Canada offers many diverse tourist attractions within its borders spanning from the Pacific Ocean in the west to the Atlantic in the east, to the Arctic Ocean in the north and to the world’s longest undefended border shared with the United States to the south. Whether it’s “fly in” fishing in the Northwest Territories, an exotic sampling of urban nightlife in old Quebec City or anything in between, Canada has a destination for virtually any taste.
1. The Calgary Stampede
Tourists captivated by the colorful culture of the west may be interested in witnessing “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”, The Calgary Stampede, taking place for ten days each July. The Calgary Stampede is a spectacular event drawing in excess of 1.2 million visitors each year. Tourists taking in the Stampede are treated to rodeo and agricultural competitions including Chuckwagon races, a midway, stage shows, concerts and First Nations exhibitions. Stampede Park also hosts year-round sports, trade shows and other entertaining events. The site includes the hockey arena Pengrowth Saddledome, BMO Centre, a casino and of course the racetrack flanked by the grandstand.
2. Toronto International Film Festival
In mid-September, movie fans and film creators from around the globe flock to Toronto, Ontario for the Toronto International Film Festival, attending premier screenings of the season’s most relevant releases. Film buffs visiting Toronto are entertained by the stars outside the cinemas as well; many of Hollywood’s “A list” thespians can be spotted on the red carpet en route to industry parties in the city’s entertainment district, in fashionable Yorkville or in the more recently developed creative Mecca of Gooderham and Worts in the distillery district. Star gazing in Toronto is a possibility any day of the year, with its film and TV production schedule contributing to past releases such as X-Men, Cinderella Man and the Academy Award winning musical Chicago.
3. Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest
Many travelers to Ontario, Canada in mid-October make reservations to enjoy a taste of Bavaria at Kitchener-Waterloo’s Oktoberfest. Inspired by the famous event held in Germany, this annual celebration features traditional costume, Bavarian-style cuisine and beer and of course Polka bands in traditional attire. But the entertainment options are more diverse than that; recent itineraries have included rock music in a Rocktoberfest concert, a fashion show, the Miss Oktoberfest Gala Ball as well as a Pro-Am Golf Classic.
4. Grey Cup Festival
Football fans visiting “the great white north” may be interested in experiencing the uniquely Canadian game played by the Canadian Football League from British Columbia to Montreal. NFL fans unfamiliar with the game may be surprised at the CFL’s fond endorsement by Warren Moon and Doug Flutie, veterans of both professional leagues. In addition to regular games, sports enthusiasts touring Canada in late November will be interested in events surrounding the historic Grey Cup festival. The Grey Cup game alternates between CFL cities, and unique events are offered at each location. In 1948, fans of the Calgary Stampeders dressed in western gear, partied in the streets of Toronto and rode a horse through the lobby of the luxurious Royal York Hotel!
5. Harbourfront Centre
Among the most popular tourist attractions in Canada is Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. The waterfront consists of about 10 acres of sheer beauty. It’s a year-round facility, featuring dance performances, concerts, readings, kids’ shows each weekend and numerous weeknights throughout the year. You will also find a large boardwalk, a wonderful ice skating rink, and a great number of awesome ships on display. About 12 million tourists visit the waterfront of Toronto every year.
6. Banff National Park
Located in the province of Alberta in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, the Banff National Park was the first national park established in 1885 in Canada. The park covers 2,500 acres of land in the Canadian Rockies and attracts a lot of tourists, especially nature lovers to its old glaciers and lush meadows all year round. There are two beautiful towns within the Banff National Park: Lake Louise and Banff. Both are packed with amazing museums, great galleries, and numerous cultural attractions created to occupy tourists in between treks into the wilderness. Each year more than 3.3 million visitors come to the Banff National Park to enjoy the nature and to ski.
7. Vieux Port
Known as Old Port, Vieux Port is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Canada. It draws about 6 million visitors every year. It offers visitors access to a great variety of activities, including the Montréal Science Centre, with the Montreal Clock Tower and an IMAX Theatre. It also offers riverfront access for cycling, walking, quadricycle, roller-blading, pedalo, etc. During the summer months there are many fabulous circus shows and awesome dances. During the winter season there are the Montreal High Lights Festival and breathtaking fireworks shows.
Canada is an exceptional destination of choice any time of the year and even more so during its many spectacular events.