The second largest country by land area in the world and the 37th largest by total population, there’s plenty to see and do in Canada. Fall is one of the best times to visit the Great White North, with the gorgeous hued foliage and a brisk chill in the air. Here are some of the cultural staples to keep in mind if you’re planning to go north of the border this fall, or any other time
We can’t go without food, so it makes sense to start with the basics: the staples that will power your exploration of Canada. There are a few stereotypical food items that’ll come to mind, like poutine and maple syrup, but it’s important to remember just how vast of a country Canada is. There are plenty of excellent culinary options stretching from the Atlantic Coast in Nova Scotia, across the plains of the Canadian heartland to the Pacific Coast in British Columbia.
In the maritime provinces on the Eastern Seaboard, I’d have to recommend the seafood. Whether you try a lobster roll on Prince Edward Island or fresh-caught Atlantic Cod and other whitefish, seafood is the name of the game.
Bison is a must when you’re in Alberta or Saskatchewan, the mighty beast that powered exploration of the Great Plains and has a delicious, gamey flavor: if you’re up in the mountains, you can try huckleberries or snowberries, tiny treats that favor chillier climates.
Heading toward the western coast, seafood becomes the name of the game again, this time with the Pacific salmon that call the rivers home when it’s time to spawn.
Sporting and Gaming
Sports are another cultural element that feel inseparable from the Canadian identity. Famous Canadian contributions to the world of athletics include ice hockey, although they also proved instrumental in the second most popular sport in the world today, basketball.
While basketball originated in the United States, its creator, James Naismith, was born in Lanark County north of Toronto, known as the Maple Syrup Capital of the country.
Curling is another sport that is often associated with Canada because it is played on ice, although it originated in Scotland some 400 years before Canada’s founding. They’ve still managed to make the sport their own, however, boasting the most Olympic gold medals for curling of any country in the world.
These days, sports gambling is another element that goes hand in hand with a love of the game, and Canada has plenty of options for those looking to wager. Many of Canada’s professional sports leagues are shared with the United States, like the NHL, NBA, MLB and esports like the Overwatch League, while the Great White North retains sovereign contributions like the Canadian Football League.
While visiting Canada, especially in Ontario, you’ll find a plethora of online casinos that cater to both locals and tourists. These Ontario online casinos offer a wide array of games, from classic table games like blackjack and roulette to a diverse selection of slot machines, all available at your fingertips.
In many ways, Canada’s sporting culture runs through Toronto. It’s the largest city in the country and a massive media market—I’ll explore that in depth later on—and fans from ‘The Six’ are notorious for their passionate rooting interests.
Music and Entertainment
Canada has contributed more than its fair share of music legends in the past half century. Perhaps its most popular stars are a pair of heartthrobs, albeit two whose peak of success was separated by the better part of a quarter century.
For the 1980s, it was Bryan Adams, sporting pop rock anthems like “Summer of 69” and “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You.” Over the past decade and a half it’s been Justin Bieber, the teen heartthrob who shattered chart records and stayed in a never-ending news cycle because of his high-profile relationships with stars like Selena Gomez, Chantel Jeffries and his wife Hailey Bieber (née Baldwin).
One would be remiss without mentioning the success of Drake, one of the most famous rappers of all time and a proud son of the Toronto area: other famous Canadian artists include Alanis Morissette, Avril Lavigne and Gordon Lightfoot are other stars from north of the border.
Toronto is akin to New York or Los Angeles in the United States, a sprawling media market that swallows up most of the attention in the country. The city itself boasts roughly 3 million people, with another 3 million in the greater metropolitan area, meaning that nearly one in every six Canadians lives in the region.
Whether you just want to get lost wandering the various neighborhoods, each with its own ethnic and cultural flairs, or if you’re coming for a specific event like the world-famous Toronto Film Festival, there’s something for everyone to do in the sprawling city.