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Happy 150th Canada Day

Posted in Canada
on July 1, 2017

Canadians all over the world are celebrating a momentous occasion today as they honor Canada’s 150th birthday. Canada’s Day is celebrated every 1st of July as a commemoration of the day when several territories joined Canada as a whole.

To all Canadians out there and the whole of Canada, Happy Canada Day!

 

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The Four Seasons of Canada

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It doesn’t seem that controversial to call Canada one of the most beloved countries in the world. Sure, it’s not the perfect haven that a lot of people make it out to be. But there’s no doubt that it’s an incredible place, especially when you’re looking at it in the context of geography, events, and general vacationing.

One of the greatest things about Canada is that there isn’t really a bad time to visit. Sure, there are times where it will get bitterly cold during the winter in certain places, but winter in Canada opens up so many possibilities when it comes to activities! It’s an absolutely breathtaking country, a place that needs to be seen at several points throughout the year if you really want to appreciate its beauty and breadth of things to do.

 

 

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We’re going to take a quick look at Canada across all four seasons. This isn’t a competition, mind you; we’re not here to pick the best season in which to go. More than anything, this article highlights that there basically isn’t a bad time to head up to Canada. Let’s start with our current season!

 

Summer

Summer is the most popular time to visit Canada – which seems to be true of pretty much any vacation spot on Earth! One of the reasons that summer is particularly attractive is the wealth of outdoors activities that Canada offers. June, July, and August might be a more expensive time to travel, and you’ll certainly have to deal with a lot of fellow travelers pretty much anywhere you may choose to go. But that shouldn’t sully the experience too much!

 

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Urban locations remain popular throughout the summer, and Toronto is no exception. The average peak temperature in July is about 80°F, or 24°C. So it’s pretty warm, but you’re certainly less likely to get the punishing heatwaves that other urban environments across the world see, including London and New York City.

It remains comfortably warm for most of the season, rarely getting scorching – in fact, the temperatures are perfect for festivals and other outdoor events, of which there are loads in Toronto. You can read more about some of the most popular ones at http://bloor-yorkville.com/annual-events/. If you don’t fancy throngs of people and music, then you should consider hitting up one of the national parks in the area. As with national parks in other Canada locations, they’ll all be free to visit in 2017! You just need to ensure you get yourself a pass.

 

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Montreal has its fair share of incredible summer events, too. The largest pyrotechnics competition in the world takes place throughout July and some of August – the Montreal International Fireworks Competition. Beginning in the mid-80s, the competition has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. There’s also the Montreal Fringe Festival to consider. As its name suggests, its a festival specializing in ‘fringe’ entertainment and performance. You can read more about it at https://montrealfringe.ca/. In short, its a festival of performances in which randomly selected applicants are allowed to perform what they want on stage, censorship-free. Obviously, this means that it can sometimes be very child-unfriendly – it also occasionally means you’ll see something both baffling and terrible. Still, it’s worth a look!

 

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Autumn

When it comes to vacationing, autumn is probably the most underappreciated season. You’ll hear more people talking about vacationing specifically in the other seasons than in autumn. But considering the unique visual beauty that autumn brings, as well as its perfect temperatures for those who don’t like it too hot or too cold, it’s no wonder that autumn is pretty much the perfect time to travel – especially when you consider the fact that prices are often lower in these months.

If you want to see something truly incredible in Canada during autumn, then perhaps the best place to see is Yukon. Yukon has the smallest population of any territory in Canada, which might be one of the reasons you may not have heard much about it when looking up locations to visit in Canada. But Yukon has incredibly pristine nature that has to be seen to believed at any time of the year – but especially in autumn, when a fuller variety of color can be observed. You can read more about the various activities available in Yukon at http://yukonhiking.ca/. Hiking, skiing, snowboarding, kayaking – it’s all here. Autumn is the perfect time to catch a glimpse of aurora borealis from Yukon, too.

 

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Montreal is a particularly popular destination for autumn travelers. One of its greatest attractions is the annual Magic of Lanterns event, which takes place of the Montreal Botanical Garden. You can read more about it over at http://provincequebec.com/montreal/magie-of-lanterns/. Anyone with even a passing interest in Chinese culture and art should definitely check it out. It’s a perfect destination if you’re going with your family, but the sheer number of brightly colored Chinese lanterns that light up the night sky at the event will wow people of any age.

 

Winter

A lot of people already have a fairly good idea of the plethora of things available for them to do when it comes to Canadian winters. Many others will have a slightly more parochial take on the whole thing – they’ll think only of skiing! And, of course, there are few, in any, countries out there with better ski seasons that Canada. The skiing resorts in Quebec have to be experienced first-hand. Perhaps the most notable are the facilities of Mont-Tremblant, which you can read more about over at https://www.tremblant.ca/things-to-do/skiing. Some of the best skiing slopes in North America – perhaps even the world – are housed right here.

