"Is Canada in the US?
" - a question that many often ask. But it's not! Though it is geographically close to the US, the few months that I spent in Canada proved that it's unique in its own way. It is a place you would hold close to your hearts for life. So if you've never thought of visiting Canada, here are 12 reasons why you should plan your holiday there right now ?
Let me try getting through this post without shedding a tear ?
1. Nature, nature and more nature
Being so close to nature, far away from people, somehow draws you closer to Him - especially when you're in complete awe of all His creations. The Quran mentioned, "And the earth - we spread it out and cast therein firmly set mountains and made grow therein [something] of every beautiful kind, giving insight and a reminder for every servant who turns [to Allah].
" (Quran 50: 7-8)
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You'll be surrounded by proof that it is only Allah who can create all this beauty ?
Credit: nucksfan604 on Flickr The tiffany blue colour of the river is simply inviting you to take a dip in it!
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Tiffany blue rivers[/caption]
To be around nothing but nature gives you the time and space to do some soul-searching!
2. See wildlife up close
I personally feel that animals should be free to roam in their natural habitats, and Canada offers the space and environment for the animals to do just that. Get up close (but not too close) to animals such as the polar bears!
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Credit: @joedesjardins.ca on Instagram
You can also swim with marine animals such as beluga whales. In July and August, the Churchill River in Manitoba is filled with thousands of Beluga whales, where you can go for a snorkel or boat-ride to observe them! My friends returned from their trip completely in love with how adorable the whales are ?
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Credit: @discover_churchill on Instagram
For those who are afraid of animals (like me), you can still admire their beauty and take incredible pictures from afar.
3. Northern lights
In Canada?! Yes, in Canada ? The temperature and surroundings in Canada are perfect for the Northern Lights.
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Credit: @stardustimages on Instagram What's more, you don't even need to travel far to 'chase' the lights. A friend of mine saw the northern
lights from her backyard in her home at Alberta ?
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Credit: @Jeff Wallace on Instagram
If these lights don't prove to you how majestic His creations are, I don't know what will!
4. Amazing Canadian Food
A must try when you're in Canada is poutine
, a Canadian dish. It's made with french fries and topped with cheese curds and a light brown gravy. There are many shops (such as Affy's
in Ontario) which sell halal poutine
Credit: @j_yoon89 on Instagram
Canada is also home to many maple products - maple syrup, biscuits, sugar and sweets. It's a paradise for those with a sweet tooth, especially because maple is au naturale ☺️
Credit: @vtmaplemarket on Instagram
You might want to buy more of those maple cookies, because you'd be craving for much more after eating one!
5. Wide Variety of Halal Cuisine
Apart from Canadian food, you can also look forward to a variety of other food around the world. Get ready to be impressed by Canada's wide array of Mediterranean cuisine - freshly cooked.
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Paramount Fine Foods[/caption]
Credit: @paramountfinefoodsofficial on Instagram Paramount Fine Foods is a halal middle-eastern food chain with more than 30 outlets located in Ontario, Alberta and British
And if you're craving for a taste of Asia, they have plenty of that too! One of them is Restoran Malaysia
, which is located in Richmond Hill, Ontario.
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Halal meat used
: 815 Major MacKenzie Dr E, Richmond Hill, Ontario L4C 9X2I've eaten at these places with friends, and all of us can attest to how good (and authentic) the food is ?
Contact no. :
11.30am - 10pm on Tue, 11am - 10pm on Wed & Thu, 11am - 11pm Fri & Sat, 12pm - 10pm on Sun. Closed on Mon.
6. Niagara Falls
This wonder of the world is not to be missed! I recommend staying there for at least a night over the weekends as they usually have fireworks on Friday and Sunday nights - a perfect backdrop to the majestic falls.
Credit: Neil Howard on Instagram My friends and I stayed at the Embassy Suites Niagara Falls Hotel and only paid around SGD180 for the suite which has a full view of Niagara Falls ? Our room came with a free breakfast buffet but the best part
wasn't the free food (it's not halal certified but there's plenty of food such as toast to eat) - it was the view!
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Credit: @tomtap on Instagram
Book through Travelzoo
for deals such as the one I got.
6700 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, Ontario L2G3W6
7. Warmth from Canadians
Canadians naturally exude warmth - from its Prime Minister, to people on the ground such as service staff. They truly care about you, even if they don't know you. It is they who make the country a truly beautiful place to visit ?
Prime Minister Trudeau not only opened Canada's doors to refugees, but he was also at the airport to personally welcome them and told them "You are home.
Credit: @justinpjtrudeau on Instagram
And the locals are really friendly too! I remember walking near a mosque just after Friday prayers. A Canadian lady approached a father and his son. She bent down and asked the boy where he was going. When she was told that they were returning from Friday prayers, she praised the boy for going to the mosque. Such encounters would truly warm your heart ?
8. Scenic Journeys
Train rides between different cities might be boring, but when it's in Canada, you see nothing short of breathtaking sceneries. VIA rail offers seats in their dome cars, offering you an unparalleled view of your surroundings. And with such a picturesque view, it'd be perfect to pick up your Quran and spend some time reading it.
Credit: @viarailcanada on Instagram
If you're on a tight budget, buses are an awesome mode of transportation to get from one city to another too! (I survived and actually enjoyed my 2-day bus ride) Each seat is equipped with its own power outlet so you don't have to worry about your gadgets being uncharged when you reach your destination.
For buses, it's a first-come-first-serve basis so come early to get your preferred seats!
9. Each city is distinct
From the quaint city of Quebec..
to the backdrop of mountains in Banff..
to city life in Toronto..
There's a city to cater to each traveller ☺️
10. Abundant prayer spaces everywhere It's generally easy to find a mosque in Canada as they are the second biggest religion there after Christianity. The mosques there are generally quite active, but some are only opened for congregational prayers so check before you head
to any of them!
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Mosque in Ottawa[/caption]
Credit: Muhammad Ghouri on Flickr
And prayer spaces are not just public ones. Many universities in Canada provide amazing prayer spaces and facilities for Muslim students!
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At the New University of Regina, Saskatchewan[/caption]
Instagram: @mytickettojannah on Instagram
It's hard not to feel right at home when you have such facilities at bay ?
11. The currency
Canada's currency is 1.02 that of Singapore's. That's almost the same as Singapore's dollar!
I know, it's quite unbelievable. But that only means...shopping!
12. Outlet shopping
There are many premium outlet shops in Canada, all offering significant discounts on their products. I visited a few and personally recommend this particular one which had brands such as Kate Spade, Coach and Michael Kors at more than half its original prices ?
Credit: @chengyangpan_ on Instagram
I don't like shopping but even I was really enthusiastic about this. I bought a Kate Spade wallet for SGD$30!
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I think I bought three times as many as this ?[/caption]
Credit: @crystallei427 on Instagram
#HHWT Tip: They usually have great sales all year round, but the best time to go is on Black Friday, where we found the best deals.
Remember to come early as the queues start before the shops open!
We hope you're inspired by all that Canada has to offer! It's a beautiful country, made up of some of the most amazing people you would ever meet. Like me, you'd definitely go back in a heartbeat ?