With the spectacular Rockies to the west and The Great Lakes in the east, Canada’s vastness encompasses a diverse landscape.
Whether it is trekking in the mountains, coming face to face with a bear in the wilderness or spending time with a First Nations community, Canada has something for everyone: spend a day at the Calgary stampede, see polar bears in the Arctic or experience the vibrant city life of Toronto, Ottawa or Vancouver.
There are two official languages in Canada, English and French, although there are many native languages as well. Quebecois French differs from its European source, in style and accent.
Food and drink
In an area as large as Canada and Alaska the cuisine varies widely from region to region. Cities are hugely cosmopolitan, with all the cuisines of the world represented, and in urban centres such as Montréal there are plenty of restaurants putting a North American twist on their Gallic heritage.
The Pacific coast has developed its own Pacific Rim Fusion Cuisine, while the Atlantic regions have access to some of the world's freshest and largest lobsters amongst a wealth of other seafood. Inland meals are more likely to be made up of locally-raised meats, with barbecues and steaks a traditional favourite; servings are often generous.
North American breakfasts can be a real highlight and will often include eggs, pancakes and maple syrup or continental breakfasts that involve great spreads of cheeses, patés and hams.
Money and expenses
The official currency is the Canadian Dollar. Canadian Dollar travellers cheques can be exchanged at all major banks, international airport and foreign exchange bureau points. Some shops will also accept them as long as they are presented with your passport.
All major credit cards are widely accepted and you will also be able to access Canadian currency from ATM machines as long as you have your four digit pin-code.
A Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 5% is applied to most purchases, including food and beverages, throughout the country and is not included in the price advertised; this will be added at the point of sale. Most provinces also charge a Provincial Sales Tax which varies between each province but is never more than 10%, this is also added at the point of sale.
When to go to
This vast country experiences many varied climatic differences. In winter temperatures in the central provinces plummet well below freezing whilst the summers are generally long and hot.
The coastal regions are more equable, if generally prone to more rainfall, and the northern regions experience a very short summer, which can be surprisingly warm, usually lasting no longer than a few weeks.
As a rule of thumb, travel conditions are good from the beginning of May through to September, with the shoulder seasons offering some lovely scenery and fewer visitors.
Winter is the season to travel for some of the world’s best winter sports.