Canada is the proud parent of 10 provinces and 3 territories, which contain the most land, and fewest people. If you are considering backpacking Canada, you should know that the majority of the Canadian population is located just north of the US border. Why so close you may ask? Few reasons.
- The further North you go, the colder it gets. We’re tough as nails, but not crazy…Well not all of us.
- The Trans Canada Highway (7,821 km) – A super long stretch of road that links all 10 provinces. The majority of the population lives in cities either linked to or damn near close to this highway.
- Keep your friends close… Ah you know the old saying.
A little about each province:
Home to Vancouver & The Island (Local term for Vancouver Island). The NHL (National Hockey League) team Vancouver Canucks. Lots of trees, plenty of mountains. Bunch of rivers. The most hostels are found in this province. 40% of Canadas marijuana is grown in this area. 39% of which is smoked. BC is informally known as the stoner province. Other provinces like to cut it down as much as possible…perhaps out of jealousy of all it has to offer. If you’re keen on picking fruit or trying out WWOOFing this is the place to be. Looking for a job in the Rocky mountains. You can find it here. Oh – and lastly, the 2010 Winter Olympics are being held here. So suit up!
Home of the Rocky Mountains and NHLs Edmonton Oilers & Calgary Flames. A province free of PST (Provincial Sales Tax) – Sidenote: Alcohol seems to be particularly cheaper here. In Alberta you’ll see where Mountains meet Prairies. Home of farmers, cows, big city folk and oil. Informally the Dubai of Canada. A few years back Alberta had so much money from it’s oil it was litterally giving it away ($200) to anyone who resides in Alberta. But like any well that you pump non-stop – things are starting to dry up. Alberta’s a great place to learn how to snowboard or ski. Visit Banff & Lake Louise, enjoy thermal hot springs all year round, go white-water rafting, or saddle up and give horseback riding a shot. Also home of the Calgary Stampede (a huge Canadian Rodeo & Great excuse to dressup like a Cowboy and party. …more
The land of the living skies, as this province likes to boasts. Which isn’t stretching the truth. Its skies are far more pretty than the rest of Canadas. A great place to spot the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) A superb place to find some peace & quiet – by far one of the flatest places found in Canada. Apparently you can watch your dog run away for 2 days. Although according to my Grandpa Elmer it can vary. Over the years Saskatchewan has become the “nerdy kid” amongst the other provinces, and is jokingly made fun of more than others. But once you get to know this “nerd”, it can be one of your greatest friends. With over 100, 000 different lakes. The sunniest province in Canada. Home to Regina (…yes something does rhyme with that) and pot holes. Reginas a great place to “BarStar” it up with people who rarely hear an accent. Check out Dewdney Avenue if you want to hit the strip full of Clubs, Pubs, and Bars. Winter gets “effin” cold…think -40 to 50 degrees (celcius) – Summer gets “effin” hot…think 35 to 40 degrees celcius. All in all, well worth the 10 hour drive from Calgary. …more
Another prairie province – but finally not so land locked. Home of the Hudson Bay & the only Canadian Arctic Sea Port. Home of Lake Winnipeg, the tenth-largest fresh-water lake in the world – which is a superb place to check out during the summer. A very cool place to explore, home to a bunch of uninhabited islands along the Eastern shore. Manitoba is also home to Winnipeg and has earned the nicknames “Polar bear capital of the world” & “Baluga capital of the world” – If you’re feeling adventurous head out on a tour in autumn and see Polar Bears in their natural environment. If indoors is more your thing, I’m sure you can find a place to have a drink in one of Winnipegs hundreds of bars & pubs. Due to its size, more music events take place here than its neighbour to the west Saskatchewan. So be sure to keep on eye out on Ticketmaster.ca for any shows in the area. …more
According to Lonely Planet, Ontario is the bees knees of Culture, Cuisine and sophistication… although I don’t know how true that is, because one time, I heard a guy from Ontario fart. The most populated province in Canada, and second largest after Quebec. Home to the Nations Capital, Ottawa, and the provincial capital, Toronto (most populated city in Canada). A lot of local Canadians insist Toronto is an American city on the wrong side of the border, but I suggest you reserve those judgments to yourself. Most Torontites/Torontians/Toronteers/ and Torontonians take offense to this. Toronto is located right near the Great Lakes and a great place to hop around from if you plan on visiting the Yankee side of things, including the Big Apple itself (New York City). Ontario is home to the Niagra Falls, warm summers, The Toronto Maple Leafs, approximately 20 tornados per year, and London of coarse, Which is a wild city that mimics the Patron City down to street names and even a Thames River. Ontario is also the birthplace of the majority of famous Canadians, including… Rachel McAdams, John Gosling, Jim Carey, Mike Myers, Tom Green, Wayne Gretzky, Alex Trebek, Avril Lavigne, Rush, Barenaked Ladies, Howie Mandel & yes, even Shania Twain. Ontarios got plenty of places to eat, drink, party & experience the multicultural side of Canada. …more
Birthplace of Poutine, Celine Dion, and possibly the French language (sources unconfirmed) – This province is Frances baby, it shot this knuckle child out way back when North America was considered the “New World”. Quebec is full of culture, cuisine, fine dining, cafe au lait, and yes, French people. This place can rock your socks. For one, its relatively cheap compared to the majority of places in Canada. It is also the home to the Montreal Canadians. A great time can be found on just about any night. What’s great about this place, is if you speak French, you rock that much harder here, and even if you don’t, the majority of Quebecers speak English too. Quebec is packed full of old Rustic buildings, particularly in Montreal & Quebec City. If you’ve digested a little too much culture, perhaps you need to vomit. In which case, what better place to do it than in the wilderness. Quebecs full of trees, mountains, parks, and the eastern coast! Be sure to escape the big cities, it’s the small towns where you’ll truly find your own piece of Canada. …more
