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The giant, naturally occurring Buntzen Lake off Map; reservoir is surrounded on three sides by steep, tree-covered mountains and on its fourth side by a gently curving beach, complete with picnic tables, old-growth trees and those ambling, ever-present Canada geese. Take the Ioco exit and follow Ioco Rd to the left. Turn right on First Ave and continue to Sunnyside Rd. Turn right again and continue to the Buntzen Lake entrance. The journey should take around an hour.

It can get crowded here in summer, so arrive early if you want your pick of the picnic tables. Vegetarians are also well served on a menu that stretches to almost 50 dishes.

Drive here from Vancouver via the Steveston Hwy exit off Hwy 99 for an early-evening stroll along the boardwalk. Most of the machinery is still in place and you can learn all about what a horrible job it was working the production line here. Fort Langley is 45 minutes southeast of Vancouver via Hwy 1. Head to the slick new visitor center, named the Squamish Adventure Centre , ; www. The underground train tour May to October only into the mines is a highlight, especially for kids who like a fright.

West Coast Railway Heritage Park ; www. This volunteer-driven outdoor museum has around 90 railcars, including 10 working engines. A few minutes past Squamish, riverside Brackendale village is a fancy-free spot with a major claim to fame.

The winter feeding ground for thousands of salmon-scoffing bald eagles, it draws legions of binocular-clad visitors, who flock around Thor Froslev, the eccentric owner of Brackendale Art Gallery ; www.

Activities Home of a sheer, m granite rock face that attracts climbers from across the region, Stawamus Chief Provincial Park www. Call Squamish Rock Guides ; www. Known for its high wind quotient, Squamish Spit is a popular kiteboarding and windsurfing destination. There are two shower buildings with flush toilets, and campers often indulge in activities like swimming, hiking and biking rentals available. Consider an interpretive ranger tour through the woods July and August only to find out a little more about the region.

Squamish Inn on the Water , ; www. These are among the best producers and their recommended beers : Dead Frog Brewery www. Granville Island Brewing www. Phillips Brewing www. Russell Brewing www. Storm Brewing www. Vancouver Island Brewery www. The slightly more salubrious Perimeter Squamish Shuttle , ; www. Summer hikers seem magnetic- ally drawn here but the trails also double as cross-country ski routes in winter. The trailhead is 8. The Elfin Lakes trail 11km is a lovely and relatively easy day trek.

For overnighters, the trail continues on to the extinct volcano of Opal Cone. The trailhead parking lot is 16km east of Hwy The bright aqua hue of the undisturbed lake contrasts with the dark, jagged peak of Black Tusk rising behind it. A short stroll through the forest leads to a leg-jellying platform overlooking the top of the falls, where water drops suddenly out of the trees like a giant faucet. A 7km looped trail leads further through the dense forest and ancient lava beds to Cal-Cheak Suspension Bridge.

If you fancy staying, there are 15 drive-in campsites ; www. Co-hosting the Winter Olympics www. Once little more than an off-season afterthought, the area has seen summer visitor numbers leaping in recent years, with many people dropping by to try mountain biking, alpine hiking and a full roster of adventurous outdoor activities. Luckily, there are plenty of street signs and lots of people around to snag directions from.

Pick up The Pique or Whistler Question newspapers for further local insights. Armchair Books ; Village Sq; 9am-9pm Central bookstore with strong travel section. Whistler Activity Centre , ; Whistler Way; 9am-5pm Recommendations and bookings for local activities. Whistler Visitor Centre , ; www. Whistler was originally called Alta Lake and Whistler Mountain was named London Mountain in the s by some evidently homesick British naval officers. Whatever season you arrive, head to the visitor center or Whistler Activity Centre for tips and recommendations.

There are dozens of lifts to transport skiers and snowboarders and a hotly anticipated 4. Snowshoers are also well served at Lost Lake: you can stomp off on your own on 10km of trails or rent equipment and guides.

Outdoor Adventures Whistler ; www. Prices include equipment rentals and the company also offers a wide range of non-snowshoe tours and activities. The cool, line course operated by Ziptrek Ecotours , ; www.

Hiking With more than 40km of flower-and-forest alpine trails, most accessed via the Whistler Village Gondola, this region is ideal for those who like nature of the strollable variety. Favorite routes include the High Note Trail 8km , which traverses pristine meadows and has stunning views of the blue-green waters of Cheakumus Lake. Pick up a route map from the visitor center for other trails. Whistler Alpine Guides Bureau ; www.

Rafting Tumbling waterfalls, dense forest and a menagerie of local wildlife are some of the visuals you might catch as you lurch along the Elaho or Squamish rivers on an adrenalin-rushing half- or full-day rafting trip. Whistler River Adventures , ; www.

Kokanee Crankworx www. Cornucopia www. Whistler Film Festival www. The visitor center has a handy accommodation reservation service , ; www.

Budget HI-Whistler Hostel ; whistler hihostels. Dorms are predictably institutional, but private rooms are also available. Book ahead year-round. The on-site restaurant serves great breakfasts have the salmon eggs Benedict. Fireside Lodge ; www. Midrange Blackcomb Lodge , ; www. It offers lofts and studios with full kitchens, and a selection of cheaper but very comfortable standard rooms. Alpine Lodge ; www. Crystal Lodge , ; www. Both share excellent proximity to village restaurants and are less than m from the main ski lift.

