Canada is more than just maple syrup, poutine, snow, and beavers. This North American country is chalked full of vibrant cultures, enticing food combinations, and a plethora of outdoor activities for the adventurous traveler in all of us.
Wanderlusters looking for their next travel destination need not look further: in Canada, there is something for everyone. Before packing a suitcase, travelers should get to know some pretty interesting facts about this vast, Northern country!
8 Bagged milk is not a Canada-wide phenomenon
Tourists traveling to places like Alberta or British Columbia may be pressed to discover that bagged milk isn't sold at local grocery stores! The somewhat flimsy bags of milk are only available in Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes regions, while the rest of the country enjoys fresh milk straight out of a carton.
7 Canada is the largest producer of Icewine
Icewine has German origins, but this wine was first produced in Canada in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia by Walter Hainle in 1972. Since then, there are multiple wineries in Ontario's Niagara region that carefully grow the grapes for icewine production. These areas have favorable climates, getting mild winters compared to the rest of the surrounding Great Lakes-St. Lawrence lowlands area.
This dessert wine is produced from frozen grapes, which are usually harvested in cold and early winter mornings. Freezing happens before the fermentation, so they are freshly pressed while they are still frozen. A delightfully sweet dessert wine that pairs well with rich foods like cheesecake, dark chocolate, seafood, and fresh fruit. Along with Germany, the USA, and Austria, Canada is one of the world's best Ice wine producers, with local wineries like The Ice House Winery, Pillitteri Estates, and Megalomaniac has been internationally recognized (and awarded) for their exquisite tasting icewine varieties.
6 There are over 1.6 million Canadians that identify as First Nations, Inuit, or Metis
There are more than 630 First Nation communities in Canada, which represent more than 50 Nations and 50 Indigenous languages, collectively making up 4.9% of the country's population. Aboriginal (an umbrella term used in which Canada recognizes 3 distinct groups: First Nations, Inuit, and Metis) communities are located across the entire country, spanning from coast to coast. Under Canada's Indian Act, Indigenous individuals may be categorized into 2 categories: Status Indians and Non-Status Indians. Status Indians are included in the Indian Register and are issued status cards to identify their ban and registry number. On the other hand, Non-Status Indians whose statuses are not registered under the federal government. The Indigenous communities of Canada have faced an unfortunate past shrouded in government shame and national regret, which is an ongoing country-wide reparation that must be recognized by both government and citizen.
5 Maple-flavored Candy is Made Using Snow
Also known as maple taffy, tire d'érable, or tire sur la neige, this frozen dessert is made by pouring hot maple syrup into clean snow. A popsicle stick can be used to sweep up the maple goody into a frozen lollypop-like sweet treat. This dessert has deep roots in the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick.
4 Canadian Breweries Use Ancient Icebergs In Their Brews
Tourists are crazy about Newfoundland's Iceberg lager beer, which is produced by the Quidi Vidi Brewing Company. The main ingredient is 25,000-year old icebergs which are incorporated into the brew to give a refreshingly light taste with a hint of bubbles tickling the tongue. Served inside a blue bottle, a 12-pack of this lager can cost around $40 CAD!
3 Canada Celebrates Thanksgiving in October
Thanksgiving is a North American affair that occurs in the Fall. However, while Americans enjoy a turkey feast in November, Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving a little earlier, which is on the second October of the year. Thanksgiving is still a debatable holiday amongst some, but regardless, those who celebrate this Autumn holiday usually gather with loved ones to enjoy pumpkin-based dishes, a delicious turkey, and other sides like cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, corn, and other delectables.
2 Pennies Are No Longer Used in The Great North
There's no such thing as a pretty penny in Canada anymore because they stopped circulating this 1 cent coin back in 2013. In Canada, purchases made with cash are usually rounded up to the nearest 5 cents! Lovingly known as the "One-Cent Piece", abolishing the Canadian penny was a long, arduous debate within the nation, citing its diminishing value. Finally, in 2012, it was unanimous that the Royal Canadian Mint cease the production of this coin.
1 Canada Is Home To The World's Largest Highway
Road trippers rejoice as Canada is home to (one of) the world's largest highways, also known as the Trans-Canada Highway. Spanning over 10 provinces and cutting through some of the country's major cities like Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary, and Winnipeg, this monster of a highway would take approximately 106 hours just to drive through! Starting at Victoria, British Columbia, and ending in St. John's, Newfoundland, the Trans-Canada Highway merges several highways from across the provinces, creating a road that spans 7,821 km (or 4,860 miles)!