10 Things To Experience In Canada

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Ontario Trailer

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 Mon­tréal 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, Mon­tréal, 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. 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 =-.

  2. 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 =-.

  3. 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 =-.

  4. 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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