Or you can just hop in the hot tub and dream about the large buffet breakfast coming your way in the morning. Edgewater Lodge , ; www. Pinnacle Hotel , ; www. Top end Adara Hotel , ; www.

The front desk loans iPods. The region hits the international spotlight when it joins Vancouver to host the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in February and March Go to www. Choose a room overlooking the slopes and you can watch from your balcony as the skiers slide home.

Fairmont Chateau Whistler , ; www. The hallways, lobbies and rooms are adorned in rich hues and tastefully furnished with classic west coast elegance. Also recommended: Sundial Boutique Hotel , ; www. Suites have full kitchens, heated bathroom floors and rooftop hot-tub access. Legends , ; www. Fight your way to the counter and buy as many cookies and muffins as you can eat: smiling while stuffing your face has never been easier.

Try a glass of hot sake on a cold winter day. The loungey, sometimes raucous, bar will keep you occupied here until past midnight when you can stagger back to wherever your hotel might be. Save room for dessert: the cheese menu is small but perfectly formed and the Okanagan apple cheesecake will have you licking the glaze off your plate.

You can treat your hangover to a late breakfast the next day by coming in for a good-value fry-up. From its wrought-iron chandeliers to its stone hearth and giant picture windows, you can tell anyone who will listen here all about your daring escapades on the slopes. They might even believe you. The food, including pasta, pizza and great fish and chips, is superior to standard bar fare. Thursday is the best night of the week, attracting locals with indie and funk tunes, but be prepared to line up for weekend entry when everyone within a 25km radius seems to be trying to get in.

MY Place ; www. Motor coach services from Perimeter Tours , ; www. Snowbus , ; www. Alternatively, you can grab a taxi from Resort Cabs ; www. Check the website of the Sunshine Coast Tourism Partnership www. The Sunshine Coast Transit System ; www. Malaspina Coach Lines ; ; www. This service is also handy for traveling up and down the highway between the Sunshine Coast communities. West of town, Roberts Creek Provincial Park ; www. Exactly what a great hostel should be, Up the Creek Backpackers , ; www.

Its large upstairs suite, complete with kitchenette, is popular with families but the lovely Renaissance Room is perfect for some romantic canoodling. Return to beginning of chapter SECHELT pop A useful base for active travelers, with plenty of hiking, biking, kayaking and diving opportunities in the area, Sechelt is the second-largest town on the Sunshine Coast.

For information, drop by the Visitor Centre , ; www. About as far from camping as you can get, each luxurious canvas-walled cabin has a heated rock floor, Jacuzzi tub and a private deck overlooking the bay. Your first stop should be Pemberton Museum ; Prospect St; admission by donation; 10am-5pm Jun-Sep where you can wander around a village of rescued pioneer shacks and imagine the Gold Rush sweeping through.

Next, don your Stetson and saddle up with Adventures on Horseback ; www. An even better way to see the area is from the air.

Head to the Pemberton Soaring Centre , ; www. Tell the pilot you like rollercoasters and see what happens next. Finally, roll back to your cozy bed at the Whistler-style Pemberton Valley Lodge , ; www. Hop aboard a steel-hulled water taxi operated by High Tide Tours ; www.

West of downtown, Willingdon Beach City Park is an ideal spot for a waterfront picnic. Or you can hit the water with a kayak from Powell River Sea Kayak , ; www.

For a quirky sleepover, the Old Courthouse Inn , ; www. In keeping with the historic theme, the rooms are nicely decorated with antique furnishings. Nearby, the old Rodmay Heritage Hotel ; www. For an introduction to the island, contact Tourism Vancouver Island , ; www.

This was a surprise to anyone who actually came from Britain, since Victoria promulgated a dreamy version of England that never really was: every garden complete with the occasional palm tree was immaculate; every flag pole was adorned with a Union Jack; and every afternoon was spent quaffing tea from bone-china cups. Thankfully this tired theme-park version of Ye Olde England has been gradually superseded in recent years.

Fuelled by an increasingly younger demographic, a quiet revolution has seen lame tourist pubs, eateries and stores transformed into the kind of bright-painted bohemian shops, wood-floored coffee bars and surprisingly innovative restaurants that would make any city proud.

Visitor Centre Map; ; www. Parliament Buildings Map; ; www. The BC legislature welcomes history-hugging visitors. Consider stopping for lunch Click here. This tiny strip of businesses is fronted by an incongruously large Chinatown gate. Consider a guided tour to learn all about days of opium dens and anti-Chinese sentiment.

Check the online calendar of events if you want to rub shoulders with the locals at lectures, presentations and even singles nights aimed at lonely arts fans. The multiturreted Craigdarroch Castle Map; ; www. The elegant, wood-lined stone mansion is dripping with period architecture and antique-packed rooms. Enter the park via Douglas St. Emily Carr House Map; ; www. When you get to Victoria Bug Zoo Map; ; www.

This clutch of scrubbed colonial strongholds is now home to the Maritime Museum of British Columbia Map; ; www. Some operators: Orca Spirit Adventures Map; , ; www.