 

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Ottawa, the capital city of Canada (Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario, a province in Canada – some people get the two confused, which is made easier by the confusing fact that Ottawa is also in Ontario!), is an essential winter visit. The first three weekends of February are home to the annual Winterlude celebration, which features performances, elaborate ice sculptures, and ice skating. In fact, Winterlude features the Rideau Canal Skateway – the world’s largest skating rink! You can read more about Winterlude over at https://www.ottawatourism.ca/ottawa-insider/winterlude/. However, if you’re in Quebec for the Mont-Tremblant skiing, then you may be able to make your way to the Gatineau version of Winterlude!

Of course, if you’re going to Canada in winter, then you need to be prepared for the cold. Summer may be milder here than in many other places, but winter is a bitter beast. Territories like British Columbia have more moderate winter temperatures, but even that place will probably be a little colder than you’re used to! So make sure you and your fellow travelers come prepared.

 

Spring

Is there a country on Earth that doesn’t have a beautiful spring? You’re basically going to have an overwhelming amount of choice when it comes to picking a place with overwhelming natural spring beauty in Canada, but we can get the ball rolling with a suggestion in Vancouver. Vancouver has some incredible foliage, and its cherry blossoms definitely beat the cherry blossoms you’ll see in France and the U.S. (As for the ones in Japan, we’re not so confident about that!) In fact, there’s the annual Cherry Blossom Festival for those who want to behold the true power of the Canadian springtime. https://montrealfringe.ca/ has more information about this beautiful event.

 

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Back in Ottawa, one of Canada’s most pleasing spring visual feasts comes in the form of the Ottawa Tulip Festival. There are few things that are more ‘spring’ than tulips – and if you’ve got millions of them in the same place, how could you resist giving them a look? You can read more about the festival at http://www.tulipfestival.ca/. There’s fireworks at night, live music, and parades to enjoy – though, with all of those tulips across such a wide area, you won’t have trouble finding a place that isn’t quite so busy and noisy if you’re not in the mood for such festivities!

Toronto in spring means many things, but perhaps the best place to visit during the spring is Niagara Falls. Okay, so technically it’s outside Toronto, but if you’re visiting Toronto then getting to Niagara Falls is very easy, as it’s pretty close by. If you need a break on the drive, however, there’s Royal Botanical Gardens. This place features some of the best green space in the entire country – and it should go without saying that it’s particularly stunning when spring really comes into bloom as May starts turning to June.

 

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While spring doesn’t touch the brutal chill that winter can bring, it can still be fairly chilly, especially during March. The average temperature seems to hover around 32°F (or 0°C!). So you probably shouldn’t expect to be able to spend a lot of time just wearing a t-shirt when you’re outdoors – leave that for the summer months and bring a jacket with you during the spring!

 

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Getting Super Visa For Your Parents and Grandparents to Enter Canada

It is vacation time once again. Many of you may have planned to get your parents or grandparents to visit Canada for a spring or summer vacation or even a year-long stay to enjoy family time with you and your family.

Having your relatives around during vacation is a wonderful experience to be had as many families in Canada have relatives living abroad who cannot visit regularly due to many reasons such as visa requirements, and the cost of flying overseas.

Getting your family to come over will require thorough planning, budgeting,  and execution. You just do not let them apply for a visa, if they need it. They need to complete documentations as well to proceed with the visa application.  Aside from filling up forms, having photos taken, securing bank statements and other documents required in the visa application, a super visa insurance is also a necessity to ensure their safety, and coverage while staying with you in Canada.

What is a Super Visa?

Many wonder what a Super Visa is. To simply put it, a Super Visa is an option for parents and grandparents of permanent residents and Canadian citizens to visit their family in Canada and they are also eligible to say for 2 years without having to change their status of stay while in Canada.

What do you need to get a Super Visa?

Applicants must prepare proper documentations to apply for a Super Visa for their parents and grandparents.  Applicants who are parents or grandparents of a permanent resident or Canadian citizen must also meet several criteria to become eligible as applicants for the Super Visa category of entry to Canada.

Here are just some of the criteria you have to meet if you are considering to apply for a Super Visa:

  • Be the parent or grandparent of a permanent resident or Canadian Citizen in Canada
  • Be able to prove your ties to your home country
  • Be able to prove your purpose of visit
  • Your family member who is a permanent resident or Canadian citizen must meet the income threshold to be eligible to sponsor you to come to Canada
  • You must have a super visa insurance coverage issued by a Canadian insurance company for at least a year and that coverage must include hospitalization, repatriation, and healthcare

To read more in-depth information on Super Visa requirements, you may also visit the Government of Canada Immigration and Citizenship page.

