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Why Canada should be on your family holiday radar

by LaurettaCWright
Canada on your family holiday radar

When you think of Canada, what springs to mind? Amazing scenery? Skiing on snow-capped mountains? Bears? The Maple Leaf? One of its dynamic cities? Or maybe, like me, it’s a mix of all of these and more?

There’s so much to think about when planning a trip to such a vast country – from where to stay (think cosy cabins for rent in Canada!) and flights, to where to visit and what to get up to; it can be a little overwhelming.

Well, Canada has been on my bucket list for a number of years now – way before I started watching Suits on Netflix and VIP told me that the TV series is actually filmed in Canada and not New York!

Of course the possibility of bumping into the eye candy that is Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) sweetens the deal on choosing Canada as a holiday destination, especially if you are young and fancy free – unlike me.

So I’ll settle for the destination’s other plus points – namely its events, shopping, activities and adventure – and of course the spas and relaxation options.

It really does seem like the destination has something for everyone. Even VIP has mentioned that he has always wanted to visit Canada.

And after a bit of research, it appears that 2018 could be the perfect year to go with the family. Here’s why.

City slickers

Canada’s cities have got it going on right now – and 2018 looks set to welcome more new developments, events and attractions.

Take Toronto as a fine example; even in winter it has that ‘instagrammable’ (is that even a word?) vibe going on, not to mention the free outdoor public art, the plethora of winter sports (both to play and watch) and not forgetting the views from the CN Tower.

And if it’s good enough for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (who were in the city to soak up the atmosphere of the 2017 Invictus Games), it’s good enough for the Wright household.

In fact, Canada’s largest city is a great base to explore wider Ontario and beyond, including Niagara Falls which is around a 90-minute drive from the city.

Canada on your family holiday radar

And if you’re heading to Toronto in winter, then why not get the kids ice-skating? The city has no fewer than 52 artificial ice-rink locations, so you won’t be short on choice.

Alternatively, if you’re a movie buff, then September 2018 might be your ideal time to visit, when the Toronto International Film Festival takes place.

If food is more your thing (I know it’s mine), then the Winterlicious food festival makes an appearance towards the end of January, where more than 200 restaurants take part.

And then of course you have things like Light Festival (January-March), the Pride Festival, Caribbean Carnival and the Toronto Jazz Festival to get your head around. Like I said – something for everyone.

And not forgetting the capital city, Ottawa, of course, which has its fair share of events too including the Winterlude Festival (in February next year), which sees the city transformed into a winter wonderland – sounds magical. Even better is that it’s free!

But don’t just take my word for it; three of the best 20 cities in the world for families are in Canada, according to a recent survey by online real estate portal, Homeday.

Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto were all named amongst the best cities, determined by categories including city infrastructure, maternity laws, healthcare quality, happiness levels, activities for children and expert perception.

Nature calls!

Where better to educate the kids about nature than the home of the grizzly bear? Grizzlies can be seen between spring and autumn (they hibernate in winter) on guided outings.

Mind you, I don’t think I’d want to come across them while venturing out on my own, so a guided tour is probably your best option too – better safe than sorry!

And then of course you’ll also have the option to spot polar bears, wolves, moose, bison and not forgetting the beaver – Canada’s national symbol.

But we’re not done there. I bet you didn’t know you could go whale-watching in Canada? And also spot dolphins, sea lions and seals.

And last but not least, don’t forget to look up! Canada’s vast range of birdlife will have you and the kids mesmerized, particularly if it’s the migratory season when you can expect to see large flocks dominating the skies above.

Canada on your family holiday radar

Get your skates on (or skis!)

I love skiing and I really want to go skiing again – as soon as possible! And to be honest, I can’t imagine a nicer place to go skiing than in Canada – think of some of the amazing backdrops.

Heading into 2018 there are lots of new developments – from new ski areas opening up and accommodation, to guided tours that cater to most people’s whim.

And what’s great about Canada is that the world is your oyster when it comes to skiing, with plenty of places to ‘get your piste on’. Take a look at the Telegraph’s 10 best Canadian ski resorts.

But if skiing is not your thing, then you won’t lose out. How does ice walking, snow tubing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, hot springs or ice hockey sound? And that’s just a tiny selection of the other winter sports on offer.

So, now to make it happen!

If I’ve piqued your interest in Canada, then here’s what you need to know to make a trip happen.

