Canada, the 2nd largest country in the world a.k.a The Great White North is celebrating milestones after milestones. It turned 150 this year, made it to Lonely Planet’s top destination of 2017, and also Travel + Leisure recently announced that Canada is the 2017 Destination of the Year. Their decision was based on “cultural relevance and that elusive quality known as buzz. In 2017, all signs pointed north. It’s clear that travelers have become fully aware of the country’s exceptional blend of world-class cities and epic natural wonders, its rich culture and eclectic cuisine.” It comes as no surprise to us that Canada’s getting all these fame because it really is an incredible country and we truly wish that it had been included in our travel plans this year.
At the time of writing this, the current exchange rate is 1 CAD to 1.05 SGD. Whew. That’s good news for us! I’ve always had this misconception that CAD was on par with USD for some reason, and never would I have realized how affordable Canada can be if my interest wasn’t piqued by it’s rise to fame. The 2017 Mercer Worldwide Cost of Living Rankings placed Toronto, the most expensive Canadian city at number 107 while Singapore stands at number… 5.
The Great Outdoors
Name every possible scenery you want to see and I bet you Canada probably has it. From temperate rainforests, to towering mountain ranges, to azure alpine lakes, to impressive glaciers, and even a small desert, what else did I miss? Not only does it boast unparalleled natural wonders, it is also home to a diversity of wildlife. Don’t be surprise to spot a grizzly bear in the forests or see a moose cross the highway, these are common sightings in Canada.
It Is Safe
Canada is one of the safest countries in the world. Ranked 8 out of 167 countries on the 2017 Global Peace Index, based on 23 factors, which included homicide rate, political terror, and deaths from internal conflict. Canada scored the best when it came to factors related to internal conflicts, such as intensity and deaths resulting and also scored well in low violent crimes and political instability at 1 out of 5. This low score means Canada is lacking in these things, which is certainly good news for us all.
Free Entry To National Parks (this year only!)
To celebrate the country’s 150th birthday, all 46 national parks in Canada are offering free entry for the entire year! An annual pass (covering a family of up to seven people) to Canada’s national parks would normally cost you more than $136 CAD. But for 2017 visits, you can order a Discovery Parks Pass for free. Visit Canada’s first and arguably, most beautiful Banff National Park and see the much-acclaimed Lake Louise for yourself, then drive over to Jasper National Park to see the Miette Hot Springs and array of wildlife in the vast wilderness. Fancy a bit of adventure? Snorkel/scuba-dive/kayak in Lake Huron, Canada’s first underwater national park spanning an 81-square-mile area comprising of 22 islands and 22 shipwrecks. It’s still not too late to head to Canada before this year’s up!
There’s Always Something To Do
The Canadians aren’t just friendly people who hike all the time, they know how throw a good party. Many cities host some really cool and unique festivals throughout the year, so it doesn’t matter when you go, there is also something fun happening.
- The Quebec Winter Carnival in Quebec City (January/February)
- Festival du Voyageur in Winnipeg (February)
- The International Tulip Festival in Ottawa (May)
- Montreal Jazz Fest (June/July)
- The Calgary Stampede (July)
- The Toronto International Film Festival (September)
- The Celtic Colours International Festival on Cape Breton Island (October)
Who says that Northern Lights can only be seen in Iceland! Canada is one of the best destinations in the world to see these magical lights, yeah I know I didn’t know that either. Sure the photos are beautiful but it cannot justify the wonder of Mother Nature’s light show, only a front row seat can. The best time to go is during winter months between December to April when the sky is darkest. Not to worry there are plenty of places in The Great White North to catch the lights. All I’m saying is, it’s good to have options.
I think I could go on and on about Canada, there’s just so many reasons to head there (especially this year!) and I wonder why I haven’t stepped foot in this amazing country yet! It’s definitely going into my bucket list for sure, and in the meantime I will live vivaciously through Instagram photos while enjoy my favourite bottle of Canadian maple Syrup…