We all know Canada has huge mountains, colourful skies and hulking glaciers. And thanks to the TV series Due South it’s common knowledge that grizzly bears, moose, polar bear and humpback whales inhabit the land and seas. So let HostelBookers.com tell you some facts you don’t know about the beautiful North American country.
There is plenty to do for free. In the capital Ottawa, checking out the Canadian War Museum, the National Museum of Nature and the National Gallery of Canada won’t cost you a dollar. In Toronto the beaches near Lake Ontario, Allan Gardens and Kensington Market can provide hours of entertainment, all for free. And in Vancouver, try Stanley Park, the Grouse Grind hike and the Capilano Salmon Hatchery for some free fun. They might not be free but you’ll need somewhere to rest after all the excitement and hostels in Canada are great value. Hostels in Toronto start at just €10.99 pppn for York University Home Hostel. In Vancouver hostels begin at €13.19 pppn with Vancouver Backpacker Guest House.
At 9,984,670 sq/km Canada is the world’s second largest country. 9,093,507 sq/km is covered by land and 891,163 sq/km is fresh water.
Canada is a nation of inventors. The current list of innovations features hockey, basketball, the telephone, cable TV, the kitchen stove, paint rollers, the Wonderbra, the baseball glove, insulin, the BlackBerry and CPR mannequins. An assortment of items but all important to the evolution and sustainability of mankind – where would we be without Wonderbras and instant mashed potatoes, never mind paint rollers?
Canada has the world’s longest street. Yonge Street begins on the northern shore of Toronto Bay at Queen’s Quay and stretches 1,896km (1,178m) to near Kempenfelt Bay in Barrie. As well as being an important commercial thoroughfare it’s also a popular stretch for hosting ceremonial live street and theatre performances.
Canada also has the world’s longest covered bridge. In the tiny town of Hartland, New Brunswick, the 1,282 foot bridge has held the title since 1901. Built from cedar spruce and hard pine the Hartland Covered Bridge is now a National Historic Site and a Provincial Historic Site. The bridge is also well-known for being a wishing bridge – when you enter make a wish, close your eyes, cross your fingers and hold your breath. If you can do this for the entire length your wish will come true, just don’t do it if you’re the driver.
They have the second tallest building in the world. The Burj Khalifa just pipped it in 2007 but the CN Tower in Toronto was formerly the world’s tallest completed freestanding structure on land. At 553.3 m (1,815 ft) it remained the tallest for over 30 years. It also has the world’s second highest public observation deck at 446.5 m (1,465 ft).
Canada is a regular in top 10 Quality of Life indexes. In 2010 it took 9th place in International Living’s survey, owing to its natural beauty, healthcare system, rich industry, low cost of living, excellent entertainment facilities and wealth of nature and year-round outdoor activities.
Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary were rated first, fourth and fifth respectively in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Liveability Index 2011. Thanks to the excellent availability of goods and services, low personal risk and an effective infrastructure, the Canadian cities came out top.
Canada has a low crime rate that is still falling. The last measure, in 2006, revealed the lowest crime rate for 25 years and since 1991 the crime rate has been in general decline.
In Ontario it’s legal for women to walk around topless. A strange rule you may think, but it was passed over ten years ago to give women the same rights as men when it comes to basking their bits in the sunshine.