Some operators: Ocean River Sports Map; , ; www. Sports Rent Map; ; www. Cycle Treks Map; , ; www. Gray Line West Map; , ; www. Hidden Dragon Tours Map; , ; www. Victoria SkaFest www. Victoria Jazzfest International www. Moss Street Paint-In In mid-July artists demonstrate their skills at this popular one-day community event. Symphony Splash www.

Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival www. Victoria Cycling Festival www. A great place to meet fellow travelers. Daily guided excursions and tours include city, bike and history treks. HI Victoria Hostel Map; , ; victoria hihostels. Free weekly city tours are offered. Geometric bedspreads and pastel paintwork color most interiors but the courtyard suites are much larger and suitable for small groups.

Ocean Island Suites Map; , ; www. James Bay Inn Map; , ; www. There are some kitchenettes but the downstairs neighborhood bar also serves good pub grub. Add extra time for the painfully slow elevator to arrive. Queen Victoria Map; , ; www. The rooms here have abandoned the floral bedspreads in favor of a smart business hotel feel. All have new bathrooms and fridges, some have kitchenettes and many overlook Beacon Hill Park from their little balconies.

Shamrock Suites Map; , ; www. Call ahead for year-round room discounts. Rosewood Victoria Inn Map; , ; www. Bring your laptop to the library-like lounge for wireless access or hit the selection of board games. The Heritage House is a restored family home with antiques, fireplaces and private patios. The larger Garden Suites have a contemporary feel and a smattering of Asian design flourishes. Gourmet continental breakfast is included. Swans Suite Hotel Map; , ; www.

Most of the rooms are spacious loft suites where you climb upstairs to bed in a gabled nook, and each is decorated with a comfy combination of wood beams, rustic chic furniture and deep leather sofas. Oswego Hotel Map; , ; www. Cleverly, the smaller studio rooms have space-saving high-end Murphy beds. Fairmont Empress Hotel Map; , ; www. Check out the handmade candies on display near the entrance and pick up some marzipan teeth for the road.

Hulking sandwiches of the melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork variety beef brisket and smoked chicken variations are also offered dominate the simple menu and you can wash that down with a pail of homemade ice tea. Expect lunchtime queues better to arrive early or late and consider perking up your order with a side of succulent cornbread or a fried-banana-and-peanut-butter sandwich dessert.

Signature sarnies feature roast beef or pastrami but the bulging vegetarian sandwich is also popular. Soups, wraps and sandwiches dominate the menu and there are plenty of vegetarian-friendly options. Heaping Belgian waffles are served with homemade cream cheese, and those who come for dinner can choose from a medley of international comfort foods, from calamari to pierogies.

Even meat-eaters have been known to swoon here, as they tuck into surprisingly tasty spring rolls, dim sum and potstickers. Combo meals are the best option, since they offer an array of different flavors. Carnivores will be just as happy here, though, with hearty savory dishes like shitake-tofu potstickers and an array of dense fruit smoothies. Weekend brunch is popular and heavily patronized by hung-over students moaning quietly from the corners.

The excellent beer selection includes Phillips and Lighthouse craft brews. Try the salmon-and-cream-cheese bagel melt at ReBar above. Save room for dessert: a frightening array of giant cheesecakes.

With a great wine menu, this spot invites adventurous foodies. Locally sourced produce is de rigueur, so the menu constantly changes to reflect seasonal highlights like figs, salmonberries and heirloom tomatoes. We recommend the lamb shank, served with mustard-creamed root vegetables and braised chard. Unassuming from the outside, the ever-changing dishes might range from a hearty squash soup with butter-fried sage to a mouth-melting sablefish, served with rapini and poached eggs.

Savvy diners drop by on Saturdays, when a creative five-course tasting menu hits the blackboard. Extensive first-hand research was undertaken for these reviews.

Summer drinkers often enjoy the lighter Honey Blonde Ale, while those with darker palates should make for the Nut Brown. Save room for dinner: the menu of seasonal, locally-sourced dishes is superior to most pubs and includes some excellent seafood. Irish Times Map; ; Government St; 11am-1am Colonizing a former downtown bank building, this lively Celtic bar is a cut above standard Irish pubs. The interior is a pleasing fusion of high ceilings and dark wood finishes and the draft selection is a buffet of classics from Ireland, France and Belgium.

Friday is also popular and there are also regular live acts. The Friday and Saturday night dance parties here are the main attraction. The latter is also home of the Victoria Symphony ; www. Shopping While Government St is a magnet for souvenir shoppers, those looking for more worthwhile purchases should head to the Johnson St stretch between Store and Government. Tops and skirts with insect prints are hot items, but there are also lots of cute handbags, socks and brooches to tempt your credit card.

You can pick up all manner of tea paraphernalia here or sidle up to the tasting bar to quaff some adventurous brews. A minitheatre walks you through the process, a tasting bar serves those who like to quaff before buying and an impressive selection of vintages is offered for sale. Flavors range from peppermint to chocolate nut. Government St Public Market ; Government St; Sun May-Sep An eclectic mix of vendors and performers transform this stretch at the block of Government St into a bustling pedestrianized street market on summer Sundays.

Air Canada Jazz , ; www. Both airlines offer connections across Canada. Harbour Air Seaplanes , ; www. Similar West Coast Air , ; www. Regular services also arrive from the Southern Gulf Islands. Victoria Clipper , ; www. Black Ball Transport ; www. Pick up a copy of the Peninsula Times for local stories and happenings or drop by the Saanich Peninsula Visitor Centre ; Patricia Bay Hwy; ampm Jun-Sep near Sidney for tips and insights on the area. Drop by the Visitor Centre ; www. The Marine Ecology Centre ; www.

