Banff National Park, Canada
Banff National Park, Canada© MartinM303 /

For being a beacon of hope, welcoming refugees and immigrants with open arms and for its unspoiled environments and dynamic cities, Canada has been named the Travel + Leisure’s “Destination of the Year 2017.”

The praise and accolades are enough to make any Canuck blush.

They come fast and furious in the US travel magazine’s editorial, which pays homage to their northern neighbor.

“In 2017 all signs pointed north,” editors wrote, adding that Canada has become an influential global leader — “a nation defined by tolerance and hope.”

To determine the winner, experts looked for destinations that best capture the travel zeitgeist of the moment.

Along with celebrating a milestone anniversary — Canada marked its 150th anniversary this year — the country distinguished itself during a particularly divisive time, editors said, presenting itself as a “unifier of communities and cultures.”

The result? Global interest in the country, which has long languished quietly under the shadow of its formidable US neighbor, has grown significantly, with its world-class cities, “epic natural wonders,” and burgeoning, creative food and arts scenes, finally coming to light.

Past honorees include Portugal, which was crowned the 2016 Destination of the Year, and Cuba in 2015.

Trump slump

Travel + Leisure isn’t the only publication to shine the spotlight on Canada this year. Back in 2016, experts at Lonely Planet also named Canada their pick for the top country to visit in 2017.

Likewise, the findings of a recent industry report from market research provider Euromonitor International suggest that Canada will stand to gain from the ‘Trump slump’ phenomenon and the US president’s controversial administration.

Unveiled at the World Travel Market in London, England last week, analysts credited Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, described as “young, trendy, clever, articulate and welcoming” as a boon for Canadian tourism.

“Canadian cities Toronto and Vancouver are in a strong growth period, as the low Canadian dollar ensures Canada is an affordable holiday destination for many,” analysts wrote.

“Canada is also likely benefiting from some substitution effect, as its current political vision is the near-opposite of its southern neighbor, advocating openness and stronger ties with other countries.”