If you’ve been itching for some life-changing travel, you may not need to venture so far: Canada—AKA the US’s more polite (and, honestly, way more put-together) neighbor to the north was just named Travel + Leisure‘s 2017 Destination of the Year. And there are plenty of healthy reasons why.
Canada is generally a really pleasant and low-stress place to visit—everyone is so nice!—but its charming citizens are hardly the only draw. The country is also packed with awe-inspiring natural features perfect for backpack-toting hiker babes, cuddly polar bears (okay, maybe not so cuddly…but still), and as much maple syrup as your wanderlusting heart could desire.
You better get your passport ready.
Check out 5 healthy reasons Canada is an award-winning destination this year.
1. There are so many gorgeous national parks
If you think nature in the US is stunning, just wait until you hit up Canada: There are countless gems to visit, including Banff National Park (and its stunning glacial lakes) and the Bay of Fundy, where you can watch waterfalls in reverse. Wild right? And what’s especially cool is that for the country’s 150th birthday, everyone can see all these natural wonders at no cost, all year long.
2. Canada is becoming super tech-savy
The country’s rep is growing in the tech sphere: Whether through artificial intelligence or biotechnology, Canada’s advancements could be a big part of helping the world become a healthier place.
3. The outdoor workout opportunities are unlimited
All those national parks bring plenty of opportunities to work out—with stunning sights as the background, no less. Whether you want to spend the day hiking or biking the Trans Canada Trail (alongside actual black bears!) or kayaking or canoeing at Kouchibouguac National Park, you’ll get some heart-healthy exercise all while enjoying the great outdoors. There’s also scuba diving and heli-skiing, if you want to take things up a notch in the intensity department.
4. You can get your own fresh maple syrup
Plenty of healthy recipes feature maple syrup as a natural sweetener—and in Canada, you can get the treat straight from the source. Because 80 percent of the world’s supply of maple syrup comes straight from Canadian farms, you know you’re getting the freshest product for your recipes. (Is there time for a quick trip before you start cooking Thanksgiving dinner?)
5. Canada is all about slowing climate change
It makes sense that maple-leaf land is environmentally conscious—there’s a lot of precious wildlife to protect (particularly its polar bears, which still live in their natural habitat in Churchill, Manitoba!). The country is taking steps to reduce carbon pollution, become more energy-efficient, and make investments in cleaner transportation, all to support the goal of slowing global warming. Not only is it good for the planet, but it keeps citizens healthier as well.
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