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Canada has a large domestic and foreign tourism industry. The second largest country in the world, Canada's incredible geographical variety is a significant tourist attractor. Much of the country's tourism is centred in the following (busiest) regions: Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver/Whistler, Niagara Falls, Vancouver Island, Calgary/Canadian Rockies, British Columbia's Okanagan Valley, and the national capital region Ottawa. The large cities are known for their culture, diversity, as well as the many national parks and historic sites.
In 2012, over 16 million tourists arrived in Canada, bringing US$17.4 billion in international tourism receipts to the economy. Domestic and international tourism combined directly contributes 1% of Canada's total GDP and supports 309,000 jobs in the country.
Most visitors arriving to Canada in 2015 came from the following countries of residence
|Total visiting foreign residents||27,554,943|
There are 17 World Heritage sites in Canada, including one of the oldest, Nahanni National Park, Northwest Territories, and one of the newest, the Red Bay Basque Whaling Station, Newfoundland and Labrador. Of these 17 sites, 8 of them are Cultural Heritages and 9 are Natural Heritages.
British Columbia is Canada's westernmost province and touches the Pacific Ocean. The winters in the coastal areas are relatively warm in comparison to the rest of Canada. British Columbia is divided into 6 regions:
British Columbia (BC) is Canada's most mountainous province and has some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the world. Alpine skiing is a major draw for the province. The province has about 33 large ski resorts spread out from Vancouver Island to the Alberta border. Whistler, British Columbia, nestled in the rugged Coast Mountains, is consistently ranked as the #1 ski resort destination in North America and co-hosted the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Vancouver, the largest Canadian metropolitan area west of Toronto, is one of Canada's most multi-cultural cities. There is a large community of people of Asian origin. Vancouver is a harbour city and provides beautiful landscapes of mountains and ocean.
Sites of interest in Vancouver
Vancouver is home to the
Victoria, British Columbia, located on scenic Vancouver Island, is a major Canadian tourist destination attracting millions of visitors each year. Popular activities for tourists are whale watching, enjoying the busking in the inner harbour area and visiting world-famous Butchart Gardens.
Long Beach (Pacific Rim National Park) and the communities of Tofino and Ucluelet are popular tourist areas. Tofino, a town of only a few thousand, hosts more than one million visitors each year. Many new resorts are being built in the area to accommodate surfers, beach lovers, storm watchers and golfers.
Whale watching is common along the coastal areas of BC as is Pacific storm watching along the west coast of Vancouver Island during the winter months.
Wine tours are common in the Okanagan Valley, BC's wine and orchard country. The Okanagan valley area has some of the best beaches and warmest summer temperatures in Canada, as well as Canada's only hot desert around the town of Osoyoos. There are 53 golf courses and two major ski resorts in the valley.
British Columbia is also a popular location for the production of many Hollywood films, it is the third largest film centre in North America only trailing California and New York.
Alberta is a province in Canada's western prairies next to the Rocky Mountains. Its two major cities are Calgary, and Edmonton, the provincial capital. Edmonton is well known for West Edmonton Mall, the largest mall in North America, formerly the largest in the world. Edmonton is also known as Canada's festival city, with over 60 festivals happening year round. Edmonton is home to the area of Old Strathcona, a historical district with boutique shopping, music, arts, and many restaurants. Another world-class attraction is the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, housing the largest collection of dinosaur fossils under one roof in the world. Alberta also contains significant natural scenery, including 5 of Canada's 17 UNESCO World heritage sites. These are Banff and Jasper National Parks, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, Wood Buffalo National Park, Dinosaur Provincial Park and Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. In the southeast, Alberta shares with Saskatchewan the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, a geographic region of importance both to aboriginal history and to the North-West Mounted Police. Alberta has no provincial sales tax.
Alberta is an important skiing destination for tourists. It has several world-class ski resorts. Canada Olympic Park, with its downhill ski and ski jumping facilities, is located in the city of Calgary.
Saskatchewan offers two major cities, Regina and Saskatoon. Regina is home to one of Canada's most significant attractions, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Academy at Depot Division where visitors can view the Sergeant Major's Parade held weekdays and the seasonal Sunset Retreat Ceremonies. Regina is also home to the RCMP Heritage Centre which opened in May 2007. Saskatoon is home to the largest branch of the Western Development Museum, which houses important artefacts and recreations of the early settlement of the Canadian prairies.
The prairie province also has the most golf courses and water bodies per capita of any other province. Statistically the warmest summers with the most sunlight hours in Canada occur in Saskatoon. Natural attractions include Cypress Provincial Park, the Great Sand Hills, Scottie the Dinosaur (the largest intact Tyrannosaurus Rex found in North America).
Saskatoon also has many famous attractions, such as the Remai Modern Art Gallery located on the river bank, and the city is also home to the Western Development Museum.
