Canada

It's big. Oh, it's real big! Canada is the world's second largest country in terms of land and with a population of only about 33 million it translates into vast expanses of wide open spaces and a natural world that you just have to see to believe. Because of its size, Canada is not an easily travelled place, despite its well developed infrastructure (it takes almost seven full days of non-stop driving to get from one end to the other!), so a trip here - unless rather extended - should be focused on a few areas in order to get the most out of your journey. The country is broken up into five distinct regions: Atlantic Canada, as famed for its coastlines and fresh caught lobster as it is for its strong Maritime heritage and traditions; Central Canada, home to the country's two largest cities - Toronto and Montreal - and more than half of the people in the country; the Prairies, rich in resources and farmland that take you all the way to the majestic and very traveller-friendly Rocky Mountains; the West Coast region, home to Vancouver, the most expansive park system in the country and a burgeoning wine industry; and, the Northern Territories, home to millennia-old Inuit culture. Canada truly is one of the world's most amazing stops and one could return again and again and never fail to find something new. Like many stereotypes there is more than just a nugget of truth to the global understanding that Canadians are kind. As American comedian Greg Giraldo once put it, Canada's the only country in the world that got its independence by asking for it nicely! So enjoy your trip to this 'friendly giant' and you'll be sure to leave craving more. ~ WBB Staff Writer



Heli-Hiking: An Out of This World Experience

The word ‘bugaboo’ actually means a hoax in Old English. Legend has it that when folks came up these mountains looking for gold, they found only fool’s gold so they called the area the Bugaboos and the name stuck. Running closely parallel with the Canadian Rockies, this little-known, vast wilderness is home to sprawling glaciers, hidden meadows carpeted with wildflowers, sparkling cobalt lakes, dense forests and jagged crags. Older than the Rockies by a couple of hundred million years but equal to them in height and majestic quality, the Columbia ranges attract few visitors compared to their better known cousins. Their relative inaccessibility makes them difficult to get to, especially up into the most resplendent altitudes. Only the hearty and determined are able to make the arduous trek. With the help of a helicopter, however, anyone can experience them.

Vancouver Satisfies Many Appetites

There's more than just one reason why Outside magazine calls Vancouver, Canada the world’s 'Best Weekend Escape'. It’s a destination with an incredible range of outdoor activities, cultural attractions, accommodations and restaurants, all set against some of the most picturesque scenery imaginable. Green spaces abound in this city, along with the natural beauty of mountain vistas and miles of coastal waterfront. As you stroll through the streets, you’ll feel a palpable sense of energy that lends an element of excitement to the town. You’ll also note the cultural mosaic that comprises this diverse and exciting, cosmopolitan hub. The varying ethnicities help to contribute to the city’s international feel, perhaps especially when it comes to its highly touted culinary scene, which teems with award-winning restaurants and chefs.

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 Full name: Canada

 Population: 34.3 million (CIA, 2012)

 Capital: Ottawa

 Largest city: Toronto

 Area: 9.984 million sq.km. (3.86 million sq. mi.)

 Major languages: English, French, Other

 Major religions: Roman Catholic, Protestant,  Other Christian, Muslim, Other

 Monetary unit: Canadian Dollar

 GDP per capita: US $40,300

 Internet domain: .ca

 International dialling code: +1

 Source: CIA World Factbook