Canada Honeymoon Guide
Canada is stupendous, a vast, breathtaking country stretching almost six thousand miles at its widest point, and reaches almost 3000 from Lake Erie in the south all the way north to Ellesmere Island near the Arctic Circle. (Go up and over the top of the world, and you’re in Russia.)
It’s the second largest country on earth, and yet in all that space less than ten people per square mile, most of them concentrated along its southeastern border with the United States. That’s a lot of room for golfing! It’s got over 200,000 miles of coastline which means you get to choose from an unlimited number world-class fishing spots. Honeymooners who decide on a Canadian sojourn have a lot of ways to spend their idyll, from experiencing bustling modern cities to getting pleasantly lost amid lovely wilderness.
Where should you go?
Canada is composed of thirteen provinces and territories, most of them huge expanses of empty land, but each unique in what it has to offer the honeymooning couple.
From east to west, first up is the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, stretching far out in the Atlantic Ocean. Next you encounter the maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. Then you arrive in French-speaking Quebec, followed by Ontario, the site the country’s capital, Ottawa. Then come the prairie provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Cross the majestic Canadian Rockies and you’ll be in British Columbia. The territories, all in the very north of the country, are the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. The Yukon borders the American state of Alaska, while across Baffin Bay from Nunavut lies Denmark’s territory of Kalaalit Nunaat, also known as the island of Greenland.
Major cities include Vancouver and Victoria in British Columbia; Edmonton and Calgary in Alberta; Regina and Saskatoon in Saskatchewan; Winnipeg and Churchill in Manitoba; Ottawa and Toronto in Ontario; Quebec City and Montreal in Quebec; and the Atlantic maritime cities of Fredericton, Charlottetown, Halifax, and St. John’s.
- If you’re wanting a cosmopolitan honeymoon surrounded by luxury and non-stop activity, then Toronto or Montreal should fit the bill.
- Ottawa, the capital city, is a grand, classy city full of great restaurants and cultural encounters.
- Further west, the large prairie provinces offer wide expanses of sky and up-close encounters with nature, while British Columbia serves up classic scenic beauty in its coastline cities. T
- he maritime provinces offer a wealth of boating activities, fishing, and history– this is where the Vikings landed in the year 1000.
- And you can’t leave out Niagara Falls, that premier and prosaic destination of newlyweds all over the world!
Getting There and Getting Around
Many, many people drive into Canada from the northeastern United States, as well as over the borders from Washington, Idaho, Montana, and the Midwestern states. Border formalities are friendly between the two countries, making it a easy to visit all year round, and a VISA is not required.
Flights into Canada are many and frequent from all parts of the world, with major airports located strategically across the country. Wherever you choose to begin your honeymoon journey, you won’t find yourselves very far from a major city. Shorter intra-Canadian flights are all available as well, letting you jet across wide expanses of land to your next destination.
VIA Rail Canada is an extensive network of tracks which cross the country from Prince Rupert in British Columbia all the way to Halifax, Nova Scotia. It’s a great way to cross Canada at ease, enabling you to visit a variety of locations all on one trip. All major cities are included on the routes, as well as many smaller towns accessible to major tourist spots. Many packages and price points are offered, making this a very attractive way to see much of the country.
Summer can be very pleasant so far up north, and rarely experiences the broiling heat of the Lower 48 United States. The average high temperatures on both coasts stay most of the time in the 70s Fahrenheit, with warmed temperatures occurring further inland: the high 70s to mid 80s on average– perfect weather for a visit, though it can often feel very hot and humid in Toronto and Montreal.
The winter is a different story entirely, with arctic blasts whipping across the center of the country and down into the lowlands, often subjecting Canada’s major cities to below freezing temperatures. Deep snow arrives usually in January and February. In contrast, the temperate coast of British Columbia experiences mild and rainy winters.
Rain-wise, the eastern and western sections of Canada experience it more than the prairie provinces, with maybe three to four feet of rain annually, though the prairie provinces tend to be much drier. Still, that’s not a lot of rain. Think of it this way: many parts of Florida get at least five feet of rain each year, and usually more.
What to Pack
Easy! Pack for where you’re headed for the particular season you’re visiting.
If you’re doing something like skiing or sport fishing or planning on camping, you’ll want to make sure you carry along the proper clothing and gear. Good walking shoes or sneakers will do in any situation, especially if you plan on sightseeing in the larger cities. And, if you’re visiting in winter, when Canada becomes a white wonderland, be sure to bring ice skates, boots for hiking, and skis if that’s what you both love to do!
Major metropolitan areas feature a lot of good, upscale restaurants, and your romantic dinner for two is made even more special when you dress up.
Have along a nice jacket or sweater for cooler evenings, and some light raincoats just in case… it could be nice to walk together in soft rainfall while on honeymoon, especially through the old streets of Montreal.
The Canadian dollar is the currency in use, good across the country. At the end of 2011 a Canadian dollar was almost equal in value to an American dollar; it was worth 1.34 Euros and 1.61 British pounds. ATM machines will be found practically wherever you go, and there are plenty of banks in every city and smaller town.
