Planning Your Alberta Bucketlist Biking Adventure July 16, 2018 · 6 min. readWhile the thoughts and opinions are my own, this article was brought to you by a third party. Also, this article may contain affiliate links.
Most people know how to ride a bicycle. They learned sometime as a child and never forgot. I am not one of those people. I tried learning when I was a child, a teenager and an adult, and I have never mastered the two-wheel contraption. Whenever I see a child zip past me on a bike, I get a little jealous inside. I've always wanted to learn, but it's just something I've never been able to do.
On my recent trip to Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, Alberta, I explored several of the many biking paths that wind through the area. The paths are also hikable, so I walked them instead. Although I've visited Cypress Hills several times, I never get used to the hills and lakes throughout the area. With dozens of kilometres of trails, you can spend a weekend there and never do the same thing twice. Although hiking around the park was incredible, I imagine it would be a lot more fun, and a lot easier, to bike it instead.
One of my most favourite things about Cypress Hills is that while you may feel you're in a natural oasis, you're actually very close to civilisation. Medicine Hat is less than 45 minutes away from the park and is one of my absolute favourite places in Alberta. From restaurants to attractions to history, there's something for everybody in this booming community.
Boasting an average of 330 sunny days a year, Medicine Hat is covered in parks for people to enjoy. The winding pathways weave between trees, over rivers, and through the city. You can ride up to the top of the valley and view the city from above, or you can ride down to Medalta, a historic clay factory that has been transformed into a museum and gallery.
On the other side of the province, embedded on the edge of the famous Rocky Mountains, is the iconic Crowsnest Pass. This pass leads you past several communities throughout the mountains, and through Frank Slide, one of the largest – and saddest – natural disasters in Canadian history. In 1903, the nearby Turtle Mountain collapsed on itself and a volley of 90 million tons of limestone rolled over the small town of Frank. Within 100 seconds, over 90 lives were lost and a town was buried.
If you want to explore an intact mining cave, you can take the Bellevue Mine Tour. This tour takes you deep underground and through 300 metres of reinforced mine. Here you can learn about the dangerous working conditions this mine had while in operation, and how important it was to the community.
While you're near Crowsnest Pass, you might notice signs for a place called "Castle Provincial Park". Even if you've visited this area before, you've probably never heard of it. This isn't because it's a secret gem hidden away in the Rockies – although it is – but because it didn't exist until last summer. In fact, it is Alberta's newest official provincial park!
One of the big themes Castle Provincial Park offers is accessibility. Many people who have mobility problems – or who can't ride a bike, for example – don't visit provincial parks very often. It's a lot of work to go somewhere, just to see all the things you can't do. Castle Provincial Park solves this by offering rentable "Icon Explores"; accessible e-bicycles that allow everybody to explore the park to their heart's content.
If you visit Castle Province Park, also give yourself plenty of time to go canoeing, fishing and exploring. The park is beautiful, and there's plenty to explore for return visits.
If you go:
Find out more about Cypress Hills on the official Alberta Parks website to plan your adventures.
I was recently asked if I preferred my time in Montreal or Quebec City more, and while Montreal is a gorgeous city, decorated with thousands of green copper spires, hosts incredible festivals, has some of the most fantastic food I have ever tasted, and is spotted with beautiful parks, there was just something about Quebec City that spoke to me. Being over four hundred years old, Quebec City is one of the last remaining "walled cities" in North America, and is the only one north of Mexico. Quebec City was the location of some of the greatest conflicts in Canadian history, including the Siege of Quebec by the British.
Belonging to three very different countries (France, England, and Canada) in its four hundred year existence, Quebec City is a mixing pot of old traditions, new ideas, cobblestone streets and modern architecture. Since there is so much to see in Quebec City, I figured I would narrow it down to a couple and let you discover the rest! Here is "8 Places to Visit in Quebec City".
For many of us in Saskatchewan, summer means it's time for an Alberta road trip. Although the endless stretches of prairie have their appeal, there is nothing quite like seeing the mountains rising over the horizon.
One challenge that comes with taking a summer road trip is the heat. Much like on this side of the border, it isn't uncommon for summer temperatures to get to the extreme. I know a few people who have had car problems in the heat, and my family is one of them. Nothing ruins a trip more than an unexpected visit to the mechanic.
Thankfully, Alberta has a myriad of places to go swimming, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding or fishing. This not only gives your vehicle time to cool off, but also gives you a chance to escape the heat as well.
Nestled between the impressive Mount Royal and the majestic St. Lawrence River is Montreal, a city known for its festivals, abstract art, history and mosaic of countless cultures. Montreal is the second largest city in Canada, with a population floating around four million people. While the city is a dynamic mix of Canada's two primary cultures – French and English – there are areas of the city that are culturally specific, such as Little Italy, Greektown and Chinatown. Known for its artistic and liberal mindedness, Montreal also boasts the largest community of homosexuals in North America in their very own "Gay Village".
Being nearly 375 years old, Montreal was pivotal to the creation of New France and Canada and at a time held control over every waterway from the St. Lawrence down to the Gulf of Mexico. Having such incredible influence over the western part of the New World, Montreal hosted the "Great Peace of Montreal" in 1701, which started sixteen years of peace between the French and over 40 different First Nation tribes in North America.
Since its early days, Montreal has been one of the most influential cities in Canada. Montreal housed "internment camps" during World War I, became an ideal location for Americans looking for alcohol during Prohibition, and was the official residence of the Luxembourg royal family during World War II. Montreal held host to the incredible Expo 67, showcasing some of the most incredible architecture of that decade. The seventies saw serious political reformation in Montreal, with many Americans arriving, fleeing the Vietnam Draft. The late seventies paralyzed the city as a terrorist organization, the Front de libération du Québec, detonated explosives throughout the city and kidnapped and killed political figures. These actions forced the Prime Minster to enact the "War Measures Act" and deploy the military into the city to apprehend the terrorists. The eighties and nineties saw two referendums in the province of Quebec to separate from Canada, with Montreal playing a major role in both decisions. The last referendum in 1995 ended with 51% percent of Quebecers wanting to remain part of Canada and 49% wanting to separate.