Top Ten Canadian Attractions

Top Ten Canadian Attractions

       Canada consists of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean. Spanning over 9.9 million square km, Canada is the world’s 2nd largest country by total area, and its common border with the US is the longest land border in the world. The land that is now Canada has been inhabited for millennia by various groups of Aboriginal peoples. Beginning in the late 15th century, British and French expeditions explored, and later settled, along the region’s Atlantic coast. France ceded nearly all of its colonies in North America in 1763 after the Seven Years’ War. In 1867, with the union of three British North American colonies through Confederation, Canada was formed as a federal dominion of four provinces. This began an accretion of provinces and territories and a process of increasing autonomy from the UK. This widening autonomy was highlighted by the Balfour Declaration of 1926 and reaffirmed by the Statute of Westminster of 1931, which declared self-governing dominions within the British Empire to be equal. The Canada Act of 1982 finally severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the British Parliament. Canada is a federal state that is governed as a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state. It is a bilingual nation with both English and French as official languages at the federal level. One of the world’s most highly-developed countries, Canada has a diversified economy that is reliant upon its abundant natural resources and upon trade, particularly with the US, with which Canada has had a long and complex relationship. With the 6th highest Human Development Index globally, Canada has one of the highest standards of living in the world.

  1. Vancouver

    Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. The 2011 census recorded a population of more than 603,000 in the city, making it the 8th largest among Canadian cities. The metropolitan area has a population of more than 2.3 million residents, making it the 3rd most populous metropolitan area in the country and the most populous in Western Canada. With 5,249 people per square km (13,590 per square mi), Vancouver is the most densely populated of Canadian municipalities with more than 5,000 residents. The city is in the Lower Mainland statistical area, which has a population of 2,590,921. Its population is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse in Canada, with 52% for whom English is not their first language. The settlement of Gastown grew around a logging sawmill established in 1867, enlarging to become the town site of Granville. With the announcement that the railhead would reach the site, it was renamed “Vancouver” and incorporated as a city in 1886. By 1887, the transcontinental railway was extended to the city to take advantage of its large natural seaport, which soon became a vital link in a trade route between the Orient, Eastern Canada and London. As of 2009, Port Metro Vancouver is the busiest and largest port in Canada, and the most diversified port in North America. While forestry remains its largest industry, Vancouver is well known as an urban center surrounded by nature, making tourism its 2nd largest industry. Major film production studios in Vancouver and Burnaby have turned Metro Vancouver into the 3rd largest film production center in North America after LA and New York City, earning it the film industry nickname, Hollywood North. Vancouver has ranked highly in worldwide “livable city” rankings for more than a decade according to business magazine assessments and it was also acknowledged by Economist Intelligence Unit as the first city to rank among the top-ten of the world’s most livable cities for five straight years. It has hosted many international conferences and events, including the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, Expo 86, and the World Police and Fire Games in 1989 and 2009. The 2010 Winter Olympics and 2010 Winter Paralympics were held in Vancouver and nearby Whistler, a resort community 125 km (78 mi) north of the city.
    Links: Cities, Top Ten North American Cities, Top Ten Ski/Snowbaord Destinations, Top Ten Totem Poles,
  2. Ottawa

    Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the 2nd largest city in the Province of Ontario and the 4th largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario. Ottawa borders Gatineau, Quebec, located on the north bank of the Ottawa River; together they form the National Capital Region (NCR). The 2011 census had the city’s population as 883,391 and the metropolitan population as 1,236,324. Mercer ranked Ottawa with the 2nd highest quality of living of any in the Americas, and 14th highest in the world. It was also considered the 2nd cleanest city in Canada, and 3rd cleanest city in the world. Founded in 1826 as Bytown and incorporated as “Ottawa” in 1855, the city has evolved into a political and technological center of Canada. Its original boundaries were expanded through numerous minor annexations and ultimately replaced by a new city incorporation and major amalgamation in 2001 which significantly increased its land area. The name “Ottawa” is derived from the Algonquin word adawe, meaning “to trade.” Ottawa and the Ottawa Valley was home to the Algonquin people prior to the arrival of Europeans during the fur and subsequent lumber trade eras. Initially an Irish and French Christian settlement, Ottawa has become a multicultural, bilingual city with a diverse population.
    Links: Cities, Top Ten North American Cities, Sculptures, Top 100 North American Sculptures, Top Ten Sculptures by Louise Bourgeois, Top Ten Clock Towers, Top Ten Winter Festivals, Top Ten Ice Sculptures,,
  3. Toronto

    Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto’s history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from the Mississaugas of the New Credit. The settlement was later established as the Town of York and proclaimed as the new capital of Upper Canada by its lieutenant-governor, John Graves Simcoe. In 1834, York was incorporated as a city and renamed to its present name. The city was ransacked in the Battle of York during the War of 1812 and damaged in two great fires in 1849 and in 1904. Since its incorporation, Toronto has repeatedly expanded its borders through amalgamation with surrounding municipalities, most recently in 1998. With over 2.6 million residents, it is the 5th most populous city in North America. Its metropolitan area with over 5.5 million residents is the 7th largest urban region in North America. Toronto is at the heart of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and is part of a densely populated region in Southern Ontario known as the Golden Horseshoe. The census metropolitan area (CMA) had a population of 5,583,064, and the Greater Toronto Area had a population of 6,054,191 (2011). Its cosmopolitan and international population reflects its role as an important destination for immigrants to Canada. Toronto is one of the world’s most diverse cities by percentage of non-native-born residents, with about 49% of the population born outside Canada. Toronto is also consistently rated as one of the world’s most livable cities by the Economist Intelligence Unit and the Mercer Quality of Living Survey. As Canada’s commercial capital and one of the top financial centers in the world, Toronto is considered an alpha world city by the Globalization and World Cities study group. It is home to the Toronto Stock Exchange, the world’s 7th largest in terms of market value. Toronto contains more corporate headquarters than any other Canadian city, including those of Canada’s five largest banks. Toronto’s leading economic sectors include finance, business services, telecommunications, aerospace, transportation, media, arts, film, music, television production, publishing, software production, medical research, education, tourism, engineering, and sports industries. According to Forbes, Toronto is the 10th most economically powerful city in the world and one of the fastest growing among the G7 nations, whilst PwC ranks the city as the world’s 2nd best “metro powerhouse.” The cost of living in Toronto was ranked highest in Canada in 2011.
    Links: Cities, Top Ten North American Cities, Museums and Galleries, Top Ten Squares,,
  4. Montreal

    Montreal is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the 2nd largest city in Canada and the 15th largest in North America. Originally called Ville-Marie, or “City of Mary,” the city takes its present name from Mount Royal, the triple-peaked hill located in the heart of the city, whose name was also initially given to the island on which the city is located, or Mont Réal as it was spelled in Middle French, (Mont Royal in present French). As of February 2012, Statistics Canada identifies Montreal’s Census Metropolitan Area (land area 4,259 square km (1,644 square mi)) as Canada’s 2nd most populous with an estimated metropolitan area population of 3,824,221 and a population of 1,886,481 in the “agglomeration” of Montreal. French is the city’s official language and is also the language spoken at home by 60.5% of the population, followed by English at 21.2% and 23.4% other languages (2006). Montreal is the 2nd largest primarily French-speaking city in the Western world, after Paris. Montreal is consistently rated as one of the world’s most livable cities, was called “Canada’s Cultural Capital” by Monocle Magazine. Though historically the commercial capital of Canada, it was surpassed in population, as well as economic strength, by Toronto after 1976. Today it continues as an important center of commerce, aerospace, finance, pharmaceuticals, technology, design, culture, tourism, film and world affairs. In 2010, Montreal was named a hub city, ranked 34th globally out of 289 cities for innovation across multiple sectors of the urban economy, in the Innovation Cities Index by 2thinknow. Montreal was the next Canadian city in the annual index behind nexus city Toronto in 12th place and ahead of fellow hub cities Calgary, Quebec City, Vancouver and Edmonton. In 2009, Montreal was named North America’s number one host city for international association events, according to the 2009 preliminary rankings of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).
    Links: Cities, Top Ten North American Cities, Top Ten Towers, Top Ten Bridges, Top Ten Casinos, Top Ten North American Casinos, Top Ten Fireworks Shows, Top Ten Photographs of Fireworks, Top Ten Fountains,,
  5. Calgary

    Calgary is a city in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is located in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, approximately 80 km (50 mi) east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies. The city is located in the Grassland region of Alberta. As of 2011, the City of Calgary had a population of 1,096,833 and a metropolitan population of 1,214,839, making it the 3rd largest municipality and 5th largest metropolitan area in Canada. Located 294 km (183 mi) south of Edmonton, Statistics Canada defines the narrowly populated area between these cities as the “Calgary–Edmonton Corridor.” Economic activity in Calgary is mostly centered on the petroleum industry, agriculture and tourism. In 1988, Calgary became the first Canadian city to host the Olympic Winter Games.
    Links: Cities, Top Ten North American Cities, Top Ten Towers,,
  6. Edmonton

