Don’t go to Canada

You might become a Canaddict

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One advice: never go on a trip to Canada… You might become a Canaddict.

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After IranAlgeriaGeorgiaSwitzerland and Lebanon, here is the sixth episode of my Don’t go to web series, and for this one, I decided to visit Canada.
This project was supported by Destination Canada.

Watch previous episode in Lebanon

Credits:
Music by Benjamin Cholet
Sound design by Quentin Malapel
Additional footage from Brand Canada Library.

1) Canada is just a big forest

Well, Canada has a lot of timber… But the 2nd largest country in the world has much more to offer!  Think of all the land that is covered in water: Great Lakes pouring in the Saint-Lawrence River, Niagara Falls, long strips of coasts, snowy mountains, glaciers… And all this liquid created vast agricultural  prairies in the South-Eastern lowlands. In the warmest regions, receding water even formed canyons, and… the smallest desert on Earth!

Carcross desert, in the Yukon, known as the smallest desert in the world

2) Canada has no history

We tend to forget that Canadian history goes back thousands of years before the Europeans’ arrival, when Paleo-Indians settled on the American continent. Fortunately, the country offers a lot of interesting museums and recreations to learn about early Canadian civilizations! I especially recommend:

  • Royal Tyrrel Museum  in Drumheller, Alberta.
  • Yukon Beringia Interpretative Center in Whitehorse, Yukon.
  • Long Ago People’s Place  in Yukon. 
  • Museum of Anthropology at UBC in Vancouver, BC. 

The UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver

Of course, if you’re interested in the Gold Rush or the North American fur trade, you’ll also find a lot of info on the French and British colonization era! You’ll find my favourites below.

Dawson

Dawson city, Yukon, is a real open-air museum! Walking in the streets with wooden sidewalks and buildings feels like going back 150 years ago when gold miners came to find fortune.

Dawson city post office

 

The kind of Golden nugget you could find in Dawson, Yukon

White Pass & Yukon Route

Built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush, you can still go on a journey to see splendid mountain panoramas while listening to historic commentaries in a vintage passenger coach. Unforgettable!

The kind of view you can see from the train

The Village Historique Acadien
The Village historique acadien was one of my favourite attractions in New-Brunswick!  This historical reconstitution portrays the daily lives of the Acadians from XVIIth to XXth century. I really enjoyed its authenticity and the warm welcome of interpreters in period costumes. I really had the impression of going back in time, and travel in history.  Each character you meet has a story to tell, a craft or custom to bring to life.  This is so much more immersive than traditional museums!

3) French is only spoken in Québec

I’ve been three times to Canada, and in every region I explored (British Columbia, Yukon, New-Brunswick, Nova Scotia or Alberta), I met people who spoke Molière’s language*! Not only native speakers or but also folks who had learned it at school. Even if you only know ‘bonjour’ so far, you’ll probably come back with a few typical French-Canadian expressions, such as ‘tabernacle!’…

*Molière is a French playwright from the 17th Century.

4) Canada is always cold

Sure, Canada’s winter is cold… But during my 2 summer trips over there, I experienced pretty hot weather! Even in Yukon, the temperature rose up to 30°C (86°F) !

Does this look cold to you?!

5) Canada’s wildlife is limited to caribous

If you love wildlife, be sure to bring your zoom lens! Personally, I’ve been lucky enough to see whales (in Saint-Andrews), black bears (in New Brunswick), does (in Nova-Scotia and New Brunswick), and many small mammals like groundhogs, squirrels… Other travelers told me they came across grizzli bears, polar bears, belugas, orcas, buffalos, puffins, whiteout seals, blue lobsters…

Careful, bear cubs look cute but their moms usually don’t like people getting too close…

6) Canadian gastronomy is just about maple syrup

Now, that’s almost racist! (I’m kidding…) Canadian cooks have too many good products to embrace a  pancake-diet! Here are some local dishes I will not forget: Malpeque oysters, Digby bay scallops, Shediac lobster, Pacific salmon, Alberta beef burger, Muskoka cranberries, Saskatoon berries, Beaver Tail* and Nanaimo pastries… to be complemented with a glass of ice wine, or a sip of Okanagan vino!

*Don’t worry, they’re not actually eating beaver tails 🙂 See below

 

 
 
 
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7) Canadians are all the same

Adding up First Nations, European settlers, and more recent immigrants from all over the globe, it is obvious that Canada is a multicultural country! For instance, in Vancouver, more than half of the population does not count English as a mother tongue! And Justin Trudeau, the current Prime minister, is working hard to ensure that his fellow countrymen keep living in harmony!

8) Canada has only log cabins

Once again, lumberjacks are not the only dwellers of Canada… Architecture varies widely along the way: colorful fishermen’s houses in Labrador and Newfoundland, Victorian homes in Victoria (how weird!), colonial-style edifices in Québec City, skyscrapers in Toronto, Vancouver or Calgary… If you like futuristic shapes and nature, be sure to plan a stay at the Fogo Island Inn!

9) Canadian cities are boring to death

There’s too many crazy events across Canada to get bored! For example, last July, I attended the Calgary Stampede, an outdoor rodeo festival! From October to April, you can also book tickets for a hockey game (the atmosphere was awesome at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena!). And if you’re into arts, there’s the Toronto International Film Festival in September, Québec City’s Carnival in February…

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