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Top ten things to do while studying abroad in... Canada

Top ten things to do while studying abroad in... Canada





Top ten things to do while studying abroad in... Canada


Stretching from Niagara Falls up towards Greenland and the North Pole, Canada is the world’s second largest country. This gigantic landmass contains some of the world’s most stunning natural scenery, not to mention many exciting outdoor pursuits – skiing, snowboarding, hiking, rafting, mountaineering and ice hockey just to name a few.
If you’re more of an urban dweller, cities such as Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are buzzing with activity and offer all you could want as a student. Top Universities has come up with the top ten things any undergraduate student should do to get the most out of your time studying abroad in Canada.



1) Toronto - the cultural, financial and entertainment capital of Canada

Nearest universities: University of Toronto; University of Waterloo; Queen’s University; McMaster University; The University of Western Ontario; University of Ottawa; York University; Carleton University;
Canada’s official capital city may be Ottawa, but its cultural, financial and entertainment capital is definitely Toronto. Major attractions such as the CN Tower (the skyline’s imposing centrepiece), the Royal Ontario Museum and the Toronto Maple Leafs stadium (home of the local ice-hockey team) are focal points for any visitor in the city. But as an undergraduate student studying in Toronto, you’ll have the chance to head further off the tourist trail, to delve into the real city of Toronto and get to know the more authentic local character of neighbourhoods including Chinatown, Leslieville and Kensington Market.
A great way of getting a feel for Toronto, either as a one-off visitor or as student at one of the city’s top universities, is to pay a visit to the annual Caribana Festival. A two-week celebration of the local Caribbean community, the highlight of the festival is its massive street parade, where dancers in extravagant costumes light up the city in their thousands.





Top ten things to do while studying abroad in... Canada




2) Niagara Falls - No visit to Canada is complete without checking out this natural wonder

Nearest universities: University of Toronto; University of Waterloo; Queen’s University; McMaster University; The University of Western Ontario; University of Ottawa; York University; Carleton University;
Spanning a monumental 17km, Niagara Falls is the widest stretch of waterfalls on the planet, and one of the world’s most
famous natural beauty-spots. As well as being visually stunning, the falls are also an exhibition of awe-inspiring natural power - at high flow, over 6 million cubic feet of water plunges over the crest every minute, creating a deafening roar as it smashes into the rocks below.
Though Niagara Falls spans the border separating the US and Canada, the larger and more famous part lies on the Canadian side, with its much-photographed horseshoe curve. If you’re looking for reasons to study abroad in Canada rather than the US, you can rest assured the Canadian waterfalls are statistically superior in every department.



3) Take in a bit of ranch culture at the Calgary Stampede


Location: Calgary, Alberta
Nearest universities:
University of British Columbia; University of Alberta; University of Calgary; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; University of Manitoba
The Calgary Stampede markets itself as the ‘greatest outdoor show on Earth’ – and while there are perhaps a few raging bulls and bucking broncos that would contest that claim, it’s certainly the ultimate rodeo and a completely new experience for the vast majority of visitors to Canada. The ten-day celebration of cowboy culture attracts 1.2 million visitors to Calgary, Alberta every summer to watch parades, stage shows, concerts, and rodeo events including chuckwaggon racing, bronc riding, bull riding and calf roping. So put the study books down for a week, don the cowboy hat and boots and head to the Calgary Stampede. You’ve got to see it to believe it!



Top ten things to do while studying abroad in... Canada



4) Check out the music scene in Toronto and Montreal


Nearest universities: University of Toronto; York University; McGill University; Universite de Montreal; Concordia University
Think what Canadian music has been released over the last couple of decades and a list of pop acts may spring to mind: Bryan Adams, Michael Buble, Avril Lavigne, Alanis Morissette and maybe, just maybe, Celine Dion. But if alternative music is more your thing, you’ll find it thriving in Canada, with particular hotspots being Toronto and Montreal. In fact, with bands such as The Arcade Fire, Chromeo, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Broken Social Scene, Crystal Castles, Death From Above 1979, Junior Boys and Wolf Parade, since the millennium Canada could stake a half-decent claim to having had the most happening indie scene in the world.



5) Get back in touch with nature at Banff National Park


Nearest universities: University of British Columbia; University of Alberta; University of Calgary; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; University of Manitoba
Canadians are known for their love of the great outdoors and it's easy to see why when there are National Parks like this to explore. Encompassing famous spots such as Lake Louise, the Columbia Icefield and the Banff Hot Springs, and bordering three other National Parks (Jasper, Yoho and Kootenay), Banff is an ecologist’s paradise and an exhibition of natural beauty on an epic scale. The 6,641 sq km park is intercepted by the Trans-Canada Highway, meaning you’re free to drive through it and take in the views - though you’ll need to buy a permit if you want to stop off. Activities and attractions include three ski resorts and a 27-hole golf course, as well as organized hikes, horse riding, canoeing and alpine ski trips.



