When thinking about Canada the question is never whether to visit but where to go when you land. Just ask Julie, who's our Canada specialist, with the papers to prove it.
From the coastal scenery of Alberta to the Prairie Provinces with their wheat-filled fields and from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, this country is extravagant in its diversity. Each area has its own charm; exceptional wildlife viewing, exciting cosmopolitan cities, remote lodges and resorts, ranch stays, rail journeys and cruises.
In partnership with our friends at Prestige Holidays, we present a flavour of this special country to whet your appetite, plus some trip itineraries if you don't want to craft your own adventure.
Getting to Canada
Choose from at least 5 major airlines, including scheduled flights from Heathrow and Gatwick. Canada is the second-largest country in the world (it has 6 time zones), so flight time varies from 7 to 9 hours from the UK, depending on destination.
Canada's gateway cities thrive, but each one has a distinctly different appeal.
Gateway to Nova Scotia with easy driving access to Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. Halifax was founded in 1749 as a British garrison town and is located on one of the world's largest natural harbours. We recommend a 2 to 3 night stay.
Gateway city to the province of Quebec. Think cobblestone streets and horse-drawn carriages amid a blend of glass and steel buildings which sit side-by-side with quaint bistros and brasseries. Again, a 3-night stay is recommended.
Canada's largest and most cosmopolitan city. Perhaps best known for the CN Tower but it also boasts a world-renowned theatre district. Stay up to 4 nights, especially if visiting Niagara Falls on a day trip.
Home of the 'Greatest Outdoor Show in the World' otherwise known as the Calgary Stampede. Gateway city to the Alberta Rockies, its attractions include the Calgary Tower, Glenbow Museum and Heritage Park Historical Village. Three night stay recommended during Stampede.
Surrounded by soaring peaks, sparkling beaches, placid harbour waters and dense rainforests, Vancouver truly is one of the most magnificent cities in the world. So much to see and a minimum stay of 3 nights is recommended.
The Great Outdoors
Canada is perfect for outdoor activities, sightseeing and wildlife viewing. The opportunities are endless and include all provinces.
Scenic highlights include the world-famous Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia, Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland and Hopewell Rocks in the Bay of Fundy which also has the world's highest tides. Wildlife viewing includes whale watching, moose & black bear viewing and seals.
Canada's oldest & largest province has a unique Gallic charm with scenic highlights including Saguenay Fjord, one of the world's longest inlets, the magnificent Laurentian mountain region, a year-round resort area of lakes, forests and mountains and its stunning autumn colours rivalling New England. Enjoy the St Lawrence River including its resident beluga whales. Montreal hosts the Formula 1 Grand Prix in June, Mount Tremblant is a premier ski area and each year there's an Ice Hotel on the outskirts of Quebec City.
Visit Niagara Falls, one of the world's natural wonders; Algonquin Provincial Park which is less than 3 hours' drive north from Toronto for wilderness and wildlife and Manitoulin Island for authentic First Nations culture.
Visit Churchill and get up close to polar bears, snorkel with beluga whales in Hudson Bay, view the Aurora Borealis and see how money is made at the Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg. The province has a strong First Nations culture and Riding Mountain National Park offers scenery, wildlife and birds.
Enjoy natural hot springs, visit the mountain resorts of Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper, walk on the surface of Athabasca Glacier and drive the Icefields Parkway. At all times keep a watch out for wildlife as the national parks teem with animals such as black and grizzly bear, elk, deer, moose, mountain sheep and goats.
The province offers some of the world's finest wildlife viewing, from grizzly and spirit bears in the Great Bear Rainforest to orcas and black bears in Whistler. The Okanagan Valley is a premier wine producing area and the lakes offer a myriad of boating activities and beaches. World class salmon fishing is readily accessible from Campbell River, and Vancouver is the gateway city for cruises to Alaska.
Alaska/ New England Cruises
From Vancouver and Seattle you have a wealth of choice: round-trip cruises or one-way from where you can add a land tour of Alaska. The perfect itinerary is to start the holiday in Calgary, travel through the Rockies to Jasper, then Rocky Mountaineer to Vancouver to stay for 1 or 2 nights depending on cruise departure and ending with a 7-night Alaska cruise returning to Vancouver for the flight back to UK. This itinerary requires a minimum of 14 nights and typically 16 nights is perfect.
Another option is small-ship cruising within Alaskan waters such as a 7-night round-trip cruise from Juneau. These expedition ships take you to places the larger ships can't reach such as inlets and bays to view glaciers, icebergs, pristine forests and dramatic fjords, all the time watching out for whales, bald eagles, seals, bears and a large variety of sea birds.
Canada is often seen as a couple's destination but it really is ideal for families.
We understand that travelling with children means some long daily drives may not be desirable, and multiple-night stays may be preferable.
Our suggestion would be 3-night stay in Toronto, followed by 2-nights in Niagara Falls, 4 nights at Blue Mountain Resort and ending with a 5-night stay at Deerhurst Resort at Huntsville.
Plan it for me
We will help to create any Canadian adventure you desire, but here are a couple of recent itineraries to stir the senses:
Rockies Rail & Alaska Cruise (17 days, starting in Calgary)
Day 1 Calgary with overnight stay
Day 2 coach to Banff with overnight stay
Day 3 transfer to Lake Louise with overnight stay
Day 4 transfer to Jasper with overnight stay
Day 5 Jasper, day at leisure
Day 6 Rocky Mountaineer to Kamloops
Day 7 Rocky Mountaineer to Vancouver with 2-night stay
Day 8 Sightseeing in Vancouver
Day 9 Alaska cruise – 7 night roundtrip on ms Volendam
Day 10 Inside Passage cruising
Day 11 Juneau, Alaska
Day 12 Skagway, Alaska
Day 13 Glacier Bay cruising
Day 14 Ketchikan, Alaska
Day 15 Inside Passage cruising
Day 16 dock in Vancouver for overnight stay
Day 17 transfer to Vancouver Airport for flight home
Prices from £3,162pp based on twin share (£2,082pp without cruise), departures from 26th April 2016.
Flights from £900pp, depending on airline.
Best of the East Self-Drive (14 days, starting in Toronto)
Day 1 Toronto for 2-night stay
Day 2 Sightseeing
Day 3 Collect rental car and drive to Kingston
Day 4 Montreal
Day 5 Montreal sightseeing
Day 6 Quebec City
Day 7 Quebec City sightseeing
Day 8 Ottawa
Day 9 Ottawa sightseeing
Day 10 Huntsville
Day 11 Relax at the resort
Day 12 Niagara Falls
Day 13 Niagara Falls sightseeing
Day 14 drop car at Toronto Airport for return flight home
Prices from £1,534pp based on twin share and standard hotels.
Flights from £690pp, depending on airline.
For more information, contact email@example.com, book an appointment online, call 0208 989 9445 or visit the shop at 134 George Lane, South Woodford, E18 1BA