Canada

Majestic mountains, wicked adventure sports, top hiking trails, cultured cities, a vibrant arts scene and some of the friendliest folk you'll find in the world make Canada a top destination to visit all year round.

Canada Tours & Travel

All our Canada trips

Canadian Rockies

15 days from
USD $2,200
CAD $2,270
AUD $2,225
EUR €1,530
GBP £1,285
NZD $2,475
ZAR R22,270
CHF FR1,855

Get set for pure adventure on this tour of the Canadian Rockies. Travelling from Vancouver, visit Banff, Jasper,...

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Chicago, Niagara & New York

10 days from
USD $2,930
CAD $3,025
AUD $2,970
EUR €2,265
GBP £1,715
NZD $3,305
ZAR R29,685
CHF FR2,745

Travel from Chicago to New York via Canada. Travel to Toronto, visit Niagara Falls and make a stopover in Montreal...

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Grand East & South USA

29 days from
USD $8,455
CAD $8,725
AUD $8,555
EUR €5,885
GBP £4,945
NZD $9,525
ZAR R85,635
CHF FR7,125

Get a rich picture of American life on a city-hopping tour of North America's east and south. Visit New Orleans, New...

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New Orleans to New York

19 days from
USD $5,050
CAD $5,205
AUD $5,115
EUR €3,780
GBP £2,955
NZD $5,695
ZAR R51,155
CHF FR4,575

Get a diverse American experience on a trip that loops from New Orleans to Louisville, to Toronto to New York.

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East Coast Loop

29 days from
USD $7,865
CAD $8,115
AUD $7,960
EUR €5,885
GBP £4,600
NZD $8,860
ZAR R79,645
CHF FR7,125

From New York to New Orleans, Toronto to Montreal, get a fresh and diverse taste of North America on a vibrant, city...

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Great Cities of America

29 days from
USD $8,455
CAD $8,725
AUD $8,555
EUR €5,885
GBP £4,945
NZD $9,525
ZAR R85,635
CHF FR7,125

Toronto, Boston, New York, New Orleans, Nashville and more – discover the diverse treasures of the USA and Canada.

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USA & Canada City Explorer

20 days from
USD $6,320
CAD $6,520
AUD $6,395
EUR €4,400
GBP £3,695
NZD $7,120
ZAR R64,010
CHF FR5,325

From Toronto to New York to New Orleans, get a diverse experience of the USA and Canada’s top cities.

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Canada Family Holiday

12 days from
USD $2,195
CAD $2,375
AUD $2,165
EUR €1,595
GBP £1,295
NZD $2,565
ZAR R23,320
CHF FR1,935

Take a walk on Canada’s wild side while surrounded by stunning scenery. Enjoy a remarkable fortnight exploring the...

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Best of Western Canada

11 days from
USD $3,885
CAD $4,005
AUD $3,930
EUR €2,705
GBP £2,270
NZD $4,375
ZAR R39,340
CHF FR3,275

Travel through Canada. See the Rocky Mountains and get active in Jasper National Park and Banff. Enjoy the big cities...

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USA & Canada Express

15 days from
USD $2,050
CAD $2,115
AUD $2,075
EUR €1,425
GBP £1,200
NZD $2,310
ZAR R20,770
CHF FR1,730

An Overland adventure through Canada and the USA. Visit New York, Niagara Falls, Quebec, Montreal, Washington, Boston...

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Anchorage to Mexico City

52 days from
USD $5,590
CAD $6,060
AUD $6,001
EUR €4,091
GBP £3,400
NZD $6,629
ZAR R59,445
CHF FR4,945

Travel along the spine of North America and the centre of Mexico on a tour that takes you from the mountainous climes...

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Baffin Island Explorer with Greenland (Sea Explorer) 2015

13 days from
USD $9,820
CAD $12,105
AUD $11,870
EUR €7,170
GBP £5,950
NZD $13,220
ZAR R118,815
CHF FR9,885

Breathe in the crisp air and immerse yourself in the best of the Canadian Arctic, from the historic Beechey Island to...

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Iceland Circumnavigation (Ocean Nova) 2015

12 days from
USD $6,995
CAD $8,610
AUD $8,445
EUR €5,105
GBP £4,245
NZD $9,405
ZAR R84,535
CHF FR7,035

Cruise the coast of Iceland and discover its wild scenery, delightful villages and quirky culture. Visit the Blue...