Top ten things to do while studying abroad in... Canada



6) Chill out at the Montreal International Jazz Festival


Nearest universities: McGill University; Universite de Montreal; Laval University; University du Quebec; Concordia University
Jazz music might have slightly intimidating associations for some, but for those who already have an interest in it or who would like to learn more about the genre, there’s no better opportunity on earth than the legendary Montreal Jazz Festival. The world’s biggest jazz festival, it has attracted a veritable who’s who of legendary performers over the years, including the likes of John Lee Hooker, Tom Waits and Stevie Wonder.
Even if you’re not much of a fan of the music, the atmosphere of Jazz Fest (as it’s also known) makes it unmissable. The festival draws over two million visitors per year and features many free performances in the streets and venues around the city. Several neighbourhoods are closed to traffic for the festival’s ten-day duration, as Montreal takes a collective time-out to listen to some of the world’s most talented musicians in action.



7) Hit the slopes at Whistler Blackcomb

Nearest universities: University of British Columbia; University of Alberta; University of Calgary; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; University of Manitoba
No study abroad period in Canada would be complete without a trip to the slopes – and you won’t find a better one anywhere than Whistler. Host of the 2010 Winter Olympics, Whistler Blackcomb, Canada boasts one of the biggest and best ski resorts in the world. Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain (which combine to form the resort) contain slopes ranging from gentle beginners’ runs to ridiculously ‘gnarly’ black slopes that are reserved for only the most intrepid pros. So whether you’re primarily there to perfect your ski or snowboard skills, or you’re more interested in the views and the post-ski party, make sure you find time in between assignments to hit the slopes!



Top ten things to do while studying abroad in... Canada



8) Go to an ice hockey match - you'll see a whole new side to your Canadian classmates...

Ice hockey (or more commonly known in Canada as just ‘hockey’) is a sport defined by speed, balance, technique... and a certain laissez-faire attitude towards fist-fights (to say the very least). In fact, there are even rules for fighting in the NHL (the most prestigious league in the US and Canada). As long as you get rid of your stick and gloves first, nobody really seems to mind.
Hockey isn’t just about fighting though - it’s the national winter sport in Canada, and the nation contains some of the top club teams to be found anywhere in the world. Take a trip to an NHL game with your Canadian classmates, and not only will they be able to explain the finer details of the rules if you’re new to the sport – you may also see a whole new side to their character!



9) Visit Vancouver - Grouse Mountain, Stanley Park, Canada Square

Nearest universities: University of British Columbia; University of Alberta; University of Calgary; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; University of Manitoba
With the picturesque backdrop of the Whistler and Blackcomb mountains and the Burrard Peninsula, Vancouver is often rated as one of the world’s most liveable cities. It’s also a city characterized by diversity. With just over 50% of the city speaking a first language other than English, and with the third-highest population density in North America after New York City and San Francisco, Canada’s third largest city is a cultural melting-pot. Visitors to the city should make sure they check out the distinctive traditional immigrant areas such as Japantown, Punjabi Market, Greek Town and Little Italy.

As an undergraduate studying abroad here, Vancouver’s centrepiece, Stanley Park, could be the perfect place to spend a sunny day revising – it’s the largest urban park in North America and features stunning views across the waterfront out towards the Pacific Ocean. If you’re in need of some adrenaline instead, head to
Grouse Mountain and travel at top speeds of 80km/h on the Mountain Ziplines. That should below the cobwebs away!



Top ten things to do while studying abroad in... Canada



10) Get into the festive spirit at the Quebec Winter Carnival


Nearest universities: McGill University; Universite de Montreal; Laval University; University du Quebec; Concordia University
Canada does winter in a big way. Parts of the interior and Prairie provinces are known to experience temperatures below -40°C/-40°F – now that’s seriously chilly.
The annual Winter Carnival in Quebec City is held as temperatures plummet to their lowest in January and February, and is a celebration of the fun side of winter. It features entertaining oddities such as a sleigh race, giant ice sculptures and even an extreme canoe race on a frozen lake. Attracting around one million people every year, it is one of the largest winter carnivals in the world, and a great way to stay warm while embracing the chilly season.

Once you’ve finished those:

- Hike the West Coast Trail
- Take a train trip through the Canadian Rockies
- Chill out at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival
- Explore the culture, heritage and history of Halifax and the Nova Scotia region
- Get your picture taken with a Mounty



http://www.topuniversities.com/coun

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