French settlement in the area. Here you’ll find a festive (and, yes, touristy) vibe, harkening back to French rule. The architecture in this part of the city is simply gorgeous, and there are tons of fun bars and beautiful cafes to choose from to soak in the atmosphere. There are also great art galleries and shopping spots here that you won’t want to miss. It’s the closest you’ll come to feeling like you’re in Europe while in North America. Make sure to spend a few hours at the Pointe-à-Callière Museum, which is Montreal’s main museum of archeology and history. Here you will learn about the city’s founding and its history up through the present.

– Stephanie of History Fan Girl Follow Stephanie on Facebook 

 

Yukon

Flying over the world’s biggest non-polar ice field in the YukonAerial view of the world's largest non-polar icefield in the Yukon, Canada

Sightseeing flights offering spectacular views of the world’s largest non-polar icefield take off from an airstrip a few kilometres northwest of Haines Junction in the Yukon. Operated by Icefield Discovery from the beginning of April until the end of September, light aircraft fly above the glacier in the St Elias Mountains, which is home to Mount Logan, Canada’s highest peak.

On clear, bright days the flights present photographers with excellent opportunities to capture images of the snow-capped mountains and crevassed ice field. Since 1979 the area has been part of Kluane National Park and its higher elevations provides habitat for dall sheep and mountain goats, which can sometimes be seen from aircraft windows. Grizzly bears and moose live on lower terrain.

Despite the impact of global warming on glaciers elsewhere, the St Elias Icefield continues to look healthy. It moves slowly and is riddled with caves, making the ice fascinating to observe during a flight over the region. It’s difficult not to keep uttering wows of appreciation during the flight.

Stuart of Go Eat Do Follow Stuart on Facebook

 

Go everywhere!

Take the train across Canada

train across canada in autumn

Going on a train across Canada will allow you to check off many items mentioned in this Canadian bucket list. It’s not the quickest way to travel but being in a train for a few days is a fantastic way to see a few places in Canada. Imagine going to sleep in one province and waking up the next day in a different landscape in Canada. Via Rail, which is owned by the Canadian government, offers a cross-Canada train journey between Toronto and Vancouver. This train trip is known as “The Canadian” and takes four days if you don’t break your journey; however, you can choose to get off the train to explore.

The route is 4,466 km and passes through several places including Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Kamloops and Jasper. Being on a train gives you the chance to gaze at the ever-changing landscape as you leave the skyscrapers of Toronto behind. You pass by prairie fields, beautiful lakes, waterfalls, small towns and the breathtaking snow-covered peaks of the Canadian Rockies. There are three classes – Economy (when you’re on a budget), Sleeper Class (single or double rooms) and Prestige (when you want to treat yourself to luxury). Whichever option you choose, the experience is guaranteed to be one for the books.

– Christina of Travel2next Follow Christina on Instagram

 

Food

Eat Poutine

Photo source

There is one type of Canadian experience that you can do no matter where you are in the country, and that is eating poutine. If you are completely new to Canadian traditions and foods, you might be wondering what poutine is. Well, let’s just say it is one of the best food combinations ever that is unexpected but tastes delicious. It is prepared with French fries as the base, a handful of cheese curds on top of the fries, and all of this is covered with hot gravy! This is a classic poutine but you can also get different ones with additional toppings. It may not sound delicious but it is. When you are in Canada, you must put this on your bucket list and since its roots are in Quebec, what better place to taste it then in Montreal. There are a ton of poutine places to choose from but the best can be found at the Greenspot. 

– Samantha, of Sam Sees World Follow Samantha on Pinterest 

 

Eat a Canadian Butter Tart 

Canadian Buttertart

A butter tart is a quintessential Canadian dessert that is a mix of creamy butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and egg  baked in a flaky pastry tart shell. There are varieties of butter tarts everywhere but the classic version usually just contains raisins. Popular variations contain walnuts, pecans, maple syrup or nothing at all – just caramelised butter, sugar and egg. Canadians are such fans of butter tarts that one of the top things to do in the Peterborough & The Kawarthas Region of Ontario is to spend a weekend exploring the Kawarthas Northumberland Butter Tart Tour, a self-guided route featuring over 50 stops where you can sample delectable butter tarts. 

