Travel Guide to Canadian States
Most of Canada is extremely unpopulated–over 90% of Canadian citizens live within 100 miles of the US border. This southern strip contains most of the easily accessible urban adventures, while northern Canada offers limitless opportunities for experiencing wildlife, outdoor recreation, and solitude.
In the eastern part of Canada, the Saint Lawrence River flows into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. The Gulf of Saint Lawrence is the world’s largest estuary, containing the island of Newfoundland. South of the Gulf, the northernmost tip of the Appalachian Mountains poke their heads out of the sea, forming the province of Nova Scotia. Between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick lies the Bay of Fundy where the tides rise and fall up to five times as far as average ocean tides.
Little hills tumble far across the country, sweeping south of the great Hudson Bay. West of Ontario they smooth out into the broad, flat Canadian Prairie provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Finally, the tall and jagged Canadian Rockies, dotted with enormous glaciers, break the landscape. On the other side, BC nestles next to the sea with its own diverse ecosystems ranging from rainforest to fjord. As one moves north towards the arctic, the vegetation changes from the coniferous forest, to tundra, to the barrens of the far north. The “third coast” is ringed with a vast archipelago that contains some of the world’s biggest islands.
On the coasts, average highs are usually in the low 20s °C (70s °F). Inland, the average summer temperature ranges from 25 to 30 °C (75 to 85 °F). Canadian winters are legendary for their severity. The exceptions are on the coasts and particularly British Columbia, which enjoys a temperate climate with a mild, rainy winter.
Getting to Canada is easy by car from the United States, or by plane from anywhere. The US highway system leads into Canada at thirteen points along the border. The busiest entry points are in Detroit, Windsor, and Niagara Falls. One can also enter Canada from the US by bus, train, or ferry. Many of the rules regarding necessary identification have recently changed. It is best to have a passport when visiting Canada, even when entering the US by land. The Canadian dollar, or “loonie”, is roughly on par with the US dollar these days. It’s always best to check exchange rates before traveling.
Travel to British Columbia
British Columbia may be the most popular province for outdoor recreation in Canada. With seven national parks, a large network of provincial parks, and nearly five million hectares of protected land, British Columbia offers nearly limitless opportunities for hiking, camping, rock climbing, hunting, fishing canoeing, kayaking, water rafting, horseback riding, and just about any other sport you can imagine. And dining is a big thing and well worth trying some BC restaurants.
Johnstone Strait off the east coast of Vancouver Island is home to a group of roughly 200 orcas, the largest resident pod of killer whales in the world. There is no better place to see the beautiful creatures. Visitors can go whale watching on a tour boat or individually and quietly by sea kayak. Minke, humpback, and gray whales, white-sided dolphins, porpoises, harbor seals, and sea lions are all among the animals one will find here
If you are a long-distance hiker you may wish to consider the Chilkoot trail, which runs 53 km in northern British Columbia. This trail follows the path of prospectors en route to the Yukon during the 1898 gold rush. The most popular long-distance trail in Canada is probably the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island. Although demanding, this gorgeous trail runs for 80 kilometers along the edge of the Pacific Rim National Park and is well worth every step.
Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve encompasses a group of 1,884 islands off the coast of British Columbia. The islands’ unusual and abundant plant and animal species have earned Gwaii Haanas the nickname “Galapagos of the North”. Species here are often different from those on the mainland, and some have evolved into unique subspecies. The black bear of Gwaii Haanas, for instance, is much larger than the mainland bear. The ocean surrounding these unique and beautiful islands teem with salmon, herring, halibut, rockfish, mussels, crab, starfish, sea urchin, and octopus.
Vast Manitoba proudly offers Folkarama, the largest multicultural festival in the world. Other notable attractions of Manitoba include the Winnipeg fringe Theatre Festival, held every July. The world’s largest Coca-Cola can is in Manitoba, as well as the annual Apple Festival of Manitoba, held every year on the last weekend of August.
Winnipeg is balanced between the American frontier to the south and the Canadian Shield to the north. Visitors to Winnipeg enjoy the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature. Its flourishing performing arts scene and the many wonderful ethnic restaurants characterize Winnipeg as the immigrant gateway to the West that it has long been. Located directly south of the enormous Lake Winnipeg, Winnipeg is an ideal resting stage for the serious fisherman.
