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About My Trips to Canada

Canada, a land of majestic mountains, cascading waterfalls, and vibrant cities, has become a frequent flyer destination on my “Buzzin’ Around the World” adventures. From the awe-inspiring peaks of Banff and Jasper National Parks to the thundering power of Niagara Falls, Canada’s natural beauty never fails to impress.

But beyond the breathtaking landscapes, my journey has delved into the heart of Canada’s cosmopolitan centers. From Vancouver’s modern charm to Toronto’s multicultural tapestry, each city pulsates with a unique energy. One of the things I find most fascinating is the beautiful blend of cultures – from the echoes of British influence in Toronto’s architecture to the distinctly French character that permeates Montreal’s streets. Get ready to explore Canada with me as I share some of my favorite experiences from bustling cities to beautiful landscapes.

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My recent Westjet flight from Minneapolis to Edmonton provided a cost-effective travel option. The Boeing 737-800 aircraft offered ample legroom and convenient in-seat power outlets in the exit row I selected. However, the in-flight entertainment system, accessible solely via the Westjet app, was hampered by connectivity issues. 

While food and beverages were available onboard, the cheese macaroni dish fell short of expectations. The customs and immigration process at Edmonton International Airport proved to be time-consuming, with baggage claim extending nearly 90 minutes. Overall, Westjet represents a viable choice for budget-minded travelers, albeit with some service limitations to consider.

A long-held dream of witnessing the Northern Lights had proven frustratingly elusive on past trips, despite seemingly favorable conditions. This persistence paid off during a 2023 visit to Banff and Jasper National Parks. As October nights wore on, hope began to dwindle. Yet, fortune intervened when an Aurora app alerted me to unexpected activity near Hinton, Alberta. Capitalizing on this chance encounter, I located Obed Lake Provincial Park – situated south of Obed Lake and boasting an unobstructed northern view – via a swift Google Maps search. Prioritizing proximity over the familiarity of Jasper National Park, I set course for Obed Lake, determined to finally witness this celestial spectacle.

My recent visit to Banff National Park included a trip on the Banff Gondola to the summit of Sulphur Mountain. During October, the gondola was operational and weather conditions were favorable for the ascent. While parking is available on-site, it can be limited. Also, avoid the line by purchasing tickets beforehand, particularly during peak tourist seasons. The gondola ride itself ascended swiftly, taking approximately eight minutes, and provided captivating panoramas of the Canadian Rockies throughout.

Upon reaching the summit, a viewing platform offered breathtaking vistas of the charming town of Banff nestled amidst the majestic peaks. I opted to further elevate my experience by traversing a boardwalk that led to a cosmic ray station, which unveiled even more stunning outlooks. The hike along the boardwalk, though classified as easy to moderate, did incorporate sections with stairs. The entire excursion, including the gondola ride, the hike, and numerous photo breaks, took roughly 90 minutes to complete.

In October 2023, Banff National Park beckoned. My exploration began with a ride on the Banff Gondola, whisking me to the summit of Sulphur Mountain. There, I reveled in the panoramic vistas of the Canadian Rockies, capturing countless photographs from the Sulphur Mountain Observation Platform. To further immerse myself in the breathtaking scenery, I embarked on a hike along the Sulphur Mountain Boardwalk, culminating at the Cosmic Ray Station Lookout.

Hitting the road after leaving the Sulphur Mountain gondola, I cruised through Banff town on my way to Lake Louise. Unfortunately, rain greeted me at the lake, but the journey continued! I merged onto the Icefields Parkway (AB-93) and didn’t stop exploring until I reached Jasper. Along the way, I pulled over at nearly every iconic viewpoint – Crowfoot Glacier, Bow Lake, Peyto Lake, Waterfowl Lakes, Misty Canyon, Saskatchewan River Crossing, the Big Bend, Athabasca Glacier, Sunwapta Falls, Goats and Glaciers Lookout, Athabasca Falls, and finally, Athabasca Pass. It was an epic 142.9-mile drive, condensed into this 18-minute video thanks to my trusty GoPro mounted on the windshield.

British Columbia

Vancouver, a stunning blend of Stockholm and Sydney vibes, offers a wealth of free activities for budget-conscious travelers. My personal favorite? Exploring the Vancouver Seawall. Spanning nearly 19 miles, this waterfront path boasts breathtaking scenery, especially the stretch between Canada Place and Stanley Park. Here, you’ll encounter iconic landmarks like the port, Canada Place itself, and various harbors, all while soaking in the fresh sea air. Starting your walk from either Canada Place or Stanley Park is ideal, allowing you to tailor the distance to your preference.

Having recently explored Vancouver, I found myself contemplating a visit to the Vancouver Lookout, perched atop the Harbour Centre. This observation deck promised sweeping vistas of the city, and I must say, the experience exceeded expectations.

