There is little chance of coming across leather-clad hunters, dancing Inuits or woodland caribou in the vicinities of Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver. But it is enough to make your way along the straight roads to discover the Canada of legends. A corner of the world sculpted by and for adventurers. From these myths, metropolitan Canada conserves the hospitality of the pioneers and the warmth of those who know the cold.
In appearance, Canadian cities are hard to distinguish from their US sisters, with large patches of land with concrete towers and multicultural suburbs which bring together many different ethnic groups. But Canada possesses qualities unknown to its large southern neighbour. Situated between the Pacific and the immense ski resorts of Whistler, Vancouver has its own rhythm and style. Hyperactive, but sublimely gentle. In bilingual Montreal, inevitably, there is always something new to be discovered. A cultural inferno of festivals, theatres and dance. How, even in its most populated centres, has the country of maple trees managed to maintain such a pleasant lifestyle? A mentality, no doubt. Its refusal to be pompous. There is not a season to be avoided. Even winter, when the temperatures drop to extremes, rivals the Indian summer. In Toronto, when the snow is enough to put people off, the giant underground shopping centres are real cities in themselves below ground, and are lively both by day and by night. And museums that would make old Europe blush beat in the heart of the icy streets. The first national parks were opened in Canada over a century ago. Nowadays, the country has nearly forty. A sign that these people are conscious of conserving a universal heritage. A visit to Banff, Yoho or Jasper, the three main nature reserves, is essential to grasp the dimensions of this country. Because, even in the most inhabited parts of Canada, the memory of the land is what is shared first.