    Edmonton is the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta and is the province’s 2nd largest city. The city is located on the North Saskatchewan River and is the center of the Edmonton Capital Region, which is surrounded by the central region of the province. The city and its census metropolitan area had populations of 812,201 and 1,159,869 (2011), making it Canada’s 5th largest municipality and 6th largest metropolitan area by population. Edmonton is the northernmost North American city with a metropolitan population over one million. The majority of Edmonton’s metropolitan population lives within the City of Edmonton rather than in the surrounding suburban municipalities. Historically Edmonton was surrounded by few other urban municipalities (Strathcona, Beverly and Jasper Place, being the largest) and these were absorbed through amalgamation or annexation. Edmonton annexed a significant amount of land up until the early 1980’s, and as such it has sustained much of the region’s suburban growth within its own boundaries. Edmonton serves as the northern anchor of the Calgary–Edmonton Corridor and is a staging point for large-scale oil sands projects occurring in northern Alberta and large-scale diamond mining operations in the Northwest Territories. Edmonton is a cultural, governmental and educational center. It plays host to a year-round slate of world-class festivals, earning it the title of “The Festival City.” It is home to North America’s largest mall, West Edmonton Mall (the world’s largest mall from 1981 until 2004), and Fort Edmonton Park, Canada’s largest living history museum. In 2004, Edmonton celebrated the centennial of its incorporation as a city.
    Links: Pyramids, Top Ten Modern Pyramids, Top Ten Natural Wonders of the World, Museums and Galleries, Top Ten Canadian Museums, Top Ten Malls,,
  7. Quebec

    Quebec is located at the narrowing of the Saint Lawrence River approximate to the city’s promontory, Cap-Diamant (Cape Diamond), and Lévis, on the opposite bank, provided the name given to the city, Kébec, an Algonquin word meaning “where the river narrows.” As of 2011, the city has a population of 516,622, and the metropolitan area has a population of 765,706, making it the 2nd most populous city in Quebec after Montreal, which is about 233 km (145 mi) to the southwest. Founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain, Quebec City is one of the oldest cities in North America. The ramparts surrounding Old Quebec (Vieux-Québec) are the only remaining fortified city walls that still exist in the Americas north of Mexico, and were declared a World Heritage Site in 1985 as the ‘Historic District of Old Québec.’ According to the federal and provincial governments, Québec is the city’s official name in both French and English, although Quebec City is commonly used, particularly to distinguish the city from the province. The city’s most famous landmark is the Château Frontenac, a hotel which dominates the skyline. The National Assembly of Quebec, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (National Gallery of Quebec), and the Musée de la civilisation (Museum of Civilization) are found within or near Vieux-Québec.
    Links: Top Ten Canadian Hotels, Museums and Galleries,
  8. Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks

    The Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site is located in the Canadian Rockies. It consists of four national parks: Banff, Jasper, Kootenay and Yoho, and three British Columbia provincial parks: Hamber Provincial Park, Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park and Mount Robson Provincial Park. The parks include mountains, glaciers and hot springs and the headwaters of major North American river systems including: North Saskatchewan River, Athabasca River, Columbia River and the Fraser River. The area is known for its natural beauty and biological diversity. It includes the Burgess Shale site.
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten North American National Parks,,
  9. Kitchner Oktoberfest

    In Canada there is an annual nine day celebration spread over 18 Festhallen in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. It attracts over 1,000,000 visitors annually. While its best-known draws are the beer-based celebrations, other cultural and entertainment attractions also fill the week. The most well-known is the parade held on Thanksgiving Day; as the only major parade on Canadian Thanksgiving, it is televised nationally. (Coincidentally, the closing day of the Bavarian Oktoberfest also lands on the German equivalent of Thanksgiving, Erntedankfest.) The twin cities and surrounding area have a long history of German roots; Kitchener was formerly named Berlin. A large portion of the population identify themselves as being of German heritage, and many still speak German as well. A common phrase at the celebrations is Gemütlichkeit, German for congeniality, or warm friendliness. This word is even programmed into the bus route displays, so during Oktoberfest it will show the route and Gemütlichkeit, or Willkommen.
    Links: Top Ten Oktoberfests, Top 100 Beers, Top Ten Canadian Beers,,_Ontario,
  10. Bonus: Dinosaur Provincial Park

    Dinosaur Provincial Park is located about two and a half hours drive southeast of Calgary, Alberta, Canada or 48 km (30 mi), about a half hour drive, northeast of Brooks. The park is situated in the valley of the Red Deer River, which is noted for its striking badland topography. The park is well known for being one of the richest dinosaur fossil locales in the world. Forty dinosaur species have been discovered at the park and more than 500 specimens, from microscopic fern spores to large carnivorous dinosaurs, have been removed and exhibited in museums across the globe.
    Links: Top Ten Dinosaurs, Top Ten Fossils,,
  11. Gros Morne National Park

