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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!).