A floating barge in the marina on our visit, it was scheduled to move to swanky new premises in the Sidney Pier Hotel. You can check out the sea critters for yourself at Sidney Spit. Accessed via a short ferry ride ; www. Dominating the waterfront, the new Sidney Pier Hotel and Spa , ; www. Victoria Regional Transit ; www. More than a century later, the cement operation is dust but the huge, elaborately manicured Butchart Gardens , ; www.

Summer is crowded with the usual tour bus hordes but daily afternoon and evening music performances and Saturday-night fireworks July and August make it all worthwhile.

Yuletide-loving December visitors are treated to thousands of fairy lights draped among the wintering plants. Perched atop Observatory Hill, this government facility houses the Plaskett Telescope in use since along with several hands-on exhibits and a miniplanetarium for the astronomically inclined. Starry-eyed visitors can crash the Star Party on Friday or Saturday evenings May to October , when the astronomers chill out, show off their equipment and tackle thorny themes from asteroids to zero gravity.

Hungry bald eagles are attracted to the fish and birdwatchers come ready with their cameras. Drop by the Sooke Region Visitor Centre , ; www. This route goes a step further by getting cyclists off the highways and into some usually unseen backcountry. Getting on and off the trails is easy since bus lines along both routes are bike-rack equipped.

You can download free maps and guides for both these routes from the Capital Regional District ; www. With surf crashing against the bluffs and a dense canopy of Douglas fir trees, it offers short strolls to the beach as well as a tough 10km coastal trail.

Sooke is also the end of the line for the popular Galloping Goose cycling trail see boxed text. Rent a bike from Sooke Cycle ; www. Paintings, sculptures and carved wood line its interiors. Be aware that some sections are often muddy and difficult to hike and bear sightings are not uncommon.

The most popular is the family-friendly China Beach Campground , ; www. Booking is also required on the West Coast Trail Express , ; www. An ideal place to wind down after a long hike, its facilities include barbecues and hot tubs. Hikers are often found lolling around outside on the picnic tables here. Contact Tourism Cowichan , ; www. Visit the Visitor Centre , ; www. Must-scoffs here include giant vegetable pakoras and the kind of cinnamon-infused rice that addictions are made of.

The nearby South Shore Motel , ; www. After fuelling up, duck into the Maritime Centre ; www. Continue to the Caycus River Bridge and, just south of the bridge, turn right and follow Rosander Main for 29km to the park.

Instead of submitting to a slow death, town officials commissioned a giant wall mural depicting local history. People took notice, 34 more murals and 13 sculptures were ordered, and a new tourism industry was born. Check the Visitor Centre ; www. Favorite stops include Cherry Point Vineyards ; www. For more information on the wineries of this area and across Vancouver Island, check www. In the evening, the surprisingly large Chemainus Theatre , ; www.

Rooms are slick and comfortable and many include kitchens. Its old Edwardian banks and trading houses are now occupied by artsy shops and coffee bars. Drop by the Visitor Centre , ; www. Downhill from the town hub, Transfer Beach Park attracts swimmers and picnickers and has summertime live music in its large amphitheater.

You can also hit the water here with the help of Sealegs Kayaking Adventures , ; www. With its own ferry service from the mainland, the city is a handy hub for exploring up-island.

Nicol St leads south to Hwy 1 and the Duke Point ferry terminal. Heading north, Terminal Ave forks: the right fork becomes Stewart Ave Hwy 1 , leading to the Departure Bay ferry terminal, while the left fork becomes Hwy 19A Island Hwy and is the main up-island route. Downtown Information Centre ; www. Bring a picnic and check out the birds hanging around the lagoon, take a short hike through the gnarly Garry oak forest or give the climbing wall your best shot.

Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park ; www. Walks or hikes range from 1km strolls to a 7. Access is via a minute ferry , ; www. Overlooking downtown, the colorful Nanaimo District Museum ; www. There are regular temporary exhibitions to keep the line-up fresh. A swanky new museum building in the city center was scheduled to open soon after our visit. This landmark fortified tower only fired occasional cannons to simmer down regional ruckuses.

Wild Play Element Parks , ; www. For scuba fans, the coastline off Nanaimo offers some great dives and the folk at Ocean Explorers Diving , ; www. Sleeping Painted Turtle Guesthouse , ; www. Hardwood floors and IKEAesque furnishings abound while facilities range from a large and welcoming kitchen to a laundry room and en-suite showers.

You can book a wide range of local activities through the front desk. Buccaneer Inn , ; www. The neat and tidy approach is carried over into the maritime-themed rooms, many with kitchenettes.

It has two lovely rooms, combining antique and contemporary chintzy flourishes. Dorchester Hotel , ; www. Inn on Long Lake , ; www. The large rooms, each with a balcony, have plenty of amenities and some have kitchenettes. It has a sauna, a fitness center and lake-bound canoes to keep you occupied, along with free continental breakfast.

The food is the main attraction, though. Drop by on Saturday and Sunday for live lunchtime music. The patio is a magnet on languid sunny days. The menu rests on the kind of wraps, burgers and sandwiches that are a cut above standard diner fare and there are some tempting small-plate options for those who want to snack or share.

