20 Things Canada Is Famous For - Updated 2024

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If you’ve ever visited the beautiful country of Canada, it will come as little surprise that this magnificent country delights and amazes in equal measure. What is Canada known for, you ask? Canada is famed for its stunning vistas, friendly people, and vibrant culture - bringing flocks of visitors time and again. But how much do you really know about this stunningly vast country? The Canadian Rockies and its “must-see” cities are on any seasoned traveler’s “to-do” list, but there’s so much more besides that. You might just want to pack your bags, book one of the best Airbnbs in Canada, or stay in one of the best glamping spots in the area and take that much-needed vacation in The Great White North. Read on to discover some of the best things Canada is famous for.

1. Canadian Rockies (from USD 335.72)

things canada is famous for | canadian rockies

The Canadian Rockies, a breathtaking mountain range located in western Canada, have garnered worldwide fame for their stunning natural beauty and awe-inspiring landscapes. Stretching across Alberta and British Columbia, these mountains boast towering peaks, pristine glacial lakes, and lush alpine forests. Canada’s fame in connection with the Rockies arises from their remarkable geological formations, including iconic sites such as Banff and Jasper National Parks.

The Rockies offer a playground for outdoor enthusiasts, offering opportunities for hiking, skiing, wildlife viewing, and more. The careful preservation and accessibility of this natural wonder have contributed to Canada’s reputation as a haven for nature lovers and adventurers.

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Canadian Rockies Combo: Helicopter Tour and Horseback Ride

Duration: 3.5 hour

22 reviews

2. Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons (30341105726)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user GoToVan used under CC BY 2.0

Tim Hortons, one of the iconic Canadian things, has a rich history that began in 1964 when hockey legend Tim Horton and business partner Ron Joyce opened the first location in Hamilton, Ontario. Starting as a small coffee and donut shop, it quickly gained a devoted following, leading to expansion across the country. Tim Hortons became famous in Canada due to its commitment to quality, offering freshly brewed coffee and a wide array of freshly baked goods.

With an emphasis on community, the brand initiated the “Timbits” hockey program and the Tim Hortons Children’s Foundation, embodying Canadian values of inclusivity and giving back. The brand’s presence at major Canadian events and its embrace of classic foods such as “double doubles” and Timbits have made it synonymous with Canadian culture.

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3. Helicopter tours over Toronto (from USD 201.0)

Toronto is a bustling city blessed with skyscrapers and beautiful attractions. But considering its size — it’s the largest city in Canada — it’s impossible to see everything it has to offer. So, if you’re ever planning to visit, you should get this particular tour — it’s a 14-minute helicopter ride over Toronto.

With this tour, you’ll get to enjoy a stunning bird’s-eye view of the city. Admire some of Toronto’s iconic landmarks, such as the CN Tower, High Park, Humber Bay, Lake Ontario, Casa Loma, and Evergreen Brick Works. After the tour, you’ll receive a souvenir photo as a memento of this wonderful experience.

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14-Minute Helicopter Tour Over Toronto

Duration: 14 minutes

43 reviews

4. Maple syrup (from USD 273.0)

If you’re not sure about what to buy in Canda, then let me give you a hint: If there’s one product Canada is perhaps most famous for producing, it’s maple syrup. It’s so Canadian a maple leaf even adorns the country’s flag (more on that later). And there’s a good reason why this syrup is a popular thing in Canada.

What breakfast isn’t improved by a liberal coating of this devilishly tempting treat? When pancakes first met maple syrup it was a breakfast marriage made in heaven. And that’s not forgetting its delightful use on everything from traditional foods to waffles and French toast to porridge. And, oh boy, has it proven profitable. Canada is today responsible for producing more than two-thirds of the global supply, generating nearly half a billion Canadian dollars each year. That’s a LOT of maple syrup!

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Sugar Shack (Feb to May) Maple Syrup Private Day Tour with lunch from Montreal

Duration: 4 to 5 hours

7 reviews

5. Whistler and sea-to-sky gondola tours (from USD 149.0)

In the mood for a road trip? Then this tour is one you shouldn’t miss. Lasting a full day, this tour will take you from Vancouver to Whistler, which means you’ll be surrounded by beautiful sceneries and attractions all day long. So, capture photos of gorgeous coastal peaks and picturesque forests. Admire the sea-to-sky views, and enjoy your time visiting the Whistler Village and Brandywine Falls.

The primary mode of transportation is through a coach, but you’ll also get to ride a gondola. When it’s time to ride a gondola, you’ll be able to admire the view of Howe Sound, the Squamish River, and the mountain range on the coast.

The minimum age of passengers is five years old, so this tour is kid friendly. For that reason, you should take your whole family on this tour.

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Whistler and Sea to Sky Gondola Tour

Duration: 11 hours 30 minutes

581 reviews

6. Lakes

As the second largest country in the world, Canada is blessed with so many beautiful natural sceneries that attract millions of visitors from all over the world. One of the country’s top tourist draws is, of course, its magnificent lakes, which Canada is in abundance of. In fact, the country has the world’s largest amount of freshwater lakes with more than 2 million!