Churchill, on the shore of Hudson Bay, is a popular tourist destination in northern Manitoba. There are two good ways to reach Churchill; by excursion flight from Winnipeg, or if you have the time to be leisurely about it, by train 36 hours north from Winnipeg. The Churchill area of features polar bears, caribou, and an incredible assortment of migratory birds.
New Brunswick Travel
St. John New Brunswick has a rich history as a major shipbuilding center. Today visitors come to St. John to see watch the reversal of the Fundy tide. At low tide, the river flows normally, but when the tide comes in the river flows in reverse. It takes a couple of hours to watch the whole process, but it is well worth your patience to watch a river flow both ways.
Rural New Brunswick is home to several young wineries. Along with blueberries and Christmas trees, the region is excellent for growing grapes—,, particularly for ice wine. In addition to the pastoral delights of mainland New Brunswick, the province features several interesting islands that can be reached by car ferry. They include Campobello Island, former summer home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Deer Island, home of the largest tidal pool in the Western Hemisphere, Miscou Island with its fiery-red peat bogs, and Jourimain Island, home to a unique bird sanctuary.
Travel to Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland has been described as a monstrous mass of rock and gravel, like a strange thing from the bottom of the deep lifted up suddenly into the sunshine. Most of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador consists of tiny fishing villages on the coast and a wilderness interior. Tourists most often visit Gros Morne National Park or the capital city of St. John’s. The city of St. John’s has a cosmopolitan feel, thanks to the many large ships from around the world that can be found in the harbor. Known for its strong tradition of local music, fiercely independent people, and absolutely perfect fish and chips, St. John’s is a unique and refreshing vacation spot.
L’anse Aux Meadows has been inhabited for 6000 years. 1000 years ago, Viking Leif Ericsson wintered here with his crew. Today, visitors can experience a re-created Viking colony in the first known European settlement in North America. The eastern and northern coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador are the best places in the northern hemisphere to observe icebergs. The best time to view icebergs is from April to July. Visitors can take iceberg watching journeys from the town of Twillingate, Newfoundland or St. Anthony, Newfoundland. The average weight of an iceberg found in this area is between 100,000 and 200,000 tons–but they can weigh up to several million tons and tower 20 stories or more above the waterline.
Nova Scotia Travel
Latin for “New Scotland”, Nova Scotia was claimed as part of the kingdom of Scotland by King James I of England ((James VI of Scotland ) in 1621. Cape Breton Highlands National Park is the largest protected wilderness in Nova Scotia.
The mountains, valleys, forests, beaches, waterfalls and rocky coastline of Cape Breton Highlands National Park creates a panoramic backdrop for viewing moose, black bears, and bald eagles. At the Celtic Lodge resort on the east side of the park is Highlands Links, An 18 hole golf course rated as one of the top courses in the world and the best public course in Canada.
For 100 km on either side of Toronto is a chain of towns on the edge of Lake Ontario that comprises the most populous area of Canada. The most popular of these towns for visitors is Niagara, with its beautiful and impressive Niagara Falls. The falls are called the honeymoon capital of the world. There is nothing quite like the 300-meter wide waterfall. It simply has to be seen to be comprehended. Many of the other towns in this area such as Stratford, home to an enormous Shakespeare Festival in the summer, are worth a visit and many are great places to sample the local cuisine in one of the many Ontario restaurants.
Northern Ontario stretches from the north shores of Lake Huron and superior to the architect for Hudson Bay. Visitors may enjoy a supply train journey known as the Polar Bear Express. The train runs from late June to early September and goes as far north as anyone can easily go to Ontario. It’s a beautiful 300 km trip across the tundra. The train occasionally stops to pick up trappers, fishers, hunters, and local residents. It’s still fur-trapping country up here, so don’t be surprised if you end up sitting next to a pile of pelts.
Prince Edward Island Travel
Prince Edward Island is an idyllic spot to golf, visit the home of Anne of Green Gables, or simply enjoy the gently rolling hills and warm beaches. The capital of Prince Edward Island is Charlottetown, a tree-lined city on the south coast of the island. Prince Edward Island has many vacation rental cottages and bed and breakfasts worth visiting. Many people who live in other parts of Canada come to Prince Edward Island to visit the dunes and red sandstone cliffs of Prince Edward Island National Park for a relaxing week or two on the beach next to Gulfstream warmed waters.