The locally sourced ingredients mean ever-changing specials but the favorite on our visit was Pacific halibut with Dungeness crab potato salad. In late July, the four days of marine-themed shenanigans include a street fair, a parade and a giant fireworks extravaganza, but the main event remains the big race where hundreds of salty sea dogs jump into customized bath-sized crafts and embark on a grueling 58km course.

Speedboat engines are de rigueur for the minute sprint, with thousands of spectators lining the bay for the spectacular finish. A dip in the tub will never seem the same again.

The menu is also recommended and is a cut above standard pub grub. In contrast, the Port Theatre ; www. Frequent West Coast Air , ; www. BUS Greyhound Canada ; www. Getting Around Downtown Nanaimo around the harbor is highly walkable, but after that the city spreads out and a car or strong bike legs are required.

Be aware that taxis are expensive here. Nanaimo Regional Transit ; www. Bus 2 goes to the Departure Bay ferry terminal. No city buses run to Duke Point. For cabs, call AC Taxi Most visitors spend time pointing at the sky here in summer: a herd of goats lives on the roof of the main building. World Parrot Refuge ; www. This excellent educational facility preaches the mantra that parrots are not pets.

Pick up your earplugs at reception and stroll among the enclosures, each alive with recovering and very noisy birds. It has an excellent walk-through display on west coast animals and their habitats. Dedicated to treating sick or injured animals brought to its doors, the facility also has active rehabilitation programs for eagles and black bear.

Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park ; www. Even better are the three circular yurts, complete with baths, kitchens, double beds and flat-screen TVs.

The rest of the campground has showers, laundry and a playground. Free Spirit Spheres ; www. Like sleeping in a small boat cabin, the cozy, wood-lined interiors include cupboards, water coolers and the larger of the two Eryn has a microwave oven. Blue Willow Guest House ; www.

The two rooms and one self-contained suite are lined with antiques and each is extremely homely. Tigh-Na-Mara Resort , ; www. Lodge rooms, cottages and condos are available, each with a rustic-chic ambiance. Drop by for some fortifying pub grub and a couple of beers or head into the slightly more upscale restaurant where fish, steak and pasta dishes jostle for menu attention. A hearty weekend brunch is also available. The same buses, with similar times and rates, serve Qualicum Beach.

The daily VIA Rail ; www. The same train, with similar times and rates, also serves Qualicum Beach. But the double whammy of aboriginal and pioneer heritage plus easy access to some truly outstanding natural wilderness makes this an ideal spot for an off-the-beaten-path visit.

For more information, check in with the Alberni Valley Visitor Centre ; www. Try hugging that. A one-stop shop for active types, Batstar Adventure Tours , ; www. Choo Kwa Ventures , ; www. You can help paddle if you want or just sit back and listen to the ancient stories and songs from the local Hupacasath people. The breakfasts are correspondingly wholesome and the two rooms have a charming, rustic feel.

Hummingbird Guesthouse , ; hummingbirdguesthouse. Its funky orange-and-blue interior provides a casual atmosphere indoors, or you can head to the patio for a side dish of panoramic inlet views. First-timers should drop by the Pacific Rim Visitor Centre ; www. Wide sandy beaches, untamed surf, lots of beachcombing nooks and a living museum of old-growth rainforest are the main reasons for the summer tourist clamor.

Safety precautions apply on all trails in the region: tread carefully over slippery surfaces and never turn your back on the mischievous surf. Long Beach Great scenery along the sandy shore easy. Rainforest Trail Two interpretive loops through old-growth forest 1km; moderate. Schooner Trail Through old and second-growth forests with beach access 1km; moderate. Shorepine Bog Loops around a moss-layered bog m; easy and wheelchair-accessible. South Beach Through forest to a pebble beach m; easy to moderate.

Spruce Fringe Trail Loop trail featuring hardy Sitka spruce 1. Wickaninnish Trail Shoreline and forest trail 2. Extremely popular in summer book ahead , its tent sites are located on a forested terrace, with trail access to the beach.

Expect fairly basic facilities: the faucets are cold but the toilets are flush. Compasses are required for navigating here, unless you fancy paddling to Hawaii. From there, popular paddle-to points include the recommended Gibraltar Island, a one-hour kayak away. It has a sheltered campground and many explorable beaches. Willis Island 90 minutes from Sechart is also popular.

It has a campground and, at low tide, you can stroll to some of the nearby islands. Staff patrols the region to keep an eye on things and collect additional fees if you decide to stay longer.

Alternatively, Broken Island Adventures , ; www. Winding between the West Coast Trail information centers at Pachena Bay ; 9am-5pm May-Sep , near Bamfield on the north end, and Gordon River ; 9am-5pm May-Sep , near Port Renfrew to the south, most trekkers take between five and eight days to complete the full route. Since the southern section is more difficult, many hikers prefer to ease themselves in from the northern end.

The trail is only accessible from May to September and there is a limit of 26 overnight backpackers starting from each end each day. Hikers can camp at any of the designated sites along the route, most of which have solar-composting outhouses.