Some of the most popular Canadian lakes that you should check out include Lake Louise in Alberta, Garibaldi Lake in British Columbia, Lake Superior in Ontario, and Lake Memphremagog in Quebec.

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7. Famous entertainers

Ryan Gosling Cannes 2
Source: Photo by Flickr user Raffi Asdourian used under CC BY 2.0

From Hollywood A-listers like Ryan Reynolds, Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams and Jim Carrey to world-class vocalists like Celine Dion and pop royalty like Justin Bieber, Canada has produced some of the planet’s biggest names in entertainment. Even the captain of the Starship Enterprise, none other than William Shatner himself, is a Canadian. For a country whose population is only one-ninth the size of its next-door neighbor to the south, it certainly punches well above its weight when it comes to ‘boldly-going’ forth and conquering popular culture.

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8. Politeness

What is Canada known for internationally? Well, it may be something of a cliche, but the Canadians’ reputation for politeness has a lot of truth to it. Of course, Canada isn’t the only nation known for its strong sense of social etiquette, but the character of its people for sheer ‘niceness’ is world-famous for a good reason. News stories, where one Canadian has carried out a random act of kindness for a total stranger, are not uncommon in the press. There are even tales where thieves have returned their ill-gotten goods complete with a note explaining just how sorry they are. Thieves with a conscience, now that’s polite!

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9. Craft beer

Canadian beer on Canada Day (699094095)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ruth Hartnup used under CC BY 2.0

Aside from maple syrup, another typical Canadian thing that’s been making noise around the world is the country’s craft beer industry. Especially in the past few years, craft beer making in Canada has seen a huge leap as there are literally thousands of small to medium breweries popping up from across the country with local consumption continually going up in percentages. Because of the country’s constantly growing craft beer brewing popularity, well-known brands like Labatt, Sleeman, and Molson were even acquired by huge multinational companies.

So if ever you find yourself vacationing in Canada one of these days, we highly recommend trying out the best craft beers in the Great White North!

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10. Beautiful landscapes (from USD 52.89)

beautiful landscapes

From the jaw-dropping peaks of the Rockies to the stunning coastlines of Vancouver and Nova Scotia, beautiful landscapes and nature attractions are certainly among the specialities of Canada. There’s a reason it is home to many UNESCO sites. You could spend a lifetime exploring this vast country and still barely scratch the surface.

There are so many wonderful ways in which to experience its picture postcard vistas - from orca-watching boat tours on the West Coast, to trans-continental rail journeys that will generate memories to last a lifetime. And let’s not forget the landscapes of the Great Lakes and the aforementioned Niagara Falls.

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Banff: Wildlife on the Bow River Big Canoe Tour

Duration: 1.5 hour

69 reviews

11. Ice hockey (from USD 18.0)

Ice hockey is one of the most famous things in Canada, and this national sport isn’t so much a pastime as it is a way of life. Indeed it runs so deeply through the veins of every Canuck that the sport and Canadian identity are intimately entwined - and the national team’s fortunes at major international competitions really fire the collective imagination. Indeed, it is so popular that it is played year round and enjoys high participation levels across the generations and among all corners of society. But whatever you do, DON’T call it ‘ice’ hockey - it’s simply hockey as far as Canadians are concerned.

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Hockey Hall of Fame Admission Ticket

Duration: 2 hours

253 reviews

12. The CN Tower

Toronto - ON - CN Tower bei Nacht2
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Wladyslaw used under CC BY 3.0

This stunning tower - which was once the tallest freestanding structure in the world - rises a dizzying 553.3 meters (1,815.3 feet) above Toronto, and is the highlight of this must-see city’s already impressive skyline. It welcomes more than two million visitors each year, who are ferried up to the lofty heights of its observation decks by an elevator that can travel at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour (22 kph). Once there, the brave can walk across specially toughened glass to really experience the vertigo-inducing drop below - complete with memento photo keepsake. And, for the truly intrepid there’s the EdgeWalk, which sees people don safety harnesses and then walk on the roof of the main observation deck. Dare you follow the guide’s urging and lean back for the ultimate thrill-seeking selfie? Of course, there are those who prefer to look towards the horizon, rather than gaze at the ground below. The views across the city to the other skyscrapers and out across Lake Ontario towards the beautiful Toronto Islands are also memorable highlights of any visit.

The CN Tower

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13. The national flag

National Flag of Canada Saint John Harbor (New Brunswick)
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ron Cogswell used under CC BY 2.0

The maple leaf silhouette and red and white vertical stripes of Canada’s national flag are an instantly recognizable symbol of this impressive country. But would you be surprised to learn that it’s a relatively recent creation? Canada’s national flag used to be the ‘red ensign’ - a predominately red banner, with the Canadian coat of arms in the lower right corner and the British Union Flag (or Union Jack) in the top left. Indeed, the country continued to use the ensign even after it gained its independence in 1931. The current flag was not adopted until 1965, making it little more than 50 years old. And despite the fierce political debate which accompanied its birth, the flag swiftly won the hearts of the Canadian people - so much so that, when its 50th birthday was marked, the then Governor General, David Johnston, said Canadians “simply cannot imagine our country without it”.

