Our editors pick the places you’ve got to see north of the 49th parallel
Visitors to Canada face the challenge of choosing what they want to do in the Great White North. A country with the second largest landmass on the planet offers a wealth of options: three distinct coastlines, endless wilderness, memorable mountain ranges, lakes big and small and distinct cities proud of their mix of founding peoples and immigrants. For travellers wanting some guidance exploring Canada, here are seven truly unique Canadian experiences.
There’s a reason the area between southern Labrador and northern Newfoundland is known as Iceberg Alley. Every spring the icebergs make their migration here. Hiking and boat tours are standard options, but kayaking a portion of the 29,000 kilometres of Atlantic coastline will help you get up close and personal with these jaw-droppingly huge pieces of ice, which hide 90 per cent of their mass below the sea surface.
An essential ingredient of Québécois cuisine, the savoury combination of fries, cheese curds and gravy, makes poutine the must-have street snack of the historic centre. Do a taste test: old-school devotees believe in the traditional style offered by historic Chez Ashton, while those embracing innovation make tracks for newbie Le Chic Shack, where modern additions include smoked meat or braised duck.
Head to the north of this Prairie province for one of Mother Nature’s most spectacular sights: the Northern Lights. The best time to see this natural phenomena of green light in the night sky is typically between
January and March. But those who want to avoid shivering in the cold take note: The inhabitants of The Pas, population 5,368, claim the Aurora Borealis shines there year round.
Rideau Canal Skateway
For a long time, the Rideau Canal has held bragging rights as the longest ice skating rink in the world. But there’s a new twist to enjoying the winter wonderland in the nation’s capital. Launched last February, the annual Winterlude Festival now includes the continent’s first Ice Dragon Boat Festival, with teams competing for paddling supremacy on the frozen river.
Throughout the 22,000 square kilometres of wilderness in The Kluane National Park and Reserve, one can experience the beauty of forests, rivers, glaciers and ice-fields, as well as Mount Logan, Canada’s highest peak. Here it’s possible to see black and grizzly bears, Dall sheep, moose and caribou. For a Bald eagle-eye-view of this UNESCO World Heritage site, take a Rocking Star Adventure flight.
Okanagan Wine Tours
Nk’mip Cellars in Osoyoos should be a bucket-list destination for oenophiles. Located in the hottest and driest area of Canada, this award-winning vineyard/restaurant/all-suites resort is Canada’s first Aboriginal-owned winery and was named Canadian Winery of the Year 2016-2017 by the InterVin International Wine Awards.
Luxury Retreats Beyond the Rocky Mountains
While most visitors fixate on mountains and glaciers, five-star luxury can be found among the high peaks of Banff National Park. The elegant Post Hotel & Spa, built in 1942 by Sir Norman Watson, offers memorable indulgences such as dining at Fondue Stübli, tasting something from the wine cellar or the ultimate cabin: The Watson House, a 3,000-square-foot mountain lodge with all the creature comforts on the banks of the Bow River