At a Glance
When to Go
Major international airports are spread across the country from Vancouver in the west to Halifax in the east. Many international visitors choose to arrive at U.S. border cities (e.g. Seattle, WA and Buffalo, NY) and then drive across the border. This can be a cheaper way of entering Canada, but be prepared for traffic and extended waits at border checkpoints during peak travel times.
Major cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, and Halifax have excellent public transportation networks: taking the bus, riding the metro, or hailing a cab is a breeze. Smaller cities and rural towns are walkable, but you'll need a car to get out into the countryside. Public transportation in and out of national parks is virtually nonexistent. The space between metro centers can seem daunting, so consider flying if you wish to cut down on travel times.
Food and Drink
Have you come for the great outdoors, or Winnipeg's Folklorama? Perhaps you're in town for Toronto's MuslimFest, or you made the trek to quirky little Maxville, Ontario, for the Glengarry Highland Games. Massey Hall in Toronto has hosted the world's largest musical acts for decades, while the Quebec Winter Carnival is Canada's premiere winter event. The Edmonton International Fringe Festival, held every August, is the largest and oldest fringe fest in North America.
Canadians love to party. Canada Day (July 1) is celebrated from coast to coast, with Canadians and visitors packing public squares, stadiums, parks, and concert halls for massive festivals. The Calgary Stampede takes over Alberta's largest city every July; Montreal's International Jazz Festival (June 29–July 9) welcomes 2.5 million visitors each year; and Pride, Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival, The Canadian National Exhibition, and the Toronto International Film Festival bring revelry to Ontario's capital.
What the Locals Know
Flash Parker is a writer, photographer, and photojournalist originally from Toronto, Canada. His work has been published by AFAR, GQ Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler, Lonely Planet, USA Today, Voyeur Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Get Lost Magazine, Asian Geographic, Escape Magazine and more; additionally, Flash was nominated for a PATA Gold Award in destination journalism.