The New Year is always a reason to look ahead and toast the future, but for Canadians, 2017 promises to be a year to remember, partly because this is the year we celebrate our 150th Birthday! There are activities and activities going on all across the country, with some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes as a backdrop for all the fun, making Canada the best place to travel this year.
But don’t just take our word for it…
Canada Named No.1 Travel Destination in 2017!
The New York Times agrees that Canada is THE place to be in 2017 – they’ve just named us the Number One destination to explore this year, and not just for the birthday fireworks in Ottawa on July 1st! So if you’re looking for ways to enjoy everything we have to offer, let’s start with these 5 uniquely Canadian ways you can be part of the biggest year-long party Canada has ever thrown!
1. Say “Bon anniversaire” (Happy Birthday) in MontréalAs it happens, there is more than one party happening in 2017…Canada may be marking its 150th Birthday this year, but we’re still a spring chicken, compared to the city of Montréal, which turns 375 in 2017! But don’t let its age fool you – Montréal is as youthful and vibrant as ever, and their full calendar of events proves that they will be using this excuse to throw a huge city-wide party all year long. From neighbourhood flash mobs, to art installations, to urban line-dancing parties, the city will be augmenting their already world-famous festivals with dozens of activities and events in all 4 seasons, starting now. There’s even an ambitious, interactive lighting display planned for the Jacques Cartier bridge that promises to be spectacular!
2. Cross Off a Canadian “Signature Experience” From Your Bucket List
If you are looking for a coast-to-coast breakdown of some of the best Canadian experiences, Destination Canada has made it easy to discover them through their list of country-wide Signature Experiences. From Lighthouse picnics in Newfoundland where you can perch on the edge of the continent and watch whales go by, to walking on the ocean floor in the Bay of Fundy, this collection of exciting and uniquely Canadian experiences is enough to fill up any traveller’s wish list.
Is “glamping” in a boreal forest your style? We’ve got that. Are you on the hunt for spectacular Northern Lights? Check. Or do you want to learn more about Aboriginal culture? Whatever you can imagine, when it comes to experiencing Canada, this Bucket List runneth over! The best thing about this Signature Experiences Collection is that it offers travellers the chance to come home with a story, not a souvenir, and the range of adventures and activities is as varied and exciting as the Canadian landscape itself.
TIP: If you’re looking for inspiration for your next great adventure, you’ll definitely want to check out the full list of Signature experiences.
3. Explore our National Parks and Historic Sites with a FREE 2017 Discovery Pass
There’s no better way to discover Canada than with a 2017 Discovery Pass, your free ticket to all of Canada’s National Parks and Historic Sites from coast to coast. The pass gives you free entrance to any of the more than 200 National Parks and Historic Sites from Nunavut to Newfoundandland, and covers not just one person, but the entire group who is travelling together. (Think of it as Canada’s 150th Birthday present to you!)
For a complete list of Parks and historic sites, check out the Parks Canada website.
TIP: Note, this pass does not cover Provincial Parks, only National ones, but there are more than enough of those to keep you busy for the whole year!
4. Take an Off-The-Beaten-Path Road Trip
If you’re short on time, or just want to uncover some of Canada’s hidden gems, check out this list of places that I recently researched for MacLean’s magazine, all of which are within a 2-hour drive of a major centre. These 12 destinations cover everything from unique art installations like Screaming Heads in Burk’s Falls, Ontario, to places where you can sleep in a floating yurt on a lake in Carleton-sur-Mer, Québec. Whether you’re visiting Saskatchewan or Prince Edward Island, you’ll find something on this list that many locals don’t even know about!
5. And Finally, Be Part of the Party in Ottawa!
If a country had a city as its birthday cake, Ottawa would be Canada’s. Every July 1st, this city lights it up with a spectacular party and fireworks display on Parliament Hill, but 2017 promises to take it to a whole new level. Not only will their annual festivals like February’s Winterlude be bigger and better than ever before, but the city is planning a series of once-in-a-lifetime experiences to surprise and delight visitors who come here throughout the year. And of course, the official 150th Birthday celebrations on Canada Day will be the biggest birthday bash the country – and the city – has ever thrown!
Whether you are a Canadian yourself or a visitor, Canada’s 150th Birthday is the perfect excuse to Keep Exploring all of the unique and wonderful experiences this country and its people have to offer.
TIP: If you are planning on visiting Ottawa on July 1st, you’ll want to book your hotel soon! This place will be selling out fast, now that we’ve officially switched the calendars to 2017.
Because if I had to think of something to wish for as I blow out our birthday candles, I honestly think Canada already has everything anyone could want.
Jane Canapini is a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada and the North American Travel Journalists Association. She established GrownupTravels.com in 2014 to share information and tips based on personal experience so her readers could get the most out of their travels.
I really haven’t explored much of Canada in recent years. I’d really like to see Hopewell Cape’s dramatic rock formations though, and since my siblings all live in New England, I think I’ll check it out on my next trip back home!
Hopewell Rocks are definitely worth making a trip to see (and apparently the lobster rolls in New Brunswick are even better than those in Maine! This came from a U.S. couple we met when we were there!)
Love the Signature Experience and off the beaten path road trip plans. Canada has so much to cover, I could get lost there for the whole year. That would be fun.
I think these Signature Experiences are a terrific way to market Canada, too. I actually worked on a campaign years ago which used the tagline ‘The World Needs More Canada’, and I think it’s as relevant today as ever.
Great roundup, Jane! I’m pretty excited myself – I ordered my pass too. 🙂
I think this year might be a good one for a road trip, and the Discovery Pass might just be the kick in the pants I need to get out there! (Plus Henk’s never been west of Ontario!)
Such a great list! And thanks for the reminder re: Discovery Pass. Just ordered mine now!
Glad I could help! I ordered my Discovery Pass a few weeks ago, after the site recovered from a huge influx over the holidays. (I guess we’re not the only ones anxious to get ours)
What a fantastic variety of things to do! I hope to get back to Canada before too long.
My challenge is always when to go where, since Canada is so big and in order to do any place justice, we need to spend a little time there. Hope you get to visit this year, too.
Happy Birthday Canada! Sure hope we can come up for a visit again this year to help celebrate.
Yes, you certainly had a chance to see some of our sights this past year, and it looked like you enjoyed yourselves! This year will be even better, I think.
It’s going to be a year-long party for sure. Can’t wait to get my parks card in the mail! Happy Birthday Canada!!
Me, too. Then the question will be, which Park(s) to visit!
Reading your post made me even more proud of our country and gave me some travel ideas for the rest of the year!
I still have so much of Canada to see, and writing this post lit a fire under me to do more travelling here at home.
I remember when we turned 100. A school trip to Expo 67 and I was bitten by the travel bug forever. I’ll be home in Nova Scotia this summer, and I’m looking forward to all the festivities.
I remember that year too and I remember that was also when Montreal had Expo 67. (which we didn’t make it to until 1969, but as kids, we didn’t know!)
This are so many amazing things to see in Canada. I love exploring my home country. I really enjoyed the off-the-beaten track list. There are a couple not all that far from my home I should check out.
I think everyone is getting a little excited about exploring Canada this year – sometimes all we need is a good excuse…like a year-long party!