Canada – Celebrating the Sesquicentennial


2017 marks the 150th birthday for Canada, and Ottawa is planning to celebrate this historical event in grand style.

When Jacques Cartier sailed into the St Lawrence and claimed the land for the French king in 1534 Donnacona, the chief of Miqmaq sensed the intended result and vigorously objected by insisting that he and his people were the owners of the land.

Since the arrival of the French and later the British, many a battle was fought by adversaries and with First Nations until the declaration of independence in 1867 was signed first in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, then in Quebec City, Quebec, and finally in London, England by the Queen.

Ever since, Canada, the territorially second largest country of the world expanded from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, and the Arctic in the north, population increased to approximately 35 million (2017), and Canada has prospered by exporting natural resources and developing a range of industries ( i.e automotive, hardware, distillation, agriculture, horticulture, and tourism).

Several cities on December 3 will stage events to help celebrate this momentous event.

Those who are lucky to have the time, energy, and funds can plan to canoe the multitude of traditional waterways First Nations used to trade, travel, and visit their kin.

On July second, the Alexander Bridge between Gatineau, Quebec, and Ottawa, Ontario, will be closed for a special event.

Of course you can travel coast to coast to coast to marvel at the beauty of the ten provinces and three territories.

The ten provinces from east to west are – Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. The three territories in

the north are Nunavut, Yukon, and North West territories.

Newfoundland offers the following tourist attractions – L’Anse aux Meadows, (the first Viking settlement in North America), Signal Hill in St John’s, Gros Morne National Park, whale watching, Illusuak Cultural center, Terry Fox Monument Of Hope, St. John’s and its many pubs where beer and screech flow. If you are interested, you can book a day trip to watch gargantuan icebergs floating from the north.

Nova Scotia is famous for its Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Highlands Natural Park, the Cape Breton Distillery, the only malt distillery outside Scotland and worth a visit for all who like a good “drop”.

Halifax is built on a hill those roles up from the from the second largest natural harbor to the Citadel, the fort the British erected in 1749 to help keep the French away. The Citadel is a national historic site now.

Prince Edward Island, the smallest province of the ten, is home to

the Confederation center, where provincial leaders met and agreed to create the Confederation of Canada, the Home of Green Gables where the now famous play Anne Of Green Gables was conceived, and written, and Charlottetown with its St. Dunstan’s Basilica, the Victoria Row, and Park.

Prince Edward Island’s beaches and lobster dinners attract millions in the summer, especially since the bridge to Nova Scotia was completed. This engineering marvel itself is worth a visit.

New Brunswick, the only truly bi-lingual province in the Confederation and home to Acadians offers natural beauty to all visitors, and the ancient community of Metepengiag Heritage Park founded by Mikmaq for more than 3000 years ago well before the Coliseum in Rome was built.

Quebec is one the largest and more industrialized provinces where French dominates daily life, although English, at least in major cities such as Montreal, Quebec City, and Trois Riviere play a dominant role.

Montreal is one of the allergist cities of the country, located on the St Lawrence River, and being cosmopolitan, is a gourmet heaven for many cuisines from all over the world. Here you can dine in traditional Quebec restaurants, on habitant specialties, experience fine Italian, French, Chinese, Caribbean, and even Haitian specialties.

Montreal’s Museum Of Fine Arts, The Botanical Garden, Mount Royal, The Old City are main tourist sites.

If you can spare one or two days, visit the Laurentians to the northof Montreal to take in the beautiful scenery, and resort towns. In the winter, Montrealers flock to the Laurentians to ski.

Millions visit Quebec City every year to see the old city, Château Frontenac, and the Plains of Abraham, where James Wolfe and marquis De Montcalm fought an important battle on September 13 1759.

Quebecers truly enjoy life, patronize restaurants, pubs, the outdoors, ski, sail and participate in every imaginable sport to keep fit.

Traveling west, you reach Ontario, the most populous and industrialized province, with two capitals – Toronto the provincial capital, and Ottawa the national capital.

