10 Places In Canada Every Canadian Should See Before They Die

 @MarkJohansonIBT
on September 12 2012 10:10 AM

No. 1 Lake Louise, Alberta

Lake Louise looks a lot like the kind of place you might expect to find in one of Hayao Miyazaki's animated hits. The mountains are craggy with puffy white snowcaps, the wildflowers are bumble bee yellow and Easter purple, and the lake is a color of robin egg blue typically reserved for the heavens. Basically, it's meant for animated superheroes. Yet, surrounded in an amphitheater of picturesque Rocky Mountain peaks and bisected by Victoria Glacier at the far end, Lake Louise is 100 percent of this planet, 100 percent real and 100 percent worth the trip.

No. 2 Quebec City, Quebec

As soon as you hear the clip-clopping of a horse-drawn carriage on a cobblestone street, you'll know you've made it to Quebec City. Unmistakably French and unabashedly haughty, North America's oldest walled city has a sophistication you're unlikely to find anywhere else on the continent. The storied streets are flanked by 17th century stone houses and converge at idyllic squares riddled with monuments. Most first time visitors find themselves confused, muttering to each other: "Are we still in North America?"

No. 3 Tofino, British Columbia

It just sounds romantic: "Tofino!" This small town on Vancouver Island is the jewel of the West Coast with stunning natural beauty and plenty of private, secluded spots ideal for surfers and sunbathers alike. It also boasts swank beachfront resorts, excellent restaurants and a dynamic arts scene rooted in the First Nations culture. Tofino is a spot fit for Hollywood royalty -- a place where stars like Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johansson honeymoon. Yet, at its heart, Tofino is really just a hippie fishing village that's grown up over the years.

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No. 4 Icefields Parkway, Alberta

As the old adage goes: "It's not the destination, it's the journey."  The 232-kilometer (144-mile) Icefields Parkway through Banff and Jasper national parks has been called "the world's most spectacular journey." Indeed, you'd be hard-pressed to find another stretch of pavement through the wilderness with as many pristine mountain lakes, ancient glaciers and broad sweeping valleys. For those short on time or with limited mobility, this well-trodden path offers a glimpse of an iconic Canadian landscape from the comfort of your car.

No. 5 Cavendish, Prince Edward Island

The bucolic Prince Edward Island inspired Lucy Maud Montgomery's "Anne of Green Gables," one of Canada's most-popular novels. The place today has changed little since Montgomery first put pen to paper and still boasts small farming villages and tight-knit fishing communities. Though there are a myriad of lovely spots to kick back on a warm summer's day, the Cavendish area, with its undulating dunes, gleaming red sandstone cliffs and crystal blue waters, may be the most scenic. Peak season, however, is short, and you'll want to time your visit well because most services shut down from mid-September to mid-June.

No. 6 Montreal In The Winter, Quebec

This fairytale French Canadian hub comes to life like an idyllic Christmas village each winter. Lower in latitude than Paris but with a climate closer to Moscow's, North America's most European metropolis has a Parisian flare for high culture and an amiable Nordic charm. Montréal is one of the few places in the world where visitors can cross-country ski, ice skate, snowshoe, ride snowmobiles, and go ice fishing all within city limits. Unafraid of winter chills, the Quebecois ski through Mont Royal, skate through Parc La Fontaine and heat up their frozen limbs by a fireplace in the trendy cafes of the Plateau neighborhood.  There's no reason you can't too -- besides, there's nothing like cuddling up by the fire after a long day out in the cold.

No. 7 Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta

Looking around at the bulbous badlands, one can picture a time when this quixotic land was home to over 40 different species of dinosaur. A trip to this Alberta park offers a 75 million-year jaunt back in time where visitors can explore world-class exhibits and see firsthand some of the fossilized remains of the nearly 500 species of life found here. A Unesco World Heritage Site, Dinosaur Provincial Park is one of the richest dinosaur fossil fields on the planet. Yet, it's notable for other reasons, too. Canada's largest badlands area has a haunting beauty, featuring a striking topography of wild shapes that were sculpted over time by wind and water.

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No. 8 Hopewell, New Brunswick

Hopewell, New Brunswick, on the far edge of the Bay of Fundy, is a land of high highs and low lows. Twice a day, every day of the year, 100 billion tons of seawater flows in and out of the bay, giving it the highest tides on the planet. Over time, these massive flows have carved from the cliffs and coves distinctive sandstone formations. During low tide, you can walk through 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) of beach and explore the so-called "flowerpot rocks," which bear names like "Lover's Arch," "Mother-in-law" and "ET." As high tide approaches, you can seek higher ground and watch as the rocks disappear back into the bay, rinse and repeat.

No. 9 Kluane National Park, Yukon

A land of grizzlies and glaciers, Kluane National Park contains the world's largest non-polar ice fields. It also boasts Canada's tallest peak, Mount Logan, at 5,959 meters (19,551ft). Yet, as cold and remote as it may be, the park is home to an abundance of animal life, including Dall sheep, moose, wolves, mountain goats and bears. In the summertime, photographers dote on the colorful alpine wildflowers, adventure-seekers raft or paddle down backcountry rivers and naturalists learn about grizzly bear habitats from local biologists. Others head to the sky for some "flightseeing" to check out the magnificent rivers of ice from a bird's eye view.

No. 10 Vancouver's Granville Island, British Columbia

Vancouver is named the world's best city to live in time and again ... and it's easy to see why. Whether you're an art nerd, hippie, thrill-seeker or foodie, the city has got something for everyone. Tucked below the towering peaks of the North Shore Mountains and hemmed in by cobalt waters, there are few cities blessed with such natural surroundings. A short hop across False Creek from downtown takes you to Granville Island, which not only boasts great views of the city, but also a cornucopia of handicraft and art shops and quirky cafes, as well as the famous Granville Island Market. Think of it as Vancouver's town square, a place where locals and visitors alike go to be inspired, entertained and well-fed.

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