Scottsdale, Arizona Travel Agent
I grew up in Winnipeg, a place we would say could be colder than the moon. It’s in the prairies and very flat, but it has some wonderful summer music and cultural festivals. Winnipeg is also in the middle of the country, so my family explored the country from coast to coast.
One of my favorite areas is the province of Quebec. I lived in Toronto for a year, so I know it well. The Montreal food scene is world class, and there are a lot of chef competitions which helps keep it on the cutting edge. The French food is authentic, but there are also Québécois specialties like poutine (French fries and cheese curds with gravy) and tortière (a scrumptious meat pie). The architecture is also interesting. Old Montreal was my intro to café culture, and it’s cool to know that Celine Dion got married at Montreal’s Notre-Dame Basilica.
Quebec City is about as close in feeling to medieval France as you can get, with the Chateau Frontenac and walled Old Quebec. It is lovely in summer, but equally lively in winter, especially during the Quebec Winter Carnival, when there are parades at night, huge snow sculptures, sleigh rides (with warm blankets) and ice canoe races.
I also love Halifax, Nova Scotia. It’s worth going for the fresh lobster alone. It’s a small town, and it feels quite remote.
City lovers will enjoy Toronto. It is a cosmopolitan city, with a nice surprise—a beach just a few minutes from downtown. Its ethnic neighborhoods are great for foodies like me, and there is every kind of museum you can imagine. Niagara Falls isn’t far away, and it’s easy to explore both the U.S. and Canadian sides. Also nearby is the Niagara on the Lake wine region, known for its ice wines.
For a taste of Britain, I always suggest Ottawa, the capital of Canada. The Parliament Building and surroundings are very stately and full of history, and there’s even a changing of the guard ceremony. Plus, in winter you can go ice skating on the Rideau River just outside the Fairmont Ottawa.
On the West Coast, Victoria is beautiful, and it is small and easy to explore. Vancouver is also wonderful, with the variety and quality of cuisines you would expect from a major city. In nearby Whistler, a great ski town, I have just discovered Scandinave, a day spa that offers hot and cold plunges and a wide variety of treatments in an indoor/outdoor natural setting.
For wildlife and nature lovers, the Rocky Mountains are not to be missed. At Lake Louise, Banff and Jasper, you’ll see elk, moose, bears and incredible scenery. There are rivers for canoeing and kayaking, and natural hot springs where you can swim and soak in the naturally heated waters, even when the mountain is covered in snow.
That’s just a sampling of all my homeland has to offer! Wherever you go, Canadians are very friendly. We are proud to be Canadian, and to present and share all our country has to offer.