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Things to Do in Canada - page 2

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Peggy’s Cove
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5 Tours and Activities

Appearance-wise, little has changed in this picturesque Nova Scotia fishing village over the past century. Colorful, salt-weathered fishermen’s houses and the town’s iconic red-and-white lighthouse stand strong along the sea-splashed shore of St. Margaret’s Bay, and lobster traps, jetties, and fishing boats are still all over the place.

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Reversing Falls
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Saint John’s Reversing Falls are a natural phenomenon caused by the tides of Canada’s Bay of Fundy, which can differ in height by an astonishing 50 feet (15 meters) at certain times of the year. The huge incoming tides force back the flow of Saint John River, creating white-water-tinged whirlpools, waves, and rapids, before reversing in the opposite direction.

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Manitoba Museum
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Winnipeg’s award-winning Manitoba Museum is home to the city’s planetarium, a science gallery and museum galleries. Opened in 1965 near City Hall, the Museum Galleries’ walk-through settings take you through the history of the province and its environment, which ranges from prairie grasslands to Arctic coast. Among the famous, permanent exhibits is a full-size replica of ship Nonsuch, whose 1668 voyage around the world led to the founding of Hudson’s Bay Company. You can also see a recreation of an early bison hunt, and a lively recreation of a Winnipeg street scene during the roaring ‘20s when this was a real boomtown.

The Manitoba Museum is also home to a virtual underwater observatory, where you can see a recreation of Hudson Bay’s marine life as it would have been 450 million years ago. You’ll also get to see the world’s largest trilobite fossil — a Jurassic underwater creature that looked like a centipede, only 70 centimeters long. At the Science Gallery, there are 100 interactive exhibits where you’ll get to explore mankind’s achievements in space, and learn how much you’d weigh on other planets. The Planetarium features 35-minute multimedia shows related to astronomy.

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Bonsecours Market (Marché Bonsecours)
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Built in the 1840s, this neoclassical silver-domed building has served as a farmers market, theater, and for a brief stint as Montreal's city hall. It was threatened with demolition before being converted into the current market complex, which contains cafes, restaurants, galleries, and shops selling Quebec-made crafts and design items.

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Ottawa Locks
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5 Tours and Activities

The eight Ottawa Locks regulate the flow of the city’s signature Rideau Canal as it flows south from the Ottawa River. The hand-cranked locks provide a gradient of 24 meters (79 feet) on the canal, which runs for more than 124 miles (200 kilometers) from Ottawa to Kingston, a stunning example of 19th-century ingenuity and engineering.

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Maligne Lake
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With its vivid aquamarine waters and impressive backdrop of jagged, glacier-studded peaks, Maligne Lake has visitors to the Canadian Rockies reaching for their cameras. The glacier-fed lake is the largest in Jasper National Park. Tiny tree-topped Spirit Island stands in the middle of the lake and is the subject of countless postcards.

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Quebec Royal Square (Place-Royale)
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The passing of centuries has had little impact on Quebec's Royal Square (Place-Royale), a 17th-century plaza that has been at the center of Quebec City life since Samuel de Champlain founded the city in 1608. The Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church, the oldest stone church in North America, still stands here, and the Fresque des Québécois mural can be seen nearby.

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Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal)
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Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal) charms visitors with its picturesque squares, grand old-world architecture, and winding cobblestone streets. Whether in the Old Port or walking down the main street Rue Saint-Paul, it’s easy to feel transported back in time—in fact, some architectural remains date back to New France. The historic site is considered to be the best preserved Old Town in North America.

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English Bay
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Situated between Kistilano and Stanley Park, English Bay is one of Vancouver’s best spots for water sports, such as swimming, kayaking, and fishing. Two popular beaches—Kitsilano Beach and English Bay—face out onto the bay, as does part of the Stanley Park seawall, a waterside promenade used by cyclists and walkers.

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Lake Ontario
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Lake Ontario, the 14th-largest lake in the world but the smallest of the five Great Lakes, is divided in half by the U.S.-Canadian border. Its shores are home to two popular Canadian destinations: Toronto and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Known for its islands, beaches, wildlife, and waterfront trails, this beautiful body of water offers something for everyone.

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More Things to Do in Canada

Downtown Vancouver

Downtown Vancouver

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Surrounded by water on three sides, downtown Vancouver is the place to go for sea views, bright lights, and action. The city’s commercial core, it encompasses several distinct areas including shop-lined Robson Street, the green expanse of Stanley Park, historic Gastown, and one of the largest Chinatowns in North America.

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Athabasca River

Athabasca River

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7 Tours and Activities

The Athabasca River originates from the Columbia Glacier on the Columbia Icefield in Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada. The Athabasca River is Alberta’s largest undammed river and the second-longest river overall in the province. It travels almost 1,000 miles (1,500 km) northeast across Alberta, and drains into Lake Athabasca in the northeast. The Athabasca runs through the glaciers and snow-covered mountains of Alberta’s Jasper National Park, considered to be one of the most beautiful areas in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The river is accessible by both road and by rail from all major centers in Alberta and British Columbia. The river offers excellent canoeing, rafting, kayaking, and hiking with all of the usually services and facilities that are usually found in Canada’s national parks. Beautiful waterfalls and trails to explore abound along the river, and it would be an excellent “home base” for a couple of days for any campers wanting to explore more of Jasper National Park.