The views from the 40th floor were nothing short of breathtaking. From the bustling Port of Vancouver to the verdant expanse of Stanley Park and the iconic landmarks like Canada Place, the panorama unfolded before me in stunning detail. Furthermore, the admission fee of C$18.75 proved quite reasonable, and the observation deck itself wasn’t overcrowded. Even during peak visiting hours, the number of fellow sightseers remained manageable, allowing for a comfortable and unhurried appreciation of the cityscape. The elevator ride itself is a swift affair, whisking you up to the observation deck in a mere 45 seconds.

As a first-time visitor to Vancouver, I wasn’t sure how to reach the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Luckily, the park itself offers a free shuttle that runs year-round! Since my hotel, the Listel, was near the Blue Horizon Hotel, I decided to hop on the shuttle there. It was super easy to find – there was a clear sign right outside the hotel that said “Capilano Free Shuttle Pick Up Here.” All I had to do was wait by the sign, and the shuttle arrived right on schedule. This video is a great resource to learn more about getting to the bridge and exploring the park’s attractions.

Visiting the Capilano Suspension Bridge was a must-do on my Vancouver trip! Luckily, getting there from Canada Place was a breeze thanks to the park’s free shuttle. They pick up visitors from various downtown locations, which was super convenient.

The bridge itself is seriously impressive – 460 feet long and swaying 260 feet above the Capilano River. It definitely got my adrenaline pumping a bit! The park also has other cool attractions like Treetops Adventure and the Cliffwalk, which I’m itching to experience next time.

Whale watching was high on my Vancouver agenda, but I hesitated – would it be a success? My research pointed towards Vancouver Whale Watch, boasting a 95% success rate and an unbeatable guarantee: if you don’t see a whale, you get another cruise free, valid for life! Convinced, I booked my trip with Vancouver Whale Watch, confident I wouldn’t miss out on these magnificent creatures.

Vancouver for a long weekend? Perfect choice! I recently explored the city myself and had a fantastic time. The locals were incredibly friendly and respectful, and it felt like a very eco-conscious city, which I appreciated.

For my stay, I opted for the River Rock Casino Hotel. Getting around was a breeze using public transportation. My first stop? Stanley Park, a must-do. Walking the Sea Wall Path was a great introduction, offering stunning views. You’ll also find fascinating totem poles scattered throughout the park, plus incredible views of the Lions Gate Bridge and Vancouver Harbor. Whale watching is another popular activity in Vancouver, and one I highly recommend considering!

Victoria, British Columbia, totally stole my heart! The Inner Harbor was the first place I had to see – the boats, the seaplanes, the fresh sea air – it was pure magic. History buffs like me won’t want to miss the grand British Columbia Parliament Buildings. And seafood lovers? Fisherman’s Wharf is calling your name! For a nature fix, I walked the scenic Breakwater Pier, explored the Waterfront Trail, and got lost in the beauty of Beacon Hill Park. To top it all off, the Royal BC Museum was a fascinating dive into the province’s cultural and natural heritage. Victoria truly has it all – history, stunning scenery, delicious food, and endless opportunities to connect with nature!


I had been wanting to try out Air Canada’s service from Minneapolis to Toronto for ages, but the timing never worked out. Then, in October 2022, I scored a fantastic fare on a flight to Vancouver with Air Canada! The only catch? A layover in Toronto, which meant flying in the opposite direction for two hours. Not ideal, but hey, this was my chance to finally review their CRJ-900 service on that route! 

This trip would actually be my second Air Canada flight ever – the first one was with Air Canada Rouge (their discount airline) from Las Vegas to Montreal. This upcoming trip would be on Air Canada Jazz, their regional partner airline. So, Toronto layover or not, I booked the Vancouver trip, excited to check out this new-to-me Air Canada service!

A trip to Niagara Falls was a chance to relive a childhood family trip but as a solo traveler. Two questions lingered: would I be out of place, and could I see everything in one day? Thankfully, my solo Niagara Falls adventure on the Canadian side proved to be a success! 

While the tourist town caters heavily to families with carnival rides and mini-golf, the true star, the mighty Niagara Falls (both American and Horseshoe Falls), transcends age and travel style. In a single jam-packed day, I was able to witness this natural wonder in all its glory. So, pack your bags, solo travelers, Niagara Falls awaits!

Toronto’s Centre Island packed a punch in just 3 hours! I started my adventure at the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, and before I knew it, I was stepping off the ferry onto Centre Island. The views from Olympic Island were unreal – I couldn’t stop taking pictures! Then it was on to Centerville Theme Park, Centre Island Pier, and the sandy shores of Manitou Beach for some relaxation. Lake Ontario’s vastness was breathtaking, and I even spotted the historic Gibraltar Point Lighthouse. 

