150 years ago, Canada became a country, albeit a much smaller one. Since then, Canada has grown much in size, reputation and as a favorite for travellers from around the world. Lonely Planet recognized these accomplishments last year and ranked Canada as the #1 travel destination in 2017. With the addition of free National Parks all year long, 2017 is the perfect time to visit the Great White North!
I am always interested in Canadian adventures, so I thought I'd check out G Adventure's website to see what tours they have planned this year. Since G Adventures is a Canadian based travel company, I figured they would have something going on this year to celebrate our sesquicentennial. Instead, all I saw were the same eight tours as last year, and the year before. Thinking maybe there was some big announcement coming for 2017, I emailed G Adventures asking about it, hoping, praying, that maybe there was something, something, anything at all… but I received no response.
Now, don't get me wrong. G Adventures has eight great Canadian tours, and they all look really awesome, but they only show off a small sliver of what Canada has to offer. In fact, four of the tours are almost exactly the same:
The remaining four tours hardly venture into Canada at all, except for the "Canadian Polar Bear Experience" tour. This tour is a six-day round trip from Winnipeg to Churchill that costs a whopping $7000. Another tour, "Highlights of the Eastern US & Canada", also ventures into Canada, but I'm sure the majority of Canadians would agree Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal do not consist of all our national "highlights". (Like, Mac the Moose!)
I was incredibly disappointed with G Adventure's selections. So, being the resourceful and experienced traveller that I am, I put together my own set of Canadian tours! While these tours do not even come close to mentioning all the places in Canada worth visiting, they can hopefully inspire you (and a certain travel company) to go out and experience what makes Canada such an incredible place to visit!
Over the next few weeks I'll be sharing these five tours in greater detail. In the meantime, here they are, in 150 words or less. Are there any secret corners in Canada you'd want to share with the world? Let me know about it in the comments and it might make its way into one of these tours!
A mix of old and new, Atlantic Canada is our country's most coveted gem. On this tour you'll start in the only bilingual capital city in Canada (Fredericton). From there you can drop by the majestic Hopewell Rocks, journey to the Birthplace of Confederation (Charlottetown) and have a side stop in Avonlea. From there you'll leave PEI, drive to the seaside city of Halifax, and take a trip around the third most beautiful island in the world - Cape Breton! After you camp near the ocean for the night, you'll hop a ferry to Canada's most eastern province, Newfoundland and Labrador and end your trip in St. John's.
Did you know Canada has had five different capital cities that changed seven different times? Everybody knows Ottawa is the capital, but once upon a time so was Toronto, Kingston, Montréal and Québec City. On this tour you'll explore the streets that witnessed the birth of Canada, the battlegrounds where blood was spilled and the sites of previous parliaments that were burned to the ground. As if this isn't enough, you'll also be visiting the most haunted city in Canada, where every nook and cranny has a spirit waiting to meet you.
There's no Canada like French Canada. While G Adventures has a tour that ventures into Québec, they claim the only thing worth doing is climbing a hill and sampling maple syrup (seriously). On this tour you'll venture into The City of a Thousand Steeples (Montréal) and see the former grounds of Expo 67 – Canada's centennial celebration. Explore an underground museum, shop to your heart's content and drop by some of Canada's most beautiful cathedrals. After this you can visit Trois-Rivières, which is considered the culture capital of Canada. If you're one for adventure, you can even take a tour of the Old Prison, the only tour I've ever heard of with an age restriction! An hour and a half away from here is Québec City, home to the magnificent Château Frontenac and the historic Plains of Abraham, where Canadian history was forged in blood. This tour ends with a relaxing return cruise from Québec City to Montréal down the mighty St. Lawrence River.
This tour starts in my hometown Regina, where you can take an afternoon to walk around the brilliant Wascana Park, the quirky Cathedral Village and the booming Warehouse District. From here you travel west to Moose Jaw and see a city lost in time. Take a tour through their legendary Tunnels of Moose Jaw and learn about the gangster Al Capone. This tour is my longest tour and hits up places like the Great Sandhills, Saskatoon, Christopher Lake, Waskesiu Lake and La Ronge. Some people consider Saskatchewan a "fly over province", so this tour is dedicated to proving them wrong!
Things are different in the North. This tour starts off in Dawson City, where you witness the first hand effects of the famous gold rush. While here you can even visit the house Jack London lived in while he was panning for gold! A plane ride away is Whitehorse, where you can kick back in relax in the Takhini Hot Springs, visit the SS Klondike or hike around the dramatic former volcanic landscape. Your third stop on the tour is Nahanni National Park, my favorite Canadian National Park. Take time and enjoy the parks many friendly named regions, such as Headless Creek, Deadmen Valley and Funeral Range before heading to your final destination, Yellowknife. Here you can visit the many local restaurants, hike around a region untouched by man and spend your night at Aurora Village, the best place in Canada to see the Northern Lights.
Remember to tune in next week where we delve deeper inside my Atlantic Adventure tour. Are there any places you'd like to see on it? Let me know in the comments!
Don't forget to check out all the articles in this series!
Although the hot summer days of July are long behind us, 2017 is still Canada's 150th year. In honour of Canada's sesquicentennial birthday, I decided to put together a list of 150 things about Canada. This list talks about our quirkiness, our strengths, our weakness, and our legacy, for better and for worse. There are some sad facts, some odd facts and some facts that will probably make you open another tab to look into for yourself.
Hope you enjoy this list, and I hope you all had a great 2017!
1. Canada's two official languages are French and English, but only 20.6% of Canadians speak French.
After a long, dark, frigid winter, Canadians love the few months of summer we get every year. Once the snow melts and the mud dries, we are out hiking, picnicking, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, climbing and exploring this wonderful country of ours.
Of all the provinces to explore, Alberta ranks at the top of many adventurers' list. From hoodoos to waterfalls, mountains to valleys, deserts to tundra and everything in-between, Alberta offers any outdoorsman the perfect place to embrace nature.
If you've ever passed through Medicine Hat, or you're spending a few days in the area, you've probably wondered what to do there. To most people outside the city, Medicine Hat might seem like a sleepy little prairie town in the Canadian Badlands; but for those who live in Hell's Basement, they'll tell you that this city is one of the most exciting places you can explore in all of Alberta.
I've gone to Medicine Hat three times in the past two years, and while I'm no expert on this thriving city, I know where the hidden gems are. If someone I know is passing through the area, I tell them they need to visit Medicine Hat. To help explain why, I put an article together for anyone else interested in visiting the Hat.
If you're spending 24 hours in Medicine Hat, you'll need somewhere to sleep. Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park is a little under an hour away and a great place to camp. Camping in Cypress gives you the choice to explore the park, the city, and everywhere in between.