(Photo credit: Nathan Anderson/unsplash.com)

How to apply for this type of visa?

There are 2 ways to apply for this type of visa when entering Canada. You can either submit your application online or submit all your documents’ hard copies to the Canadian Embassy of Consulate in your country.

The Government of Canada’s official website will all have the specific details of both of these ways when applying for the Super Visa. I will highly recommend that you check all the information provided in their official site for other requirements which have to be fulfilled alongside the application of the super visa.

(Photo credit: Canada flag photo from Jonathan Denny/unsplash.com)

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Spherical Accommodation in Canada

Are you the quirky type and long for weird, unusual, or even one-of-a-kind travel lodging experience? Have you tried sleeping in a spherical accommodation in the woods? How’s that for a start?

Well, tree-huggers and adventurers will surely love this spherical accommodation nestled in a coastal rainforest in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It is a quiet area so you can have a peace of mind, perfect relaxation amidst Mother Earth.

The spherical rooms are equipped with the basics such as a bed, table, chairs, toilet and bath. It also has electricity where you can plug in your gadget when you still have to get connected to the urban world. They also have wi-fi!

The whole place is called Free Spirit Spheres. You can stay a night or spend the whole week or even longer if you wish to relax and just be one with the nature. There are common areas for guests to socialise and use some amenities like the galley kitchen, sauna, and even enjoy barbecue cook-outs. So, start ticking that bucket list of yours!

You can find more information about these beautiful spheres in their website: freespiritspheres.com

(Photo credit: all photos are from freespiritspheres.com site)

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Ice Parks To Visit this Winter

Some families prefer to travel during winter time.  My family and I tried that idea but traveled few weeks before Christmas so we don’t get in the holiday rush. However, the excitement of spending winter in a different country or away from home is an inviting idea to try for a change.

If you are one of those who want to travel this winter time or would like to see and feel what winter is like in other countries, then visiting ice parks will be a good idea. I live in a perpetually sunny place so snow is so alien to us and so is the cold winter. I have been dreaming of spending winter time in a really cold place so ice parks will be a good bet to try.

Some countries will have longer winter season than others. Choose the one depending on your time availability to make the most of your wintertime vacation.

Here are some famous ice parks in the world to visit:

Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in China

Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is one of the most famous winter festivals around the world. It is famously known for the beautiful ice sculptures and play area for everyone to enjoy so much snow and cold in one place. It starts on 5 January 201 and will run for a month.

Harbin is located Heilongjiang Province in the northeastern part of China. The location of the place makes it a perfect place for snow and ice festivals due to its arctic climate which provides natural ice and snow.

Taebaeksan Mountain Snow Festival in South Korea

Taebaeksan Provincial Park in Jungang-ro Street of Taebaek-si, and Hwangji Pond Taebaek-si, Gangwon-do provide a wide array of events and activities for winter fun!  Guests can even participate in the Snowman Festival and snow sledding with the scenic Taebaeksan Mountain as a nice backdrop for the whole event.
The event runs for almost 2 weeks from January 21-31, 2016. 

Ouray Ice Park in Colorado, USA

The Ouray Ice Park is a very unique and interesting winter attractions in the world. It is a human made climbing area in a gorge in Ouray, Colorado.  The best thing about this man-made attraction is that is is free and open to the public. Many activities will run from January to February 2016. 

Sapporo Snow Festival in Hokkaido, Japan

This is a festival held yearly in Sapporo, Japan. It is one of the famous winter festivities there that millions of visitors check out the festivities. It runs for a short period of time compared to the other winter festivals in other countries. The Sapporo Snow Festival will run from February 6 – 11, 2016.

Quebec Winter Carnival, Canada

Quebec, Canada is one of the wintry places in the world to enjoy ice and snow during the cold season. For the last 60 years, it has been home to fun and festivities due to the Quebec Winter Carnival. This year, the whole festivities will start from 29 January to 14 February, 2016.

Ice Music Festival in Geilo, Norway

(Photo credit: Hufftingtonpost.com/Photo by Emile Holba/Ice Music Festival)

If other  ice and snow festivals in the world evolve around sculptures, this event takes on a different turn in Norway as artists are required to make a musical instrument out of ice. These ice musical instruments will accompany the artists with their performances as they use them to make beautiful melodies.

It will run from 21-24 January, 2016 in Geilo, Norway.

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