But beyond the butter tart trail, there are other top spots to enjoy this delicious dessert in Canada. Most summer farmer’s  markets will have a local vendor selling bread, pies and butter tarts at their stall, generally in packages of six.  If you’re on a quest to sample butter tarts from coast to coast, be sure to make a stop at  Helm Pie Bakery in Nova Scotia, Patisserie Lawrence V in Montreal, The Sweet Oven in Toronto ( they even have creative flavours like coconut, cinnamon raisin, Mint Oreo and chai), The Forks in Winnipeg and at various locations of PureBread in Vancouver. No matter where you choose to sample your very first butter tart, be sure to grab a napkin, because it’s going to get gooey and you’re going to want to eat more than one. 

– Michele of A Taste for Travel Follow Michele on Facebook

 

Eat at Tim Hortons

tim hortonsPhoto source

Last but definitely not least, no Canadian experience can be called complete without stepping inside Canadians’ favorite coffee chain, Tim Hortons. In addition to good cheap coffee, Tims offers other awesome drinks like its famous French Vanilla and Ice Cappuccino. You won’t want to know the calorie counts but they are seriously delicious. Also, make sure to get a box of Timbits, little donut holes, that are classic things to bring to any office parties or friends gatherings. There are different flavours and you can form your own opinion on which one is best. The ones filled with raspberry jam *cough cough.

– Viola of The Blessing Bucket

 

The Ultimate Canada Bucket List PDF download

Well that’s it for our ultimate Canada bucket list! If you’ve made it this far, I applaud you for being a true Canada fanatic. Now tell me, did we miss anything? Which of the mentioned activities is at the top of your list? For all the activities mentioned in this article in a compact little list, download my Ultimate Canada Bucket List printable PDF by entering your email below. By signing up, you will also unlock access to The Blessing Bucket VIP Free Printables section. 

Canada Bucket List download

You are one step away!

* indicates required



 

Like this post? Pin it to save for later!

canada bucket listcanada bucket list

You may also like

11 comments

Josy A January 20, 2020 - 4:43 pm

Fab post Viola! There are soooo many more of these that I need to do. 😀

The area I’d reeeally like to visit (that isn’t on this list) is the Tombstone Territorial Park in the summertime. That scenery looks simply spectacular. Although the flight above the glacier looks pretty epic too!

Reply
Viola January 20, 2020 - 6:30 pm

Wow Josy! I just searched up Tombstone Territorial Park and it looks incredible! Thank you for sharing that. I am definitely adding that to my bucket list for Yukon.

Reply
Stephanie Mayo January 20, 2020 - 7:08 pm

Canada really is full of incredible places!! This post has me wanting to see more of my amazing country!

Reply
Stuart Forster February 6, 2020 - 9:53 am

I love travelling in Canada and this list has several of the experiences that I’d suggest to friends thinking of visiting. What a fine resource.

Reply
Viola February 6, 2020 - 4:07 pm

Thank you so much Stuart for your feedback!

Reply
Samantha February 22, 2020 - 3:45 pm

There are so many awesome ideas! It is amazing to me how diverse the landscapes are in Canada, and that even as a Canadian there is still so much I haven’t seen yet!

Reply
Maria February 22, 2020 - 5:42 pm

Amazing list, loved the ice skating in the woods, northern lights and all the hiking places! Saving this for future travels

Reply
emily February 22, 2020 - 5:53 pm

What a detailed post. This is a bucket list destination for me! Thanks for all the info

Reply
Paula Martinelli February 22, 2020 - 7:41 pm

Oh Canada! So gorgeous and so much to explore. I am saving this amazing post and hopefully I can continue to visit this gorgeous country, with so much outdoor activities to explore.

Reply
Andrea Peacock February 22, 2020 - 8:06 pm

I’m from Canada (the Okanagan) and it’s so sad how few of these things I’ve done! I am desperate to explore more of Canada soon. So many great ideas here! I would especially love to get over to the Maritimes. Seems like such a beautiful place!

Reply
Linnea February 22, 2020 - 9:55 pm

Loved this guide! I can’t believe how much there is to do in Canada! I’ve always wanted to go to Nova Scotia and Banff! I’ve also never had a butter tart either!

Reply

Leave a Comment