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Insiders Guide to Eastern Canada

Gros Morne National Park
Quebec City
St Pierre and Miquelon
Montreal Stadium
Lunenburg Canada
Niagara Falls
Rideau Canal Ottawa
LAnse aux Meadows
Ice Hockey Game
Distillery District Toronto

Insiders Guide to Eastern Canada

story by: Tom Ricketts

1. EXPLORE NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR’S NATIONAL PARKS
Newfoundland and Labrador is home to some of the most dramatic scenery in the country. Spectacular spots like Gros Morne National Park and Torngat Mountains National Park are absolute musts for nature and scenery lovers. Wildlife fans won't be disappointed with moose, elk and all three of the bears (black, grizzly and polar) abundant in the parks.
HOT Tip: These are some of the most remote places on earth, but can be easily visited by way of cruise ship where you’ll also get the added bonus of spotting massive icebergs drifting past from Greenland and the Arctic.


2. REKINDLE ROMANCE IN QUEBEC CITY
Gorgeous Quebec City is far more like Europe than it is North America. Its historic city centre is surrounded by walls and a massive castle rises from within. All her streets are cobblestoned and lined with beautiful old row houses, churches and other historic buildings. And as if that isn’t enough, it’s almost exclusively French speaking too!
HOT Tip: Don’t be phased when people start talking to you in French, just speak English as most Quebecois working in tourist areas speak both French and English.


3. OR VISIT A REAL PIECE OF EUROPE
The small islands of St Pierre and Miquelon lie just to south of Newfoundland and are the last remaining territory of France in North America. Because it’s a territory of France, it’s technically Europe and you’ll need your passport and appropriate visa’s to get here.
HOT Tip: Along with the Euro, Canadian Dollars are widely accepted but your change will be given in Euros.


4. DISCOVER MONTREAL’S ARCHITECTURAL WONDERS
Montreal is the second biggest city in Canada and was once the centre of the nations economy. It’s also the second largest French speaking city in the world after Paris. Montreal has an eclectic mix of buildings from classic cathedrals  to revolutionary (in their time) buildings such as the Biosphere and Habitat 67 built for the Expo 67, and the Olympic Stadium built for the 76 Olympics.
HOT Tip: The Olympic Stadium has
the world’s tallest inclined tower and a viewing platform at the top.


5. FIND CANADA’S CUTEST FISHING VILLAGES
Take a self drive of Canada’s ‘Atlantic Provinces’ to discover the gorgeous wee fishing villages and towns that dot the coast. Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are popular spots, but regular car ferries operate to Newfoundland and Labrador if you really want to see it all.
HOT Tip: Be sure not to miss Lunenburg, now designated a UNESCO World Heritage site for its unique architecture. Along with Peggys Cove, it can be visited on a day tour from Halifax if you’re short on time.


6. BE AWED BY NIAGARA FALLS
Niagara Falls is probably the most famous waterfall in the world, and it is certainly an impressive sight! There’s many tacky casino’s and attractions in the township, but having lunch atop one of the highrises affords spectacular views. Back at ground level, the Journey Behind the Falls is a must do tour that takes you through the tunnels built behind the falls, as well as right down to bottom of the falls. You will get wet!
HOT Tip: The iconic Maid of the Mist cruise now departs from the American side, not the Canadian side, so you’ll have to have your passports handy to cross the border.


7. DON’T SKIP OTTAWA
Ottawa is often left off travellers itineraries, but it’s a delightful town and well worth a visit. It’s the nations capital and has some very impressive parliament buildings you’d sooner expect to see in European capitals like Paris, Berlin or London. Naturally, many national museums and galleries are here including the Canadian Museum of History and the National Gallery.
HOT Tip: Be sure to head to the historic ByWard Market district for its bars and restaurants.


8. LEARN WHO REALLY DISCOVERED NORTH AMERICA
Christopher Columbus is often credited as being the first European to reach the America’s, but in actual fact the Vikings had been long visiting her shores. Visit the Viking village at L’Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of Newfoundland to learn about these early explorers.
HOT Tip: The Westward Viking Festival is held every July and features everything Viking, including the telling of the Viking Sagas (similar to Maori legends).


9. GO SEE THE HOCKEY
Canadian’s love their hockey… their ice hockey that is. When the National Hockey League (NHL) is on, local teams play three or four times week! Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg and Toronto all have teams, as well as Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver in the west.
HOT Tip: Learn more about ice hockey and see the Stanley Cup at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.


10. DINNER AND DRINKS IN THE DISTILLERY DISTRICT
On the western edge of Toronto’s CBD is a collection of beautifully preserved brewery and distillery buildings, now home to some of the city’s coolest fashion boutiques and trendiest bars and restaurants. Heritage fans will love the old brick buildings too.
HOT Tip: During summer they host free concerts featuring Canada’s up and coming artists in Trinity Square.

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