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, an area of beautiful natural wilderness incorporating 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 the glamorous Rocky Mountaineer , the railway track through the Rocky Mountain National Park passes along unique spiral tunnels that allows the train to ‘climb’,whilst the full-length dome windows and reclining seats maximise the breathtaking scenery.
This cosmopolitan city features over a thousand acres of cultivated gardens and woodland and an eighteen-kilometre-long paved trail winds around the city, join the locals either on foot, by bike or on roller blades for an authentic way to discover the city. Stanley Park's thousand acres of forest and gardens include Vancouver Aquarium, a children's' farmyard and miniature train, as well as tennis courts, a cricket pitch and several excellent beaches. Take the ferry to Granville Island Public Market for last-minute gifts and souvenirs to take home; this rejuvenated industrial sector is one of Vancouver's greatest success stories, home to a host of craft and art galleries, restaurant,s theatres and a very popular food market.
Families will enjoy Cascade Ponds, with its shallow waters, swimming and barbecue areas whilst the summer-based Banff Culture Days offer self-guided walks, town events, open heritage homes and artist demonstrations.
Admire the two sets of waterfalls at Athabasca Falls on the Icefields Parkways, accessed via various steps and walkways. Alternatively, take a boat cruise on the stunning Maligne Lake or plunge into the natural mineral waters of Miette Hot Springs.
The waters around Tofino are rich in salmon and halibut and, between March and May, Grey Whales stop to stock-up as part of their migration to the Arctic Ocean, while 'resident' Grey and Humpback whales can be viewed between June and November.
A superb year-round destination, Whistler's emerald-green forests, spectacular lakes and surrounding mountains are the perfect setting for the outdoor-loving family. Between May and October, a local Researcher offers guided tours through the cedar forests of Whistler and Backcomb Mountains, some of Canada's most pristine Black Bear habitat. A number of Black Bears make their home here, providing you with excellent opportunities to see their dens and feeding sites - you may even be able to watch a mother and her cub at play.
Canada's Great Bear Rainforest, in British Columbia, allows you to view Grizzly Bears in their natural environment. Only a maximum of sixteen guests can stay at one time, allowing privileged guests to spend their days observing the bears and discussing the day's adventures while dining on gourmet cuisine and wine in the evening.
Black & White Adventure
For a truly astonishing and unique eco-safari experience in the wilds of rural western Canada and the Arctic, the Black & White eco-adventure is inspired by the hues of the creatures you'll encounter on your journey: some are coloured in shades of black and others are snowy white. In the UNESCO-protected biosphere reserve and rainforests of Clayoquot Sound, there are opportunites to view - at close quarters - Black Bears, Orca and Grey and Humpback Whales, while in the Arctic area of Churchill, Manitoba the possibility of viewing up close magnificent Polar Bears, inquisitive Beluga Whales and Arctic birds is very real indeed.
• The Kids' Market at Granville Island's Public Market features specialist shops and play zones to delight children of all ages
• The Kidding Around programme, offered by Four Seaons Resort Whistler, will keep children occupied and offers dinner, arts and crafts, movies, games and bedtime stories
March through to July enjoys moderate temperatures, cooling at night, while July and August are the best months, cooling from September to December when the winter arrives and days and nights are cold. The guide below is for Vancouver.
Please be advised that tornadoes can occur almost anywhere in Canada. May to September are the main tornado months, peaking in June and early July in southern Ontario, Alberta, south eastern Quebec and the stretch from southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba through to Thunder Bay. The interior of British Colombia and western New Brunswick may also experience tornadoes.
These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for Canada.
British Airways and Air Canada direct from London Heathrow to Vancouver and Calgary.
Virgin Atlantic from London Heathrow to Vancouver.
From London Heathrow to Vancouver: 9 hours, 30 minutes. London Heathrow to Calgary: 8 hours, 50 minutes.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Electronic Travel Authorisation - From March 15th 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada will need an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA). Exceptions include US citizens and foreign nationals with a valid visa. This new document is required for most International arrivals to Canada, with the exception of the USA. Guests can apply now for an ETA. First, answer a few questions to make sure that you need an ETA and then apply for one online. The ETA is electronically linked to your passport and is valid for five years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. To apply you must have a valid passport, credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express or a pre-paid Visa, MasterCard or American Express) and an email address to complete the online form. The ETA is currently $7. This process has been in place for outbound travellers to the US for quite some time (non-Canadians) and is very simple. For some countries, such as the Netherlands and the UK, only an ETA will be required, but for many other visitors (i.e. Mexico and South America), they will also require a Visa. Please visit www.canada.ca/eta.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.