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Greenland & Canada's High Arctic (Sea Explorer) 2015

13 days from
USD $9,820
CAD $12,105
AUD $11,870
EUR €7,170
GBP £5,950
NZD $13,220
ZAR R118,815
CHF FR9,885

Get up close and personal with the wildlife, landscapes and local communities of the Arctic, from Greenland to the...

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Anchorage to Ushuaia

207 days from
USD $15,565
CAD $16,865
AUD $16,535
EUR €11,385
GBP £9,190
NZD $18,460
ZAR R165,510
CHF FR13,775

Travel the length of the Americas from North through Central and to the very tip of the South. From Anchorage to...

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Canada trip reviews

Our Canada trips score an average of 4.75 out of 5 based on 4 reviews in the last year.

Canadian Rockies, May 2014

Canadian Rockies, May 2014

Articles on Canada

Girl wins an Intrepid trip on the radio, completely loses her mind (in the library)

Posted on Thu, 6 Nov 2014

Sometimes, things happen in life that make you completely lose your mind. For one Intrepid Travel fan, it was the trip of a lifetime that did it.

Read more

How to use your power for Earth Hour

Posted on Wed, 12 Mar 2014

Everyone has power to make real change and impact in the world. Including you. Join in this years Earth Hour on 29 March, and you will be part of the [...]

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Exploring Canada’s gentle giants

Posted on Thu, 29 Dec 2011

Katy Rockett put away her passport for this trip and felt on top of the world in her home country of Canada...

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a curling canada question

Posted on Wed, 3 Aug 2011

Ever wondered firstly how you can explore Vancouver Island on a budget and secondly, do Canadian's really play curling?

Read more

Transport

Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.

Depending on which trip you're on while in Canada, you may find yourself travelling by:

Accommodation

Travelling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.

When travelling with us in Canada you may find yourself staying in a:

About Canada

At a glance

Trips Available: 1
Capital city: Ottawa (population 808,000)
Population: 34 million
Language: English, French
Currency: CAD
Time zone: (GMT-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)
Electricity: Type A (North American/Japanese 2-pin) Type B (American 3-pin)
Dialing code: +1

Best time to visit Canada

Canada's vast land mass makes for varying climate conditions, but generally, Canada gets quite cold - sometimes extremely! December - February are the coldest months and can make travelling difficult at times, although the snow is brilliant for snow-sports enthusiasts.

June, July and August are the warmest months, and are perfect for summer outdoor activities like rafting, hiking, camping and canoeing. Due to the warmer temperatures, tourist spots and other popular places will be busier than other months. The months of May and September, while not typically as warm as the summer months, still offer great conditions for travelling and sightseeing, minus the crowds.

Banff weather chart Vancouver weather chart Winnipeg weather chart

Culture and customs

Ice hockey
Anyone who has been to Canada will know that the Canadian stereotype is actually quite accurate. Well known for being welcoming, friendly, funny, hockey-mad, adventure-loving, sports enthusiasts, Canadians generally do a good job of living up to their reputation.

Large cities like Vancouver are a cultural melting pot of nationalities, and attitudes towards different ways of life are generally quite liberal. This can be seen in the variety of cuisines, shops and people that populate the city.

Known for loving the outdoors and enjoying adventure, both city-dwelling and rural-living Canadians typically remain active with hiking, cycling, canoeing and snow boarding all popular past times, no matter where they live.

The Eastern side of Canada has a decidedly different quality to the West Coast, and retains much of its colonial heritage with the French language being widely spoken and French-influenced food and music being popular.

Canada is also home to native people, with the people of the First Nations and the Inuit in the north calling Canada home. Like many indigenous people and tribes around the world, the people of the First Nations have an ongoing struggle in retaining and protecting their customs and heritage. Modern influences have had a negative impact on their culture and lifestyle, yet despite this, many still actively live and promote a traditional way of life, through the making of tribal music, handicrafts, art and clothing.

Eating and drinking

Maple syrup and pancakes

Intrepid believes that one of the best ways to experience a country is by eating! Whether you're sampling street food, savouring a cheap eat or indulging in a banquet, there are endless options to choose from wherever you are in the world.

Things to try in Canada

1. Poutine

French fries topped with a gloriously messy mix of gravy and cheese curds may not be for everyone, but Poutine is a true Canadian classic… and the perfect hangover cure!

2. Seafood

If visiting the West Coast, Vancouver is known for having one of the best restaurant scenes in the world, and seafood is almost always on the menu. Feast on a fresh seafood banquet, try some inventive fusion-cuisine or grab some sushi for a quick bite.

