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Things to Do in Canada - page 5

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Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)
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Established in 1914, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is Canada’s largest museum. Housed inside a heritage-meets-modern building, it boasts a 6-million-strong collection, which focuses on objects relating to world culture and natural history. It includes everything from First Nations’ crest poles to Egyptian mummies to T-rex skeletons.

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Bata Shoe Museum
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The quirky Bata Shoe Museum in downtown Toronto showcases the changing style and function of footwear across four galleries. What started as a personal collection for Sonja Bata in the 1940s is now a museum with more than 20,000 shoes dating from ancient Egypt to modern day, including a selection of celebrity soles. It’s an unusual chance to view world history through the lens of footwear.

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Columbia Icefield Skywalk
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Jutting out from the side of a Jasper National Park cliff, the elevated, glass-bottomed Columbia Icefield Skywalk, also known as Glacier Skywalk, is an exhilarating—if somewhat unnerving—way to experience the epic, untouched landscapes of the Canadian Rockies. From this vantage point, the view of the park’s ice-hatted peaks and glacial valleys is nothing short of spectacular.

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Canadian Museum of Nature
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Explore the Great White North’s many wonders at the Canadian Museum of Nature. Set in a historic castle in Ottawa, this five-story museum focuses on the country’s natural history with a fossil gallery, a water gallery (where you can see a blue whale skeleton), mineral displays, and an array of other exhibits.

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Point Pleasant Park
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The vast green space and wooded trails of Point Pleasant Park, on the southern tip of the Halifax peninsula, contains 185 acres (75 hectares) of oceanside parkland. Bustling with walkers, joggers, and visitors to the seaside city, this park is home to statues, events, and memorials including the Halifax Monument erected in 1969.

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Toronto Kensington Market
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Eclectic, diverse, and graffiti-slathered, Toronto's Kensington Market neighborhood is one of the city’s most distinctive enclaves. The district is packed with produce vendors, food sellers, vintage clothes shops, bric-a-brac boutiques, buskers, cafés, and restaurants, and attracts a steady stream of bohemian types.

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Montreal City Hall (Hotel de Ville de Montréal)
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Built in the 1870s and rebuilt after a 1922 fire, Montreal City Hall (Hôtel de Ville de Montréal) has long found itself at the center of Quebec history. In 1967, the building hosted one of the most significant political moments in the province’s recent past, when then–French President Charles de Gaulle gave a rousing speech from the balcony—one that spurred Quebec’s separatist movement.

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Petit Champlain District (Quartier Petit Champlain)
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One of Quebec City’s best-preserved historic neighborhoods, the Petit Champlain District (Quartier Petit Champlain) has cobbled streets with sidewalk cafés, art galleries, and boutiques and European ambience. The city’s oldest staircase, the Breakneck Steps (L'Escalier Casse-Cou), leads from this quarter to the Côte de la Montagne.

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Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park (Parc Marin du Saguenay-Saint-Laurent)
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Covering an area of 480 square miles (1,245 square kilometers), the protected waters of the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park (Parc Marin du Saguenay-Saint-Laurent) are among Eastern Canada’s best wildlife-viewing hot spots. Many impressive cetaceans, from blue whales to belugas, as well as several types of seals and hundreds of different species of sea birds dwell here.

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Takhini Hot Pools
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These natural hot springs are filled with mineral water at 47 degrees Celsius, providing a warm welcome to relax in the beautiful Whitehouse wilderness. The hot pools emanate a warm fog into the often chilly air, beckoning for a dip. Two slightly different temperatures are kept, allowing for both a hotter and a cooler side of the springs.

Outside of a soak in the hot springs, there are 300 acres of scenic natural beauty surrounding, with hiking and biking trails in the summer and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. In operation for more than 100 years, it’s one of the most visited sites in the Yukon.

Moose, lynx, elk, mountain goats, and more are often seen in the wilderness nearby. It is even possible to view the Northern Lights from the pools. Many combine a day in the wilderness with an evening soak in the hot springs.