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Gastown

Gastown

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One of Vancouver’s oldest and buzziest districts, Gastown is packed with Victorian architecture and cobbled streets. Named after John “Gassy Jack” Deighton, an English mariner who opened a saloon in the area in the 19th century, the district is filled with heritage buildings now hosting boutiques, coffee shops, hip restaurants, and bars.

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Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake

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Hemmed in by the dramatic Valley of the Ten Peaks, Banff National Park’s glacier-fed Moraine Lake is renowned for its bright blue-green waters. The surreally vivid color results from light refracting off of tiny glacial rock particles. Stunning Lake Moraine was famously featured on the back of Canada’s $20 bill between 1969 and 1979.

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1000 Islands Tower

1000 Islands Tower

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The towering 1000 Islands Tower offers visitors to Ontario stunning 360-degree views of the Saint Lawrence River, it’s beautiful islands, and the nearby Thousand Islands International Bridge. The views—from 400 feet (122 meters) in the air—are particularly popular with photographers.

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Granville Island

Granville Island

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Overflowing with art studios, theaters, restaurants, and kid-friendly activities, Vancouver’s Granville Island is a popular spot for both tourists and locals. The “island”—really a small peninsula—is an ideal getaway from the bustle of city life, with waterfront views, scenic alleyways, and a thriving food and art culture.

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Calgary Tower

Calgary Tower

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Standing sentinel over the city’s downtown since 1968, Calgary Tower features an observation deck with a glass floor and a revolving restaurant 627 feet (191 meters) above ground. Both afford 360-degree views across the city to the snow-capped Rocky Mountains in the distance.

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Bow Falls

Bow Falls

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The Bow Falls are located on the Bow River in Alberta's Banff National Park, within walking distance of the Banff Springs Hotel. The short, wide, cascading falls make for a popular sightseeing stop, likely because of how accessible the natural destination is—the falls can be easily enjoyed by people of all abilities and all ages. Trails for pedestrians and cyclists wind along the south shore of the Bow River and its rapids, with the walking trail climbing up to the clifftop where the falls begin (bicycles aren’t allowed at the top).

The viewing areas at Bow Falls offer vistas of the river and the falls themselves, while a cement promenade located at the base of the cascade has a few benches to sit on, though most people sit on the ledge of the promenade and enjoy the views from there. At the far end of the promenade is a small, sandy beach where rafting and kayak tours often begin.

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Banff National Park

Banff National Park

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Within the boundaries of Banff National Park lie some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes. The park, which showcases Canada’s Rocky Mountains in all their glory, offers world-class skiing, hiking, biking, and outdoor attractions. It’s a year-round haven for day-trippers from nearby Calgary and for international visitors galore.

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Skylon Tower

Skylon Tower

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Perched on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, the lofty Skylon Tower is famous for its bird’s-eye views. Boasting a panoramic observation platform, ambient dining, movies, shopping, and activities for the whole family, this 775-foot (236-meter) tower offers an entire day’s worth of entertainment.

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Sea to Sky Highway

Sea to Sky Highway

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Although Highway 99 technically runs from the US border through Vancouver, Squamish and Whistler to the Highway 97 Junction just north of Cache Creek, it’s the 77 miles (124 km) from Vancouver to Whistler that is commonly referred to as the Sea to Sky Highway.

While it’s easy to whiz up the highway from Vancouver to Whistler in less than two hours, it’s also possible to spend days exploring all the see-it-to-believe-it landscapes along the route. Just after passing the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal, the road begins to traverse a series of stunning landscapes: Porteau Cove and its beachfront campground on Howe Sound, the Britannia Mine Museum, the 1,100-foot (335-m) Shannon Falls, a towering granite dome known simply as the Chief, the outdoor-minded town of Squamish and a pinnacle of volcanic rock known as Black Tusk.

For many, the fun truly begins when the Sea to Sky Highway reaches Whistler Village. As the basecamp for Whistler Blackcomb, it is home to North America’s best-known ski and snowboard resort, possibly the world’s most famous mountain bike park and enough entertainment, shopping and nightlife to suit any traveler.

The highway does continue north to both Pemberton and Lillooet, two industry-led towns renowned for their nearby access to the Coastal and Chilcotin mountains, but after Pemberton the road is known as the Duffy Lakes Road rather than the Sea to Sky Highway.

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Toronto Chinatown

Toronto Chinatown

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Located in the heart of downtown and a hub for the city’s Chinese-Canadian community, Toronto's Chinatown is a bustling neighborhood lined with an appealing range of small businesses. Visitors and Toronto residents flock here to dine at the area’s popular eateries and shop for produce and imported specialty items at corner grocers.

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Quebec City Old Port (Vieux-Port)

Quebec City Old Port (Vieux-Port)

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During the 17th century, Quebec City’s charming Old Port (Vieux-Port) was bustling with European vessels and crews offloading supplies to New France. Now thronged with passengers from incoming cruise ships, the area is filled with historic buildings occupied by art galleries, boutiques, and inviting French-influenced restaurants.

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Lions Gate Bridge

Lions Gate Bridge

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The impressive Lions Gate Bridge spans the Burrard Inlet, connecting North and West Vancouver with the downtown area. This suspension bridge originally opened in 1938, and is designated as a National Historic Site of Canada. At the bridge’s south end is leafy Stanley Park, another major attraction in Vancouver.

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