3. Boutique Beer

Over the last few years, microbreweries have been popping up all over Canada. Whether you visit a microbrewery that brews chocolate-flavoured beer or eat at a restaurant that has a local beer menu, a Canadian boutique beer is worth trying.

4. Maple Syrup

It comes as no surprise that maple syrup is popular in Canada! So be sure to dose up your pancakes with loads of the stuff… and include a side of bacon too, as the locals do.

Geography and environment

Banff mountains Elk
Canada is BIG! This is clear when looking at a map but even more obvious when travelling in Canada (after driving all day you could still be in the same province). With such a large land mass, it comes as no surprise that the environment varies widely depending on which area of Canada you are travelling in.

Sitting in between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans, Canada shares a long land border with the United States in the South, and Alaska (US) and Greenland in the North. Mountains, forests and woodlands feature heavily throughout the country, with relatively flat prairies and plains dotted around also, providing arable land. There is much ice and tundra in the Arctic North, with only a few communities choosing to live there.

Although a sparsely populated country, the cities of Canada are well-populated and built-up, although not overly crowded or busy. Expect skyscrapers, malls, the odd traffic jam and all the modern conveniences expected of contemporary cities. Parks, trees and public-art beautify most cities in Canada, and provide sweet relief to travellers and locals alike. Smaller communities exist in more remote areas, with quaint villages on both coasts relying on fishing, tourism and agriculture as main sources of income. Expect a slower pace of life, low-density housing and much less buzz than when in the city.

History and government

Olympics statue in the snowy mountains

Early History

Canada has been occupied for centuries by different native tribes (some nomadic), who lived their lives with a strong connection to their ancestors and the earth. These people have recently become known as First Nations people. Living by hunting, gathering and fishing, the ability of First Nations people to live in a traditional way was greatly diminished once the French and British settlers arrived in Canada in the late 1500s. With colonisation, many First Nations people became dispossessed, with loss of land to development and the widespread hunting of bison creating food and land shortages.

France and England fiercely competed for Canadian territory over the years, with the lucrative trade of fur being a commodity worth fighting for. After hundreds of years of fighting, the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1763, making Canada officially a British Territory.

Recent History

The British North America Act was passed in 1867 and with this, Canada became a self-governing state. After suffering major loss of troops in World War I, Canada was granted relative independence from Britain in 1931. Currently, Canada is still a member of the Commonwealth but the British monarch only retains a ceremonial role in the running of the country. More recently, Canada has continued to flourish as a nation, with wide-scale immigration leading to increased multiculturalism and a resource boom strengthening the economy. Playing host to the 2010 Winter Olympics, Canada is increasingly becoming known as a liberal, tolerant nation - home to legalised gay marriage, universal health care and some of the most liveable cities in the world.

Top Picks

Polar bears Whitewater rafting

Top 10 Outdoors Experiences in Canada

1. Beautiful Bears

Seeing polar bears in their natural habitat will take your breath away. Get out and explore the outskirts of Churchill in a tundra vehicle to get up close to these magnificent creatures.

2. River Rafting

The Kicking Horse River is an amazing channel of churning white water. For a dose of adventure, try whitewater rafting on this formidable force of nature.

3. Sensational 'Snowscapades'

Make the most of Canada's abundance of snow by getting out there and having fun in it! Channel your inner child and make snow angels or have a snowball fight with friends.

4. Majestic Mountains

The Rocky Mountains of Canada are well-known for a reason - their imposing beauty is unforgettable. Take in the epic landscapes while hiking and don't forget to have a camera handy to capture the best panoramas.

5. Cycle Adventures

Hop on a bike for some two-wheeled fun and pedal through stunning scenery in Whistler. Tear it up by racing a friend or go slow and take in the amazing views.

6. Stanley Park Perfection

A walk around Vancouver's Stanley Park will see you taking in gorgeous scenery, interesting sculptures, historic totem poles and beautiful birdlife. Stanley Park provides a slice of nature close to the city.

7. Enchanted Camping

Nothing beats getting away from it all to camp among the quiet stillness and natural splendour of the pristine Canadian wilderness.

8. Animal Encounters

Keep watch for deer, moose, caribou, bald eagles and timber wolves while hiking through the wilds of Jasper National Park in Alberta.

9. Giant Glaciers

Be astounded by the immense size and cool beauty of Canada's gigantic glaciers. Perhaps take a thrilling ride on an ice mobile to experience it all up close.