           Gros Morne National Park is located on the west coast of Newfoundland. At 1,805 square km (697 square mi), it is the 2nd largest national park in Atlantic Canada (surpassed by Torngat Mountains National Park at 9,600 km2/3,700 square mi). The park takes its name from Newfoundland’s 2nd highest mountain peak (at 2,644 ft/806 m) located within the park. Its French meaning is “large mountain standing alone,” or more literally “great sombre.” Gros Morne is a member of the Long Range Mountains, an outlying range of the Appalachian Mountains, stretching the length of the island’s west coast. It is the eroded remnants of a mountain range formed 1.2 billion years ago. “The park provides a rare example of the process of continental drift, where deep ocean crust and the rocks of the earth’s mantle lie exposed.” The Gros Morne National Park Reserve was established in 1973. It wasn’t until October 1, 2005 that the National Parks Act was applied to the reserve, thereby making it a Canadian national park. The park was the subject of a short film in 2011’s National Parks Project, directed by Sturla Gunnarsson and scored by Melissa Auf der Maur, Sam Shalabi and Jamie Fleming.
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten North American National Parks,,
  12. Bonus: Lunenburg

           Lunenburg (2006 population: 2,317), is a Canadian port town in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia. Situated on the province’s South Shore, Lunenburg is located on a peninsula at the western side of Mahone Bay. The town is approximately 90 km southwest of the county boundary with the Halifax Regional Municipality. The town was established during Father Le Loutre’s War.
  13. Bonus: Nahanni National Park Reserve

           Nahanni National Park Reserve in the Dehcho Region of the Northwest Territories, Canada, approximately 500 km (311 mi) west of Yellowknife, protects a portion of the Mackenzie Mountains Natural Region. The centerpiece of the park is the South Nahanni River. Four noteworthy canyons reaching 1,000 m (3,300 ft.) in depth, called First, Second, Third and Fourth Canyon, line this spectacular whitewater river. The name Nahanni comes from the indigenous Dene language name for the area, which means “river of the land of the Nahʔa people.”
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten North American National Parks,,
  14. Bonus: Wood Buffalo National Park

           Wood Buffalo National Park, located in northeastern Alberta and southern Northwest Territories, is the largest national park in Canada at 44,807 square km (17,300 square mi). The park was established in 1922 to protect the world’s largest herd of free roaming Wood Bison, currently estimated at more than 5,000. It is the only known nesting site of whooping cranes. The park ranges in elevation from 183 m (600 ft.) at the Little Buffalo River to 945 m (3,100 ft.) in the Caribou Mountains. The park headquarters is located in Fort Smith, with a smaller satellite office in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta. The park contains one of the world’s largest fresh water deltas, the Peace-Athabasca Delta, formed by the Peace, Athabasca and Birch Rivers. It is also known for its karst sinkholes in the north-eastern section of the park. Wood Buffalo is located directly north of the Athabasca Oil Sands.
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten North American National Parks,,
  15. Bonus: Kluane / Wrangell-St. Elias / Glacier Bay / Tatshenshini-Alsek

           Kluane / Wrangell-St. Elias / Glacier Bay / Tatshenshini-Alsek is an international park system located in Canada and the US, at the border of Yukon, Alaska and British Columbia. It is renowned for its spectacular glacier and icefield landscapes as well as for the importance of grizzly bears, caribou and Dall sheep habitat. The total area of the site is over 32,000,000 acres (130,000 square km).
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten North American National Parks,,
  16. Bonus: Horseshoe Falls

           The Horseshoe Falls, also known as the Canadian Falls, is part of Niagara Falls, on the Niagara River. Approximately 90% of the Niagara River, after diversions for hydropower generation, flows over Horseshoe Falls. The remaining 10% flows over the American Falls. It is located between Terrapin Point on Goat Island in New York, and Table Rock on the Ontario side of the falls. Much of Horseshoe Falls is located in Ontario, Canada with the remainder in New York, USA.
    Links: Top Ten Waterfalls,,
  17. Bonus: L’Anse aux Meadows

           L’Anse aux Meadows, “Jellyfish Cove,” is an archaeological site on the northernmost tip of the island of Newfoundland in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Discovered in 1960, it is the only known site of a Norse or Viking village in Canada, and in North America outside of Greenland. Dating to around the year 1000, L’Anse aux Meadows remains the only widely accepted instance of pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact and is notable for its possible connection with the attempted colony of Vinland established by Leif Ericson around the same time period or, more broadly, with Norse exploration of the Americas.
    Links: Top Ten Vikings, Top Ten Viking Artifacts, Top Ten Helmets,,
  18. Bonus: Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

           Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is a buffalo jump located where the foothills of the Rocky Mountains begin to rise from the prairie 18 km northwest of Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada on highway 785. It is home to a museum of Blackfoot culture.
    Links: Top Ten Native Americans, Top Ten Rods/Staffs,,,
  19. Links: Top Ten Coat of Arms,,

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