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More Things to Do in Canada

S.S. Klondike National Historic Site

S.S. Klondike National Historic Site

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The historic S.S. Klondike sternwheeler rests on the banks of the mighty Yukon River, on the south edge of downtown Whitehorse. Now a national historic site, the vessel spent its early years navigating a 500 mi (805 km) stretch of the river between Whitehorse and Dawson City. The largest ship in the White Pass fleet, the S.S. Klondike had the capacity to carry more than 300 tons of ore, which it did until it sank in 1936 after colliding with a rock bluff.

White Pass rebuilt the vessel the following spring, and the Klondike II was put into service in June 1937. The end of river freighting came in 1950, when a road was built from Whitehorse to Mayo, and then extended three years later into Dawson City. The S.S. Klondike wasn’t finished, though.

After receiving some much needed upgrades, including a lounge and a bar, the vessel began carrying tourists into Dawson City. In 1966, it was retired from the river and moved to its present home, where every summer tourists can visit and relive the bygone era.

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Queen Victoria Park

Queen Victoria Park

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Queen Victoria Park offers a quiet respite from the bustle of Niagara Falls. Take in stunning views of Horseshoe Falls and spend some time strolling among the plants and flowers that grow throughout the park. The colorful gardens and manicured lawns offer both relaxing picnic spots and great photo ops of the falls.

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St. Paul's Anglican Church

St. Paul's Anglican Church

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Dating back to 1749, St. Paul’s Anglican Church is the oldest building in Halifax and the oldest standing Protestant church in Canada. As a National Historic Site of Canada, the church is noteworthy for its stained glass windows, pipe organ, subterranean crypt, and adjacent cemetery.

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Plateau-Mont-Royal (the Plateau)

Plateau-Mont-Royal (the Plateau)

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Artsy and laid-back, Plateau-Mont-Royal, aka the Plateau, captures the spirit of Montreal perhaps more than any other neighborhood. Spiraling iron staircases crawl up Victorian-era residences on tree-lined streets, while magnificent street murals add color to commercial thoroughfares. Restaurants, cafés, bars, and boutiques abound.

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Distillery Historic District

Distillery Historic District

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Once home to the 1832 Gooderham and Worts’ mammoth distilling facility, Toronto’s charming arts and entertainment quarter is now a popular strolling spot for off-duty creatives. The cobblestone streets are lined with Victorian-era industrial buildings, which have been repurposed to serve as contemporary art galleries, third-wave coffee shops, concept boutiques, restaurants, and bars.

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Government Street

Government Street

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Running through the heart of Downtown Victoria, Government Street is home to plenty of shopping and local history. Along the Victoria Harbour front, the British Columbia Legislature Buildings and the Fairmont Empress are important historical landmarks, both designed by the untrained British architect Francis Rattenbury. His design for the BC Legislature Buildings, which uses white marble, a massive central dome, and lengthy façade to create an architecturally impressive home for the provincial government, was his first project. This early success led him to be awarded the contract to design the Empress Hotel, which is now one of the oldest hotels in Victoria. Between these two buildings lies the Royal British Columbia Museum, which houses a natural and human history museum and the British Columbia provincial archives.

Heading north from the Empress Hotel, Government Street soon becomes an iconic shopping street. Native artwork, high fashion, and a variety of specialty stores holding everything from handcrafted jewelry to handmade chocolate take up the storefronts. More shopping is found just off Government Street, too, including Trounce Alley, known for its European fashion stores; Bastion Square, where local artisans sell handmade arts and crafts; and Johnson Street, which is a local’s favorite for exclusive design boutiques.

The corner of Government Street and Fisgard runs beneath the Gate of Harmonious Interest and the entrance to Victoria’s Chinatown. Founded in 1858, it’s the oldest Chinatown in Canada and second only to San Francisco in North America.

