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Those expecting Canada to be a blander version of the US should check their assumptions at the door. Canada's wild northern frontier, which has etched itself into the national psyche, and its distinct patchwork of peoples have created a country that is decidedly different from its brash neighbor.
It's the edginess between Canada's indigenous, French and British traditions that gives the nation its complex three-dimensional character. Add to this a constant infusion of US culture and a plethora of traditions brought by migrants, and you have a thriving multicultural society.
CANADA TOURS AND TRAVEL:
Niagara Falls Tours,
Quebec City Tours,
BANFF Tours, Travel and Activities
The small, rustic alpine-style village of Banff Town, 86 miles (138km) west of Calgary, is a destination in its own right. Filled with chic restaurants and bars, outdoor-oriented shops and even some worthwhile museums, this national park hub attracts several million visitors a year.
In July and August the normal population swells by 25,000. Although this can cause problems, the many vacationers create a relaxed and festive atmosphere.
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JASPER Tours, Travel and Activities
Jasper is in Jasper National Park in the Rocky Mountains of Canada. Is the largest of Canada's Rocky Mountain Parks and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Jasper spans 4,200 square miles of broad valleys, rugged mountains, glaciers, forests, alpine meadows and wild rivers along the eastern slopes of the Rockies in western Alberta. There are more than 1200 kilometres of hiking trails (both overnight and day trips), and a number of spectacular mountain drives.
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MONTREAL Tours, Travel and Activities
Montreal's charm lies in its relaxed atmosphere rather than its star attractions. Nonetheless, this city has managed to carve out a place for itself as Quebec's economic and cultural center.
Quebec's largest city has always kept one foot in the countryside, although mighty skyscrapers have sprung up among the city's churches. During the day, the city has a typically North American bustle - though French-speaking Montreal takes pains to retain its linguistic heritage.
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NIAGARA FALLS Tours, Travel and Activities
Spanning the Niagara River between Ontario and upper New York, the thundering falls are one of Canada's top tourist destinations, drawing over 13 million people annually. They look good by day and by night, when colorful spotlights flicker across the misty foam.
Originally a Neutral Indians village, Niagara-on-the-Lake, a small town about 12mi (20km) downstream (north) from Niagara Falls, was founded by Loyalists from New York State after the American Revolution. Today it's considered one of the best-preserved 19th-century towns in North America.
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OTTAWA Tours, Travel and Activities
With Ottawa's Silicon Valley North high-tech sector, burgeoning ethnic population, two universities, expanding nightlife, scrumptious international food and progressive outlook, it's a city that is looking ahead.
An abundance of museums and cultural activities is another enticement that helps attract the five million tourists who arrive each year. And with generous green spaces, exceptional recreational trails and air unfouled by heavy industry you'll notice people walking, jogging and cycling everywhere.
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QUEBEC CITY Tours, Travel and Activities
With Quebec City is the rather European-flavored capital of Quebec province. The city is divided between an Old Town bristling with historic ramparts, churches, narrow lanes and former battlefields, and districts revamped with museums, cafes, bars, restaurants and all the other mod-cons of international tourism.
In 1995, all of Quebec province voted in a referendum to decide whether it should separate from the rest of Canada and become an independent republic. The 'No' vote won by less than one percentage point.
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TORONTO Tours, Travel and Activities
Although the famous Niagara Falls is nearby, Toronto isn't a city with a checklist full of attractions. But its summer festivals, the spicy corners of its markets, the beachfront boardwalks and the music pouring out of its neighborhood eateries will surely seduce you.
This is Canada's business capital and largest city, a clean, safe and vibrant metropolis where real estate prices are high and blood pressure levels are low. A center for Anglo-Canadian culture, it's also one of the great ethnic melting pots of the world.
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VANCOUVER Tours, Travel and Activities
There aren't many cities in the world that offer Vancouver's combination of big-city lifestyle and outdoor fun in such cheek-by-jowl proximity. Ski in the morning, sail in the afternoon and still make it back to town in time for a cocktail or three.
Vancouver is still a city of new immigrants - wander the streets and you'll hear a dozen different languages. The city also attracts young professionals and artists from the eastern provinces who come here to enjoy its recreation and laid-back sophistication.
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VICTORIA Tours, Travel and Activities
British Columbia's stately provincial capital, Victoria lies at the southeastern end of Vancouver Island and enjoys a mild climate thanks to the shelter afforded by the Olympic Peninsula, which looms across the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Washington State.
Today Victoria remains the most English of Canadian cities, graced by the province's finest colonial architecture and making good use of its attractive harbor setting, with a host of pubs, restaurants and minor attractions overlooking the water.
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WHISTLER Tours, Travel and Activities
Whistler is BC's world-renowned winter center for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and all manner of snowbound activities. From Horseshoe Bay north to the mountain town of Whistler, the Sea to Sky Hwy (Hwy 99) affords mountain scenery to rival the Rockies.
Alas, the area's blessing (its proximity to the Vancouver metro area) is also its curse - it can get damned crowded up here.
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