The four seasons are fully felt in Canada. Summers are warm, winters bring snow and in autumn the Maple leaves fall. The country as a whole spans around 10 million square kilometres so weather is quite diverse. The more north you get the colder it is. Ice roads and even permafrosts are a part of life in some places here. Winter takes place in some regions earlier than others, but officially begins on the Winter Solstice in December. During this time snow falls in the higher regions and in some areas the temperatures can reach as low as -25 degrees. From mid June through to mid September is Canada’s summer. South Canada and the mid region can get quite hot during these months and 35 degree days are not unusual in July and August. Along the coast line the seasons are less extreme but rainfall is more common.
The best time to visit Canada really depends on your travel style. To ski the slopes - a winter or spring holiday is idyllic. If you’re looking to swim the coast line or explore the wilderness, a trip during the summer will suffice. Autumn is a wonderful time to see Canada ablaze with colour and their emblem, the Maple leaf, at its reddest. Spring is also not to be underrated as the days provide fresh air, sun and swarms of wild flowers. Peak holiday periods usually revolve around Canadian school holidays. The largest break is over summer from July until August. The Christmas break during winter also sees an influx in tourists.
On July 1 the country celebrates Canada Day which marks the joining of three British colonies into the country which formed Canada. The day is celebrated throughout the country with a public holiday featuring parades, fireworks and concerts. If you are planning to travel to Canada in winter be sure to visit Quebec between late January and mid February for the world’s biggest winter carnival.
Airlines that fly from Australia to Canada include:
Direct flights are available from Sydney to Vancouver on Air Canada while other airlines and destinations will include a stopover in Dubai, Asia or the USA. Depending on the stopover location and destination, flights can take anywhere from 29 to 45 hours. Canada has international airports in Halifax, Quebec, St John's, Calgary, Gander, Moncton, Fredericton, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver.
Canada shares two borders with the USA so it’s possible to fly into the US and go from there. Canada has 22 official border crossings so hiring a car in the US and driving to Canada is also possible. If driving yourself doesn’t appeal, Greyhound Busses travel frequently from the USA through to Canada and offer direct connections between major cities.
For a more scenic route, train company Amtrak has routes from Seattle to Vancouver and New York to Toronto and Montreal, with services running daily.
Shuttle ferries from the northern coasts of American travel over the border and disembark in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Vancouver Island.
Hidden amongst Canada’s serene ski fields, Ski Lodges make for a cosy abode to retreat to after a day of action on the slopes. This boutique form of accommodation boasts restaurants, health spas, heated spas and saunas, not to mention some of the most outstanding views. Shuttle transport to and from the ski fields are also available. View Ski Holiday options
Soaring above the city skylines or nestled by ski fields is where you will find many of Canada’s luxury hotels. These grand buildings offer lavish facilities, a high level of service and panoramic views of night lights or majestic mountains. Luxury hotels are often part of a reputable chain and make for a plush home away from home.
Balance your adventure holiday with a touch of serenity by staying at an indulging Spa Resort. Spend your mornings sweeping down slopes and your afternoons enjoying feel-good pamper sessions at the spa. Spa Resorts are ideal accommodation for couples and those looking for an indulging escape. Talk to our Spa Holidays expert
To find out more about the range of holiday accommodation available with Travel Associates call 1800 017 849 or enquire online.
Sights to See
Canada is home to many natural wonders, none more beautiful than a glacier. Many tours, like the Columbia Icefield Glacier Experience, allow visitors the unique opportunity to walk on the surface of the glacier. If you’re heading to Canada purely to carve things up on the ski fields, then skiing the famous Whistler fields in the Rockies is a good choice. Whistler is the largest ski resort in North America spanning 8,100 acres and over 200 marked trails.
Niagara Falls may be more famously known as American but almost one-third of the falls lie in Canada. In Ontario you can see where the falls begin, hear the roaring thunder of the water plummeting and get a good idea of how powerful the force behind it is. A range of tours from Toronto are available to educate and help you get the most out of your visit.
Old Montreal, known to locals as Vieux Montreal, is a beautifully persevered old city. French is mostly spoken here and the city has a distinct European feel. Visitors can easily spend a day here walking through enchanting alley ways, exploring countless art galleries and sampling delicious French cuisine.
Don't leave home without...
No matter what time of year you go to Canada, you are going to need to pack for the seasons. Snow jackets, rain coats, hiking boots, hats, swimsuits, winter jumpers – preparing for the climate is essential.
Bring a back pack in addition to your suitcase to take with you on day trips. A water-proof back pack is a plus.
Canada has a culturally diverse society and a lot of their customs are based on the specific region, the religion they practice or their family’s ethnicity. As a nation most of the country celebrates Christmas, New Year, Halloween and Thanksgiving. Typically known as an American holiday, Thanksgiving in Canada is celebrated on a different day; the first Monday in October.
Ice hockey is Canada’s national sport and is believed to have originated in Montreal. Today there are teams all around the country competing in local and national leagues, not to mention international and Olympic tournaments. Canadians are very passionate about ice hockey and enjoy an on-going rivalry with the US.
Things to be careful of…
The fancy maple syrup bottles sold in tourist shops are over-priced and don’t always guarantee the best quality syrup. Do as the locals do and buy it from the supermarket. You can find unique packaging and tins here and more importantly the syrup usually tastes better.
Be careful not to fall into tourist traps by purchasing items at popular attractions. If you want value for money, shop around, eat where the locals eat and for souvenirs, seek out genuine Canadian items.
In Canada tipping is expected and if you’re not used to giving tips it can get a little tricky. How much you tip is up to you and how satisfied you were with the service. To give you an idea though, people generally tip around 10 to 20 per cent in restaurants, hotels and for other services. Just remember that a lot of service workers, particularly waiters in restaurants, rely on tips for their income. If you’re not happy with the service it is better to say something than to just leave without giving a tip.