50 Canadian things you can do to celebrate Canada Day


1. Go to the aquarium in Vancouver and learn about the rich marine eco-systems of Canada’s west coast.

2. Bike around Victoria, Vancouver Island, or the Gulf Islands. Just make sure to bring your own bottled water—fresh water can be hard to find, especially on the more remote islands.

3. Kayak with killer whales at Orca Camp, located by the Michael Biggs Robson Bight Ecological Reserve.

4. Learn about the Aboriginal culture of the Pacific Northwest at Haida Gwaii.

5. Although you can surf year-round in Tofino, BC, July is a lot more comfortable than January.

Sunset Surfers at Chesterman Beach Tofino Adrian Dorst
Photo courtesy of wikinn.com.

6. Channel your inner cowboy with a tour on horseback through the Canadian Rockies.

7. Ease any leftover tension you might have from the work week with a soak in Banff or Jasper’s hot springs. (This is also ideal for soothing any sore muscles after hiking, biking, or horseback riding along the nearby trails.)

8. Revisit some Canadian sporting pride at the Canada Olympic Park in Calgary. Ride a summer bobsleigh, go ziplining, or check out the Sports Hall of Fame.

9. Explore Alberta’s Aboriginal heritage through music and dance at Calgary’s Canada Day powwow.

Photo courtesy of ottawacitizen.com.

10. Bison, not elk, are the main attraction at Elk Island National Park, less than an hour away from Edmonton. Get your big game on with a hike.

11. Stay up (almost) all night in Whitehorse, which currently has 19 hours of daylight.

12. Tour the many large roadside attractions on Highway 11 between Moose Jaw and Saskatoon.

13. Commune with outlaws and hike the Big Muddy badlands in Coronach, Saskatchewan (they’re not as muddy as you’d think).

14. Learn all the verses to O Canada. (Although only the first verse is part of the official National Anthem, there are actually three more verses in the original patriotic poem by Robert Stanley Weir.)

15. See just how dark the sky can get at Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan, Canada’s largest dark sky preserve.

16. Celebrate Canadian junk food with ketchup and dill pickle-flavoured chips, Coffee Crisp chocolate bars, Nanaimo bars and a Bloody Caesar. (Some other ideas here.)

17. While you’re chowing down, indulge in a little piece of The Rock with a Jiggs dinner followed by a slice of bakeapple pie topped with tinned cream. Wash it down with pineapple or birch beer Crush.

18. Enjoy a Canadian barbecue with peameal bacon on a bun and maple-glazed salmon. Then eat butter tarts or dessert.

Peameal Bacon
Michael C. Gray/Shutterstock.com

19. Watch an amazing fireworks display. Here’s a list of the best places to go or how create one yourself.

20. Go to Ottawa. Do anything. Really. All you have to do is stand on the street, and you’ll feel more Canadian than you ever have in your entire life.

21. Eat a Beaver Tail. Bonus points if you eat it in Ottawa, but anywhere will do.

22. Make personalized Canada flag shirts with this easy craft.

23. Bake maple bacon cupcakes for a quintessentially Canadian treat. (Get instructions on how to do it here.)

24. Explore the pioneer heritage of the Russian Mennonites in Steinbach, Manitoba, just south of Winnipeg.

25. Visit the Royal Canadian Mint coin manufacturing facility in Winnipeg and see how coins are made (just don’t expect to see any pennies).

26. Step back 200 years and learn about voyageurs at Fort Gibraltar in Winnipeg.

27. Camp in Algonquin Park. Whether you go to the more remote northern areas or the kid-friendly southern campsites, the park has enough peace and quiet for everyone. While you’re there, check out the awesome visitor’s centre and the meteor crater at the north end of the park.

Canoeing in Algonquin Park

28. Explore War of 1812 historical sites throughout Southern Ontario with a drive along Lake Ontario, from Toronto to Stoney Creek to Niagara-on-the-Lake to Chippawa.

29. Tour vineyards in the Niagara wine region. If you choose to taste, be safe and book a bus tour.

30. Located on the Niagara Escarpment, Hamilton is known as the City of Waterfalls. Check out the (somewhat surprising) natural beauty of the Steel City.

31. Dig for sparkly purple amethysts in Thunder Bay.

32. Have a contest to find or create the wackiest poutine combination. Bonus points if you actually eat your discovery. (Here are some places to start.)

33. Make a list of Canadianisms. Be sure to include favourites like double double, two-four, beer store, chesterfield and bunny hug. (This list will get you started.)

34. Sample some of Canada’s delicious craft beers. BC is ground zero for micro-breweries, but other provinces are catching on. See if you can collect a beer from each province. (Here is a good starting list.)

35. Visit the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto and get nostalgic for the good ol’ days of Canadian hockey.

36. Explore Manitoulin Island’s Aboriginal heritage on the Great Spirit Circle Trail, and get a unique perspective on the world’s largest freshwater island.

37. Go whale watching in Saguenay.

Whale watching
Photo courtesy of charlemos.foros.ws

38. Get romantic with a horse and buggy ride through Quebec City.

39. Wander through Vieux-Montreal and soak up the sophisticated historical ambience.

40. Braid your hair, dot some freckles on your nose and visit Green Gables historic site in Cavendish, PEI.

41. You can listen to bagpipes anywhere, but for some real Celtic flavour, listen to the pipes from the Canadian College of Piping and Celtic Arts in Summerside, PEI.

42. Paddle a kayak through a water maze in Outaouais, Quebec.

43. Watch the highest tides in the world roll in at the Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick.

44. Take in Acadian music at the Musique de la Baie in Yarmouth and the Acadian Shores, Nova Scotia.

45. Trace your family’s routes to Canada at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax.

46. Visit the oldest surviving lighthouse in Canada and North America’s most easterly point at Cape Spear, Newfoundland.

Cape Spear, Newfoundland
Norman Pogson/Shutterstock.com

47. Go to a citizenship ceremony. Many municipalities host celebrations on Canada Day.

48. Hit your local gourmet shop and find a sampling of cheese from across the country.

49. Have a maple syrup meal. Glaze ribs with maple syrup, make a maple-dijon salad dressing, sprinkle sweet potatoes with maple sugar and have maple syrup pie for dessert.

50. Pick your favourite Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and Tragically Hip songs and have an all-Canadian jam session.


How will you be celebrating Canada Day?