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June 16, 2011

This summer: Read, travel and be happy

The Canadian Charger

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A Canadian summer is like a leap year; it only comes around once every four years. Okay, so it isn't that uncommon, but it is something that should be cherished, because not before long the flakes start flying and our homes become our prisons.

This summer enjoy reading while supporting the Charger, travel and be happy.

Here is our summer reading list:

And here is a list of Canada’s top 5 Summer Destinations.

1. Toronto, Ontario: As Canada’s largest city Toronto is a pretty obvious choice as a place to visit.  Whether you want to take in a ball game at the famous Rogers Centre (formerly Skydome), shop till you drop at the multi-levelled, glass-roofed Eaton’s Centre, or take a walk by the waterfront, you’ll have plenty to do in Canada’s most diverse city. 

When you want to get out of the sun and cool off how about boosting your mental capacity at The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) or perhaps The Ontario Science Centre, which entertains and educates 800,000 people a year. 

Once you head back outside you won’t be stuck for more places to visit.  Head down to the northeast end of the city and check out all the exotic animals at the Toronto Zoo (Canada’s largest) or head just north of the city to Canada’s Wonderland and fulfill all your need for thrills with over 60 rides and 200 attractions.

2. Ottawa, OntarioOttawa is the Capital City of Canada, and a great place to soak in Canadian culture. The Changing of the Guard on Parliament Hill or the RCMP march are always popular sights, along with some world class museums. There are also many parks and bike paths that make summer outdoors fun.

If you happen to be there in late June, early July, check out the Jazz festival. It features the finest jazz musicians from Canada and around the world performing in open air venues and intimate studio spaces where thousands can enjoy world class music.

And of course, being Canada’s capital, Canada Day in Ottawa is one celebration you don't want to miss. Parliament Hill is the focal point for Canada Day celebrations, with a giant stage featuring Canadian performers throughout the day, the noontime playing of Oh Canada and a flyby by Canada's Snowbirds aerobatics team and other military aircraft.  The day is capped-off with a massive fireworks finale visible from any vantage point downtown.

3. Vancouver, British Columbia: Vancouver is one of Canada’s most beautiful cities but also has many exiting and unique things to do there. If natural beauty is your thing you can try the Van Dusen Botanical Garden; a living museum of plant collections from around the world, this spectacular 55-acre botanical garden is beautiful in every season but is especially gorgeous and vibrant in the summer.

If you’d rather be educated on marine animals, head over to the Vancouver Aquarium, and come face to fin with over 70,000 captivating creatures.  Enjoy dolphin and beluga whale shows, sea otter feeds, shark dives & the free-roaming animals in the popular Amazon Gallery.

And of course like any large city Vancouver has a city centre where shopping, dining, and entertainment intermingle to create a must visit destination. With 450 stores, Metropolis at Metrotown is British Columbia's largest shopping destination. It's a destination in itself with must see attractions, world class restaurants, theatres and two indoor courtyards, not to mention great shopping.

4. Montreal, Quebec: Montreal was referred to as "Canada's Cultural Capital" by Monocle magazine and for good reason.  During the summer Montreal can only be described as a cultural hub with festival after festival, including one of its most famous the Just for Laughs Festival.  This festival draws some of the world’s funniest comedians and it is a reason in itself to visit this great city.

Some of Montreal’s other great festivals include the Montreal International Jazz Festival, Montreal World Film Festival, Les FrancoFolies de Montréal, Nuits d'Afrique, Pop Montreal, and the Montreal Fireworks Festival.  Whatever your tastes, there is a festival for you.

If festivals aren’t your thing, a simple walk through the city can be breathtaking because of all the history that this city posses.  Relive the romance of days gone by amidst Old Montréal’s cobblestone streets and 18th- and 19th-century stone buildings, taking time to gaze in awe at Notre-Dame Basilica.  After this walk, feel free to step into the future and satisfy your hunger at Dinner in the Sky where you and 21 others can dine on giant floating platform hoisted by a crane 50 metres above ground.

5. Niagara Falls, Ontario: Some might say that Niagara Falls is a tourist trap but as a city that boasts one of the great natural wonders of the world, it has to be on anybody’s list of places to visit.  There are plenty of ways to experience the falls as well including Maid of the Mist, Journey Behind the Falls or even a helicopter ride over the falls.  Whichever way you chose to see the Falls it is always a breathtaking experience.

Of course there are plenty of activities in the area that aren’t directly associated with the park.  Places such as Fallsview Indoor Waterpark, which features North America’s largest indoor water park and resort, and for the legally able, Casino Niagara makes a great place to have fun and lose/win some money!

However if the kids are along for the trip why not fun and fabulous activities that Niagara Falls has to offer.  Check out the Guinness World Records Museum for some interesting facts or mingle with the stars at Louis Tussad’s Waxworks.  Whatever you fancy, Niagara Falls has something for you.

Also worth the trip:

  • Lake Louise, Alberta
  • Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick

·        Pacific Rim National Park, British Columbia

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M. Elmasry

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