Finally, with a head full of memories, I caught the ferry back from Hanlan’s Point. Three hours wasn’t enough time to see it all, but it was an amazing whirlwind tour! Centre Island, you’re definitely worth a return visit!

A quick trip to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is condensed into this thrilling one-minute GoPro video. Witness the mighty American and Horseshoe Falls, or get your adrenaline pumping with a ride on the Whirlpool Aero Car. The iconic Clifton Hill district and the Rainbow International Bridge provide stunning backdrops, while a Niagara City Cruise offers a unique perspective. 

For a touch of history, explore the Journey Behind the Falls, and cap it all off with the dazzling Niagara Falls light show and fireworks extravaganza! This short clip captures the unforgettable energy and beauty of Niagara Falls.

The CN Tower wasn’t just a visit, it was an experience! Scheduled time slots meant a crowd-free observation deck, perfect for soaking in the awe-inspiring 360-degree views of Toronto. Multiple glass floors, including one in the elevator, added an extra thrill. The windows were sparkling clean and strategically designed for capturing stunning photos. Even the restaurant offered delicious food at reasonable prices, all while enjoying the panoramic vista. The Skypod upped the ante with a device showcasing the tower’s sway in the wind – a fun fact for geeky visitors like me. 

For the truly adventurous, there’s even an “EdgeWalk” package where you can walk the edge with proper safety gear! Topping it all off, reaching the Skypod meant I could say I conquered the Western Hemisphere’s tallest structure! The friendly staff and souvenir tickets were just the icing on the cake. If you’re looking for breathtaking views and unique experiences in Toronto, the CN Tower shouldn’t be missed!

The CN Tower’s history came alive for me as I strolled towards its base, Canadian National’s masterpiece built in 1976. Once the world’s undisputed tallest free-standing structure (until 2007) and tallest tower (until 2009), it still reigns supreme as the Western Hemisphere’s king! 

My video captures snippets of my adventure: grabbing tickets at the plaza, browsing the gift shop, and then whooshing up the elevator towards the clouds. The main observation deck offered a jaw-dropping 360-degree panorama of Toronto that left me speechless. But that wasn’t all! I braved the elevator to the even higher SkyPod for even more incredible vistas. A giant pendulum there swung gently, showcasing the tower’s sway in the wind. My heart pounded a little as I stepped onto the glass floor, peering down at the city below. The descent was smooth, and the video ends with my feet back on solid ground. CN Tower, you were an unforgettable experience!

Toronto’s Graffiti Alley was a highlight of my trip! Located near Kensington Market, this vibrant alley is a legal haven for street art, and completely free to explore.

Originally a spot for graffiti, Graffiti Alley was transformed in 2011 by the Queen Street West Business Improvement Association into a legal space for artistic expression. The main action is where Rush Lane meets Agusta Ave, but there are splashes of art on surrounding streets too.

I even chatted with a local who told me the artwork changes occasionally, with many pieces created by well-known Toronto and even international artists. If you’re looking for a free and colorful dose of creativity in Toronto, Graffiti Alley shouldn’t be missed!

On a recent Toronto trip, I snagged the perfect spot for photographing the skyline: Centre Island on the Toronto Islands! This quick ferry ride away offered stunning views of the CN Tower, Rogers Centre, and the entire Toronto skyline – a photographer’s dream!

But beyond the epic skyline shots, Centre Island provided a wealth of activities. I enjoyed strolling through the island’s center, braving the refreshing waters of Lake Ontario at the end of the Centre Island Pier (with the CN Tower still in sight!), and venturing east to see the historic Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, the oldest on the Great Lakes (built in 1808). If you’re looking for a scenic escape with skyline photography opportunities, Centre Island should be on your Toronto itinerary!

Ottawa’s charm won me over on a recent summer trip! As a global studies teacher, I was itching to explore Canada’s capital, and its walkability made a self-guided tour the perfect choice. Since Ottawa’s major attractions are concentrated within a few kilometers, I decided to tackle them all in a marathon walking adventure.

The British influence in Ottawa was undeniable, particularly around Parliament Hill – it felt like I’d been transported to London’s Westminster area! Instead of hiring a guide, I opted for a self-designed route, which I’ll share below for anyone who wants to recreate this walkable Ottawa adventure!


Montreal stole the show on my recent trip! I started by getting lost in the charm of Old Montreal, a historic district with cobblestone streets and European vibes. The Notre Dame Basilica was a highlight – its beauty left me speechless.

Next, I wandered along the Old Port, soaking in the waterfront atmosphere and perhaps even catching a glimpse of the iconic Montreal Science Centre.

No Montreal trip would be complete without a visit to Olympic Stadium. This massive structure, a legacy of the 1976 Olympics, offered a unique perspective of the city.

From cobblestone streets to grand basilicas and Olympic feats, Montreal offered a perfect blend of history, culture, and modern energy.