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Canada Tourism Statistics 2023

Gowithguide travel specialist O.

by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Gowithguide travel specialist O.

Last updated : May 21, 202419 min read

Travel Tips

Canada - also known as the ‘Great White North’ is the second largest country in the world, famous for its cold winters, expansive natural landscapes, diverse culture, and of course the ever delicious poutine.  

 

We have a large team of local Canadian private guides standing by to show you around their beautiful country. From the breathtaking Niagara Falls and Rocky Mountains to rich urban centers or the stark Arctic tundra, the country really has something to offer for every kind of traveler. 

 

The most popular Canadian cities to visit are Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and the capital of Ottawa. The country also hosts thousands of friendly and picturesque towns and villages which serve as perfect stops during a classic North American road trip. Winter sports enthusiasts in particular make regular pilgrimages to the country seeing as it is home to some of the best skiing and snowboarding locations on the planet. For nature lovers, hiking and camping are also very popular activities during the summer months

 

Obviously the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the country’s tourism industry, but as travel restrictions fall away it’s making a rapid comeback. To more accurately reflect the nation’s tourism industry, most of the numbers mentioned in this article will be taken from prior to the pandemic. 

Canada’s Top Tourism Statistics

  • 2nd - Canada is the second-largest country in the world by land area
  • Vikings - The first non-indigenous settlers of Canada were Norse Vikings who landed in Newfoundland around 1,000 CE. 
  • > 32 million - Number of international tourists who visited Canada in 2019
  • English & French - The country’s two official languages 
  • > $100 Billion USD - The amount that the tourism sector contributes to Canadian GDP. 
  • > 700,000 - The number of workers employed in the tourism industry. 
  • 32% - The percentage of international tourists to Canada from overseas territories, the rest are made up of visitors from the United States. 
  • 85% - Percentage of the world’s supply of maple syrup produced in Canada. 
  • Kanata - Canada’s name is derived from an indigenous word meaning ‘village’ in the language of the St. Lawrence Iroquoians.

 

Weather 

 

Canada is obviously most famous for its wintery climate, with large areas of the country’s north situated in the arctic circle, and even more southern regions famous for their heavy snowfall. It’s not all cold and gloom however, as Canada during the summer transforms into a realm of pristine forests, rivers, and lakes. 

 

As mentioned earlier, Canada is a very large country and this means that temperatures can vary significantly, especially when comparing the far north of the country to the more southern provinces. During the summer months, most of the country enjoys comfortable temperatures ranging between 20-30°C (68-86F), and in recent years the country has even experienced heat waves that can sometimes see temperatures soar to the 40°C (104F) mark. 

 

During winter of course the opposite holds true, with mean temperatures dropping to around -5°C to -15°C (23 -5F) in many parts of the country, and even more extreme cold can be experienced in the regions that fall under the Arctic Circle, even plunging down to -40°C (-40°F). The coldest temperature ever recorded in Canada occurred back in 1947, with the Yukon city of Snag experiencing a cold snap that saw the mercury fall down to a staggering -63°C!

 

If you aren’t a fan of the cold, we would recommend scheduling your tour between June and August so you can experience a lush and green Canada, while for those of you who enjoy the snow a tour during the winter months (November - February) will be the best time for a winter adventure. Like we said though, the weather can vary greatly between different regions and provinces, so we’d recommend asking your Canada private tour guide for detailed weather advice for your chosen destination. 

 

The Most Popular Places to visit in Canada

Niagara Falls

One of the most well-known natural attractions in Canada is undoubtedly the Niagara Falls, a collection of three towering waterfalls located in the province of Ontario and extending across the border into the U.S. state of New York. The waterfalls consist of the Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls, with the Horseshoe falls straddling the border between the two countries. 