English is spoken throughout the country, but French is the official language of Quebec. Signs are bi-lingual, and you will hear French spoken everywhere. That does not mean that English is not spoken here; it most certainly is, but you would be ahead – and very appreciated – if you were to learn some helpful phrases in the French language. The Quebecois will be flattered and might even feel compelled to help you along. If your French is barely passable, shrug and smile and you’ll still be sure to find plenty of good people to help you in English.
Great Honeymoon Activities
Canada is an outdoor paradise, offering practically unlimited ways to indulge in the country’s expanses. Stay at a lodge in the Canadian Rockies and indulge in some very challenging rock or mountain climbing, or hop aboard a raft and navigate the white waters of some of Canada’s fast-moving rivers. Ski its world class slopes, or camp in the wilderness, cooking breakfast at daybreak after an intimate night under the stars. Hike the forests for an up-close look at the country’s flora and fauna. There’s so much to see and do in Canada’s outdoors, and the honeymooning couple will have fun bonding with so many activities to share.
The cities offer a cosmopolitan change of pace from all that exercise, and in any of the major metropolises you’ll find plenty to see and do. Spend long, thrilling evenings in sophisticated and glamorous night spots, or find a tiny boite and stare into each other’s eyes over candlelight. And dining in great restaurants is especially exciting! Choosing from among the world’s best-known cuisines is a welcome challenge as more and more people from around the world have settled in, adding multi-cultural layers to daily life.
Play golf together on beautiful courses located across the country, or take leisurely walking tours of the cities and towns, basking in the fact that you’re together and enjoying the variety of activities that Canada has to offer.
Montreal began became a city in 1832, and today the greater Montreal area has over three million people. French is spoken as a first language by the majority of folks, giving the area a distinctly Gallic flavor, but you’ll find all sorts of ethnic groups lending their own distinct cultures to the region.
Toronto, situated beautifully on the north shores of Lake Ontario, is a blending of small municipalities forming one of the largest, most enterprising and exciting cities in North America. Its lakeside location offers up a wealth of activity, while many diverse neighborhoods present cuisine and culture from many countries. Browse through the St. Lawrence Market for local foods and bargains, or register for a two-hour course in creating delicious sweets at Le Dolci Studio.
To gain some perspective and thrills, ride to the top of the CN tower, one of the world’s tallest, and see Ontario spread below you. (You can see Niagara Falls from up here.) Stroll through the Yorkville neighborhood, filled with trendy boutiques and places to dine. Wherever you go in Toronto, you’ll be sure to soak up much of the city’s colorful atmosphere.
The capital, Ottawa, features the National Gallery arts museum, the Canadian Museum of Nature, Parliament Hill, and much more. Be sure and catch MosAika, a sound and light show projected onto the buildings of Parliament. It presents the people and culture of Canada in a thrilling spectacle which will serve as one of your best introductions to the country. If you’re visiting Ottawa in winter, be sure and bring your ice skates for when Rideau Canal freezes. It’s a beautiful location in any season, but especially fun in this season.
Out west, you won’t want to miss beautiful Banff National Park in Alberta, one of the most beautiful parks in the world. Nest together in a luxury resort hotel while you explore the astounding landscapes. Ski and indulge in cold weather sports at the Lake Louise mountain resorts, also located here in Alberta.
On the rim of the Pacific Ocean you’ll find Vancouver and Victoria, two gems of British Columbia. Their fabulous locations are the gateways to exploring the Canadian southwest, a boater’s paradise of lakes and rivers and islands. The area is also cool and green and misty, creating a definite romantic spell suggesting long, lazy days spent indoors– a perfect setting for the honeymooning couple.
At the opposite end of the country, fronting the Atlantic, choose a small coastal hotel and settle in to enjoy the distinct flavor of the maritime provinces. Watch the sun rise over the Atlantic while breakfasting on a quiet seashore, or stroll through peaceful seaside communities looking for quaint places to dine on fresh seafood. History abounds here as well, and you’ll enjoy discovering the lore of this ancient land.
Cultural Dos and Dont’s
The language situation can be a sensitive one in Quebec especially, the historic clash between French and English having led to all sorts of legal challenges and ramifications. You don’t have to get involved with all that– don’t make a political issue of it; just do your best to get along with the natives and everyone will be happy. Canadians want to do business with you just as much as you want to patronize the shops and accommodations.
Canadians are sensitive to the fact that their more-populous neighbor to the south may tend to be a bit boastful about… well, a lot of things. Be a good visitor and refrain from advertising the fact that the way you do it back home might be so much bigger, better, and flashier. Pay close attention to your surroundings and the people you meet – you might turn out to be wrong!
Canada runs socially conservative. Though it is a forward-thinking country determined to treat all its citizens equally under the law, public appearance means a lot. Don’t yell or bring too much attention to yourselves– it’s just not the Canadian way.
And, when talking about Native Canadians, don’t say Eskimo– it’s considered derogatory. Say Inuit, the proper name for the indigenous people of Canada.
Must-See Honeymoon Highlight
Niagara Falls, hands down, is the place to go if you’re a honeymooning couple. You’ll be thrilled by the grandeur of its mighty waterfall, and charmed by its sentimental history. Tour boats offer excursions around the area, giving you an opportunity to experience the power of all that water face on.