Oh, it’s big all right. Damn big. And we’re not referring to Canada’s size (a whopping 10 million sq km, making it the world’s second-largest country). What we’re talking about here is the handle on a Canadian beer case – big enough to fit your hands, even with mittens on. If you think that’s impressive, consider Canada’s other mondo attributes. Its terrain is filled with them, from mammoth mountains to hulking glaciers to immense polychromatic skies. Then there are the creatures that roam the terrain and its waterways – grizzly bear, moose, polar bear, humpback whales – each one huger than the next.
Canada is impossible to dislike, but go ahead and give it a shot. You don’t like festival-packed cities like Toronto and Montreal that offer the world’s best quality of life? Then take a double dose of history in St John’s, Newfoundland, North America’s oldest city. Not enamoured with the prospect of hiking, skiing or snowboarding over the cloud-poking mountains of Banff & Jasper National Parks? Try a slow ride through the wheat-waving prairies of Saskatchewan. You want a nosh lighter than Alberta beef or Nunavut whale blubber? Pick up ripe peaches and cheeses from the Kelowna’s local farmers’ markets.
And it’s a wonder everyone is so nice, given the weather. It’s cold, as in world’s-coldest-country cold (based on average temperatures nationwide), which explains the mitten-sized beer case handles. Snag, a town in the Yukon, recorded North America’s coldest temperature ever: minus 62.8°C.
Voltaire may have written off Canada as ‘a few acres of snow’ back in the mid-18th century, but those ‘few acres’ have yielded vast amounts of oil, timber and other natural resources, that in turn have propelled Canada to a very enviable standard of living.
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