 

Fed by the mighty Niagara River, and in turn providing the water that fills the famous Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, these are the largest waterfalls in North America with over 168,000 m3 (5.9 million cu ft) rushing through every 60 seconds during peak season! Activities include the opportunity to take some of the most beautiful photos of your life, and visitors can also enjoy boat tours that take you close enough to the falls to feel the spray (don’t worry, raincoats are included). 

 

In addition to marveling at the waterfalls themselves, we’d also recommend visitors check out the aptly named twin cities of Niagara Falls, the larger located in Ontario on the Canadian side of the border, and its sister being right next to it in New York State. If you’re unsure of how to get to these majestic falls, why not take advantage of enjoying a guided tour in a private car with a Canadian guide?

 

Pro-tip: Remember to keep in mind that crossing over to the US side may require a visa depending on your country’s passport. 

The Canadian Rockies 

Forming a large part of the famous North American Rocky Mountains, the Canadian Rockies is an interconnected series of mountains that lie between the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. Technically these vast mountain ranges stretch all the way from Alaska to Mexico, but geologists have varying definitions of what exactly constitutes the “Rockies”. Let’s explore some of the tours and activities you can look forward to when planning a visit to these awe-inspiring mountains. 

Banff National Park

The Canadian Rockies are home to several beautiful national parks, the two most famous being Banff National Park and Jasper National Park

The country’s oldest national park, Banff was established all the way back in 1885 and is famous for its impressive glaciers, deep blue lakes, and steaming hot springs. During the winter this is an excellent choice for skiing and snowboarding, with snowy peaks that are welcoming to both newcomers and the most experienced winter sports aficionados. 

 

If you’d prefer to visit during the more temperate spring, summer, or autumn months the park is also home to a diverse range of wildlife. From deer and elk to the legendary grizzly bear, not to mention the vast array of birdwatching opportunities, anyone who enjoys hiking, camping, or simply enjoying a day trip through nature will find much to do in this massive park. 

 

You don’t have to be a hiker or skier to enjoy your time here though, Banff is also home to excellent hot springs and luxurious hotels for those who simply want to lie back and relax while enjoying the view. Consult with our private guides today so they can cater your experience to suit your needs. 

Jasper National Park

Spanning across a staggering 11,000 km2 (4,200 sq mi), Jasper is the largest park in the Alberta Rockies and also holds the distinction of being the second largest dark sky preserve in the world! Managed by the International Dark-Sky Association, these are areas which are particularly renowned for their beautiful starry nights, with regulations that limit light pollution in place. 

 

Here you can also experience abundant wildlife, extensive hiking trails, and some of the best peaks for skiing and snowboarding in the world. Here you can also visit the Columbia Icefield (which stretches into Banff as well), the largest icefield in the Rocky Mountains. Trust us on this, there is nothing quite as spectacular as marveling at the night sky from a vantage point on the ice. 

 

Another unique and memorable experience to take part in here is to go on a dog sledding tour like the Inuit hunters of old! There are many other sightseeing spots in and around the park, including Maligne Canyon, the Edith Cavell Meadows, Athabasca Falls, and more. We understand that the amount of things to do may seem a bit overwhelming, so why not leave the details to a local guide.

 

Who Else Loves Canada?

 

Due to their geographical proximity and shared language, it probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise to learn that the majority of international tourists visiting Canada came from the United States. In fact, almost 70% of travelers to the country come from the US. While American tourists make up the majority, overseas guests on average spend a longer time in the country, in turn greatly benefiting local businesses. 

 

Here’s a snapshot of the top ten countries that visit Canada the most:

  1. United States: 22,000,000
  2. United Kingdom: 922,000
  3. China: 753,000
  4. France: 684,000
  5. Mexico: 519,000
  6. Germany: 425,000
  7. Australia: 371,000
  8. India: 350,000
  9. Japan: 259,000
  10. South Korea: 224,000

 

As we can see, Canada is rapidly gaining in popularity with visitors from East Asian countries, China in particular. English speakers also love traveling to the country, and it remains popular with tourists from France due to the prevalence of French language and culture in the country’s eastern provinces. 