Firstly, you’ve got to apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) – and the best time to apply for one is BEFORE you book your airline fares.

The ETA costs $7 and is valid for five years and you can apply online. But a word of warning – any website that charges more than the $7 is not the official government site – so don’t get ripped off…go to the official one.

Where to go? Probably the biggest decision – and the most difficult given that Canada has ten provinces – Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Saskatchewan. So you'll need to do your research depending on the needs of your family – here's a good place to start.

When it comes to looking at flights, a selection of airlines have you covered including Air Transat, British Airways, WestJet and Air Canada.

Canada on your family holiday radar

Looking ahead to 2018, British Airways is to add another transatlantic route to its summer 2018 schedule from Gatwick.

A three times a week Toronto flight will be taking to the air from 1st May next year, with return fares in World Traveller starting from £453.

Low-cost airline, Primera Air has announced it will start flying from Birmingham and Stansted to Toronto, Ontario in May next year, with three-times weekly flights from £149 one-way including all taxes.

And Air Canada is also jumping on the bandwagon by commencing a new service from Dublin’s Shannon Airport in June 2018.

In terms of spending money, you’ll be relieved to discover that Canada is an affordable holiday destination for most visitors, including us Brits, as the Canadian dollar is weak.

So, if the lure of amazing scenery, great value flights, cosy accommodation and plenty of activities doesn’t tempt you to take a family adventure in the ‘Great White North’, I’m not sure what it would take to get you there…a date with Gabriel perhaps? Nah, just checked – looks like he’s taken.

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why Canada should be on your family radar

43 comments

Cal at Family Makes 30th November 2017 - 8:54 pm

We have some friends who have moved to Canada, and they are living a wonderful life! We’d absolutely love to visit, it looks like such a beautiful and exciting country. A great summary, you’re making me want to go right now…!

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LaurettaCWright 1st December 2017 - 10:27 am

Ah thanks Cal – one day I hope to visit too – it looks stunning. Sounds like you have your accommodation sorted though if you go!

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Leslie Hernandez 27th November 2017 - 8:55 pm

I have actually been to Canada and it’s beautiful there! I would definitely go back there are some other cities I am dying to visit!!

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LaurettaCWright 27th November 2017 - 10:02 pm

That’s great to hear – there’s something for everyone isn’t there?

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Rebekah Jones 26th November 2017 - 8:56 pm

WOW sure looks like an awesome place to visit!! Its not somewhere you automatically think of for a family holiday, but it seems like there is so much to do and learn there … Its now down on my list xx

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LaurettaCWright 26th November 2017 - 10:56 pm

That’s great to hear Rebekah – I’m sure most people can find something great about Canada.

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Olivia Thristan 22nd November 2017 - 6:49 pm

I’ve never had Canada on my travel list but this post is fabulous, I didn’t even know half of this existed in Canada and you had me laughing at if it’s good enough for Harry and Megan it’s good enough for the wrights! Looks like such a lovely place to visit 🙂 x
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LaurettaCWright 22nd November 2017 - 6:53 pm

Thanks Olivia – I’m glad I could bring a smile to you! 🙂

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Kara 22nd November 2017 - 9:03 am

I spent Christmas in Canada a few years ago and would love to go back. It is such a beautiful country and great for skiing

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LaurettaCWright 22nd November 2017 - 9:20 am

I imagine the skiing would be awesome! And so many resorts to choose from too!

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Angela Milnes 22nd November 2017 - 3:19 am

oh Canada is one place I would love to visit in the future. I don’t think I would want to go in winter but for sure in the summer.

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LaurettaCWright 22nd November 2017 - 9:22 am

I’m a summer girl too, but I’d put up with the cold to see the beautiful scenery I think – and go skiing of course!

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Baby Isabella 21st November 2017 - 10:14 pm

The scenery is truly amazing and we’ve love to visiting during the Light Festival. Maybe one day we’d see the beautiful countryside x

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LaurettaCWright 22nd November 2017 - 9:21 am

Yes the Light Festival looks awesome!

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Lilinha 21st November 2017 - 10:03 pm

I would love to visit Canada, seems like a wonderful place. My friends have recently moved there, would be great to see them soon!
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LaurettaCWright 21st November 2017 - 10:07 pm

I’ve heard of all positive things so far, which is great.

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Emily Leary 21st November 2017 - 7:54 pm

I’ve heard nothing but good things about Canada from friends, would love to visit the country or a city there 🙂

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LaurettaCWright 22nd November 2017 - 2:53 pm

Me too Emily – let me know if you ever take the plunge and book something!

