Top 10: best cities to visit and things to do in Canada
The largest city in Canada and arguably the best-known, Toronto is not the country's capital (Ottawa is), but it is the Ontarian. Like a more civilised, clean-cut New York, Toronto has its skyscrapers downtown, glitzy shopping in Yorkville and Bohemian districts in Queen Street West. It is also home to the CN Tower, once the world's tallest, at 1,815 feet.
2. Niagara Falls
Straddling the US-Canadian border, Niagara Falls is within reach of Toronto - and well worth it. The three falls combined, the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls, form the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world (around 2,400 m3 per second). Once you've seen the Falls (take a Maid of the Mist tour), explore the theme park-esque town that lives off the natural wonder's tourist appeal.
Take the Maid of the Mist tour of the Niagara Falls
The second largest city in Canada, Montreal is France's home away from home. The city's official language is French and spoken by more than half of the population. The French also lend the city its sense of cool, laid-back chic. It is a cultural hub with more than a few international flavours and boasts more than 100 festivals a year.
Le Fleuve Saint-Laurent, Montreal
Vancouver has been named the "best place to live in the world" more than a few times. The west coast city in British Columbia boasts a buzzy cultural life, a rich platter of ethnically diverse restaurants and a cosmopolitan population.
The west end of Vancouver
5. The Canadian Rockies
The Canadian Rockies span British Columbia and Alberta and is one of the world's most impressive mountain ranges. Boasting mind-boggling scenery and a number of Canada's highest peaks, the region is ideal for explorers. There are also a number of ski resorts in the mountain range, including Banff.
Moraine Lake in the Canadian Rockies
One of North America's largest and most popular ski resorts hosted the Winter Olympics in 2010 and boasts some 8,000 acres of pistes and 1,610m of vertical. Its ski area across two mountains - Whistler and Blackcomb - enjoys a long season from November to May and an impressive and reliable average snowfall.
7. The Yukon
The north west corner of Canada is a sparse expanse of peaks, wildlife and adventure. The Yukon is home to the highest mountain in Canada, Mount Logan (5,959m) and is a treasure trove of pristine nature. Sports enthusiasts can paddle lakes and rivers in canoes and kayaks, ride or walk trails, ski and snowboard or try ice climbing and dog sledding.
The Yukon in the autumn
8. Quebec and Quebec City
Quebec, the largest province in Canada, and its capital, Quebec City, are on the country's east coast, and play host to some of Canada's most beautiful countryside. Quebec City is one of the oldest settlements in North America, French-speaking and home to the Château Frontenac, a 19th century hotel that dominates the city's skyline. Quebec the province, of which Montreal is a part, has small, picturesque towns, ski resorts and moose.
The Château Frontenac in Quebec City
For a capital city, Ottawa is small and friendly and nowhere near the size of counterparts Toronto and Montreal. The city is charming and bike-friendly, peaceful and civilised, and a great base for exploring the Canadian wilderness on its doorstep in Ontario.
The Parliament Buildings in Ottawa
10. Nova Scotia and Halifax
Nova Scotia, or New Scotland, is not entirely dissimilar to its etymological cousin - famed for its seafood, nautical heritage and moderate climate. Its capital, Halifax, played a role in rescuing survivors from the Titanic over a century ago, and before that was the end point for the Royal Mail Ship Britannia's crossing from Liverpool in 1840, arriving at the historic port after only 12 days at sea.