 

Food

Thanks to its various cultural influences, Canada has a surprisingly diverse culinary tradition. From French and British classics to Asian influence and traditional First People’s dishes. The most famous Canadian foods are of course poutine and maple syrup, but there’s much more to explore. 

 

Originating in Quebec but now a staple throughout Canada, poutine is simply french fries served with a topping of brown gravy and cheese curds. It may sound simple, but if correctly prepared it’s absolutely delicious. While you can find poutine served all over Canada (especially on the East Coast), some of the best places to try include La Banquise in Montreal, NomNomNom Poutine in Toronto, and La Belle Patate in Vancouver. 

 

For those with more of a sweet tooth, a must-try in Canada is definitely Nanaimo Bars. Surprisingly enough this cake-like dessert doesn’t require any baking and consists of three layers; a crumb base, custard for the filling, and chocolate ganache on top. Sounds absolutely heavenly doesn’t it? Originating in the town of Nanaimo, British Columbia these bars can be found in many different varieties and flavors, including peanut butter, mint, gluten-free, and more. You can find them in most Canadian bakeries or confectionary stores, some notable examples include Northern Bars and Rustique

 

A popular dish enjoyed by the First Nations peoples of Canada for centuries is called bannock, a kind of flatbread made from maize (corn), nut meal, and plant bulb flour - though ingredients and toppings would vary depending on availability. Canadian bannock is traditionally baked in clay or rock ovens, and can even be prepared wrapped around a stick and cooked over an open fire. These days it is popular to deep fry or pan fry the bread. Traditionally eaten with dried fruits, these days bannock can be enjoyed in a variety of forms including “Indian tacos”, as hamburgers, or with sides such as bison chili (among others). Check out Kekuli Cafe or Salmon n’ Bannock for some great examples of this dish. 

 

Other Canadian favorites include sweet pastries such as BeaverTails and Butter Tart, or if you’re in the mood for something more savory you can try Jiggs Dinner (a mixed plate of mainly boiled meats and vegetables), or Tourtière (a French Canadian meat pie). Finally, a trip to Canada won’t be complete without trying some maple syrup. This rich and sweet syrup is a versatile ingredient used in many baked goods, or simply poured over your morning pancakes. It also makes a great souvenir to take back home! 

 

Transportation

As noted earlier in the article, Canada is the 2nd largest country in the world, and this means that it’s not as easy to travel from one side of the country to the other as it is in places like Europe. Most large urban centers (and infrastructure) are located either on the Atlantic east coast or on the Pacific west coast. 

 

If you want to visit both Toronto (east) and Vancouver (west) for example, you have a number of options at hand. The fastest and most convenient way to traverse the country is simply to take a domestic flight. There are several options available, so this is an easy trip, but for some people it may also be a bit boring. 

 

For those who are fans of long road trips, the country is home to the Trans-Canada highway, which as the name implies crosses from one side of the continent to the other. The roads in Canada are generally in good condition, although if you don’t have experience driving in winter conditions we would recommend planning your road trip during the warmer months (the scenery will also be much greener). Even if you don’t feel like spending several days on the road, enjoying Canadian nature does frequently require a bit of a drive, and one of the benefits of hiring a private tour guide is that they can pick you up and drive you right to your preferred destination. 

 

If you’re touring around one of the larger cities, public transportation is plentiful and varied, and may take on the form of subways, commuter trains, street cars, or buses. Ask your Canadian guide about the best transport options for your destination. Bicycle sharing programs are also available in many areas so you can take a leisurely and eco-friendly bike ride as you explore or shop. 

