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Canada is about to open its borders: Here’s why you should visit

Canada is best known for its stunning scenery and cold winters
Canada is best known for its stunning scenery and cold winters   -   Copyright  Canva
By Sarah Palmer

Canada is known for its freezing temperatures, friendly people and impressive mountains. All of which will be available to tourists again when the country opens its borders to fully vaccinated international travellers on September 7.

This epic destination is still asking for proof of a negative PCR test, within 72 hours of arrival.

But once you have all of that sorted, there’s no better time to book your autumnal Canadian escape. Here are some of the must-see experiences you should check out while you’re there.

Soak up some culture on a city break in Toronto

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The Toronto skylineCanva

Over the past year, COVID-19 restrictions have deprived many people of the chance to explore museums, theatres and other cultural hotspots. Bright and bustling Toronto has a lot to offer those looking for a more refined experience.

The Royal Ontario Museum showcases art, culture and history from around the world and across the ages. In the city’s historic Distillery District, which is the epicentre of the arts and culture scene, you can easily pass a day between artisan boutiques and creative galleries.

The Scotiabank Arena is the home of Toronto ice hockey team, the Maple Leafs. It is a sport that plays a huge role in Canada’s identity and one you shouldn’t miss if you get a chance to watch a game.

From the dizzying heights of the EdgeWalk at the iconic CN Tower you can see the entire city. Toronto is also well-connected for a day trip to Niagara Falls and the chance to see one of the world’s natural wonders.

When it comes to booking your stay, there has been an influx of new hotels opening during lockdown. Brand new 1 Hotel in King West Village captures the beauty of Lake Ontario in its sustainable decor, using locally-sourced materials to create a luxurious urban retreat that celebrates the city’s surrounding natural environment.

Opening later this year, W Hotel Toronto is not one to miss. It offers guests an urban oasis amongst the high-end shopping boutiques, award-winning restaurants, and must-see attractions of Toronto’s fashionable Yorkville neighbourhood.

Enjoy an exhilarating adventure in Québec

Adventurous travellers should visit Québec's newest national park, Parc National d'Opémican, which opened in 2019.Set in the beautiful Abitibi-Témiscamingue region, its more than 22,000 lakes and rivers are yet to be discovered by many international visitors.

The park is a giant playground for thrill -seekers, with opportunities for hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking and camping. Visitors can even embark on an exhilarating whitewater rapids adventure down Rivière Kipawa.

Another dare devil activity awaits in the Outaouais region, where the world’s first interprovincial zipline, Interzip Rogers has just launched. It stretches 430 metres between the city of Ottawa in Ontario and Gatineau in Québec.

You can take in the beauty of the Ottawa River from 12 storeys above, flanked by Parliament Hill to the right and Chaudière Falls to the left - all the while hurtling 40km/h towards Gatineau.

Visitors to the region also won’t want to miss Québec’s largest city, Montréal, an urban metropolis known for its tasty local cuisine, fun festivals and mesmerising murals.

Take a walk on the wild side in the polar bear capital of the world, Manitoba

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A polar bear on sea iceCanva

Located in the heart of Canada, bordered by Saskatchewan and Ontario, Manitoba is a multi-cultural hub of exploration and adventure.

This province’s most remote and untouched region, Churchill, gives visitors a chance to see the natural phenomenon that is the northern lights - or Aurora Borealis.

Streaking across the Manitoban skies the aurora can be viewed nearly 300 nights a year.

But travellers to this region don't just need to look skywards to connect with nature. Churchill is the polar bear capital of the world and wildlife lovers can travel to this small town to see firsthand the majestic - and increasingly rare - creatures in their natural habitat.

Mid-October to mid-November is the best time to view the bears as they migrate from their summer habitat inland to their seal-hunting territory on the frozen shores of the Hudson Bay.

Visitors have the opportunity to see polar bears weighing as much as 681kg resting before the sea ice forms, or mothers playing with their cubs.

Plus along the way, you might spot some of the other wildlife in the area, including moose, seals and Arctic foxes.