Passport to Canada: How to keep traveling virtually
One of the most varied, visually captivating and happiest countries on the planet, Canada is so close that many travelers overlook it for more far flung destinations. Well, look no further!
This French and English-speaking country is a true cultural melting pot, combining the customs of the First Nation people and settlers from Europe and Asia.
Its landscape is as gloriously varied, spanning the rugged Rocky Mountains with their glacial lakes, the world’s longest coastline met by three different oceans and vibrant cities.
And you can explore Canada with us, without budging from your couch!
Make a London Fog Drink
Born in Vancouver, the London Fog is also known as an Earl Grey tea latte. A sweet tea with mood-boosting Bergamot and vanilla, topped with fluffy milk, this is a true comfort drink.
Here’s how to make a London Fog…
Earl Grey tea, 1 teabag or 1 tablespoon of leaves
1 cup of milk, dairy, almond or coconut
Vanilla extract, 1-2 teaspoons
Sugar (to taste)
Steep an Earl Grey teabag/tea leaves in boiling water for 5 minutes.
Strain or remove the teabag and add sugar to taste.
While it brews, froth the milk. You can warm it in a pan until hot and bubbly, microwave then whisk with a frother or put warm milk into a French press, then pump the plunger until it’s bubbly enough.
Fill half of your favorite mug with the tea, then pour the mill on top.
Take an armchair expedition
In Banff National Park, the Johnston Canyon trail features sheer canyon walls, the rushing bow river, plunging waterfalls and lovely woodland. Walk the Johnston Canyon trail virtually here—it takes 38 minutes and we think it’s worth every second.
In Alberta, the Moraine Lake’s glacial waters turn from deep to near-florescent turquoise as summer approaches. It’s a real sight to behold, and that’s before we mention the surrounding valley of the Ten Peaks and thick, green forest. Take an 18-minute wander along one of the Moraine Lake trails here.
Leg’s aching? Hop into a kayak for a half-hour paddle around the Abraham lake at the feet of the Rockies here.
Travel through reading
You might read these curled up on your couch, but through the power of the written word, you’ll be transported to spectacular Canadian settings.
Anne of Green Gables is a Canadian classic, which follows the story of a charming young orphan, Anne Shirley who’s adopted by farmers living on Prince Edward Island, Canada.
A Booker prize-winner and true page turner, The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (#1 New York Times bestselling author of The Handmaid’s Tale) combines gothic mystery, sci-fi and romance in settings around Toronto, Ontario.
Travel through the TV
On Netflix: Chef David Chang and actor Seth Rogan explore Vancouver’s culinary scene in the first episode of Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.
On Hulu: The Revenant (which Leonardo DiCaprio won the Best Actor Oscar for) features several Canadian sites including Calgary and Kananaskis Country, Alberta’s Fortress Mountain and the Canadian Badlands. In the award-winning cowboy romance, Brokeback Mountain, Alberta’s Rocky Mountains play the role of the film’s setting, Wyoming.
Get your Canadian culture fix in these museums
Two of Canada’s most famous museums are open to virtual visitors.
At the Canadian Museum of history, you can find yourself face to face with Alex Janvier’s masterpiece Morning Star, learn about Canadian dress from the confederation era, visit the Virtual Museum of New France and much more.
Then, what would usually be a 4.5 hour drive only takes 4.5 seconds as you open a new tab and load the website of the Royal Ontario Museum. You’ll have virtual access to some of their best collections, with our favorites including the Archaeology of the Americas and First Peoples Art & Culture.
Make a Nanaimo Bar
A no-bake chunk of creamy, chocolatey deliciousness, the Nanaimo Bar is a favorite Canadian confection. In 1986, the mayor of the city of Nanaimo, British Columbia created a contest to find the best recipe and here it is, courtesy of the winner, Joyce Hardcastle.
Ingredients for the base:
1/2 cup unsalted European style butter
1/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons of cocoa
1 egg, beaten
1 and 3/4 cups or graham wafers, made into crumbs
1/2 cup of almonds, finely chopped
1 cup shredded coconut
8″ x 8″ pan
Method for the base:
Melt first 3 ingredients in a pan. Add the egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from the heat. Stir in the crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Press firmly into an ungreased 8″ x 8″ pan.
Ingredients for the second layer:
1/2 cup of unsalted butter
2.5 tablespoons of cream
2 tablespoons of vanilla custard powder
2 cups of icing sugar
Method for the second layer:
Cream the butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well, then beat until light and fluffy. Spread the mixture over the bottom layer.
For the topping
4oz of semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
Melt together in a pan over low heat, then leave to cool. Before it sets, pour over the second layer and chill in refrigerator.
Once set, chop into squares and tuck in (preferably with a mug of London Fog!).
Fun facts about Canada
Though our local Canadian guides can’t wow you with fascinating facts in person, you can still clue up on Canada’s coolest features:
Canada is the second biggest country in the world at 9,984,670 square kilometers, and spans over half of the Northern Hemisphere.
This country has the longest coastline in the world, totaling 243,042km and bordering three different oceans: the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific. Walking the entire coastline, without stopping for sleep, food, etc would take 4.5 years!
There are six different time zones.
Over half of the lakes in the whole world can be found in Canada, including two if the world’s biggest: Great Bear Lake and Great Slave Lake.
This one will make you smile: Canada is one of the world’s happiest countries! See where it ranks on the official list by the World Happiness Report in our blog here.
The Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia has the highest tides in the world.
The country’s lowest ever temperature was the same temperature as Mars, an incredibly chilly -81.4F. There’s also a crater on Mars named after the Newfoundland town of Gander.
In Nanaimo, where the delicious bar we mentioned comes from, locals host an annual World Championship Bathtub Race.
No country consumes more mac and cheese than Canada!
Call friends and family with our Zoom Travel Backgrounds
Video calling tools including Zoom have become an integral part of stay-at-home life, enabling face-to-face work meetings, virtual happy hours with friends and online family gatherings.
We’ve worked out a way to incorporate armchair travel into your video calls, creating Zoom travel backgrounds of Canada!
Click here for instructions and you can soon be calling your Aunt from Alberta or hosting a work meeting from a waterfall…