10. Hit the Hot Springs

Take a refreshing soak in the Yukon Territories Hot Springs. Immerse yourself in the soothing waters of this outdoor haven and feel your aches and pains melt away.

Shopping

China town in Vancouver

Canada may be home to one of the world's largest malls but the shopping experience certainly doesn't end there. The diversity of Canada's population is reflected in the eclectic mix of boutique stores stocking unique artisan wares, modern art, eco fashion and pop culture objects.

Major cities like Vancouver have an abundance of interesting boutiques and galleries stocking literature, bespoke items and vintage posters while smaller towns are great for locally-produced gourmet food, wine and quirky kitsch souvenirs. The China Town areas of major Canadian cities offer a great shopping experience and are generally excellent for top-value market-buys, cheap eats and interesting sights. Choose to snap up bargains and major labels from chain stores and malls, but head for independent shopping strips, boutique shops and markets to find unique treasures and support local artists and creators.

It's also a good idea to check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to bring certain items back into your home country. Australia and New Zealand generally have strict quarantine laws.

Things to buy in Canada

Festivals and Events in Canada

Calgary Stampede

This 10-day hoedown in the Rocky Mountains features rodeos, parades, barbecues and more cowboy hats than you can poke a stick at.

Montreal International Jazz Festival

More than 3,000 performers from over 30 nations entertain millions of travelling and local hip cats in this annual celebration of jazz.

Canada Day

No matter where you are in Canada, come July 1 you'll know that it's Canada Day! Canadians celebrate this national holiday with parades, fireworks, parties, concerts and barbecues. Be sure to get in the spirit and celebrate with the locals.

FAQs on Canada

CANADA TOURIST VISA
Australia: Not required
Belgium: Not required
Germany: Not required
Ireland: Not required
Netherlands: Not required
New Zealand: Not required
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Not required
United Kingdom: Not required
Tipping is very much a part of the culture in Canada. Tipping is expected in restaurants and cafes, and is not already included in the bill. Generally, add 15% to the bill or feel free to tip a higher amount if the service is particularly good or you're feeling generous. Overall, it's your choice but remember that wait staff are usually receiving the minimum wage, which is quite low in Canada. Tipping taxi drivers and valet attendants is also customary.
Internet access is good in Canada, and it's easy to find in most cities and towns. Hotels, hostels and internet cafes are usually the best places to access the internet.
Mobile phone coverage is generally very good in Canada but coverage may be patchy in remote areas such as national parks and other mountainous places. Ensure global roaming is activated before you enter Canada.
Western-style, flushable toilets are the standard in Canada.
Cup of coffee = 1.70 CAD
Local bus fare = 2.25 CAD
Budget takeaway meal = 5 CAD
Restaurant meal = 20 CAD
Drinking water from taps in Canada is considered safe unless otherwise advised. For environmental reasons, try to use a refillable water bottle rather than buying bottled water.
Major credit cards are accepted by most retailers and restaurants in Canada. As in most countries, be sure to carry adequate cash for smaller purchases.
ATMs are very common in Canada, so finding one won't be a problem in most towns, cities and suburbs.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: [site:intrepid_insurance_link]
Jan 1 New Year's Day
Mar 29 Good Friday
Mar 31 Easter Sunday
May 20 Victoria Day
July 1 Canada Day
September 2 Labour Day
October 14 Thanksgiving
November 11 Remembrance Day
December 25 Christmas Day
December 26 Boxing Day

Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays in Canada go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/canada/public-holidays

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

From Australia?

Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

From New Zealand?

Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

From Canada?

Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

From US?

Go to: http://travel.state.gov/

From UK?

Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/

The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/

Responsible Travel

Canada Travel Tips

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Top responsible travel tips for Canada

1. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.

2. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.

3. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.

4. Canadian cities generally have excellent public transport options. When sightseeing, try to use buses, trains or monorails - or even better, walk.

5. When camping or visiting national parks, refrain from feeding native animals or leaving food out.

6. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.

7. It’s not uncommon to encounter bears within campsites and national parks. Intrepid leaders have been trained for these situations and will inform the group on how to 'bear proof' the camp. There’s no reason to be alarmed as it is extremely rare for bears to attack humans. In this case, follow the instructions of your leader at all times.

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
Sacre Bleus: An Unsentimental Journey Through QuebecTaras Grescoe
ConsolationMichael Redhill
Burden of DesireRobert MacNeil
The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and GreedJohn Vaillant
The Vancouver Stories: West Coast Fiction from Canada’s Best WritersIntro by Douglass Coupland