Depending on what happens this coming November, you might be one of thousands headed to Canada. If you’re looking for inspiration for something to fulfill your #FirstThingAfterMovingToCanada list, look no further. Here are five of the best things Canada has to offer that you definitely won’t want to miss.

Attend Montreal’s Osheaga Music Festival

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Hosting some of the most important names in the Indie music scene, Osheaga is one of Canada’s largest music festivals, accommodating over 120,000 people over the span of three days. The festival takes place the first weekend of August and has featured the likes of Coldplay, Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, and Montreal locals and legends: Arcade Fire.

The festival itself has five stages, with headliners playing later sets on the River and Mountain stages, newcomers playing early on the Green and Trees Stage, and finally, for electroheads and deephouse fanatics, a slew of incredibly talented DJs and electronic artists play all day at the Zone Picnik Electronik. The festival is non-camping, and consequently, at the end of the last set (shows generally wrap up around 11 pm) the city comes alive with after-parties filled with blissful—and drunk—festival-goers. Passes can be purchased for single days or for the die-hards, three-day passes are also available.

Fun fact: Osheaga comes from the original name for Montreal given by the St. Lawrence Iroquoian people who called their settlement Hochelaga meaning ‘beaver path.’

Visit the Canadian Rockies

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Many who have never visited Canada believe it to be a barren snowy wasteland. And if by barren snowy wasteland you mean breathtakingly beautiful expanse, then you’d be right. Canada is the second largest country in the world (second only to Russia) with a population of only around 35 million (about the same as Poland). This means there are miles and miles of unpopulated land, perfect for hikers and adventurers alike.

Though the list of beautiful Canadian natural locations is endless, the Canadian Rockies may take the crown. For west-coasters, the Canadian Rockies are the Northern cousins of the familiar Rocky Mountains. The Canadian segment spans across Alberta and ends in Northeastern British Columbia. There are five national parks in the Canadian Rockies, with opportunities for front and back country hiking as well as mountain climbing and camping.

Fun fact: Kootenay National Park is Canada’s only park that has both glaciers and cacti.  

Watch the Van Cats Play or Brush Justin Trudeau’s hair

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Following the 9-year reign of Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, heartthrob Justin Trudeau and his sexy hair has stepped up to the plate. The young Prime Minister has drawn attention both to his youth and his locks (facts that were even pointed out by the opposing party during the election) and his hair even has its own Twitter account, @TrudeausHair. Hailed as the Kennedy of Canada, Trudeau has made a slew of ‘hip’ promises like legalizing marijuana to banning Quebec’s controversial Charter of Values.

Yet what many have failed to realize is that Harper himself had a few tricks up his starchy sleeves. Harper is the front-man for the band the Van Cats. Van Cats comes from a play on the French pronunciation of the number 24 as a reference to 24 Sussex, the address for the official residence of the Prime Minister (like the Canadian White House). Rumors are circulating that now that Harper is out of office, he and his Cats might finally go on tour. It might be your only chance to see the ole Harper harp his heart away.

Fun fact: Trudeau’s father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau served as Prime Minister of Canada from 1968 to 1984 and inspired a reaction of youthful optimism amongst young women known as “Trudeaumania.”

Check Out the Hockey Hall of Fame and Watch a Leaf’s game

Photo: Steve Harris – Flickr creative commons

If while watching the NHL final you’ve ever wondered: Who was Stanley? Why do we want to win his cup? Was Wayne Gretzky the best hockey player that ever lived? Then you’ll want to check out the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. Featuring the history of hockey and its players—both past and present—the Hall inducts new members every year, and their career highlights and accomplishments are presented. The hall itself is quite beautiful and the inside has the best players from the US and Canadian teams.

For a truly Canadian experience, you’ll have to check out a hockey game, and when in Toronto, who but the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs, Canada’s love-to-hate team hasn’t won a Stanley Cup since 1967 and despite that, still draw some of the rowdiest crowds you’ll have ever seen. Trust me, hockey (especially Leafs) fans are nuts. And don’t bother asking the fans why people hate the Leafs, they don’t really know why they just do.

Bonus tip: Visit Honest Ed’s discount store, famous for its fabulously kitschy selection and being featured in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

Visit Quebec City

Simon Desmarais – flickr creative commons

 

Quebec City is an old-school European haven in a sea of American influences. Built in 1535 by the famous French explorer Jacques Cartier, Quebec City is one of the oldest European settlements in North America. Over the past 400 years, the city has grown into Canada’s 10th largest city and still holds the title of one of Canada’s most beautiful cities. Old Quebec is surrounded by fortifications which sit beside the St. Lawrence river, lending itself to a one-of-a-kind view. Bikes and bike paths are available for those looking to take in the river scenery and see the beautiful city from afar. If you’re more the type to stay on foot, the cobblestone streets wind and twist, revealing a slew of quaint and colorful little buildings.

In the middle of all of this stands the impressive Château Frontenac. The hotel is recognized as the most photographed hotel in the world, and it can be seen from almost anywhere in Quebec City. The hotel has been fully operational since 1893 and modifications to it over the last hundred years had only served to make the Château more spectacular. Its sparkling facades and enormous size impress even the most well-seasoned travelers.

Travel Tip: 95% of the Quebec City population speaks French, so be prepared to test out your French skills and bring a translator (or you know, your phone).

Did we miss your favorite Canadian hot spot? Leave a comment below to let us know what it is!

About The Author

Chloe Nevitt

Lover of cheese. Trash panda enthusiast. Avid nap-taker and fridge-hunter. Occasionally writes and sometimes travels. Responds to "Chloe" and "Generous Overlord."

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