Latin for New Scotland – and for good reason. It’s strikingly similar to the Scottish highlands. Trees upon trees over hills, rocky coasts, icy seas and friendly locals. If you’ve grown sick of the Canadian Accent – fear not, Nova Scotia is a reprieve from that. Actually most of Eastern Canada is. It’s somewhat, not so American sounding. Maybe you’re craving some delicious sea food – There isn’t a restaurant here that doesn’t serve lobster, fish, scallops and other ocean crustaceans. Even McDonalds serves lobster – see the “McLobster”. Home to Halifax – a very cool party city with great sights, sounds, rustic buildings and a youthful feel to it. Keen on surfing in the Atlantic? Check out Lawrencetown – and on the way – be sure to stop at some of the coastal towns along the way. Always lots to see and do in Nova Scotia. …more
One of the three Maritimes provinces, home to both English, and Francophones (primarilary the Acadians). If you’re keen on checking out the Bay of Fundy, home to the Worlds Highest Tides (16m or 50ft for you imperialists), it’s just a short drive. It’s definately worth visiting, especially if your an admirer of all things aquatic. You might find the East of Canada a refreshing change with its shorter distances between sights. It’s rare that you’ll find yourself ever travelling more than a few hours in this province. Like all Eastern Canadian provinces, you’ll find a fare share of rustic buildings, significantly influenced by the French and English. Just a heads up for everyone planning on visiting Saint Johns. It is home to the steepest main street in Canada. King Street can rise 80 feet in the span on two city blocks. So hitting the Stairmaster may not seem so farfetched if you plan on a long stay. If walking amongst humans isn’t your thing, and you fancy yourself a Whale Watcher, you should be happy to hear that New Brunswick has a wide variety of whales and many different whale watching tours. …more
The most Eastern province in Canada is sure to knock your socks off. Newfoundland and Labrador are the proud owners of its own dialects of English, French, & Irish. Its home to the most pubs per square foot in Canada, humbly located on George Street. Some facts you may like to know: Newfoundland & Labrador are home to the most sexually active people in Canada, also home to the most Attractive people, and are apparently the Funniest people in Canada. Now that I think of it, perhaps they were joking when I found out the first two facts…? You’ll have to go there and find out. But if half of what I write is true, then Newfoundland & Labrador is definitely worth checking out. …more
What do you get when you take a tiny island, and call it a province. P.E.I! Prince Edward Island is the birthplace of confederation. It is most commonly remembered as the setting for Lucy Maud Montgomery’s book, Anne of Green Gables. For over four decades the musical play, Anne of Green Gables, has performed at the Charlottetown Festival (Mid May to Oct). If your ear is itching for music, then P.E.I can definitely help scratch it. The arts in this area alone is worth checking out. Be sure to go for a walk around Charlottetown, you’ll find countless different stores housed in brick buildings, all of which have a way of luring you in. …more
A piece of advice, practice your J-stroke ahead of time. The amount of rivers and lakes here will seduce you one way or another to find yourself a canoe or kayak and explore some of the wildest terrain found in Canada. During winter the land in this area becomes the frigid winter wonderland you’ve all heard of. If visiting the Arctic Circle is somewhere on your bucket list, you’ll be pleased to hear that it bisects the NWT. Solitude is easy to come by here, the density of population here would give Manhattan a whopping three people. Home to moose, bear, caribou and bison. Northwest Territories displays nature at it’s finest. Hop on the nearest dog-sled and find out.
The newest, largest, and least populated Territory in all of Canada. There are approximately 30,000 people spread across the area roughly the size of Western Europe. Nunavut remains the only area in Canada never to be fully conquered by Europeans. Approximately 85% of the population in Nunavut are Inuit. In 1999 they gained Democratic Control of the area. Home to polar bears, dog sledding, Caribou hunting, mountains, cliffs, the arctic circle, and the Northwest Passage. The Arctic pace truly does take effect here. Travelling through this area can be extremely frustrating, but should you have the time and expenses to make it in this rugged territory you’re sure to be pleased.
The Yukon is synonymous with adventure. This is the place for a unique Canadian road trip. Pack an extra tire or two, because roads around here can be as rough as the terrain. Home to Mount Logan, the highest peak in Canada, which sits at 5,959 metres (19,551 ft). Home to Robert Service, One of Canada’s most famous poets who captivated the world with his poems “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” and “The Cremation of Sam McGee.” Spend a weekend partying in Whitehorse or try the Sour-toe cocktail in Dawson City, which is basically a highball with a twist of human toe. Yep, you heard right. But remember, in order to join the club, you’ve gotta kiss it. Now if toe kissing just isn’t your thing, you can always get more in touch with all this nature that’s around. If hiking’s on the agenda then Tombstone Territorial Park is the place to be, just remember to pack your insect repellent!