Best season: May-September, summertime.
Worst: November-March (cold, wet, or both), unless going for winter sports.
Canada’s main attractions
The famously turquoise Peyto Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta. Photo by Tobias Alt.
This is such a huge country that seeing the lot in one go is impractical for the normal tourist so we’ve split Canada into manageable zones.
Best wildlife: Churchill (Manitoba), British Columbia, Alberta.
Best winter festival: Ottawa Winterlude, Ontario.
Best summer festival: Calgary Stampede, Alberta.
Best beaches: New Brunswick (Atlantic Provinces) and Vancouver (British Columbia).
Best cuisine: Quebec province.
Alberta, West Canada
A Black Bear and cub at Christina Lake at Wood Buffalo, Alberta. Photo by Eviatar Bach.
Consistently rated as Canada’s best natural attraction, Alberta’s Banff National Park in the Rockies is justly famous and crammed with magnificent peaks, astonishing emerald lakes, well organised hiking trails, scenic drives and much, much more.
Get there via Calgary and enjoy a stampede too! Jasper NP is also brilliant; less easy to access but much less touristy.
Quebec and Montreal, French east Canada
Frontenac Castle, Quebec City, Quebec. Photo by Wladyslaw Benutzer.
The French speaking province of Quebec offers great night life and cuisine especially la petite, jolie Quebec City and her big brother Montreal, but there’s also plenty of outdoor action though lacking the Rocky Mountain highs.
The Atlantic Provinces, east Canada
The Change Islands in Newfoundland, Atlantic coast.
The Atlantic Provinces encompass Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, offering tourists the laid back, rustic charms of little fishing villages and splendid hiking, biking or driving routes full of rugged coastal views.
There’s terrific golfing and fishing, Canada’s best beaches (though Vancouver might argue the point) and good seal or whale watching.
Grizzly Valley in the Ogilvie Mountains of north Canada. Photo by Rick McCharles.
The primary tourist attractions in north Canada are bleak arctic landscapes, northern lights (aurora borealis) and wildlife, especially polar bears, arctic foxes and seals around Churchill, though outdoor activities ranging from winter sports that include snow cycling to summer hikes with big views are popular with local people who like to escape the huddled masses.
A young polar bear investigating a mobile meat locker – aka Tundra Buggy – near Churchill in Manitoba.