Canada has it all – incredible ski spots, an impressive food scene and nature as far as the eye can see. But how has it changed in 2022? We spoke with three travellers who recently returned from Canada to hear about their adventures, their top local tips – like where to find the best donuts – and the secret spots you need to discover.

“The local ski instructors gave us the best places to visit”

Belinda Bligh and family in Canada

For Sydneysider Belinda Bligh, a holiday to Whistler provided the perfect family getaway.

“I’d planned on going to Canada in January with my husband and two kids, Hamish and Harriet. However, the travel restrictions were tricky so we decided to go at Easter when things were easier. We’d never been ‘spring skiing’ in Canada so it was a good opportunity.

“We flew Qantas Business direct to Vancouver where the staff were so lovely and accommodating. Boarding that plane was super, super exciting. We’d done a few domestic trips with the kids but knowing we’d be getting off that plane in a different country was really exciting. The weather there was also completely opposite to Sydney – as we drove to Whistler, it was pelting down with snow.

Belinda Bligh and family in Canada

“We stayed at the Fairmont Chateau and spent our days skiing, which was the highlight of the trip. We had amazing instructors for the children and they gave us great tips about Whistler – it’s always good to learn from a local! They told us to visit Creekbread and the kids loved it; they couldn’t get enough of the margherita pizza.

Belinda Bligh and family in Canada

“We also spent a few days in Vancouver at the end where the instructors told us to catch the ferry to Granville Island. It’s filled with food markets and craft stalls and also has live music events. The kids had so much fun at Beadworks where they could choose their beads and make their own jewellery. The trip was so brilliant that we’ve just booked to go back to Whistler at Christmastime!”

Qantas now flies from Sydney to Vancouver with non-stop flights taking off all year round. Visit our Vancouver travel guide to start planning your trip.

“We were all so giddy and excited to be back in Canada”

Hayley Gibney-Palmer

For Sydneysider Hayley Gibney-Palmer, an extended stay in Fernie allowed her to get to know the town’s hottest spots.

“I was in Canada doing my ski-instructor training in a ski town called Fernie in the Canadian Rockies when the borders closed because of COVID; I had to return to Sydney. The friends that I met there were all planning to go back to complete the course once the borders reopened. So in December, I took a career break and headed back over to join them.

“Unbridled excitement is the only way to explain how it felt arriving in Canada. We all flew into Calgary – I flew via Vancouver – to get the three-hour bus trip to Fernie. I would spot people across the airport and just scream at them! We were all so giddy and excited.

Hayley Gibney-Palmer and partner in Canada

“I spent three weeks essentially doing a ‘ski-instructor boot camp’. Each day would start with a massive breakfast (visit Big Bang Bagels and order the Mr. Fernie on a salty-top bagel), then we’d ski all day, have a huge dinner (ramen and a Kirin at Yamagoya is a must) and then crash. It was such good fun.

“At the end of my course, my partner Nick came over to meet me and we stayed for another two months – we just ate and skied each day. For anyone visiting Fernie, my number-one tip is to take a ski or snowboard lesson at Fernie Alpine Resort. The instruction is second to none and they’ll show you the best secret spots and views!”

“I cried when I flew into Canada”

Karla Courtney in Canada

For Karla Courtney, a trip back to home country saw her reunited with her family.

“I went to Canada the day of my 40th birthday because I wanted to see my family. The flight was quite daunting as I hadn’t been around that many people in so long but then the excitement took over. I actually cried when I saw the CN Tower as I flew into Toronto. I just kept thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m finally home’.

“I’m a big baseball fan so I made sure to see my team, the Toronto Blue Jays, play. That’s something I tell everyone they need to do: see a major league game in Toronto because there’s no cooler experience than having the massive, domed roof of the Rogers Centre open and sitting right under the CN Tower.

Stanley Park, Canada

“I also spent time in Vancouver; Main Street is just outside the city and it’s got a really cool Melbourne-esque vibe. Everyone goes to Stanley Park, which is like a forest in the harbour, but Queen Elizabeth Park, off Main, is another beautiful urban forest and gives you big, beautiful views of the city.

“The food scene is also epic. Tacofino is just off Main Street and they do a really cool fusion of traditional Mexican with fresh west coast flavours. I had the grilled lemongrass tacos and the crispy cod tacos – they were beautiful.

Cartems Donuts is also fabulous. They take local desserts like pumpkin pie or a Nanaimo bar and craft them with donuts. Pop by Purebread bakery for freshly baked pastries. It’s a visual feast; they have a gallery for the bread on the wall!”

From incredible ski spots to epic natural wonders, Canada has it all. Fill your Vancouver itinerary with our helpful travel tips.

Vancouver, Canada

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SEE ALSO: What It’s Like to Travel to India in 2022

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