Overnight hikers who only tackle this end of the trail can leave from Nitinat Lake. Day hikers are allowed on the trail from each end, but need a free day-use permit, available from the registration centers. West Coast Trail Express , ; www. A short drive south of town, the Visitor Centre ; www. Sights Check out what coastal temperate rainforests are all about by exploring the flora and fauna at the Tofino Botanical Gardens ; www.

Admission and programs are free but donations are appreciated and you can also support the work here by buying a couple of their excellent trail guides. Tranquility-minded trekkers travel here by Zodiac boat or seaplane, watching for whales and other sea critters en route. From the boat landing, 2km of boardwalks lead to a series of natural hot pools. Visible through the mist and accessible via kayak or tour boat from the Tofino waterfront, Meares Island is home to the Big Tree Trail, a m boardwalk through old-growth forest that includes a stunning year-old red cedar.

Situated on remote Flores Island and accessed by tour boat or kayak, Ahousat is the mystical location of the spectacular Wild Side Heritage Trail, a moderately difficult path that traverses 10km of forests, beaches and headlands between Ahousat and Cow Bay.

A popular destination for kayakers, camping of the no-facilities variety is allowed here. Pacific Surf School , ; www. The surf school Surf Sister , ; www. Remote Passages , ; www. Tofino Sea Kayaking Co , ; www. Tours Adventures Pacific , ; www. Tla-ook Cultural Adventures , ; www. Tofino Air , ; www. Ocean Outfitters , ; www. Sleeping Clayoquot Field Station ; www. A great sleepover for nature-lovers, it has a natural history library and regular speakers and events. Dolphin Motel ; www.

A short walk from Chesterman Beach, it has a barbecue area with picnic tables and a couple of self-catering units with full kitchens. Tofino Inlet Cottages , ; www. Gull Cottage ; www. Rates include breakfast, dinner and canoe use. Pacific Sands Beach Resort , ; www.

Great for groups, these huge timber-framed houses open directly onto the beach and include kitchens, stone fireplaces, slate and wood floors and ocean-view bedrooms with private decks. Built on pillars to preserve rainforest root systems, they also have energy-efficient heating systems. Wickaninnish Inn , ; www. Embodying nature with recycled old-growth furniture, natural stone tiles and the atmosphere of a place grown rather than constructed, the sumptuous guest rooms have push-button gas fireplaces, two-person hot tubs and private balconies.

Pampering has rarely felt better. Head upstairs to the swish new lounge for cocktails and great views across the inlet. Our menu favorite here is the shrimp and crab dumplings. Now affiliated with Greyhound Canada you can book via the www. The route runs daily year-round and twice daily from mid-March to mid-November. In fact, the town has expanded in recent years to cope with visitor demand, successfully avoiding some of the growing-pain pitfalls experienced by Tofino.

For information, head to the Visitor Centre ; www. In contrast, the poke-worthy tide pools and kelp beds at Big Beach make it a great kid-friendly spot. If you want to stretch your sea legs, Subtidal Adventures , ; www. The highlight is the landscaped, lounge-worthy garden overlooking the inlet, complete with hammocks and a rope swing. With a full kitchen and its own deck and barbecue, it sleeps up to seven.

Canadian Princess Resort , ; www. Drop by in the afternoon for coffee and sprinkle-topped cakes. Denman has three provincial parks: Fillongley ; www. Ships Point Inn , ; www. The four-course breakfast, sometimes with oysters, will have you leaping from your bed. Sea Breeze Lodge , ; www. You can swim, kayak and fish here or just flop lazily into the cliff-side hot tub. The rates, reduced for unders, include three daily meals. Nosh on some pizza for lunch or just drop in to talk to a resident Denman artist over a java and a muffin.

Summer evenings feature a barbecue buffet specializing in fresh local fare, while the main menu focuses on hearty soups, sandwiches and burgers. A good base for outdoor adventures across the region, its highlight is the Mt Washington resort. Drop by the area Visitor Centre , ; www. The main reason for most visits, Mt Washington Alpine Resort , ; www.

But there are also some great summer activities here, including horseback riding, fly-fishing, alpine hiking and mountain biking. In addition, outdoors types should consider Miracle Beach Provincial Park ; www. It has two basement suites, each with their own entrance, and the chatty host will regale you with some colorful local stories. The fish tacos are ace and the locals often keep this place packed at meal times.

The Visitor Centre , ; www. Much easier than catching your own lunch, you can also buy fish and chips here. Rates include continental breakfast and the three-room suites and cabins are recommended for small groups. The loft rooms are massive and comfortably sleep up to four. Dolphins Resort , ; www. The cabins have a cozy, rustic feel and each has a full kitchen with porch barbecue rentals available.

Most also have outdoor hot tubs. Oysters, halibut burgers and fish and chips dot the menu, while intriguing historic photos of Campbell River dot the walls. Campbell River Transit ; www. Tsa-Kwa-Luten Lodge ; ; www. Whiskey Point Resort ; www. Heriot Bay Inn , ; www. The menu highlights are hearty soups, bean burgers and heaping salads.

Both Quadra and Cortes are fairly large, so it can be challenging to get around without a car. Luckily, many accommodations will pick you up from the ferry.

The 9km Comox Glacier Trail is quite an adventure but is only recommended for advanced hikers. Around Buttle Lake, easier walks include Lady Falls m and the trail along Karst Creek 2km , which winds past sinkholes, percolating streams and tumbling waterfalls.