Manitoba was the 5th province to enter confederation in 1870. The province is home to many lakes and rivers with over 14.5% of the land area covered by lakes. This offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation, hunting, fishing, boating, and some of the finest beaches in North America, including Grand Beach, Victoria Beach and Winnipeg Beach . The province is a four-season travel destination offering cross-country and downhill skiing opportunities, as well as many miles of groomed ski-doo trails. Winnipeg every season offers a world class skating trail. Using the Red River and the Assiniboine River, Winnipeg has created the world's longest skating trail since 2008, including the all time record. Churchill on the Hudson Bay is a popular attraction due to the large polar bear and beluga whale population. The capital city Winnipeg, with a population of near 815,000, offers many cultural and artistic events, museums and year-round festivals. Brandon, Manitoba is a city of 56,000. Other cities with more than 10,000 people are Thompson, Portage la Prairie, Selkirk and Steinbach. Winnipeg has one of the best architectural settings in Canada. Half of its downtown consists of high-rise buildings from 1880-1920. It also has the famous Exchange District which is known as North America's best collection of architecture wonders. Setting from 1850-1920 the area of 56 square blocks has kept 95% of its historical buildings. Giving the tourist setting as they are walking in what Winnipeg looked like in 1920.
Sites of interest in Winnipeg
Winnipeg is also home to:
Other sites of interest in the Province
Festivals and Events
Major Parks of Interest
Ontario is the most populous and second largest province in Canada. Southern Ontario is home to the Nation's capital, Ottawa and Canada's largest city, Toronto, which is the provincial capital and one of the most multicultural cities in the world. The forests and numerous lakes of Central Ontario and Northern Ontario also provide popular hiking and camping destinations.
Sites of interest in Ottawa
Sites of interest in Toronto
Other sites of interest in Ontario
Quebec, a majority francophone province, is a major tourist draw. Quebec City is a taste of old France in the new world and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Montreal, the second largest francophone city in the world, has several tourist attractions.
Sites of interest in Montreal
Sites of interest in Quebec City
Other sites of interest in Quebec
Saint John, The largest city in New Brunswick and the oldest Incorporated in Canada at the mouth of the Saint John River. Steeped with history from Irish immigration to a great fire in the 19th century. The port city has numerous Victorian houses and 18th- and 19th-century architecture in the Uptown area. The Saint John port welcomes close to 80 cruise ships a year with sites including:
Moncton, the province's second largest city and the recreational centre of the province. With tourist attractions such as,
Fredericton, the province's capital and third largest city, is a cultural and educational centre housing the University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University, and is filled with neighbourhoods featuring large Victorian-style homes.
Other attractions include:
Prince Edward Island is the birthplace of Lucy Maude Montgomery's character, Anne of Green Gables, and a recreation of her literary home, Green Gables Farm, serves as a museum to the character. The island is also famous around the world for its potato farms and rich red sand beaches.
Other tourists attractions in Prince Edward Island include, among others;
Newfoundland and Labrador attracts many tourists because of its icebergs and fjords. It was settled by Leif Ericsson, an Icelandic sailor, in 1000 A.D. Remains of this settlement can still be found in L'Anse aux Meadows, northern Newfoundland. Europeans settled in 1497, headed by an expedition by John Cabot.
The province's capital, St. John's, is the oldest city in North America, founded in 1497 by John Cabot. It contains many historical locations, such as Cabot Tower, receiver of the first wireless trans-Atlantic message in 1901. Steeped in a long, proud history and home to a rich, unique culture - St. John's residents are known for their hospitality, and their city is a major travel destination in Newfoundland both domestically and for foreign travellers. In recent years, St. John's has become a popular stop for cruise ships originating from ports in Canada, the United States and Europe. The cruise industry has brought tens of thousands of tourists to the St. John's area. In the city's downtown core, George Street, renowned for its nightlife, is home to the most bars and pubs per square foot in North America.
Halifax, the provincial capital, has several major attractions, such as the Pier 21 museum, Citadel Hill, and the Public Gardens. The Halifax Metro Centre is home to numerous events both sport-related and otherwise, such as the Nova Scotia International Tattoo. Downtown Halifax is considered the prime tourism district in Halifax, with most historic attractions located here as well as the waterfront harbourwalk, a continuous 3 km (2 mi) stretch of boardwalk home to street vendors, entertainers, the Casino Nova Scotia, and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Downtown Halifax is also the location of several major hotels.
With its history of the Klondike Gold Rush, First Nations culture and spectacular wilderness, the Yukon Territory has an extensive tourism industry, welcoming over 300,000 visitors a year. Tourist attractions include the gold rush town of Dawson City, Kluane National Park and Reserve and a number of attractions in Whitehorse and other communities. Opportunities for wilderness adventure tourism and ecotourism abound (hiking, canoeing, kayaking, skiing, dog-sledding), but the territory is also served by a well-developed road network, with most places accessible by road.
Watson Lake Sign Post Forest makes its home in Watson Lake, Yukon Territory. Started as a U.S soldier was repair road signs, and added his home sign of Illinois. Now this is home to over 77,000 different road signs.
Northwest Territories attractions include:
Nunavut is probably the most expensive of all the tourist destinations in Canada. Attractions in Nunavut include: