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Canoeing in Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Canada

Canada Travel Guide

Canada is a great choice for travellers seeking diverse experiences. From the majestic Canadian Rockies in Alberta to the historic streets of Quebec City, the country offers a wealth of natural beauty and cultural charm. Explore the turquoise lakes and soaring peaks of Banff National Park, immerse yourself in the vibrant neighbourhoods of Toronto, or discover the maritime allure of Nova Scotia. Canada's warm hospitality and stunning landscapes will leave you inspired and eager to uncover more.

Throughout the year, Canada provides unique travel opportunities. In winter, embrace the thrill of skiing in Whistler or ice skating on Ottawa's Rideau Canal. In the summer, witness the majestic Niagara Falls or explore the rugged coastline of Newfoundland. Whether you're seeking adventure, cultural immersion, or peaceful moments in nature, Canada's vast wilderness and vibrant cities offer endless possibilities for unforgettable experiences. Come and be captivated by the wonders of Canada.

 

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Key Facts

Time Zone

Varied

Money

Canadian Dollar (CAD)

Dialing Code

+1

  • Lively, cosmopolitan cities
  • See the vast wonders of the Rocky Mountains and go bear-spotting
  • Don’t miss the stunning Niagara Falls
  • Get winter sports mania and get your adrenaline going
  • ‘Edgewalk’ on Toronto’s CN Tower
  • Go all bilingual in Quebec

The capital city of Canada is Ottawa.  Despite being only the fourth largest city in the country, Ottawa houses Canada’s government; it boasts a wide range of cultural sights and events and is set on the picturesque Rideau Canal.  It is a bi-lingual city, where inhabitants speak both English and French reflecting the multicultural history of the Canadian people. 

  • Visit Vancouver, and see why it was the chosen location for the 2010 Winter Olympics.  This coastal city is located in Canada’s British Columbia and is set in a stunning location with beaches, museums and a bustling metropolitan lifestyle.  It has become Canada’s unofficial centre for film and hosts an annual international film festival.  Take a cable car up Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain or, if you fancy a more leisurely day, check out the fabulous shopping in the city.  Vancouver embodies the true ‘Canadian spirit’ – a place to meet friendly people and relax in a laid-back and charming city. 
  • Toronto is often viewed as a hybrid of Americana and staunch Canadian-ism.  The city is a cultural hub and the centre for many of Canada’s immigrants, which makes for a unique, multicultural vibe.  Visitors flock to Toronto to experience the arts culture that thrives in this exciting destination.  If you time your gap year carefully, you might even bump into a few celebrities as they flock to the city for the Toronto Film Festival.  Check out the city’s imposing waterfront or travel up the unique CN Tower, a needle-like structure with an extraordinary view across the city.  You can eat in the famous revolving restaurant or, for the truly adventurous you can now try the terrifying ‘edgewalk’ where you really will get a bird’s eye view of Toronto!
  • If you want to experience more of the French side of Canadian life then Quebec City is a great place to go.  An important cultural centre for French Canada, Quebec is home to a variety of year-round festivals, such as July’s Summer Festival, with music, theatre and street performance and the contrasting Winter Festival, which is dedicated to all things snowy!  Here you can try out skiing, sledding and view the impressive array of ice sculptures. 
  • Montreal – Bohemian, eclectic, romantic… just a few of the words to describe this special city.  The city is located in French-speaking Quebec province and is the second-largest city in Canada.  Situated on an island on the St. Lawrence River this city is home to Canada’s fashionable people, a truly cosmopolitan place with a rich and varied history that is well worth a stop-off on your gap year trip. 
  • If you want to see extreme natural beauty on an awe-inspiring scale then the world famous Niagara Falls are a must-see!  The falls are a stunning sight all year round; the famous Horseshoe Falls tumble into a steaming pool of mist and spray in a truly impressive display of nature’s power.  In winter the falls have even been known to freeze which is a truly extraordinary sight.  With millions of visitors a year no gap year visit would be complete without seeing for yourself what all the fuss is about.  You can see the falls from every imaginable angle – sail beneath them in the famous ‘Maid of the Mist’ boat, journey behind the falls through a maze of tunnels, or see them from above from the soaring Skylon Tower.  Or if you are feeling really adventurous take a helicopter flight and look down on the falls in all their glory.  Rest assured you won’t be as adventurous as the many daredevils throughout history who have attempted to tightrope walk across the falls – or the legendary Mrs. Annie Taylor who in 1901 successfully survived a plunge over the falls in a barrel!  
  • Canada is characterised by a range of stunning and powerful mountains.  Head to Banff or Jasper National Park as jumping-off points for your exploration of the Canadian Rockies.  You are bound to spot some unusual wildlife – Canada is home to the grizzly bear, beaver, porcupine, moose and of course the iconic polar bear.  It is also a prime location for Whale-watching.  Inspiring scenery, an amazing variety of wildlife, hiking trails and camping hotspots – there’s so much to explore in this amazing Canadian wilderness.  

