Because I lived in Wisconsin as a child I thought a family vacations were taken in Canada – Manitoba or Ontario to be precise. Our family has carried on the “vacation in Canada tradition” having expanded our destinations to include PEI, New Brunswick, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC.
The obvious benefits, aside from the pure “fun” value, Canada offers parents a safe friendly way to introduce another culture. The exchange rate is favorable; there is no jet lag involved – well unless you need to cross the Atlantic.
Here’s the deal. It’s Canada (not the excited states) and while there are many similarities, there are plenty of differences worth sharing. For kids the differences will be obvious. The coins look different; the ice cream is better; bi- lingual means English/French; Canadians have a different view of the Revolutionary War. When pressed to name a favorite province we cannot agree. Our youngest stands by Saskatchewan; my husband names New Brunswick; our oldest daughter splits her vote between Quebec and PEI; I love British Columbia and Ontario – think wine. For us every vacation seemed better than the last. But as we look at years of great family vacations, really anywhere in Canada will be terrific. My short “not-to-be-missed” list of family adventures includes truly awesome experiences meant to be shared with kids.
- Attend the Charlottetown Festival and enjoy the fun of being on the island that made Anne of Green Gables a legend. Make sure to have potato fries.
- Walk on the ocean floor – no kidding. The Bay of Fundy cannot be explained unless you go there and touch and feel. Spend a day (or a week) at Kings Landing where living history is not exactly like Williamsburg, VA.
- Even though it is a bit touristy Niagara Falls is a splendid spot for families. Ride the Maid of the Mist and checkout the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory.
- Walk the streets of Quebec City and practice your guidebook French.
- Enjoy Montreal’s museums and then ride VIARail from Montreal to the Maritimes.
- Walk the tunnels of Moose Jaw, and hear stories at Wanuskewin Heritage Park, or dig for old bones at Eastend in Saskatchewan.
- Eat cowboy pancakes and do the two-step at Calgary Stampede.
- Dig for old bones at the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller.
- Kayak God’s Pocket and go ziplining in Whistler.
- Spend a day in Vancouver’s Stanley Park – all the cool stuff in one place.