Toronto is the largest urban center of the country with the most diversified population that created several neighborhoods resembling their hometowns or regions. Here you can visit Little Italy, Chinatown, Little India, or Little Portugal.

Toronto is home to many unique museums that any tourist should visit – ROM (Royal Ontario Museum), The Science Center, Art Gallery Of Ontario (AGO), Bata Shoe Museum, The Porcelain Museum, and many others.

The CN Tower the tallest structure in the country is a communication tower with a rotating restaurant at the top serving fine fare.

During the summer months, a ferry ride to the islands will allow you to see Toronto’s skyline from the lake.

Niagara-On-The-Lake is a small, quaint town, close to Niagara Falls  that offers an opportunity to visit a lovely town, some of the bests wineries of the province, and of course, the world famous Niagara Falls.

Spending a few days in the Muskokas will open new vistas you won’t forget for a long time.

Continuing west you reach Winnipeg the capital of Manitoba.

The Museum Of Human Rights is an absolute must see, as well as the family home of Louis Riel, the only Canadian revolutionary of Canada.

If you happen to visit Manitoba in the winter, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Churchill, the world’s polar bear capital.

Lower Fort Garry National History Site in worth visiting, as is the Mennonite Village in Steinbach.

Saskatchewan boasts the Art Gallery of Regina, Dunes Provincial Park, and Aboriginal Rock Art Park.

Hunters are always rewarded in Saskatchewan where wildlife is abundant.

In Moose Jaw don’t miss the “tunnels” that were dug under the streets in downtown of illegal activities.

Alberta, next door to the west, is a paradise for nature lovers. A visit to Banff National Park, Lake Louise, and Jasper National Park offer opportunities to enjoy Alberta’s natural beauty and observe wildlife. Drumheller is home to Canada’s dinosaur-rich badlands.

Millions consider British Columbia, with Victoria, its capital, to be the most beautiful of all provinces with the largest population of First Nations Haida Gwaii Rainforest ought to be on the agenda of any tourist.

Vancouver is a beautiful city on the Pacific Ocean, and Whistler, approximately 150 kilometers north, is a planned town for ski lovers in the winter and hikers in the summer.

The magnificent Rockies offer mountain vistas you won’t soon forget, and anyone visiting British Columbia must not miss the Pacific Rim National Park reserve.

For wine lovers, the Okanagan Lake and the valley is an absolute must to see not only to taste outstanding wines, but also to wonder at the sites the lake offers.

Victoria, on Vancouver Island, is considered to be one of the most stunning towns in the country.

The Fist nations museum offers opportunities to learn about totem polls, First Nations culture, and ways of life.

There are several First nation communities on the coast, and they will richly reward you culturally and enrich your knowledge of history, including Sgong Gawwy with 20 massive totem polls dating back 200 years located on a small island off the coast of British Columbia.

This article suggests visiting only a fraction of what each province offers.

If you drive, at each provincial border you will find information centers where knowledgeable employees provide tips, offer free literature on sites, accommodation, and restaurants.

As stated before, Canada is a huge country, and can only be visited from coast to coast to coast if you can afford a few months.

If you don’t, you can bundle a few provinces at a time, i.e Alberta, and British Columbia, or Ontario and Quebec, or Maritime Provinces (Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland).

The three territories in the north (Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon) prove nature and wildlife lovers endless opportunities to hunt, fish, hike, and canoe.

Below is a short list with recommended tourist sites in each province

British Columbia (94) Rogers Pass highly recommended
Alberta (59) Frog Lake
Saskatchewan (46) Canadian Bank of Commerce building in Regina
Manitoba (57) Exchange District in Winnipeg
Ontario (268) McCrae House
Quebec 194) Ile d’Orleans Seigneury
Nova Scotia (88) Pier 21
New Brunswick (62) Hartlam Covered Bridge
Prince Edward Island (22) L.M. Montgomery’s House in Cavendish where she wrote Anne of Green gables
Northwest Territories (12) Church of Our lady of Good Hope
Nunavut (12) Inuksuk Point
Yukon (11) Dawson Historical Complex

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