 

Do's and Don’ts in Canada

Dos

  • Prepare for the climate appropriately, especially during the winter months 
  • Smile and maintain eye contact
  • Don’t shout, but feel free to wave when greeting someone
  • Be polite - everyone appreciates a ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ 
  • Learn a few French phrases if you’re visiting Quebec

Don'ts

  • Don’t point at people, especially strangers
  • Don’t chew with your mouth open or spit in public 
  • Don’t discuss religion or politics with locals unless they bring it up
  • Don’t litter anywhere, but especially not in parks or nature reserves
  • Don’t be surprised if someone holds the door for you, simply accept the polite gesture

 

Conclusion 

Canada is a large, surprisingly diverse, and famously tolerant country. You will encounter different peoples and cultures throughout the country, with both the east and west coasts, the interior, and the northern regions having their own identities. Canada is considered a very safe and friendly country, so be sure to return polite gestures or compliments when received. 

 

Whether you aim to visit the large cities, trek through nature, go on a mammoth road trip, or simply relax in a hot spring hotel, our Canadian guides are here to help you out. Take advantage of their many pre-made tour packages, or ask them to design a custom experience tailor-made just for you! 

 

So what are you waiting for? Book your Canada private tour and experience the great white north today!

Quebec City Tour Guide - Phil M.

Phil M.

5.00 / 5
(1 reviews)
Canada

Bonjour - I am a native Canadian, though originally from the west and a native English speaker, I've lived in Quebec City since 2011 and was captured by it's history and beauty. Soon after moving here, I completed the tour guides mandatory intensive training and became a professional certified and licensed tour guide for the city. I offer both walking tours as well as cycling tours! and am able to customs tours to my clients' requests. Quebec City offers a taste of Europe in North America, and is rich with history, culture and beautiful architecture and nearby natural areas.                                                                                                                                  

Toronto Tour Guide - Varol K.

Varol K.

5.00 / 5
(1 reviews)
Canada

I have been in the hospitality business since 2011. I have extensive experience as a licensed tour guide and a licensed travel manager. I worked both with small and big groups and conducted several private tours. I can guide in English, German and Turkish especially in and around Toronto but also in other parts of Canada.                                                                                                                                 

Quebec City Tour Guide - Johanne A.

Johanne A.

5.00 / 5
(1 reviews)
Canada

I am an accredited Quebec tourist guide since 1997. I'm a Native of Quebec and a teacher by training. I have been working in the tourism industry for over 25 years. I worked for several years for the cruise industry. One of my main tasks was to develop unique tours offered primarily to cruise ship passengers but also to individual tourists and groups during their visit to our beautiful city, unique in North America.​ I offer a unique, personalized and bilingual (French/English) guide service on board (step-on guide) or on foot . I am dynamic, attentive and passionate about travel, history, architecture and culture. My first goal is to make sure that you will have an unique experience during your stay in Quebec City.                                                                                                                                 

British Columbia Tour Guide - Bobby L.

Bobby L.

Canada

Hello, my name is Bobby. I live in Vancouver. I love this beautiful city very much and am always very excited and eager to share the city with friends and visitors. Besides Vancouver, I also provide private guided tours to Victoria, Whistler, and the Canadian Rockies in Alberta. I enjoy travelling and have toured many countries. When visiting new places, I always look forward to experience the local lifestyle; savour the food; learn the culture, tradition, and history, to better understand the place I am visiting. I hit the highlights, the best places of interest the destination has to offer. Then I explore, meet the locals. Come, join me. Let's explore this beautiful city of Vancouver, the Pacific Northwest, and the Canadian Rockies. We'll have fun; explore and learn; and enjoy in style, comfort, and luxury. We'll visit the world renown ski resort of Whistler in the Squamish Lil'wat First Nations Territory, and Victoria, the Garden City on Vancouver Island. For the history buffs, wine lovers, and movie goers, we will visit the Fraser Valley and Fort Langley. To enjoy spectacular highlands, mountains, canyons, turquoise coloured lakes, and wildlife, we'll visit the the Canadian Rockies, and play golf too!                                                                                                                                 

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