10 ideas for an amazing Canadian staycation

This summer you don’t need a passport, or a wallet stuffed with foreign currency to have a fun, rejuvenating holiday. Save money and make treasured memories with a Canadian staycation. Whether you explore your own backyard, or venture to another province, Canada has plenty of exciting, delicious and unique adventures waiting for you

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facial spa friends

1. Indulge with an at-home spa day

Holiday pampering doesn’t have to break the bank. Invite your girlfriends for an afternoon of at-home beauty bliss. Set the scene with a fruity ice tea, bowls of healthy fruit, veggies, and nuts, plush facecloths, scented candles, and a chilled out soundtrack. Provide a relaxing respite with a fully stocked manicure/pedicure station with nail polishes, emery boards and cuticle moisturizers. Thrill the facial fans in your social circle with an indulgent skin care regime created with products from your kitchen. Soothing DIY facial recipes containing honey, avocado and yogurt can rejuvenate your skin this summer. (Try our DIY facials!)

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concert music

2. Catch live music

Whether it’s outdoors in the warm summer air, or inside a beloved venue, this season brings the perfect opportunity to catch some live music. Canada is a top destination for many of today’s hottest artists, so there’s a good chance that your musical favourite is coming to a city near you. Michael Bublé, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Blake Shelton, Arcade Fire, and many other acts are performing across Canada this summer. Check Ticketmaster’s website for tours, dates and prices for concerts near you.

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3. Mark a 150th anniversary in PEI

Why head off to another country when the biggest party in Canada is happening this summer in picturesque Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island? Toast the birth of Canada during the city’s 150th anniversary celebrations of the Charlottetown Conference. It was here in 1864 that the Fathers of Confederation decided to form our country. To mark this historical occasion, Charlottetown is inviting Canadians of all ages to their jubilant bash. The festivities kick off on Canada Day (July 1st) and run through to September 7. Enjoy daily concerts, walking tours, heritage exhibits, and kids activities in the PEI 2014 Celebration Zone. Catch the Tall Ships in port from August 28 to 31st, and dance the night away when Shania Twain performs in concert on August 30.

Photo courtesy Discover Charlottetown

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zip line

4. Get adventurous at amusement parks

You don’t have to travel south of the border to experience the hair-raising thrills of rollercoasters, water flumes, and ferris wheels. Canadian thrillseekers can get their kicks on home soil thanks to an assortment of amusement parks dotted across the country. La Ronde in Montréal, PEI’s Sandspit Cavendish Beach, Calgary’s Calaway Park, Playland in Vancouver, New Brunswick’s Crystal Palace Park, and Toronto’s Canada’s Wonderland offer high-speed adventure for daredevils of all ages. Upper Clements Park in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley takes the family fun a step further. Part amusement park, part adventure escape, Upper Clements Park lets visitors revel in the exhilaration of coasters, and pedal boats as well as zip lines, and an aerial obstacle course high in the trees.

Image courtesy Upper Clements Park

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5. Food festival fun

Satisfy your cravings for a flavourful staycation! Canadians love outdoor food festivals, and the summer of 2014 has something enticing for all appetites from coast to coast. Feast upon the 30th annual Taste of Edmonton, Toronto’s Ribfest, or Taste of the Danforth, Richmond, B.C.’s 6th annual Garlic Festival, Saskatoon’s Taste of Saskatchewan, or Halifax’s Eastern Shore Cold Water Seafood Festival. Got a sweet tooth? Dig into the Chocolate Fest in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, or Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Peach Festival. Montréal’s vibrant – and yummy – food truck revolution is in full swing again this summer, while beer festivals are brewing across the country. Check the events’ websites for dates, and info.

Image courtesy Taste of the Danforth

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cottage lake

6. Head to the lake

No cottage? No problem! You can still make a splash this summer. Regardless of where you live in Canada, water-bound fun is never too far away. According to Environment Canada, our country is home to thousands of lakes. In fact, Canada has more ‘lake area’ than any other country on the planet, so grab your bathing suit and take the plunge. Beat the heat, and indulge in the quintessential Canadian summer holiday. Swimming, kayaking, water skiing, sunbathing, fishing, playing beach volleyball – the list of lake-based outdoor pursuits is only limited by your imagination.

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couple walking travel

7. Be a tourist in your own town

Hands up – how many Albertans haven’t attended the Calgary Stampede? Canadians are often guilty of ignoring the attractions planted in their own backyard. Local museums, art galleries, heritage sites, restaurants – they’re all waiting for your visit. Every town, and city in Canada has something unique to explore, and you don’t have to log thousands of miles by plane or car to discover them. Have money to splurge? You could escape to that neighbourhood B&B or hotel that’s caught your eye. Room service, pampering, and someone else doing the housekeeping equals staycation bliss!

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8. From page-turner to blockbuster

A book is the only passport that you’ll need for adventure this summer. Travel through the pages to uncover distant lands, and enthralling characters without leaving the comfort of home. Best of all, no work distractions, or agonizing commutes will interrupt your reading enjoyment. Get started now, and you’ll be all set to catch that page-turner on the big screen. Bestsellers such as The Giver, The Hundred-Foot Journey, This Is Where I Leave You, and Dark Places are all receiving the Hollywood treatment in movie theatres this summer.

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camping nature couple

9. Camp for free

Sleeping under the stars can be inexpensive, and easy. Skip campsites with steep fees, and opt for a free ground. FreeCampsites.net offers a list of free, and affordable (think $12 or less) campgrounds across Canada. Click on your province, and the website will display campgrounds that have been recommended by fellow campers. Amenities such as boat ramps, restrooms, drinking water, and picnic tables are sometimes depicted, but keep in mind that many sites listed don’t include any amenities – no cost typically means no frills. If you don’t want to leave the amenities to chance, you could always pitch a tent in your own backyard where the convenience of toilets and running water are just steps away.

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10. Give back and feel good

If you’re craving a feel good staycation that will make a difference, why not lend a hand to your favourite local charity? With many people away on summer vacations, the number of volunteers can dwindle, but the need for help remains high. Food banks, animal shelters, youth groups, day camps, senior citizen centres, and organizations helping new Canadians are all looking for dedicated individuals to volunteer their time and expertise. Not sure where to start? Visit volunteer.ca, and getinvolved.ca to find info on where to give back in your community.

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