Would you believe that you can experience world travel and visit many amazing cities without leaving Canada? From coast to coast the landscape in our amazing homeland changes endlessly, various cultures show their pride, and adventures are easy to find. Parallels can be drawn between regions across our country to amazing sites all around the world. These are just a few of our favourites:
Hopewell Rocks as Australia’s 12 Apostles
Canada’s own stretch of magnificent eastern coastline can be likened to Australia’s Great Ocean Road, and one obvious comparison is Hopewell Rocks to the 12 Apostles. These stunning natural formations spear out of the water just begging for a photo. At Hopewell Rocks you can get up close and personal when the tide is low. One of the Marine Wonders of the World, it is also one of the sites of the world’s highest tides. In March 2016 one of the famous 17 rock formations collapsed, so make sure to see this majestic site before it’s too late.
Montreal as Paris
Many people compare Montreal to Paris and it’s not simply because of the language. Montreal has one of the most famous basilicas in the country, and stepping into Notre Dame transports you to Europe. Walking along the cobblestone in Old Montreal gives you the old street feeling that one finds so easily in Paris. And the food easily rivals that of France’s capital any day. Montreal is as close to Europe as you can get without crossing the ocean.
Toronto as New York City
The largest cities and financial hubs for their respective countries, New York and Toronto have a lot in common. They both have their super tall landmarks, and Toronto’s CN tower is a bucket list item for every Canadian. Each is ethnically diverse, and you can delve into almost any culture if you wish to. Some of the nightlife in Toronto has a Manhattan-esque vibe, and wandering through one of the many Irish or trendy basement level pubs will give you that hip NYC feel. One difference that most Canadian’s will be happy about is cold hard cash, as traveling to Toronto is going to save you a lot of money on everything from cab fares to food to hotels.
Gimli, Manitoba as Iceland
Icelandic culture is being preserved in New Iceland, otherwise known as Gimli Manitoba. The Lake Winnipeg community has the highest concentration of Icelandic ancestry outside of the homeland. It is the site of the Icelandic festival of Manitoba since 1932, which draws thousands of tourists every year. The Gimli Viking Statue commemorates the Icelandic heritage of the municipality, and many business and streets celebrate unique Icelandic names. The New Iceland Heritage Museum is a great stop for anyone looking for more in depth knowledge of the first settlers, and H.P. Tergesen’s general store has been a hub for everything Icelandic since 1899.
Central Alberta as Ukraine
Looking for a taste of Ukraine? Some of the kitschiest cultural landmarks are within short distance of each other in central Alberta. You’ll find the world’s largest perogy in Glendon, the world’s largest pysanka (Ukranian Easter Egg) in Vegreville, and the world’s largest kovbasa (garlic sausage) in Mundare! Don’t forget to stop and pick up some traditional Ukranian food while you are in the area, as it’s considered some of the best in the country.
The Okanagan as Tuscany
Who needs to travel for hours on end and deal with jet lag when wine country is right here in Canada? BC’s Okanagan valley has 133 licensed wineries stretched out over 250km of some of the most scenic landscape you will see in your lifetime. Like Tuscany, the weather (in the summer) is hot and dry, and lakes abound in every direction. To add a real sense of European adventure to your trip, ride your bike through the Naramata Bench while stopping for wine tastings along the way.
Richmond as Xiamen, China
You don’t actually have to travel to Richmond’s sister city Xiamen to experience Chinese culture. Noted as one of the best places for Chinese food in the world, around 50% of Richmond’s population identifies as Chinese. The city exudes a deep pride, and walking around you can’t help but feel transported to a different country. Like Xiamen, Richmond is an island and many beautiful sites can be seen along the water’s edge. On summer weekends the Richmond Night Market is a hot spot for food, electronics and fashion, and is a must see for every visitor.