Confederation Bridge, which links Prince Edward Island to the mainland, has its own slogan: “The longest bridge. The shortest route.” The 12.9 kilometers (8 miles) long bridge is the longest bridge over ice-covered waters in the world. It follows the same path of the first submarine telegraph cable in North America, laid in 1851. Since the building of the Confederation Bridge in 1997, most visitors have elected to take the ferry in one direction and the bridge in the other, in order to make the most of the experience.
Québec has a unique, distinct culture. It is distinct from the rest of Canada, the rest of North America, and even from France. Several times in the history of this interesting province Québec has threatened to secede from Canada and become its own country. In recent years, this possibility has abated as young Québecois grow up bilingual and increasing numbers of Canadian youth in other parts of the country also learn French.
All of rural Québec is beautiful, but the Gaspe peninsula deserves special mention. There is no expedition quite like a leisurely drive up and down the coasts of the St. Lawrence River as it flows out to the sea. The river is dotted with picturesque little Francophone towns. While it is no problem to find English speakers to help you in Montréal and Québec City, on the Gaspé you may need your guidebook to help you communicate. This area is fantastic for seafood, hiking, and water sports. Several of the small cliff towns overlooking the opening to the ocean specialize in hand gliding during the summer months.
Québec City (Ville de Quebec) looks as if it were lifted out of medieval Europe. Like many other eastern Canadian cities, Québec City features a gorgeous waterfront and historic district. The food of Québec City is particularly rich, in both history and taste. There are many restaurants featuring classical French cuisine ranging from the formal to the casual Croque monsieur at a sidewalk café. Québec is the only remaining fortified city in North America, a fact that has earned the city its designation as the UNESCO world heritage site. Half of the buildings in the historic district were built before 1850, and some of the architecture dates back to the days of New France. No visit to Québec is complete without a visit to the Château Frontenac. Opened in 1893 by the Canadian Pacific railway, this hotel is one of the most photographed buildings in North America.
This city is located in Saskatchewan, Canada. Some interesting things to do in Saskatoon are to visit the Wanuskewin Heritage Park where visitors can learn about the culture and the Northern Plains Indians. There are native dances and re-enactments, POW wows and games. Along with that visitors can travel to the Saskatoon Western Development Museum from the 1910 Boomtown. This is great for families and really a great place to see the light that is the prairies.
The Off-Broadway Arts Centre Dinner Theatre is very entertaining and called the Best Dinner Theatre in Town! For the golfer, there are the Dakota Dunes Golf links. If you want something more hands-on visit the Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park and Zoo. For a more evolved time visit the Mendel Art Gallery and Civic Conservatory. It overlooks the South River and has contemporary and historical art with exhibitions. There are over five thousand local, regional and national works of art.
Travel the Yukon Territory
The Dempster Highway connects the Klondike Highway in the Yukon Territory to Inuvik, Northwest Territories on the Mackenzie River delta. During the winter months, the highway extends another 194 km (121 mi ) to Tuktoyaktuk, on the northern coast, using frozen portions of the river delta as an ice road.
The highway crosses the Peel and Mackenzie rivers using a combination of seasonal ferry service and ice bridges. The Dempster Highway is the northernmost Highway on the continent, and the only one to cross the Arctic Circle. Although technically a highway, most of this 460 Mile Rd is only paved with groomed gravel. There is no better road on which to cross the continental divide or to view caribou, musk oxen, Arctic wolves, and the rare gyrfalcon.
Travel the Northwest Territories
The Cirque of the Unclimbables in Northwest Territories is a daunting collection of 2000 foot vertical cliffs, accessible only by water or air. In an area of towering peaks, the Cirque is a rock climber’s delight with its 2500 foot continuous crack system and 22 pitches. Lotus Flower Tower is one of the most famous of the 50 classic climbs of North America.
Nahanni National Park Reserve, Northwest Territories, is the first UNESCO World Heritage Site to receive its status based on its importance as a natural heritage site. This park features, Virginia falls, a waterfall twice as high as Niagara Falls with more stunning engines love with this area is popular with canoeists; a day’s paddle up the Nahanni river guarantees a whitewater adventure featuring class two and three rapids.