THE HIT LIST
Fun facts and figures about dinosaurs and deserts, heritage cities and beautiful beaches
QUEBEC City, known for its romantic architecture, cobblestoned streets, beautiful parks (some former estates), formal gardens and rich history, turns 400 in 2008.
Canada’s most beautiful beach isn’t on the west coast. It’s Grand Beach in Manitoba, widely recognised as one of North America’s 10 best beaches.
Canada is the second-largest country in the world (after Russia). The total area, including land and freshwater, is almost 10 million sq km.
Little Manitou Lake in Saskatchewan is saltwater and has a density greater than the Dead Sea. It’s not only easy to float in it, it’s impossible to sink.
Canada is the largest producer of icewine in the world. The grapes are left on the vines until the first frost, then picked within hours.
Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia has the longest ski season in North America, from November to June 3. It also boasts the largest skiable terrain in North America at 3307ha.
Spirit Island on Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park is said to be the most photographed island in Canada.
Canada has a desert: British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley extends right through the US and into Mexico’s Sonoran Desert. It is home to more than 100 species of rare plants and 300 types of rare invertebrates.
Captain James Cook sailed along the coast in 1778 and was the first known Caucasian to set foot in today’s British Columbia. Captain Vancouver, in 1792, first charted the coast in detail.
Montreal hosted the Olympic Games in 1976; Calgary hosted the Winter Olympics in 1988. Vancouver will be the venue for the Winter Olympics in 2010: February 12-28 (Paralympic Games, March 12-21).
Ottawa’s UNESCO-listed Rideau Canal is the world’s largest skating rink. It’s a 202km-long waterway that links Lake Ontario at Kingston with the Ottawa River.
Nearly 3.6 million litres of water pours over the 57m drop of Niagara’s Horseshoe Falls every second.
Dinosaur Provincial Park — located at the heart of the province of Alberta’s badlands — contains some of the most important fossil discoveries ever made, including about 35 species of dinosaur, dating back 75 million years.
In 1932, Waterton Lakes National Park (Alberta, Canada) was combined with the Glacier National Park (Montana, US) to form the world’s first International Peace Park. Situated on the border between the two countries and offering outstanding scenery, the park is exceptionally rich in plant and mammal species as well as prairie, forest, alpine and glacial features.
The town of Lunenburg in Nova Scotia is the best surviving example of a planned British colonial settlement in North America. Established in 1753, and now listed by UNESCO, it has retained its original layout and overall appearance, based on a rectangular grid pattern. The inhabitants have managed to safeguard the city’s original identity by preserving the wooden architecture of the houses, some of which date from the 18th century.
There have been 17 Nobel Prize laureates from Canada, most recently economics professor Robert Mundell who won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1999.
E. Annie Proulx’s TheShippingNews, set in Newfoundland, won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood has won a bevy of international writing awards including the 2000 Booker Prize for The Blind Assassin. Source: Canadian Tourism Commission; www.canada.travel