10 Things To Experience In Canada

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Welcome to my new series, the “Canadian List of Ten”! Ten weeks, ten posts, ten lists and one hundred new Canadian things for you, from food to language, from city to weather.

Canada, the best country on earth? Well, I’d hate to brag… but the truth is, there is plenty to experience here and it’s a great country to live in. The stereotype of a frozen land North of the USA doesn’t do Canada justice.

I know, this list is somewhat biased. I live in Ontario and I have only visited three provinces so far, so I didn’t include any cool Western Canadian experiences — and I’m sure you have a ton of cool stuffs to do. Help me here!

No matter whether you are a newcomer or a lifelong Canadian citizen, here are ten things to experience in Canada.

  1. Going to a hockey game: hockey is Canada’s favorite sport and it’s best seen live. Even if you are not into it, it’s a really fun experience. First, the game is very fast-paced so you won’t get bored. Your sadistic side will certainly enjoy the fights. On top of that, unlike in some sports, people are passionate but they are not hooligans and the atmosphere is quite friendly. So buy tickets and head to your local arena!
  2. A strong blizzard: seriously, this is something to experience. Not everyday, preferably not on a work day though. But being trapped inside the house, sipping hot chocolate and watching a thick blanket of snow piling up outside is quite enjoyable.
  3. Walking in the snow in sandals: recently, someone asked me if we still had snow in May. I paused and thought about it: “do you mean snow fall, or snow on the ground?”. Indeed, snow fall is May isn’t that common (no big blizzards anyway) but chances are there will be some snow on the ground. It sometimes takes months for all of it to melt, especially in suburban areas. So when the weather suddenly gets hot, it’s common to hang out outside wearing summer clothes… and to walk in the snow in sandals!
  4. Canada Day on Parliament Hill: I got it, everybody thinks Ottawa is boring and Montreal and Toronto are soooo much better. Yet, on July 1st, there is no better place to be than in Ottawa. Parliament Hill is super crowded and everybody celebrates Canada’s birthday in the streets until late at night.
  5. Driving outside the city: Canada is a huge country. Most immigrants settle in the big cities, like Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver. But all you need to do to experience how huge Canada is, is to drive outside the city. Chances are it will already take you a while to reach the furthest suburb… and a bit further, you may see farms, open fields and endless roads which seems to go nowhere. Welcome to the second largest country in the world!
  6. Indian Summer: Canada is famous for its harsh and long winters but much less for its beautiful sunny fall season. In September and October, the weather is still usually pretty hot and the light is amazing. Leaves turn red, yellow and orange and the scenery is truly incredible.
  7. Climbing to the top of the CN Tower: if you go to Toronto, don’t miss it. Well, you can’t really miss it, anyway: standing 555 meters, it is the tallest free-standing structure in the Americas. Don’t forget to stand on the glass floor and to look down… if you can!
  8. Visiting Niagara Falls: both the American and the Canadian falls are well worth a visit. The sound of water going over and landing at the bottom, the misty wind when standing close, the shades of blue in the water, the night lights… it’s very cool.
  9. Outdoors festivals in the summer: concerts, festivals, parties… there is always something to do in the summer, and it will most likely take place outdoor. After the cold winter, it’s Canadians’ way to enjoy much warmer weather and a snow-free time.
  10. Truly enjoying the outdoors in the winter: immigrants’ number one mistake is to avoid going out during the winter. Sure, temperatures are scary cold… yet, the weather is generally pretty dry and with the proper layers of clothes, it’s perfectly fine to hang out outside and enjoy the snow and the ice. Canadians celebrate winter by skating, skiing, building giant snowmen… and if you do get too cold, you can always warm up with a drink and some maple toffe (warning, it’s addictive!).

About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. I might not have live there but I certainly love it there 😀 Been to Niagara during Summer & Winter and I think I love Summer the best, winter is way too old and some parts of the area is close ;( My younger Daughter Shania loves it during Winter while it’s snowing 😉

    I love Canada too Zhu 😀

  2. @Kate – Canada is an outdoor country!

    @Beth – I know… I spotted some people wearing sandals — believe it or not — no later than… last week!

    @Lisa ~ Urban Native Girl – It is something cool to experience!