Canada = Maple syrup and lots of it! Canada is home to many Maple trees, and the Maple leaf has become the national symbol of Canada, even featuring centrally on its national flag.  Maple syrup is the valuable and delicious product of the Maple tree and is widely used in Canada - you can try it on anything from pancakes to waffles, and even with bacon.  Maple Syrup comes in different grades so if you have a sweet tooth make sure you try them all!

Canadian cuisine also offers a great line in cheeses and meats, whilst the French influence means French cuisine is alive and well in Canada.  Toronto’s wide range of cultural influences means that you can find excellent Indian and Chinese food options to enjoy.  There is plenty to tantalise your taste buds if you choose to spend your gap year in Canada! 

They say variety is the spice of life, and Canada is perfect if you want to try a completely new experience and steer away from the usual sun, sea and sand options.  Or you can plan it in to a wider itinerary and also take in some sunnier destinations to complement your visit to Canada.  Seasons are the same as in Britain, with May to September being the warmer months and the best time to visit if you want to avoid the freezing winters.  Be aware though, there can be summer thunderstorms and even tornadoes at this time of year.   Canada has a reputation as a cold country but that is part of its charm; if you choose to brave the winter be prepared for much colder conditions than you expect at home, with plenty of snow!  This icy environment can make for some beautiful scenery where everything is crisp and clear and the beers are always refreshingly cool!  Also you can jump on a snowmobile and try out the wonderful array of winter sports and activities on offer.   Enjoy the stunning view to snow-capped mountains or visit the brightly-lit inviting cities where you can curl up in a warm bar after a day out in the snow. 

Visa

Visas may be required in order to enter or transit through certain countries depending on your passport nationality, your reason for travel and how long you intend to stay.

Visa, passport and entry rules are subject to change and you should check the most up to date information from the relevant embassy or visa specialist.

To make things easier we have teamed up with The Travel Visa Company who are one of the UK’s leading travel visa specialists. You can use their website, alongside embassy websites,  to find out the specific entry requirements for the countries you intend to travel to.

For a fee, their dedicated team of experts can also apply for visas on your behalf, taking away the hassle and streamlining the process for you if you wish. For more details on the services they provide please click here – The Travel Visa Company

Passport

Passports must be kept in good condition. Travellers with damaged passports may be refused entry at immigration. It is the responsibility of the traveller to ensure that all travel documents are in good condition before they travel. Most countries will also require at least 6 months of validity on your passport from the time you finish your trip. 

Further Entry Requirements

Some countries will require proof of certain vaccines, such as yellow fever or covid, in order to gain entry. Please check with the relevant embassy of visa specialist before travel.

The primary languages are English and French.

120 V
Type A, B Plug (Adaptor Required for United Kingdom appliances)

Canada is similar to the U.K. in many of its cultural heritage and customs although it is a bilingual country with many inhabitants speaking French as well as English.  

Health

There are no specific health warnings associated with travelling to Canada, however you should visit your GP at least six weeks before your departure to ensure you are up to date with all of your jabs.

Please check our general guide to health when travelling.

Safety

During the winter months severe snow storms can occur. Check the environment Canada website regularly for warnings about weather: http://www.ec.gc.ca/  otherwise please refer to our general guide to safety when travelling.

We do not recommend hiring motorbikes, scooters, ATV vehicles, quad bikes or other types of motorised vehicles whilst abroad. Safety and quality of vehicles vary considerably and the traffic conditions can be much more dangerous than what UK travellers are used to. Should you wish to go against this advice, you should ensure you are hiring from a reputable company and that your travel insurance covers you for such activities.

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