8 must-see spots to celebrate Canada's 150th year
Between its breathtaking landscapes, native animals and friendly people, Canada's a holiday destination like none other.
From the laid-back west coast to the arctic north and thriving eastern cities, there's a lot of ground to cover to see everything that Canada has to offer.
This year, as Canada marks 150 years as one big country, we celebrate some of its very best sights and activities.
For skiing and snowboarding, you can't beat the winter wonderland of Whistler in British Columbia. The town, which hosted events during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, is a snow bunny's dream getaway, but there's more to it than just ski slopes. Try your hand at snowshoeing, tobogganing and ziplining, then warm up with a wintery cocktail at one of its many bars – or at the stunning Scandinave Spa.
Head northwest to Yukon Territory to get a taste of Canada's wilderness. Rent a cabin, try your hand at dog-sledding (be warned, it's hard work for a human!), and stay up late to watch the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).
It's also a great region to learn more about Canada's First Nations peoples.
THE REALLY GREAT OUTDOORS
The most beautiful part of the country lies across British Columbia and Alberta, from the Canadian Rocky Mountains down to Jasper and Banff, with lakes a vibrant turquoise.
In spring or summer, go kayaking or rafting on stunning Lake Louise, hike the mountain trails or go bear-spotting.
THE BIG CITY
Toronto is often likened to a friendlier New York, with all the attractions of a world-class city. There's something to see or do at any hour. Take a ride up CN Tower for the best views of the town, wander the beautiful, quiet suburbs and pop into Casa Loma castle, enjoy the dining and culture, and don't miss the live sport – whether it's the Blue Jays, Raptors or Maple Leafs.
From Toronto, it's about an hour and a half's drive to world-famous Niagara Falls, just across the river from New York state.
BE ONE WITH NATURE
If it's wildlife you want, there's plenty to find, right across the country. Head to Churchill in northern Manitoba to see polar bears and beluga whales in the wild, while British Columbia is the best place to spot a grizzly or black bear.
Take a break from North America with a trip to France, in the province of Quebec. Here, most everyone speaks French – one of Canada's two national languages – though in Montreal, you'll find plenty of help in English.
Also visit Quebec City – a marvellous riverside spot known for its old buildings and streets, with a distinctly European vibe. Be sure to try poutine (so much more than just fries with gravy) and an authentic Montreal bagel.
From Vancouver to the Rockies to charming Vancouver Island, there's a lot to love about British Columbia. It's renowned for its year-round beauty, but it really shines in the summertime.
Take a trip back in time in the island capital of Victoria, and take a run or walk around Vancouver's beautiful Stanley Park for interesting harbour views, a lot of squirrels, and the totem poles. And no Kiwi rugby fan should miss the annual Vancouver Sevens.
EAST COAST CHARM
Escape the big-city hustle by jetting over to Nova Scotia on Canada's southeastern tip. On a fine day, visit coastal towns like the quaint Peggy's Cove village, go whale-watching off the rugged coast, or sail across to its quiet islands.
Nova Scotia is big on lobster, and visitors are encouraged to chow down. For a totally different adventure experience, you can also be a lumberjack for a day – or simply hit the wineries in Annapolis Valley.