You can get close to nature by pitching your tent at Buttle Lake Campground , ; www. The swimming area and playground here make this a good choice for families. Begun 50 years ago as an outdoor education center, the highly recommended Strathcona Park Lodge ; www. In keeping with its low-impact proximity to nature, there are no telephones or TVs in the rooms, which range from college-style bedrooms to secluded timber-framed cottages.

The lodge is a one-stop-shop for a range of activities, including kayaking, yoga, ziplining and rock climbing. Outside visitors are welcomed at these facilities. For information, drop by the Visitor Centre ; www. Ask here about organized and self-guided caving tours to the m of passages and 16 known entrances of Upana Caves, north of town on the gravel road toward Tahsis.

And if you fancy a fish, Nootka Sound Fishing Charters , ; www. For a more relaxing encounter with the region, try a day-trip sail with Nootka Sound Service ; www. Accommodations and one meal are included. With some surprisingly upscale rooms, some with microwaves and gas fires, Ridgeview Motor Inn , ; www.

It also has fish-cleaning facilities and barbecues so you can prep and scoff your catch of the day. If your trip to BC is all about encountering the untamed wilderness close up, this is the place for you. Despite the remoteness, some areas are remarkably accessible to hardy hikers, especially with the long-awaited arrival of the North Coast Trail. For further information on the region, contact Tourism North Vancouver Island , ; www.

Its pioneer outpost feel is enhanced by the dozens of wooden buildings standing around the marina on stilts, but the place can get surprisingly crowded in summer. The road into the resort was recently paved for the first time, encouraging a new hotel and housing development. Head along the boardwalk to the smashing Whale Interpretive Centre , ; www.

Stubbs Island Whale-watching , ; www. Its sunset cruise is highly recommended. For a grizzly or black bear alternative, Tide Rip Tours , ; www. The established Telegraph Cove Resorts , ; www. The nearby new Dockside 29 , ; www. Its rooms have kitchenettes with hardwood floors and waterfront views.

Drop by the log-cabin Visitor Centre ; www. More a superior motel than a resort, the hilltop Black Bear Resort , ; www. The standard rooms are small but clean and include microwaves and fridges; full-kitchen units are also available. Rates include a good continental breakfast buffet and use of a free-access computer in the lobby.

Regular BC Ferries , ; www. Alert Bay Located on Cormorant Island in the Inside Passage, this visitor-friendly village of has an ancient and mythical appeal. Its First Nations community and traditions are still prevalent, but its blend with an old pioneer fishing settlement makes it an even more fascinating day trip from Port McNeill. Singing, dancing and barbecues are often held here, while modern-day totem pole carvers usually work their magic out front. For a nature-based tranquility highlight, amble along the mossy walk of giant cedar trees at Alert Bay Ecological Park also known as Gator Gardens.

If the ocean is calling you, Seasmoke Whale Watching , ; www. Head to the Visitor Centre ; www. A one-stop-shop for outdoors activities, Sea Legend , ; www. For dedicated dive fans, Catala Charters , ; www. They also offer fishing, kayaking and aboriginal cultural tours. Reservations are required. North Island Transportation ; nit island.

From the parking area, take the relatively easy 2. Now mostly reclaimed by the forest, you can still see the crumbling homes and stores of these settlers, most of whom eventually left when a promised road from the south failed to materialize and life became too tough. Consider a guided trek with North Island Daytrippers , ; www.

Once colonized by hippy-dippy Canadian drop-outs and fugitive US draft dodgers, Salt Spring, Galiano, Mayne, Saturna and the North and South Penders are the natural retreat of choice for many in the region.

Not all the islands are created equal, of course. Wherever you decide to head, the soothing relaxation begins once you step on the ferry to get here: time suddenly slows, your heart rate drops to hibernation level and the scenery of forested isles and glassy water slides by like a slow-motion nature documentary. During your ferry trip, pick up a free copy of the Gulf Islands Driftwood www.

From Mayne, you can connect to Saturna. From the mainland, there is a direct service from Tsawwassen to Galiano, which then connects to North Pender. For more frequent services to these and the other islands, you will need to travel from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, then board a connecting ferry. Gulf Islands Water Taxi ; www. Seair Seaplanes , ; www. You can also visit local artisans with a downloadable self-guided studio map from Salt Spring Island Studio Tour ; www. Pick a favorite for lunch then add to your feast with a bottle from Salt Spring Vineyards ; www.

Consider taking your picnic to Ruckle Provincial Park ; www. There are hiking trails here for all skill levels, with Yeo Point making an ideal pit stop.

Sleeping Lakeside Gardens ; www. Love Shack , ; www. A groovy waterfront nook where the hardest part is leaving, this cozy cottage has a lava lamp, collection of vintage cameras and a record player plus albums Abba to Stan Getz. With plenty of artsy flourishes, the kitchen is stocked with organic coffee and the private deck is ideal for watching the sunset in your velour jumpsuit.

Bold Bluff Retreat , ; www. Hummingbirds greet you at the old main lodge, an antique-lined reminder of well-to-do s vacation homes, and you can stay in a verdant cottage, rustic waterfront cabin or hilltop tepee, complete with its own outdoor kitchen and shower. If you get lonely, Daisy the dog is always happy to visit. Other recommendations: Harbour House , ; www. Seabreeze Inne , ; www. Wisteria Guest House , ; www. He working as a trapper and fisherman while growing a vast outdoor museum of trees and plants with seeds he imported from around the world.

