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The Rough Guide to Canada


From lush wilderness to urban adventure The Rough Guide to Canada is your definitive guide to this diverse country. The full- colour section introduces the best Canada has to offer, from cosmopolitan Toronto to the thundering Niagra and the country’s spectacular natural wonders. This revised 6th edition contains insider tips and colour sections on national parks, art and architecture. The guide includes plenty of practical information on Canada’s amazing array of outdoor pursuits including sailing and fishing in ...

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The Rough Guide to Canada

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From lush wilderness to urban adventure The Rough Guide to Canada is your definitive guide to this diverse country. The full- colour section introduces the best Canada has to offer, from cosmopolitan Toronto to the thundering Niagra and the country’s spectacular natural wonders. This revised 6th edition contains insider tips and colour sections on national parks, art and architecture. The guide includes plenty of practical information on Canada’s amazing array of outdoor pursuits including sailing and fishing in the Maritime Provinces and snowboarding and skiing in Banff. There are comprehensive reviews of the best places to eat, drink and stay to suit all tastes and budgets. This guide also takes a detailed look at Canada’s extraordinary history, wildlife and aboriginal peoples, and comes complete with new maps and plans for every area.

The Rough Guide to Canada is like having a local friend plan your trip!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781409362814
  • Publisher: DK Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/3/2013
  • Series: Rough Guide to... Series
  • Pages: 936
  • Sales rank: 965,083
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Read an Excerpt


The time and expense involved in covering Canada¹s immense distances means that most visitors confine their explorations to the area around one of the main cities ­ usually Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver or Calgary for arrivals by air. The attractions of these centres vary widely, but they have one thing in common with each other and all other Canadian towns ­ they are within easy reach of the great outdoors.

Canada¹s most southerly region, south Ontario, contains not only the manufacturing heart of the country and its largest city, Toronto, but also Niagara Falls, Canada¹s premier tourist sight. North of Toronto there¹s the far less packaged scenic attraction of Georgian Bay, a beautiful waterscape of pine-studded islets set against crystal-blue waters. Like the forested Algonquin park, the bay is also accessible from the capital city of Ottawa, not as dynamic a place as Toronto, but still well worth a stay for its art galleries and museums. Québec, set apart from the rest of the continent by the profundity of its French tradition, focuses on its biggest city, Montréal, which is for many people the most vibrant place in the country, a fascinating mix of old-world style and commercial dynamism. The pace of life is more relaxed in the historic provincial capital, Québec City, and more easy-going still in the villages dotted along the St Lawrence lowlands, where glittering spires attest to the enduring influence of the Catholic Church. For something more bracing, you could continue north to Tadoussac, where whales can be seen near the mouth of the splendid Saguenay fjord ­ and if you¹re really prepared for the wilds, forge on through to Labrador, as inhospitable a zone as you¹ll find in the east.

Across the mouth of the St Lawrence, the pastoral Gaspé peninsula ­ the easternmost part of Québec ­ borders New Brunswick, a mild-mannered introduction to the three Maritime Provinces, whose people have long been dependent on timber and the sea for their livelihood. Here, the tapering Bay of Fundy boasts amazing tides ­ rising and falling by nine metres, sometimes more ­ whilst the tiny fishing villages characteristic of the region are at their most beguiling near Halifax, the bustling capital of Nova Scotia. Perhaps even prettier, and certainly more austere, are the land and seascapes of Cape Breton Island, whose rugged topography anticipates that of the island of Newfoundland to the north. Newfoundland¹s isolation has spawned a distinctive culture that¹s at its most lively in the capital, St John¹s, where the local folk-music scene is the country¹s best. The island also boasts some of the Atlantic seaboard¹s finest landscapes, particularly the flat-topped peaks and glacier-gouged lakes of Gros Morne National Park.

Back on the mainland, separating Ontario from Alberta and the Rockies, the so-called prairie provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan have a reputation for dullness that¹s somewhat unfair: even in the flat southern parts there¹s the diversion of Winnipeg, whose traces of its early days make it a good place to break a trans-Canadian journey. To the north, the myriad lakes and gigantic forests of the provinces¹ wilderness regions offer magnificent canoeing and hiking, especially within Prince Albert National Park. Up in the far north, beside Hudson Bay, the settlement of Churchill ­ remote but accessible by train ­ is famous for its polar bears, who gather near town from the end of June waiting to move out over the ice as soon as the bay freezes.

Moving west, Alberta¹s wheatfields ripple into ranching country on the approach to the Canadian Rockies, whose international reputation is more than borne out by the reality. The provincial capital, Edmonton, is overshadowed by Calgary, a brash place grown fat on the region¹s oil and gas fields, and the most useful springboard for a venture into the mountains. British Columbia embodies the popular picture of Canada to perfection: a land of snowcapped summits, rivers and forests, pioneer villages, gold-rush ghost towns, and some of the greatest hiking, skiing, fishing and canoeing opportunities in the world. Its urban focus, Vancouver, is the country¹s third city, known for its spectacular natural setting and a laid-back West Coast hedonism. Off the coast lies Vancouver Island, a microcosm of the province¹s immense natural riches, and home to Victoria, a devotedly anglophile little city.

