The Thoughtful Guide To Canada
In light of Canada Day, we’ve rounded up a mindful guide to exploring The Great White North. A vast, varied country, the opportunities for adventure are endless – here’s what to do, where to stay and what to pack.
WHERE TO STAY
An eco-hotel on stilts with incredible views out to sea.
This upscale hotel has won a Green Key Eco-Rating eight years in a row.
This hotel has an on-site renewable energy system and sources its produce in-state.
Dome, Maple Bay
If you’re more of an Air BnB person, this stunning wooden dome in Maple Bay, Vancouver Island, offers sea views and close proximity to local wineries and restaurants.
WHAT TO DO
If you’re a fan of urban exploration, cities Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto are all excellent bets, each with their own unique character.
Montreal is home to the beautiful Notre-Dame Basilica and the leafy Mont-Royal park, while Vancouver hosts a plethora of art galleries, cool coffee shops and concert venues. Toronto’s annual TIFF film festival is fun, relaxed and welcomes non-industry members to watch future Oscar winning flicks, and the city is teeming with great independent stores – we like Lavish & Squalor and Victoire).
If you’re in search of a break away from the city, Canada’s geography also encompasses vast mountain ranges, icy lakes and stunning beaches. To explore these riches on a low-impact mode of transport, board the Rocky Mountaineer, an upscale railway route which wends its way from Vancouver through the Canadian Rockies. Attendants point out passing elk and grizzlies in between serving local produce and wines.
Perhaps the best way to truly appreciate the breadth of Canada’s natural beauty is by walking, paddle boarding, cycling or horse-riding your way along The Great Trail, which at 24,000km, is the longest hiking trail in the world. You can plot your personalised section of the route here – we like the sound of the one-day ‘Mountains and Mindfulness’ route in Alberta.
WHERE TO EAT
Wherever you go, make sure to try poutine at least once. It’s a Canadian classic dish comprising French fries doused in fresh cheese curds and gravy.
A zero-waste Montreal restaurant (pictured above) where the chefs cook organic veggies and herbs harvested from its own rooftop garden.
Consistently ranked one of Canada’s top 100 restaurants, this Montreal eatery serves sustainably sourced French cuisine and wines.
Relax between galleries and shopping in this charming Toronto café, roastery and coffee school, which sources its beans and products ethically. Even the café’s espresso bar was constructed using recycled materials.
Cooking with the seasons, this beautiful, compact Toronto restaurant gets booked up fast, so make a reservation before turning up for its Italian-Californian fare.
WHAT TO PACK
Given its size, the climate of Canada varies hugely, but it’s safe to say that cold winters and cool, breezy summers are the norm. Pack explore-ready sneakers, a multitasking cashmere scarf, and a carry-all luxe leather drawstring bag for an adaptable, chic holiday wardrobe.