Canada is a huge country.  It is;
  • approximately 9,984,670 sq. km / 3,855,103 sq mi.
  • comprised of six time zones.
  • over 8,000 km / 5,500 mi. wide, from Atlantic to Pacific coasts.
  • close to 50 degrees latitude from North to South, about 25% of the distance from the North Pole to the South Pole.
  • the second largest country in the world after Russia.
  • only slightly smaller than all of Europe.
  • almost 30% larger than Australia.
  • more than 3 times the size of India.
  • almost 11 times the size of Venezuela.
  • more than 18 times the size of France.
  • almost 20 times the size of Spain.
  • almost 28 times the size of Germany.
  • more than 33 times the size of Italy.
  • almost 37 times the size of New Zealand.
  • almost 41 times the size of the UK.
  • more than 142 times the size of Ireland.
  • more than 5319 times the size of Vatican City.

Due to the size of the country, trips to Canada are usually split into four regions: Atlantic Canada, Eastern Canada, Western Canada, and Northern Canada .

Atlantic Canada -- consists of Canada's 4 smallest provinces: Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland & Labrador. The area is also known as the Maritimes, although purists say that term doesn't include Newfoundland which joined Canada only in 1949 (and barely at that, with only a 52.3% majority on the second vote). While each province is distinct, all share a common culture: mainly small rural communities, a friendly but a somewhat socially conservative society, and an economy traditionally based on fishing, forestry, agriculture, and mining. New Brunswick is the only officially bilingual province, although there is a smaller Acadian (French-speaking) presence in the other provinces as well. For the tourist, the region offers picturesque seaside villages, some stunning nature, and famous Maritimer hospitality -- even in its big cities such as Halifax, people are relaxed and welcoming. Its downfall is that to see the region in its entirety will take a LOT of driving with relatively little to see -- farms and forests and the occasional small town. But then, this is Canada, and tourists from more populated, smaller countries should pay attention to driving times when looking at maps to plan their trips.

Eastern Canada consists of Ontario and Québec and holds over 60% of Canada's population and produces around 58% of the country's GDP. For the tourist, the region offers a mixture of both urban and nature, with cities such as romantic Québec City, exotic Montréal, friendly Ottawa, multicultural Toronto and beautiful Niagara Falls.  Tourist attractions such as whale watching in the Charlevoix/Saguenay region, skiing in the Laurentians, the lovely 1000 Islands area, camping and hiking and canoeing and kayaking in the impressive and huge provincial parks, the small rural towns and farms of the Eastern Townships or Southern Ontario, and cabins-by-a-lake in the lake country north of Toronto or along the shores of the Great Lakes or Georgian Bay, for example.

Western Canada consists of the prairie provinces Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. The prairies, alas, suffer from being incredibly huge with a sparse population, making them difficult and time-consuming to visit. It's a shame, since prairie folk are incredibly friendly. However, if you enjoy driving for hours and hours and seeing nothing but fields, then this is the place for you -- alternatively, you can take Via Rail's Canadian, where a berth or cabin is highly recommended for the 3 1/2 day voyage from Toronto to Vancouver. Most tourists concentrate on the western part with the impressive Rocky Mountains (Calgary, Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper, for example) and the coast of B.C. (Vancouver, Whistler, and Victoria).

Northern Canada consists of the northern regions of the provinces and the country's three territories: Yukon, North-West Territories, and Nunavut. These are definitely off-the-beaten track for tourists with summers that are short and where the cities fill up with adventure-seekers and seasonal workers, with places like Dawson City having a distinct frontier town feel . Other cities are more basic mining towns and see few tourists, and still others are small inuit communities, many with no access aside from plane. The winters are long, dark, and very cold, and most tourists prefer to experience the snow and cold in chic ski towns like Whistler or Mont Tremblant.

All of these locations can be found on TripAdvisor by searching for the area’s name, and of course there are the destination forums as well.