North of British Columbia, wedged alongside Alaska, is the Yukon Territory, half grandiose mountains, half subarctic tundra, and full of evocative echoes of the Klondike gold rush. Whitehorse, its capital, and Dawson City, a gold-rush relic, are virtually the only towns here, each accessed by dramatic frontier highways. The Northwest Territories and Nunavut, arching over the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, are an immensity of stunted forest, lakes, tundra and ice, the realm of Dene and Inuit native bands whose traditional way of life is being threatened as oil and gas exploration reaches up into the Arctic. Roads are virtually non-existent in the deep north, and only Yellowknife, a bizarre frontier city, plus a handful of ramshackle villages, offer the air links and resources necessary to explore this wilderness.


Obviously Canada¹s climate is varied and changeable, but it¹s a safe generalization to say that the areas near the coast or the Great Lakes have milder winters and cooler summers than the interior. July and August are reliably warm throughout the country, even in the far north, making these the hottest but also the busiest months to visit. November to March, by contrast, is an ordeal of sub-zero temperatures almost everywhere except on the west coast, though winter days in many areas are clear and dry, and all large Canadian towns are geared to the challenge of cold conditions, with covered walkways and indoor malls protecting their inhabitants from the worst of the weather.

More specifically, the Maritimes and eastern Canada have four distinct seasons: chill, snowy winters; short, mild springs; warm summers (which are shorter and colder in northern and inland regions); and long crisp autumns. Summer is the key season in the resorts, though late September and October, particularly in New Brunswick, are also popular for the autumn colours. Coasts year-round can be blanketed in mist or fog.

In Ontario and Québec the seasons are also marked and the extremes intense, with cold, damp and grey winters in southern Ontario (drier and colder in Québec) and a long temperate spring from about April to June. Summers can be hot, but often uncomfortably humid, with the cities often empty of locals but full of visitors. The long autumn can be the best time to visit, with equable temperatures and few crowds.

The central provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta experience the country¹s wildest climatic extremes, suffering the longest, harshest winters, but also some of the finest, clearest summers, punctuated by fierce thunderstorms. Winter skiing brings a lot of people to the Rockies, but summer is still the busiest time, especially in the mountains, where July and August offer the best walking weather and the least chance of rain, though this often falls in heavy downpours, the mirror of winter¹s raging blizzards.

The southwestern parts of British Columbia enjoy some of Canada¹s best weather: the extremes are less marked and the overall temperatures generally milder than elsewhere. Much of the province, though, bears the brunt of Pacific depressions, so this is one of the country¹s damper regions ­ visiting between late spring and early autumn offers the best chance of missing the rain. Across the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut winters are bitterly cold, with temperatures rarely above freezing for months on end, though precipitation year-round is among the country¹s lowest. Summers, by contrast, are short but surprisingly warm, and spring ­ though late ­ can produce outstanding displays of wild flowers across the tundra.

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Table of Contents

Part 1 Basics 1
Getting there from Britain 3
Getting there from Ireland 8
Getting there from the US 9
Getting there from Australia and New Zealand 14
Red tape and visas 17
Information, Web sites and maps 19
Travellers with disabilities 23
Insurance, crime and personal safety 25
Costs, money and banks 27
Health 29
Getting around 30
Driving-distance chart 39
Accommodation 40
Eating and drinking 45
Communications, post, phones and the media 48
Opening hours, time zones and holidays 51
Outdoor pursuits 54
Spectator sports 58
Directory 61
Metric conversions 61
Part 2 The Guide 63
Chapter 1 Ontario 65
Toronto 69
Southwest Ontario 102
Niagara Falls and the Niagara River 109
London 119
Windsor and around 122
The Bruce Peninsula 130
Severn Sound and around 134
Central Ontario 142
The Muskoka Lakes 143
Algonquin Park 146
The upper St Lawrence and the Thousand Islands 154
Ottawa 156
Northern Ontario 171
Sault Ste Marie and the Algoma Central Railway 181
The north shore of Lake Superior to Sleeping Giant Park 184
Thunder Bay 188
Travel details 194
Chapter 2 Quebec 196
Montreal and around 201
Hull 236
The Lower Laurentians 238
The Upper Laurentians 239
The Eastern Townships 242
Quebec City and around 247
Around Quebec City 272
The Gaspe Peninsula and Iles-de-la-Madeleine 280
North of the St Lawrence 300
Charlevoix 301
The Saguenay and Tadoussac 305
The Cote-Nord 316
Travel details 327
Chapter 3 The Maritime Provinces 329
Nova Scotia 332
Halifax 335
Southwest Nova Scotia 346
Annapolis Valley 354
Cape Breton Island 362
New Brunswick 370
Fredericton 372
Saint John 380
The Fundy Coast 385
The Acadian Peninsula 394
Prince Edward Island 394
Charlottetown 398
Travel details 408
Chapter 4 Newfoundland And Labrador 410
Newfoundland 412
St John's and around 415
The Avalon Peninsula 429
St-Pierre et Miquelon 433
Labrador 450
Happy Valley--Goose Bay and around 455
Travel details 458
Chapter 5 Manitoba And Saskatchewan 459
Winnipeg 462
Around Winnipeg 480
Southeast Manitoba 486
Southwest Manitoba 490
The Yellowhead Highway 495
Northern Manitoba 499
Churchill 501
Saskatchewan 506
Regina 507
Northeast of Regina 518
Southern Saskatchewan 521
The Cypress Hills 528
Saskatoon 530
Central Saskatchewan 537
Northern Saskatchewan 545
Travel details 547
Chapter 6 Alberta And The Rockies 549
Edmonton and Northern Alberta 552
Edmonton 552
Calgary and Southern Alberta 569
Calgary 570
The Alberta Badlands 585
Waterton Lakes National Park 591
Waterton Townsite 593
The Canadian Rockies 602
Banff National Park 604
Lake Louise 628
Jasper National Park 643
Mount Robson Provincial Park 658
Yoho National Park 661
Glacier National Park 672
Mount Revelstoke National Park 675
Kootenay National Park 678
Travel details 685
Chapter 7 Southern British Columbia 687
Vancouver 691
Vancouver Island 730
Victoria 732
The Southern Gulf Islands 751
Nanaimo 760
Pacific Rim National Park 767
The West Coast Trail 778
The Sunshine Coast 791
The Sea to Sky Highway 792
Whistler 796
The Cariboo 803
Vancouver to Kamloops 805
Kamloops 810
The Okanagan 818
Highway 3: the border towns 824
The Kootenays 830
North to Radium Hot Springs 840
Travel details 846
Chapter 8 The North 848
Prince George 852
Prince Rupert 856
Haida Gwaii--The Queen Charlotte Islands 860
The Cassiar Highway 867
Whitehorse 879
Kluane Country 884
Dawson City 887
The Dempster Highway 895
The Sahtu 901
The Northern Frontier 906
Nunavut 908
The Arctic Coast 912
Baffin Island 915
Travel details 917
Part 3 Contexts 919
The historical framework 921
Canadian wildlife 930
Canada's aboriginal peoples 938
Books 944
Language 951
Index 955
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Canada is almost unimaginably vast. It stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from the latitude of Rome to beyond the Magnetic North Pole. Its archetypal landscapes are the Rocky Mountain lakes and peaks, the endless forests and the prairie wheatfields, but Canada holds landscapes that defy expectations: rainforest and desert lie close together in the southwest corner of the country, while in the east a short drive can take you from fjords to lush orchards. What¹s more, great tracts of Canada are completely unspoiled ­ ninety percent of the country¹s 28.5 million population lives within 100 miles of the US border. Like its neighbour to the south, Canada is a spectrum of cultures, a hotchpotch of immigrant groups who supplanted the continent¹s many native peoples.

There¹s a crucial difference, though. Whereas citizens of the United States are encouraged to perceive themselves as Americans above all else, Canada¹s concertedly multicultural approach has done more to acknowledge the origins of its people, creating an ethnic mosaic as opposed to America¹s melting-pot. Alongside the French and British majorities live a host of communities who maintain the traditions of their homelands ­ Chinese, Ukrainians, Portuguese, Indians, Dutch, Polish, Greek and Spanish, to name just the most numerous. For the visitor, the mix that results from the country¹s exemplary tolerance is an exhilarating experience, offering such widely differing environments as Vancouver¹s huge Chinatown and the austere religious enclaves of Manitoba. Canadians themselves, however, are often troubled by the lack of a clear self-image, tending to emphasize the ways in which they are different from the US as a means of self-description. The question What is a Canadian? has acquired a new immediacy with the interminable and acrimonious debate over Québec and its possible secession, but ultimately there can be no simple characterization of a people whose country is not so much a single nation as a committee on a continental scale. Pierre Berton, one of Canada¹s finest writers, wisely ducked the issue; Canadians, he quipped, are people who know how to make love in a canoe.

The typical Canadian might be an elusive concept, but you¹ll find there¹s a distinctive feel to the country. Some towns might seem a touch too well-regulated and unspontaneous, but against this there¹s the overwhelming sense of Canadian pride in their history and pleasure in the beauty of their land. Canada embraces its own clichés with an energy that¹s irresistible, promoting everything from the Calgary Stampede to maple-syrup festivals and lumberjacking contests with an extraordinary zeal and openness. As John Buchan, writer and Governor-General of Canada, said, You have to know a man awfully well in Canada to know his surname.

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