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14. Marijuana

Cannabis Plant
Source: Photo by Flickr user Brian Shamblen used under CC BY 2.0

While this may, at first glance, seem an unusual entry - there can be little doubt about the impact of Canada’s recent decision to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Although the first legal sales were only conducted as recently as October 2018, the roots of this decision stem back as far as 2001 when Canada first allowed the medicinal use of the drug. And it has generated considerable publicity around the world - with reams of column inches dedicated to this news story, and pro and anti-marijuana advocates alike all sitting up and taking notice. ‘Back home’ it has so far proven a very popular move among Canadians themselves. Indeed, one in every eight Canadians were thought to have partaken this drug within the first month of its legalization - and widespread shortages were reported as producers struggled to keep up with the demand.

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15. Northern Lights

Aurora Borealis
Source: Photo by Flickr user Joon Im used under CC BY-ND 2.0

The famous Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis, is an amazingly natural sky display of bright lights. It can be seen in many places, and Canada is one of them. Usually seen between October to March, tourists come all the way from across the globe to be able to witness this magnificent wonder at least once in their lifetime. If you are ever in the area or are planning to visit, this is definitely a sight you should witness. These lights will surely make you appreciate Earth’s natural beauty.

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16. Snow and ice

Toronto: Colonel Sam Smith Park ice trail
Source: Photo by Flickr user The City of Toronto used under CC BY 2.0

While people love visiting Canada during the summer holidays, it’s no surprise that Canada is more popular for its cold weather. More than half of Canada is typically covered with snow for more than half a year. Tourists who come from hotter parts of the world love to visit Canada to witness snow and ice accumulate on the streets and atop the mountainous regions of the country. If you intend to visit during the winter, do bring your favorite coat and enjoy the very cold weather in Canada.

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17. Moose

A mouthful.
Source: Photo by Flickr user Tiomax80 used under CC BY 2.0

Living mostly in forests near the lakes and streams, moose can be found in nearly all parts of Canada. These magnificent creatures are known for their large size and amazingly unique antlers. Famous as well for their wild nature, some people like to go hunting for moose when the place permits it. Beware though, as they are known to be one of the most dangerous animals in Canada, especially when provoked and threatened.

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18. Royal Canadian Mounted Police

RCMP Musical Ride
Source: Photo by Flickr user Andrea_44 used under CC BY 2.0

The members of Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or Mounties as they call it, are responsible for several duties that concern Canada’s national security. However, they are not only known for that. To promote the force, an event known as Musical Ride takes place annually, wherein RCMP members show their skills in horse handling. The event is typically held from May to October, so if you are planning a visit, try not to miss this entertaining show.

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19. Poutine (from USD 63.0)

For a dish as famous as Poutine, it may surprise you to find out that its origin was as recent as the mid-20th century. It first emerged in Quebec and is the result of combining fries with cheese curds and gravy. Poutine is a specialty of Canada and is their national dish. It has even enjoyed wide popularity around the world, and it can now be found in a number of countries. Indeed, the love that people feel towards this dish has resulted in special annual celebrations in a number of Canadian cities - notably Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa, and Toronto. Its influence just across the border has also seen similar events pop up in Chicago and New Hampshire. Will you be the next to give it a go?

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Poutine & Smoked Meat Tour in Montreal

Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

20. Niagara Falls (from USD 117.0)

World famous, and for very good reason, the stunning Niagara Falls are a true must-see for anyone visiting the Lake Ontario area during their Canadian stay. These impressive walls of water that is, in reality, three separate waterfalls, the American, the Bridal Veil, and the Horseshoe - straddle the Canadian-US border. And, while they can be viewed from the US side as well, it is from Canada that the best vantage point can be obtained - as it offers an unbroken vista of all three falls. The Canadian side is also home to the Skylon Tower, which lets you tuck into some tasty food from its revolving restaurant while enjoying a majestic elevated view of these ribbons of water. But, for arguably the most impressive view of all, head aboard one of the Maids of the Mist boat tours which ply the turbulent waters at the Falls’ base. There’s no finer way to experience the sheer power of this force of nature than getting up close to the curtains of water.

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Canadian Falls Tour with Boat Cruise & Skylon Tower from Canada

Duration: 4 to 5 hours

187 reviews

What are you waiting for?

Canada is utterly chock-full of amazing sights, sounds, and people. Discover what Canadians are known for. The Great White North is waitng, when will you pay it a visit?

Frequently asked questions about the things Canada is famous for

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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Philip, a writer and photographer situated in the heart of the picturesque Scottish Highlands, is a seasoned professional journalist with a rich portfolio of contributions to various newspapers,...Read more

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