10 Reasons to Put The Land of Hospitality and Cultural Depth on Your 2017 Vision Board
This year marks Canada’s 150 years as a nation, and to celebrate every city is putting out the good china for travelers and adventure seekers around the globe. Lonely Planet chose Canada as its #1 destination for travelers in 2017 and since we like their taste, EVP interviewed some of the movers and shakers behind the scenes and came up with our top 10 reasons to pack a bag and head on over.
1. Because Entrance to Canadian National Parks is Free in 2017, No Joke
Day visits to 45 national parks and 168 historic sites are complementary to residents and visitors in celebration of Canada’s big birthday—including Banff. If you want to camp you’ll still need to reserve and shell out for sites, but from what Chief Marketing Officer at Destination Canada, Jon Mamela, told EVP, it’s worth every cent: “We are known for our unbelievable outdoor pristine landscapes; visitors are amazed that nature is so close to the doorstep of our cities.”
2. Because the Country is Hosting 41 Music Festivals…THIS SUMMER ALONE
Don’t worry, EVP took notes for you on two of the largest festivals:
Celebrating its 38th anniversary, the Montreal International Jazz Festival (June 28-July 8) is the world’s largest jazz festival according to Guinness World Records, attracting more than 2.5 million people each year. Jazz Fest CEO Jacques-André Dupont explained to EVP how the festival is constantly evolving: “We are always at the top of what is happening in the musical world. We invest a lot to create an experience that will be unique—a true Montreal experience with a latin way of enjoying things but an American way of being efficient. We try to create a village where languages and colors is not important anymore, where what is important is spending a great time together and seeing the artist you love.” Get ready to resist chaining yourself to the stage when the festival ends.
The Festival D’été de Québec (July 6-16) attracts over 1.5 million people and is known for its varied-genre line-up including The Who, Pink, The Backstreet Boys (yes, you read that correctly), Kendrick Lamar and Gorillaz. And one of the biggest draws: this all goes down right in the center of Québec City (known as the small Europe of North America). It’s where Music Appreciation and History classes merge. #Culturemeplease.
3. Because Your Budget Gets Some Breathing Room in Canada
The US dollar and the euro stretch to about 30% more in Canada. Unreal. This means you can experience a whole lot more, while making a whole lot less of a dent in your travel budget. Next round of poutine on you? Thanks for thinking of us.
4. Because Manitoba and Mother Earth Like to Collaborate
President and CEO of Travel Manitoba, Colin Ferguson, filled EVP in on what this province brings to the table. Turns out, in any season you can have some memorable adventures. If you hop on a Winter Northern Safari, you can walk amongst polar bears (weighing in at over 1,000 pounds) or if you head there in the summer, you can swim alongside thousands of beluga whales on a Summer Northern Safari. Also, considered one of the prime spots in the world to see the Northern Lights, Northern Manitoba offers miles of wilderness and more than 100,000 lakes for canoeing, kayaking, and reeling in some big-time walleye. Move over, Minnesota.
5. Because by age 375, Montreal Knows How to Throw a Major Blowout
The Mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre, let EVP in on some events the city is cooking up to celebrate its 375th anniversary in style. A highlight is La Grande Tournée, where each of the 19 boroughs will take turn hosting a festivity with their own unique twist throughout the summer. Bonus: you can take in some French culture without making the haul to Europe.
6. Because Your Next Vacation Could Be Riding the Rails
It’s like a cruise, but on a train! From Vancouver and Calgary to Banff and the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Rocky Mountaineer’s rail routes bob and weave through the most unreal sights and otherwise inaccessible terrain of Western Canada. You’ll see snow-capped mountains, rushing rivers, and hey, maybe even some wildlife from the domed train. And it gets better. Onboard you’ll be treated to three-course, a la carte dining, inspired by Western Canada’s diverse culinary landscape and regions along the rails. Parched? You can dive into some local BC wines and beer as you sit back and enjoy the ride.
7. Because Québec Doesn’t Hibernate
In 2016, USA Today named Québec City “North America’s Best Winter Wonderland,” the Leading Culture Destinations Awards declared it the “Culture City of the Year,” and Travel + Leisure chose it as the “Best City in Canada.” Some of its most coveted events are Carnaval de Québec and the New France Festival.
8. Because of the Best in Film: Toronto’s International Film Festival
Toronto is one of the world’s major cultural hubs. “You see that through the diversity, the cultural institutions, the financial institutions - but at the same time it is distinctly Canadian,” said Executive Vice President of Tourism Toronto, Andrew Weir. The city is the proud host of the Toronto International Film Festival (September 7-17), which is regarded as one of the most influential film festivals in the world.
9. Because “The Mecca of Comedy” Just Happens to be Montreal, No Biggie
Montreal holds the title as the world’s largest comedy event and their Just for Laughs festival (July 12-31) is known as “the mecca of comedy.” Two-million fans flock to choose from 1,500 shows. Stand-up, theatre, films, open-air shows, and television specials—the festivities pour out into the streets of Montreal’s Latin Quarter.
10. Because in Canada Inclusion Isn’t a Trend; It’s a Policy
In 1971, under Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Canada became the first country in the world to adopt multiculturalism as an official policy. This is a country that values all of its citizens and visitors regardless of their racial or ethnic origins, language, religious affiliation, or cultural practices.