I can’t tell you – yet. I haven’t ever been to Canada but I am on my way right now. Well, technically I am only flying out to Canada on Wednesday but I am at the airport in London right now, flying to Germany to go to Canada from there next week.
First time in a new country, let’s get the basics down first:
- Canada only has 35 million inhabitants. What? That’s like 4 people per square kilometre. Compared to Germany that has 232 and India with 426 people crammed into one square kilometre.
- It’s the globe’s second biggest country. Cool, if you have a scratch map at home, that’s a whole lot to scratch off with only one visit!
- It has two national languages. English and French – although for someone like me who has learned proper Parisian French, I don’t understand a word of what they’re saying.
I am lucky to say that I won’t get to know Canada as a typical tourist. I am visiting my dear friend Corrie at her home in Cochrane, Alberta. This girl is lucky in saying that for her, paradise is right around the corner. Here’s my top ten bucket list for Canada:
According to Lonely Planet “Discover Canada”, Banff is the number one highlight in all of Canada. Yup, I can see why. Even Lonely Planet can’t describe Banff without getting caught up in clichés: rugged mountains with snow-glazed peaks, turquoise-coloured lakes and and a jaw-dropping scenery make you want to pinch yourself.
Just like Banff, Canada is definitely showing off its beauty with Jasper National Park. A less-touristy version of Banff that’s a bit more untouched, much bigger and has many more bears, elk, caribou and moose.
Canada’s national dish. Although I am sure most Canadians are sick of hearing this and are defending themselves when it comes to Poutine being their culinary flagship. National dish or not, I am definitely in. Fries with cheese and gravy are always a win!
Of course you have to visit Alberta’s capital. Defined by its flourishing oil and gas industry, I am sure it has a very distinct character that I have never seen in a place before. Unfortunately I am going to miss the Calgary Stampede, the city’s yearly highlight, showing off the Province’s cowboy-like culture!
A town just at the edge of Banff National Park. Wherever you turn in Canmore, you can see the mountains. Well if this is not selling it for you, then I don’t know what is.
6. Glacier Skywalk
Well, I am torn between terrified and amazed with this one. Opened in 2014, this is the newest attraction in Jasper National Park. I mean, who doesn’t dream of standing on a thin glass floor hovering above a canyon filled with sharp mountain ridges?! Urgh.
…or Promenade des Glaciers is a 230km long section of Highway 93, going from Lake Louise in Banff National Park to Jasper National Park. It’s said to be one of the most spectacular roads in the world.
8. Sylvan Lake
A typical summer retreat for Albertians. There’s not much more to say, just taking some time off to breathe and relax during this dissertation madness.
Corrie’s hometown. A rural city with just below 20,000 inhabitants – I can’t wait to get out of the city and dive into the life of rural Canada.
Last but definitely not least, this is the real reason I am travelling to Canada. I am going to attend my “first real wedding”. I am very grateful to being able to celebrate the life and love of two beautiful and inspiring people.
They say, go some place you’ve never been before each year. I can happily scratch that off my bucket list!