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Northern Lights | © Blachford Lake Lodge / Martina Gebrovska
Northern Lights | © Blachford Lake Lodge / Martina Gebrovska
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17 Bucket-List Experiences You Must Have in Canada

Picture of Kate Horodyski
Updated: 28 December 2017
There are non-stop adventures and activities in Canada, and narrowing down the must-do experiences isn’t easy. However, Culture Trip whittled down the options to bring you the top bucket-list items.

Driving the Cabot Trail

Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island has been named one of the most beautiful islands in the world, and its Cabot Trail is its crowning glory. A drive through the trail gives you stunning views and is full of fun stops along the way. For the most epic scenery, take the trip during the fall and admire the autumn colors.

Skiing the Rockies

Canada’s Rocky Mountains offer some of the best skiing conditions in the world, among many other activities, including heli-skiing, hiking, and snowshoeing. Oh, and they are unbelievably beautiful.

Skiiing Banff Lake Louise Tourism Paul Zizka
The Rocky Mountains | © Banff Lake Tourism Tourism / Paul Zizka

Visiting Parliament Hill

Canada’s House of Parliament sits in a gorgeous group of stone buildings set against the Ottawa River. In addition to tours, many activities take place around Parliament Hill, including daily yoga classes and light shows.

Parliament Hill Ottawa Tourism Neil Robertson
Parliament Hill | © Ottawa Tourism / Neil Robertson

Go to the Calgary Stampede

For one week every July, the city of Calgary transforms into the home of the Calgary Stampede, the self-proclaimed Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. You’ll find live concerts from country music’s top stars, bull riding, horse shows, and so much more.

Visiting a Maple Farm

Did you know that 75% of the world’s maple syrup comes from Quebec? Learn more about the process, and enjoy some delicious samples at one of the many maple farms around Eastern Canada.

Sugar Shacks in Quebec, Sucrerie de la Montagne
Maple Farm | © Sucrerie de la Montagne / CTC

Wine tasting in the Okanagan

British Columbia’s Okanagan region is the wine destination in the country. Set against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, you’ll get to enjoy some of the country’s best wines and best views.

Experiencing the Northern Lights

While often elusive, the Northern Lights are without a doubt one of the most amazing natural phenomena. When the conditions are right, you’ll get the chance to admire them from many northern regions, including the territories and northernmost portions of many provinces.

Northern Lights Blachford Lake Lodge Martina Gebrovska
Northern Lights | © Blachford Lake Lodge / Martina Gebrovska

Visit polar bears and beluga whales in Manitoba

In the winter, Churchill, Manitoba’s polar bear population outnumbers the human population! And in the summer, nearby Hudson Bay fills with beluga whales! Go on a polar bear excursion or a beluga snorkeling trip and have the unforgettable experience of getting up close and personal with these beautiful creatures.

Getting Screeched In in Newfoundland

Not an original Newfie? No problem! All it takes to become an honorary Newfoundlander is a short ceremony, known as a Screech In. All you have to do is recite a poem, take a shot of Newfoundland rum, and—brace yourself—kiss a frozen cod. Thousands of people flock to the province every year to participate in this unique ceremony.

Screech Canadian Tourism Commission
Screech In | © Canadian Tourism Commission

Go to a hockey game

Did you know that Canada’s official sport is actually lacrosse, not hockey? Unofficially though, hockey is number one in the hearts of Canadians. Taking in an NHL game will give you a taste of what true hockey fans look like!

Explore the National Parks

Canada is home to some of the most stunning parks in the world, and they are an amazing way to experience the country’s varied geography. From marveling at the fjords in Newfoundland’s Gros Morne Park or relaxing in a hot spring in one of British Columbia’s many parks, there is something for everyone.

Gros Morne Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism
Gros Morne National Park | © Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

Kayak through Hopewell Rocks

Head to the Bay of Fundy to discover the Hopewell Rocks, one of New Brunswick’s most famous landmarks. These giant rocks, carved from the nearby cliff-lined shores, are a sight to be seen. When the tide is out, you can explore them on foot, or enjoy a kayak ride when the water levels are up.

Enjoy a seafood dinner

If you’re visiting any of the coastal provinces, a seafood dinner is a must. From wild salmon to lobster to shellfish, Canada has it all.

Oysters Discover Halifax
Oysters | Courtesy of Destination Halifax

Explore the Athabasca Sand Dunes

When you think of Saskatchewan, you probably think of nothing but wheat fields, right? But the province is also home to the world’s most northerly sand dunes. Located in Athabasca Sand Dunes Provincial Park, they can reach up to 30 meters (98 feet) high.

Check out Niagara Falls

Canada shares Niagara Falls with the United States, but the Canadian side is definitely the most awe-inspiring. The falls are breathtaking and well worth a visit—just don’t spend too much time in Niagara afterward because it’s tourist central!

Niagara Falls Canadian Tourism Commission
Niagara Falls | © Canadian Tourism Commission

Skate Ottawa’s Rideau Canal

Ottawa’s Rideau Canal is the longest natural skating rink in the world, and it attracts over 20,000 visitors per day during the winter months! It’s especially busy during rush hour when thousands of locals commute to work on skates. It doesn’t get much more Canadian than that.

Drive (or take a train) from coast to coast

Canada is such a massive country that you can’t just go to one city or province and say you’ve seen it. From ocean to prairies, from mountains to ice fields, this country has it all, and the best way to experience it is a cross-country commute. Enjoy the flexibility of driving yourself, or kick back and enjoy the view via a cross-country train.

Roadtrip Tourism Jasper
Canada | © Tourism Jasper