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Canada Day celebration

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While Americans famously celebrate Fourth of July, Canadians celebrate their own nationalistic holiday, appropriately named Canada Day, on July 1.

Until Oct. 27, 1982, Canada Day was actually known as “Dominion Day.”  It was almost a hundred years before that, on July 1, that the British North America Act was passed (sometimes referred to as the Constitution Act) which established Canada as a separate nation. The following year, the Governor General of Canada asked that all Canadian citizens celebrate on July 1. Declared a civic holiday in 1867, most Canadians are pleased this day off landed in the summer instead of the cold winter, because it’s often the kick-off weekend to summer vacations. READ MORE

Ottawa Parliament Building (Photo Courtesy of Moment Mobile / Getty Images)

Experience the world’s largest tulip festival in Ottawa. The 10-day Canadian Tulip Festival commemorates the country’s role in liberating the Dutch and providing safe harbor for the Dutch Royal Family during World War II. Visit the banks of Dows Lake to see the most spectacular display of nearly 300,000 tulips in 60 different varieties.

Daily Escapes!

Tablelands, Gros Morne National Park, Western

Tablelands, Gros Morne National Park, Western (Photos: Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism)

Ever fantasize about blasting off on a trip into outer space?

That might work someday soon for those with millions of dollars to burn. But for the vast majority of us who aren’t that lucky, traveling to Newfoundland might be the next best bet. The unique rock formations, stunted trees and brutally harsh offshore winds in this remote Canadian province are so out-of-this-world that they cannot help but lure those with an adventurous bent.

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Photography by Bruce Rowles

Bravo’s Real Housewives of Orange County heads to even colder territory tonight with a visit to the legendary snow-covered ski town of Whistler, British Columbia. Newbie Lydia, the sweet Canadian girl, wants the ladies to see her beautiful country in the hopes that the mountain air (and neutral vibe of Canada) will do the hot-tempered gals some good.

The snow bunnies don’t just drink wine in the lodge fireside all weekend. On this girls getaway, the Real Housewives get physical … with mountain sports, that is (their arguments continue to remain verbal slams). The ladies brace themselves for the freezing Canadian temps and hit the slopes on Whistler Blackcomb, two of the biggest vertical drops in North America, where Lydia snowboards and Vicki brags about her days on a ski team.

In the episode that airs tonight, the decked-out-in-fur housewives channel James Bond girls with a high-speed snowmobile tour. And it wouldn’t be a Real Housewives vacation without a few fights, like the one between Vicki and Lauri on the ski slopes.

Learning to ski can cause some epic meltdowns, even if you aren’t a reality star. Whistler PR supervisor Lauren Everest says the Whistler ski team enjoyed teaching the Real Housewives how to ski, even with the drama.

“Our expert snow school instructor Nadio made sure the ladies felt as comfortable as possible while learning a new sport,” says Everest. “The lesson got cut a bit short due to some drama while the cameras were rolling, but that’s what the show is all about … and why we love it when the Real Housewives come to town!”

After some heated discussions slopeside, the ladies whine and dine après-ski at The Bearfoot Bistro, one of Whistler’s hottest foodie scenes. The restaurant focuses on local in-season ingredients and features one of the world’s coldest ice bars, The Belvedere Ice Room, in which more than 50 vodkas are chilled in minus-25 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s almost as cold as one of Tamra’s “evil eyes.”

The second part of the Real Housewives’ ski trip airs tonight. We wonder: Will there be a massive snowball fight between Vicki and Lauri? Will Alexis run out of fur outfits to wear? Will Vicki’s maddening screams cause an avalanche? As Bravo says, we’ll have to watch what happens.

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Photography by Getty Images

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