Canada remains one of the most stunningly beautiful countries on the planet. But with the United States just south of the border, it can often be overshadowed in the minds of prospective tourists. One of the best things about Canada though is the variation it offers. The possibilities for adventure and discovery are boundless. You don’t have to be an experienced traveller to appreciate Canada. But if you are, there is still plenty to see that you’ve never seen before.
If you’re the adventurous type, it could be the ideal destination for you. Although there are some great cities in Canada, the natural wonders and opportunities for adventure are where the true spirit of the country lies. If you’re thinking of embarking on a Canadian adventure, let these 10 ways to experience the country guide you on your way.
1. Go Orca Watching
On the coast just off Vancouver you can find up to 250 Orca Whales. If you want to make sure you get the best possible view of them, see them towards the end of the summer, during the salmon spawning season. As well as the whales, you can find humpback whales and prides of sea lions too.
2. Canoe in Algonquin Park
Algonquin Park covers 7653 square kilometers of Ontario, Canada. It’s not far from Toronto so can attract a lot of visitors. That doesn’t mean it’s small fry though. There are plenty of ways in which you can push yourself there and do something interesting. Canoeing the vast lakes and rivers of the park is probably the best way - you may even get to see some moose!
3. Explore Gwaii Haanas National Park
The full name of this park is a bit of a mouthful: Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site. Don’t let an inability to say its name put you off visiting it though. You could forget the rest of the tips on this list and just spend your whole holiday here.
The park covers an archipelago of 138 islands. You can explore the seas and go snorkeling or spend time on the beautiful unspoiled islands. The native Haida people host visitors and staying with them gives you the opportunity to learn more about their 12,000-year-old culture.
4. White Water Rafting in Nova Scotia
If you’ve never experienced a tidal bore before, you have to. It’s a must for every thrill seeker. Twice a day, tonnes of water from the Bay of Fundy are pushed up the Shubenacadie River, when this happens the water is anything but calm. All this is caused by the tide coming in. It’s a truly thrilling experience; prepare to get soaked.
5. Trek the Willmore Wilderness
Willmore Wilderness Park is often seen as the inferior younger brother to the Jasper National Park. Except it offers an even more wild and inhospitable landscape to trevail. If you ask me it is the far superior park of the two.
It’s great to trek because the experience feels genuinely authentic, you’re walking a designated trail. For example, there are no roads, bridges or buildings in the park. Make sure you’re watching out for grizzly bears and wolves though, both of which inhabit the park.
6. Ski Whistler
125 kilometers north of Vancouver you can find one of the world’s greatest ski resorts, Whistler Blackcomb. It’s home to the longest unsupported cable car span in the world, and it was central to the 2010 Winter Olympics.
You can take skiing and snowboarding lessons all year round. And for the experienced snow sportsmen and sportswomen among you, companies like Alltracks even offer training on how to become a ski instructor.
7. See the Northern Lights
Canada offers some the best locations in the world from which to view the Northern Lights. You can see them in Northern Alberta and take a dog sled ride while you’re there. There are few more impressive natural wonders in the world, and the Canadian Wilderness provides the perfect backdrop.
Lots of companies offer specific tours and trips to see the lights. Perhaps even more stunning than the Alberta locations is the Yukon. Here you can stay in Whitehorse, which is only accessible by floatplane. You can’t get much more remote than that!
8. Go Mountain-Biking
Not far from Quebec, in Mont-Sainte-Anne, you can find some of Canada’s best cycle tracks and networks. It caters for all proficiency levels, from beginner to expert. Rent the equipment and make the most of it!
Another option is to bike the Trans Canada trail. The trail does what it says on the tin. It’s the world’s longest recreational path, starting at the most easterly point in the country and stretching nearly 22,000 kilometers. You’ll never travel the whole trail, but it’s fun to do at least a bit of it.
9. Visit the Polar Bears
If you decide to try and get a glimpse of Canada’s polar bear population make sure you go with a guide. The end of Autumn is the best time to see them in Churchill, Manitoba. At this time of year, the polar bears are moving along the shoreline before the winter kicks in. When the water freezes over they’ll be able to hunt more easily.
There aren’t many places in the world where you can see wild polar bears up close. So if you’re in that part of the world, it’s an opportunity you shouldn’t pass up.
10. Pillow Fighting in Toronto
No, I’m not ending on a joke; this is a real thing! The Pillow Fight League was set up in Toronto in 2004. It’s a semi-professional sport that started life in a bar. Nowadays the sport is quite well known in Canada.
It is, of course, knowingly silly. But, having said that, pillow fighters have been known to suffer injuries during matches. If you have an evening free in Toronto, it’s worth seeing for a laugh. Or you could just try it for yourself in your hotel room. Don’t blame us if you get kicked out of the hotel though!