Even though it’s the second largest country in the world, many of Canada’s greatest assets remain unexplored and are all too often overlooked. Perhaps because it’s the unassuming neighbour of the United States or maybe its staggering beauty calls for a pact to keep the nation’s many virtues under tight wraps. Either way, Canada is a country that has been referred to as ‘God’s Country’ time and time again; mostly due to its Eden-like natural splendour that constantly shifts from formidable mountain ranges, to wild salmon-rich rivers and cosmopolitan cities surrounded by the best national parks on the planet – it’s a country of diversity, in terms of both landscape and culture.
Of course, a nation which covers a colossal ten-million square acres of land is crying out to be the domain of outdoor pursuits and, as a result, the Canadians are the masters of a healthy outdoor lifestyle – blessed with the freshest waters, purest air and offering visitors a natural year-round adventure playground with something to suit every physical demand.
A great place to start your Canada holiday is in Vancouver, which nestles between the mountains and the ocean. Stroll through Stanley Park and admire the forests, gardens, beaches and totem poles, ride a cable-car up Grouse Mountain or take a sea-safari to look for seals and sea birds.
From Vancouver you can easily access Vancouver Island, which is the perfect place for an eco-adventure, offering a fabulous education for families. This area of beautiful natural wilderness incorporates landscapes of unspoilt coastline, secluded bays, thick forests, snow-capped mountain peaks and wild rivers. It is quintessential Canada and home to an array of wildlife; you can enjoy outdoor activities, including whale-watching and bear-watching, or go kayaking, horse-riding, fishing or hiking. The wilderness lodges and Canadian hotels showcase some of the country's excellent-quality wine (although produced in Canada, the wines are not exported, so you can only sample them here), along with excellent locally sourced fresh produce that features in superb seasonal menus – ideal sustenance after an energetic day.
The Rocky Mountains are another major icon of Canada and one of the best ways to appreciate the terrain and scale of the mountain range is on a scenic train journey. The railway track through the Rocky Mountain National Park passes along unique spiral tunnels that allow the train to ‘climb’.
Canada remains modest and reserved – as Al Capone once famously declared, "Canada, I don’t even know what street it’s on.". The country has avoided spending much time in the limelight, but it’s probably for the best; the longer it stays unspoilt, the more there will be to enjoy.