Canada is an exciting and diverse country, offering something for everyone and if you’re heading that way, here are five fun activities not to be missed.
Gourmet Kayaking in British Columbia (BC)
For those who like to work up an appetite before they indulge in some gourmet food, Edible BC has created just the gastronomic getaway for which you are looking.
Edible BC and Sealegs Kayaking together offer activity weekends with the added bonus of chef-prepared gourmet meals, matched perfectly with local wines. Spend the day kayaking around Vancouver Island, alongside river otters and harbour seals – you may even spot a bald eagle on the way. Once you have exerted yourself, retire to the beach where your multi-course meal awaits. A beachside camp is the perfect end to an exhilarating day.
For those who prefer the comfort of a solid roof and a proper bed, there is also a B&B option. These weekends sell out each year, so if you’re planning a trip to BC, book your spot now.
Canadian Rockies Adventures
A touch of France
The province of Quebec was liberated from English rule way back in 1892. To this day, the cultural preference and language of Quebecoise is all French. So a visit to one of the main cities, such as Quebec City or Montreal, or one of the many tiny towns along the way, means a great taste of French food, language and culture, with a unique Canadian twist.
For those with a few days to visit Quebec province, you can do fly-drive and explore the highways and byways, and provincial towns. Or you might choose to base yourself in Quebec City or Montreal to dig in and explore the heritage, arts and distinctive French-Canadian cuisine.
Or why not enjoy the best of both by starting in one city and taking the evening train – Montreal and Quebec City Explorer – to the other? There are great train-plus-hotel deals available with Via Rail all year round.
Culinary Delights of Quebec City
While the stampede is indeed a celebration of all things agricultural, it’s also the biggest party in the Canadian Calendar, with something for every member of the family. And if you have yet to experience Chuckwagon racing or see the thrills and spills of the rodeo, then you haven’t lived.
Although the stampede officially runs for 10 days in July, the fun in Calgary starts early with hotels and restaurants trucking in bales of hay and chuckwagons to set the scene. Locals pull on their check shirts, jeans and boots, and all visitors are rewarded with white hats – a symbol of the hospitality of this friendly town. The showgrounds are a short distance from town and full of all the hoopla you would expect – and more. The Chuckwagon racing is the big event, but is just one of an endless array of entertainment with beauty-queen pageants, rodeo, agricultural displays, food and a huge evening show of singing, dancing and acrobatics. You can eat very well in the dining rooms and then enjoy a behind-the-scenes visit to the stables where you can meet the chuckwagon drivers and their horses.
And when the racing is over and the day seems at an end, never fear, there’s always Ranchmans for a drink or three or six, and a bit of dance with a local lad … or ladette.
Tickets for the 2016 Stampede go on sale early October, so if you’re heading that way, secure your tickets now.
See a grizzly graze
As spring emerges in British Columbia, the great coastal grizzly bears shake off the slumber of hibernation and come down from the mountains to graze – now that’s something you don’t see everyday.
The Grizzly Bear Rainforest, as the name suggests, is home to many of these magnificent beasts, meaning there is a strong likelihood of you spotting a grazing grizzly in its natural habitat. Marvel as large males interact with the females, choosing a mate who will hopefully bear him a cub when breeding season is in full flow.
Make the most of your trip by enjoying a stay at The Great Bear Lodge, located in Nekite Valley. This charming lodge has only five bedrooms and in keeping with the philosophy of low-impact ecotourism, is powered by wind and solar energy. If you’re lucky, you may wake in the morning to see a great grizzly passing by your bedroom window.
Great Bear Nature Tours depart daily from Vancouver and offer the best chance to capture that once in a lifetime snap of the great beast, and many of his wildlife compatriots. Find out more at Great Bear Tours.
The magic of the Northern Lights
“Northern lights, northern lights!” It was 3.00am on a December morning and the young man who first saw them graciously and excitedly shared the news with those who were enjoying music and hot chocolate in the homey log cabin.
With nary a word, parkas were grabbed, hats were pulled over ears and 23 guests streamed out the door. It was as if they were saving their enthusiasm for their first glimpse of the dancing curtains of lights that, to each of them until this very moment, had been just legend.
The guests gasped at the first sight and then squealed with glee. They had heard of such things, seen pictures even, but to stand beneath them and watch one of nature’s most glorious displays was more than which they had ever hoped.
Watching the northern lights is incredible … and something that should be on everybody’s ‘bucket list’.
Yukon enjoys exceptional viewing of the Aurora Borealis. You can gaze in awe from a hot tub, wilderness lodge, cabin, wall tent, around the campfire or while soaking in a natural hot spring. The aurora is visible from late August to early April. Visit in late August or early September and you’ll also witness the magic of a Yukon autumn.
For more information, and all there is to see and do in Yukon, visit Travel Yukon.