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Plains of Abraham (Plaines d'Abraham)

Plains of Abraham (Plaines d'Abraham)

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Part of Battlefields Park, the grassy expanse of the Plains of Abraham (Plaines d'Abraham) was the setting for a major military clash in 1759, which led to the British takeover of New France—a battle that is well-documented in the Plains of Abraham Museum. The park is an outdoor playground for Quebec City residents who come here to stroll, cycle, jog, sled, and cross-country ski.

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Garibaldi Provincial Park

Garibaldi Provincial Park

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British Columbia’s spectacular Coast Range is home to numerous glacier-covered peaks. Visitors to Garibaldi Provincial Park will find trails that lead to backcountry lakes, campgrounds, and forests that are near the towns of Squamish and Whistler. The most famous peak in the park is Black Tusk, a pinnacle of volcanic rock that juts skyward.

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Vancouver Chinatown

Vancouver Chinatown

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Established in the 1890s by migrant workers, this Vancouver neighborhood is now among the biggest and most vibrant Chinatowns in North America. It’s packed with Asian grocers, Chinese herbalists, dim sum restaurants, trinket stores, and meat shops filled with tempting displays of hanging char siu and roast ducks.

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Sulphur Mountain

Sulphur Mountain

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Named after its gushing thermal springs, Sulphur Mountain rises to a height of 8,041 feet (2,450 meters), towering over the town of Banff and Bow Valley. Banff Upper Hot Springs sit on its lower slopes, while the Banff Gondola carries you up to the summit ridge for views out across the peaks of the Canadian Rockies.

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Carcross

Carcross

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Carcross has quite the history. This small Tlingit and Tagish First Nations community became a boomtown during the Klondike gold rush, acting as a stopover and supply center for prospectors

hoping to strike gold in the Yukon. As the gold rush waned, the White Pass Railway connected the small town to Skagway, Alaska, instantly making it a major transportation hub.

In more recent years, Carcross has reinvented itself as a tourism destination, celebrating stunning wilderness, aboriginal culture and its gold rush past. Situated on Nares and Bennett Lakes, the area is naturally stunning. Caribou still roam the nearby hills, and the Bennett Train Journey on the White Pass Railway, now considered the “Scenic Railway of the World” is back up and running. The Caribou Hotel is now a Yukon Historic Site and the Matthew Watson General Store, located along the town’s main street, is the oldest operating store in the Yukon. Nearby Montana Mountain was recently named a global mountain bike destination, and the same area is renowned for its 4x4 off-road tours.

One of the more surprising attractions is the Carcross Desert. It’s the world’s smallest, measuring only 640 acres, but locals use its steep dunes for sand boarding. There are also several companies

that run off-road ATV tours in the area and a small network of hiking trails that explore this Yukon anomaly.

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Valcartier Vacation Village

Valcartier Vacation Village

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From snow tubing and ice-skating to indoor waterslides and a digital games room, there’s something for everyone at Valcartier Vacation Village, a year-round destination near Quebec City. Get a spa treatment, swim at the water park, tour the Ice Hotel, and much more.

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Miles Canyon

Miles Canyon

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At first it’s hard to imagine, but the turquoise water that peacefully flows through Miles Canyon once posed a formidable challenge for gold rush stampeders trying to find gold. A dam now controls the surge of the waves and the water gently laps against the multi-colored cliffs of volcanic rock. The Robert Lowe Suspension Bridge gives you a bird’s eye view of this historic site.

It’s become a serene getaway, but in the past hundreds of boats sank here, hammered by powerful waves, and smashed against the unforgiving cliffs. Eventually a wood railway system was built to bypass the dangerous river crossing.

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Montreal Chinatown

Montreal Chinatown

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Montreal Chinatown was established in the late 19th century with the arrival of Chinese immigrants from western Canada who came to work on the Canadian Pacific Railway. Though just a couple of blocks long, the district offers a wide selection of Asian eateries and shops selling traditional handicrafts and souvenirs.

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