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Top 10 Things to Do in Canada on a First Visit

From east to west, Canada is a dream travel destination. Tick off these top things to see and do in the country's main tourist centres.
Ten of the best things to do in Canada
Ten of the best things to do in Canada: Admire the beauty of Lake Louise.

Top Oz Tours offers a wide range of Canada tours and experiences. You can browse the options here.

A Canadian holiday is one that will refresh and revitalise the weariest of holidaymakers.

From the exquisite natural beauty of the Rockies in the west to the intriguing French-speaking urban centres in the east, a journey across the second largest nation on earth offers innumerable highlights.

How long will you need? How long do you have! It would take a visitor months to really get under the skin of this incredible country. But if time is short, we’ve whittled down the list of must-sees and dos for you.

Here’s a checklist of our top ten things to do in Canada on a first visit.


Canada Tours & Experiences

Canada Tours, Activities & Attractions


1. Ride the Rocky Mountaineer

The Rocky Mountaineer is one of the world’s great rail experiences and travels through some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet. Gold Leaf Service — with its glass domed roof and a la carte dining service — is sublime. This is a journey you’ll talk about for years to come.

Ten of the best things to do in Canada
Ten of the best things to do in Canada: Ride the Rocky Mountaineer.

2. Spend a night at Lake Louise

There are few natural settings that outshine Banff National Park’s Lake Louise in the beauty stakes, and spending a night at the historic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is a must-do. The hotel is located right beside the lake, so push the boat out on a Lakeview Room. It may be pricey, but you won’t regret it!

3. Enjoy high tea at the Banff Springs Hotel

Banff is the adventure capital of the Rocky Mountains, and a charming town to boot. If you only have a day or two to explore, spend your morning browsing in the many boutiques and adventure wear stores along bustling Banff Avenue (and doing some people watching!), before taking the Banff Gondola up to the peak of Sulphur Mountain for epic views of the surrounding region. Later on, swing by the legendary Banff Springs Hotel for their formal afternoon tea.

Ten of the best things to do in Canada
Ten of the best things to do in Canada: Banff Springs Hotel

4. While away a weekend in Vancouver

It’s easy to see why Vancouver is regularly up there as one of the world’s most liveable cities. Paddle-board in the morning, ski in the afternoon. Need we say more?

Ten of the best things to do in Canada
Ten of the best things to do in Canada: Vancouver. Image: Canadian Tourism Commission

5. Spot a bear in the wild

OK, so this one doesn’t come for the asking, but if it does happen (and there’s a good chance it will), you’ll never forget it. Travel in spring for the chance to see mums with their cubs.


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6. Get lost in Old Quebec City

Quebec City is a walled slice of old-world Europe, the likes of which you won’t find anywhere else in North America. Wandering the winding cobbled streets and taking in the exquisite period architecture is one of the great joys of visiting this destination. Spend at least one night at the regal Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac.

Ten of the best things to do in Canada
Ten of the best things to do in Canada: Quebec City

7. See Niagara Falls

Despite the tackarama theme park-style surroundings, Niagara Falls is everything you dreamed it would be. Fulfil your life’s ambition to visit this icon of North American popular culture, and take a ride towards the thundering falls with Niagara City Cruises.

Ten of the best things to do in Canada
Ten of the best things to do in Canada: Visit Niagara Falls. Image: Bigstock

8. Explore First Nations’ culture in Ottawa

This is a familiar story in many ways, although modern-day Canada seems to have reconciled the past with its Indigenous population more successfully than we have back home in Australia. The best place to learn about First Nations’ culture is the pre-eminent Canadian Museum of History in capital city Ottawa.

9. Soak up the views from Toronto’s CN Tower

Toronto is Canada’s economic powerhouse, and city slickers will love their stay in the country’s most populous urban centre. Head to the top of the mighty CN Tower to take in spectacular 360-degree-views of the city and Lake Ontario. The observation deck is five hundred metres straight up!

Ten of the best things to do in Canada
Ten of the best things to do in Canada: CN Tower, Toronto. Image: Bigstock

10. Tuck into a plate of poutine

Poutine is Canada’s unofficial and much-loved national dish — chips, gravy and cheese curd all mixed together in one gooey lump of goodness. Montreal is reputedly the spot to sample the world’s best poutine.

For more travel inspiration, visit www.au-keepexploring.canada.travel.

Browse our range of Canada tours and experiences here.

Do you have any suggestions to add to our list of top things to do in Canada on a first visit? We would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.

Additional images: Bigstock

Adam Ford

About the writer

Adam Ford is editor of Top Oz Tours & Travel Ideas, and a travel TV presenter, writer, blogger, and photographer. He has travelled extensively through Europe, Asia, North America, Africa, and the Middle East. Adam worked as a travel consultant for a number of years with Flight Centre before taking up the opportunity to travel the world himself as host of the TV series Tour the World on Network Ten. He loves to experience everything a new destination has to offer and is equally at home in a five-star Palazzo in Pisa or a home-stay in Hanoi.

 

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