From east to west
Here are a few highlights to wet your appetite for the incredible diversity of attractions awaiting you, from natural to man-made and those in-between.
Right down in the southerly of Southern Ontario, bordering New York state, booms this incredible display of hydrodynamic power - nature at its wildest and most primal, staying more or less in place for centuries for your viewing pleasure. A rich history of spectacular wrecks, wild stunts, and the lingering romantic resonance of a million honeymoons, as well as a bustling tourist network in the city and surrounding area, both provide pleasant window dressing; but in the end the thing stands on its own: its really amazing how long you can watch water falling over a cliff.
WEST EDMONTON MALL
Let's forget about all this talk on nature, the wild outdoor, the scenic landscapes and let's concentrate on our 'great indoor' characterized by the biggest shopping mall in the world: the West Edmonton Mall. The mall accounts for more than a thousand commercial establishments: shops, bars, theatres, hotels, restaurants and much more! Its most spectacular attractions are:
- The world's largest man-made indoor lake, and its very own submarines
- The World's largest indoor amusement park and water park
- An NHL-size ice rink
- 2 luxury hotels, including elaborate theme rooms (explore the jungle inside a hotel inside a mall!)
Everywhere you'll see elaborate faux-architecture - the tumbledown front of a New Orleans-themed restaurant; classical columns; a pirate ship; vast neighbourhoods of clothing stores, media stores, food courts, furniture, electronics; skylight-illuminated courts at the intersection of halls, or perhaps avenues is a better term. There's something absurd about it all - something incredible, and well-worth seeing.
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
On the western coast of Vancouver Island, the real western limit of the country, this national park is a strip of coastland with the open Pacific on the west, and a mountain range on the east, blanketed by lush temperate rainforest. Its 75 kilometres of shore provide rugged coastline, sandy beaches, sandstone ledges, caves, tidal pools and waterfalls. The ocean is rich with flora, fauna and shipwrecks, making this park popular with scuba divers; who join the hikers, surfers, and cyclists (on the inland trails).
Hopewell Rocks, Bay of Fundy
The Bay of Fundy, on the Atlantic Ocean in New Brunswick, fills and empties of 100 billion tonnes of water twice a day. The scope of this incredible tidal feat can be experienced most immediately at the Hopewell Rocks, where it's possible to walk on the ocean floor during low tide. The Rocks themselves are elaborately eroded spires of brown stone, their mystery revealed by the low tide and shrouded again at high tide, leaving only the green sprays of flora which have led to their nickname, the "flowerpots". An interpretive centre, caving, biking and kayaking round out the experience. But that's just a taste. We haven't even started on the badlands of Alberta, Montreal's Olympic stadium, Quebec City's fortified walls, the thousands of peaks of the Rocky Mountains, the polar bear reserves on Hudson's Bay, tiny Prince Edward Island villages, Cabot Trail...
So check out our hostel descriptions to see what's nearby each one, as well as any number of Canada tourism websites.