    @shionge – I’m like your daughter, I’d love to see Niagara Falls under the snow!

    @London Caller – Mmmm… not that I can think of. A lot of French go to the UK because they like to practice their English, and some can<t afford London. It may be why. Now I have never heard of Scottish curling! Usually, Norway and a few Scandinavia countries are the best at it.

    @Sidney – Of course you would! I had never seen snow before I came here you know 😉

  3. Salut Zhu,

    Humm… I’m still far from experiencing it all ! Just the parts about the Indian summer.
    But no blizzard yet ( I think that I’m stalling 🙂 ) and no winter spent in Canada… yet. Though my hubby wants to spend a future trip to Canada in the winter. Shall see 😉

    Stay warm if you can & have a good week.

  4. Well, my first though was “nooo, it’s too cold!” but I think the winter in Canada should be lived a little bit outdoors if possible. However, the blizzars really scare me!

    Anyway, next year, I will spend my holidays in BC so, I will let you know what I think after.
    .-= Cornflakegirl´s last blog ..The soundtrack of writing =-.

  5. Growing up in the New England states, I’m familiar with blizzards, Indian summer, and outdoor activities in the winter. I’ve also enjoyed Niagara Falls and the CN Tower, where I witnessed a brave few crawling across the glass floor. No one could seem to walk on it, and I could only stick my arms over it to take a picture before running for the visual safety of solid flooring. Canada is beautiful, and I’d love to see more of it!
    .-= Kirsten´s last blog ..At the Dentist =-.

  6. Here in Buffalo, I did 2, 3, 6, 8, and 9.

    I’ve experienced a couple of blizzards already here, the most famous one being the Friday the 13th storm back in October 2006. I also always take the trash out wearing just sandals in the winter. I usually end up running back inside afterward. And Indian summer is awesome, it’s like nature’s way of fucking with your head. I’ve seen Niagara Falls up close and personal back in 2007, when my roommate’s family went to town and we all rode the boats. And finally, what I like best about summer is the outdoor festivals, the outdoor concerts, and the art shows on the streets. Hey, Buffalo can pretend to be Canada too, don’t you think?
    .-= Linguist-in-Waiting´s last blog ..Book Review: Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro =-.

  7. I haven’t done 1, 4 and … 7 (I’m not joking!) 3 years in Toronto and not going to CN tower, what a shame! But since last year, I am very curious to visit Ottawa for Canada Day. Lets see if that becomes possible in 2010!
    .-= Priyank´s last blog ..Three years in Toronto =-.

  8. You really have missed out on some of the best Canadian experiences by being so Ontario-centric. I was born in the NWT and have been to every province and Territory. Here is my top 10:

    1) Whistle at the Northern Lights (aurora borealis) – best done in any of the Territories in the dead of winter, because that is when and where they have the best colours.

    2) Philosophise with a homeless person in Stanley Park, Vancouver. B.C. is the best place to be if you have no permanent residence, because of the weather and liberal tendencies and Stanley Park just rocks.

    3) Ski in the Rockies. Downhill skiing is an experience not to be missed and we have some of the best mountains bordering Alberta and B.C.

    4) Get drunk and ride the rides after watching (or being) a rodeo clown at the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” – also known as the Calgary STampede – also mini-donuts!!

    5)Fall asleep while driving in Saskatchewan and wake up still on the road. This actually happened to me – Saskatchewan is so flat that you can watch your dog running away for 3 days…

    6) Go to Klondike Days in the Yukon. This Territory got its start with a gold rush and still retains a bit of wildness that is fun to experience

    7)Drive across P.E.I. – It will only take about 15 minutes and its so pretty!

    8) Go icefishing in Nunavut – don’t forget your parka, mukluks, and plenty of Molson Canadian!

    9) Stalk polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba – actually, it is more likely they’ll be stalking you! LOL!

    10) Learn both the English and French version to Oh Canada! You can do this in any province or Territory!

    • Well, I came to Canad several years ago and I haven’t had a chance to experience all that Canada has to offer, like I said. I’m hoping to travel much more in Canada in the future! I really want to go to the North — I find it fascinating. Thanks for sharing!

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