You’re Only a True Canada Expert If You’ve Done These 17 Things

Niagara Falls | © Pexels / Pixabay
Niagara Falls | © Pexels / Pixabay
Photo of Hayley Simpson
Writer11 October 2017

Many stereotypes surround Canadians and the Great White North in general. But to be a true Canadian expert, there are some cross-country adventures you need to cross off the bucket list. If you’ve done these 17 things, then you are definitely an expert in all things Canada.

Visited the Calgary Stampede

The Calgary Stampede is a uniquely Canadian tradition, and one of the country’s biggest annual festivals. The Stampede is all about celebrating Alberta’s Western culture through rodeo events, exhibitions, parades, and some of the greatest names in entertainment. You must visit the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth at least once.

Calgary Stampede Statue | © Tony Hisgett / Flickr

Used all forms of Toronto transport

Toronto is the Canadian city using the most forms of public transit: subway, streetcars (the largest system in the Americas), buses, ferries to Toronto Island, and an airport rail link service. An expert would have used all forms of transport in Toronto, and then picked a favorite.

Enjoyed poutine

Only true Canadians would have tried poutine, Canada’s national dish, and enjoyed it. Poutine is available everywhere across the country, including in cafés, restaurants, and food courts. It is a simple dish that consists of three ingredients: gravy, fries, and cheese curds.

Poutine | © Shelby Bell / Flickr

Rolled up the Rim

True Canadians would know the meaning of this immediately. But every year, Tim Hortons (or Timmies for the experts) does a promotion called “Roll up the Rim to Win,” which is exactly what it sounds like. Customers roll up the rim on their coffee cup to see if they’ve won a free coffee or a major prize.

Played both national sports

Although most people would think ice hockey is the only national sport in Canada, it is, in fact, only the national winter sport. Lacrosse is the national summer sport, played in the country since the 1850s. Better get practicing!

Edmonton Oilers hockey captain, Connor McDavid | © canuckeers / Flickr

Visited all provinces and territories

Not many Canadians can say they have visited all 13 provinces and territories, as the territories are the least visited and populated areas in Canada. But an expert would have crossed the border and experienced life in every single one.

Road-tripped the Rockies

All Canadians need to experience the Canadian Rockies once in their lifetime. It’s also necessary to drive along the Icefields Parkway, which links Jasper and Banff and is known as one of the world’s most scenic highways. Bonus points if you visit at least 10 lakes within the Canadian Rockies too. Popular options include Lake Louise, Peyto Lake, and Moraine Lake.

Lake Louise | © Hayley Simpson

Witnessed the Northern Lights

A true Canadian has definitely witnessed the Northern Lights at least once in their lifetime. There are many places across the country where you can see this beautiful phenomenon, including Whitehorse, Yellowknife, Jasper National Park, northern Saskatchewan, and Fort McMurray in Alberta.

Visited Churchill

Churchill is a one-of-a-kind place. It’s only accessible via train or plane (although the train service has had to stop due to damage in May 2017), and it’s the polar bear capital of the world. Although it isn’t easy to get to, the wildlife rewards are worth it. Plus, it’s also a prime spot for viewing the Northern Lights.

Polar Bear Spotting in Churchill | © Emma/Flickr

Had a conversation in French in Quebec

Seeing as English and French are both the national languages in Canada, an expert would know how to have a conversation in both English and French. But seeing as French is rarely spoken outside Quebec, the conversation would have to happen with a native speaker in the French-speaking province.

Stayed at a Fairmont property

Fairmont Hotels and Resorts is known in Canada for its famous historic hotels (basically castles), originally “railway hotels” built by Canadian Pacific Railway and Canadian National Railway. They have properties in most major cities, but the most photographed hotel is the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, towering over beautiful Quebec City.

Stunning Château Frontenac | © Hayley Simpson

Driven on an ice road

Some of the world’s first ice roads (literally a road on a naturally frozen water surface) were built in Canada in the 1930s. They sit in the northern parts of some provinces (such as north of Albany River in Ontario) as well as the sparsely populated territories. Although they are predominantly used by trucks bringing in supplies, pickup trucks, snowmobiles, and smaller cars have also crossed the icy surface.

Hit the slopes at Whistler Blackcomb

Whistler Blackcomb is not only North America’s largest ski resort, but it is also the continent’s most visited. There are over 8,000 acres of skiable terrain on these two adjacent mountains in British Columbia. Fortunately, Whistler is known for its après-ski spots, so this item won’t be too difficult to tick off the list.

Snowboarding in Whistler | © Camp of Champions / Flickr

Visited the world’s dinosaur capital

Only an expert has visited both the polar bear and dinosaur capitals in Canada. Drumheller in Alberta is known as the world’s dinosaur capital. Explore the town and learn more about its past at the world famous Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology. Take a photo with the world’s largest dinosaur statue, and then explore the Alberta Badlands at Horseshoe and Horsethief Canyons.

Gotten up close to Niagara Falls

It may be the country’s biggest tourist attraction, but an expert has visited both the big and offbeat places in Canada. To get the most out of Niagara Falls, a cruise to get up close and personal is mandatory, as is a visit to the picturesque Niagara-on-the-Lake nearby.

Niagara Falls | © Pexels / Pixabay

Skated on one of the country’s largest natural skating trails

The three longest natural skating trails in the world are in Canada. Firstly, the Guinness World Record is currently held by the Lake Windermere Whiteway in Invermere, British Columbia. It reaches nearly 30 kilometers (18.6 miles). Next is the 9.3-kilometer (5.8-mile) trail in Winnipeg, all along the Assiniboine and Red Rivers. Finally, the most famous one is the Rideau Canal Skateway, which stretches for 7.8 kilometers (4.8 miles).

Seen the midnight sun

In winter, it’s all about the Northern Lights in the territories of Canada. But in the summertime, places north of the Arctic Circle become the “Land of the Midnight Sun,” when the sun never sets. A Canadian expert has experienced both phenomena. Imagine tanning at midnight, or sitting on your patio enjoying the golden hour at 2:00 am—this is what it’s like in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.

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