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Linda Hobbis 21st November 2017 - 6:01 pm

My husband works for Solace – an IT company whose HQ is in Canada so he goes there every year for his sales week (without us I might add). He says it’s a beautiful country. One day I’m determined we will ALL go!

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LaurettaCWright 21st November 2017 - 7:46 pm

Yes I think you should be demanding that you all go next time!

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Angela Ricardo Bethea 21st November 2017 - 3:59 pm

When I hear Canada, the first thing that always comes to mind to Toronto and maple leaf. I’d love to go there someday and thanks to your tip I would be better prepared.

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LaurettaCWright 21st November 2017 - 6:26 pm

Thanks Angela – I think most people who haven’t been there would like to go.

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Melanie 21st November 2017 - 2:16 pm

I went on a Canada and USE tour last year – Toronto was amazing and Niagara falls really was beautiful x

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LaurettaCWright 21st November 2017 - 6:53 pm

That’s great to hear Melanie – sounds amazing!

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Jen 21st November 2017 - 1:54 pm

My Father used to talk very fondly of Canada. He had visited due to work on ships. So I have always had an interest in visiting. Although sadly never been. I would imagine you’d need more than a two week stop, as there is so much to see and do. Just amazing scenery, and the cities always look fantastic.

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Danasia Fantastic 21st November 2017 - 1:33 pm

I’ve been to Canada once before and I loved it! I want to visit Montreal though.

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LaurettaCWright 21st November 2017 - 6:56 pm

Yes, Montreal sounds wonderful.

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Samantha Donnelly 21st November 2017 - 10:34 am

Canada is somewhere we are going to visit one day, recently we spent a boring Sunday afternoon just chatting about places where we want to go and Canada is number one on our list

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LaurettaCWright 21st November 2017 - 11:46 am

Good call – It’s nice to dream and plan for holidays – especially when it’s cold and wet outside

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Rhian Westbury 21st November 2017 - 9:57 am

I absolutely love Canada and while I’ve only explored it twice it’s always such a lovely place and Niagara Falls is my favourite site in the world (Canadian side of course) x

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LaurettaCWright 21st November 2017 - 11:49 am

Ah – it must have been absolutely magical!

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Ana De- Jesus 21st November 2017 - 12:22 am

I never realized that Canada had so many amazing festivals. I do love the sound Of Toronto Film festival but as someone who thinks about food all time naturally I love the sound of the Winterlicious food festival in January x

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LaurettaCWright 21st November 2017 - 11:49 am

Totally agree Ana. Mind you, I wouldn’t care what festival i was at – as long as i had the chance to see the destination 😉

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Jazmin Williams 20th November 2017 - 11:35 pm

Canada looks and sounds amazing! Definitely one for the bucket list x

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LaurettaCWright 21st November 2017 - 11:48 am

Hear hear!

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Patrick 20th November 2017 - 10:25 pm

I have been to Toronto and while driving can be a bit hairy,the city itself is beautiful and has lots to explore and see. The prices for everything can be a little shocking,so make sure you budget wisely.

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LaurettaCWright 21st November 2017 - 11:48 am

Thanks Patrick – that’s good to know. It would be one of those ‘trips of a lifetime’ for me

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Sarah Bailey 20th November 2017 - 7:04 pm

Canada is definitely somewhere I would love to visit one day, it seems like there is so much to see there and it is such a beautiful country.

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LaurettaCWright 21st November 2017 - 11:49 am

It does Sarah, thanks.

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Joanna 20th November 2017 - 3:10 pm

I have actually been to Toronto in winter and it was great! Part of my trip there was sunny and beautiful, and I could explore the city by foot, while the other part was snowy. It was a wonderful trip and I do want to go back, to explore the National Parks of Canada this time.

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LaurettaCWright 21st November 2017 - 11:50 am

I think it’s one of those places when one trip just isn’t enough…I had best get saving those pennies 🙂

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Helen 18th November 2017 - 2:05 pm

Canada is somewhere that’s been on my wishlist for the longest time too. It has such beautiful scenery. It’s great that low cost airlines are starting to fly there, maybe I’ll get there sooner than I thought!
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LaurettaCWright 18th November 2017 - 5:03 pm

Yes – the airlines are making it much more affordable for Brits to travel there now.

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