His unlikely garden was reclaimed by the forest and lost after Ronning died, but determined locals Ron and Julia Moe stripped back the bushes and re-established it in the s. Established to protect the fragile, Mediterranean-like eco-system of a sq-km tapestry of reefs, islets and coastal stretches increasingly threatened by maritime traffic and creeping development, the designation aims to be a haven for uncounted species of indigenous flora and fauna. Plants offered a new lease on life by the creation of the park include gnarly Garry oaks, copper-trunked arbutus trees, indigo-blue camas lilies and rare phantom orchids.

Live music every night in summer. Adventurous pizzas include herbed lamb and artichoke and the seafood-and-sausage gumbo combines mussels, tiger prawns and chorizo sausage with a secret Creole recipe.

On our visit, plans were afoot for a new BC Transit bus service on the island. The English infuriated the French with such moves, and so the French kept right on galling the English by settling further inland. Both countries had claims to the land, but each wanted regional dominance. They skirmished back and forth in hostilities that mirrored those in Europe, where wars raged throughout the first half of the 18th century.

First, they had to quell uprisings by the Aboriginal tribes, such as the attack on Detroit by Ottawa Chief Pontiac.

So the British government issued the Royal Proclamation of , which prevented colonists from settling west of the Appalachian Mountains and regulated purchases of aboriginal land. Though well-intentioned, the proclamation was largely ignored.

The French Canadians caused the next headache. Tensions rose when the new rulers imposed British law that heavily restricted the rights of Roman Catholics the religion of the French , including the rights to vote and hold office.

The British hoped their discriminatory policy would launch a mass exodus and make it easier to anglicize the remaining settlers. Called United Empire Loyalists due to their presumed allegiance to Britain, many settlers were motivated more by cheap land than by actual love of king and crown. The majority ended up in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, while a smaller group settled along the northern shore of Lake Ontario and in the Ottawa River Valley forming the nucleus of what became Ontario.

Lower Canada retained French civil laws, but both provinces were governed by the British criminal code. The British crown installed a governor to direct each colony.

The legislative branch consisted of an appointed Legislative Council and an elected Assembly, which ostensibly represented the interests of the colonists. In reality, though, the Assembly held very little power, since the governor could veto its decisions.

Not surprisingly, this was a recipe for friction and resentment. This was especially the case in Lower Canada, where an English governor and an English-dominated Council held sway over a French-dominated Assembly. Members of the conservative British merchant elite dominated the Executive and Legislative Councils and showed little interest in French-Canadian matters.

These ideas were adopted into the Union Act of Upper and Lower Canada soon merged into the Province of Canada and became governed by a single legislature, the new Parliament of Canada. While most British Canadians welcomed the new system, the French were less than thrilled. Thus the united province was built on slippery ground. The decade or so following unification was marked by political instability as one government replaced another in fairly rapid succession. Meanwhile, the USA had grown into a self-confident economic powerhouse, while British North America was still a loose patchwork of independent colonies.

It became clear that only a less volatile political system would stave off these challenges, and the movement toward federal union gained momentum. And so began the modern, self-governing state of Canada, originally known as the Dominion of Canada.

He sent the Ottawa-appointed governor packing and, in November , seized control of Upper Fort Garry, thereby forcing Ottawa to the negotiating table. However, with his delegation already en route, Riel impulsively and for no good reason executed a Canadian prisoner he was holding at the fort. As a result, the then-pint-sized province of Manitoba was carved out of the NWT and entered the dominion in July Macdonald sent troops after Riel but he narrowly managed to escape to the USA.

He was formally exiled for five years in Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau declared a state of emergency and called in the army to protect government officials. The murder discredited the FLQ in the eyes of many erstwhile supporters and the movement quickly faded away. The issue was put on the back burner for much of the s. To take effect, the so-called Meech Lake Accord needed to be ratified by all 10 provinces and both houses of parliament by Mulroney and Bourassa drafted a new, expanded accord, but the separatists picked it apart and it too was trounced.

The rejection sealed the fate of Mulroney, who resigned the following year, and of Bourassa, who left political life a broken man. Relations between Anglos and Francophones hit new lows, and support for independence was rekindled.

Only one year after returning to power in , the PQ, under Premier Lucien Bouchard, launched a second referendum. The discovery of gold along the Fraser River in and in the Cariboo region in had brought an enormous influx of settlers to such goldmine boomtowns as Williams Lake and Barkerville. Once the gold mines petered out, though, BC was plunged into poverty.

In it joined the dominion in exchange for the Canadian government assuming all its debt and promising to link it with the east within 10 years via a transcontinental railroad. Macdonald rightly regarded the railroad as crucial in unifying the country, spurring immigration and stimulating business and manufacturing.

It was a costly proposition, made even more challenging by the rough and rugged terrain the tracks had to traverse. To entice investors, the government offered major benefits, including vast land grants in western Canada. Workers drove the final spike into the track at Craigellachie, BC, on November 7, As in Manitoba, they quickly clashed with government surveyors over land issues.

In , after their repeated appeals to Ottawa had been ignored, they coaxed Louis Riel out of exile to represent their cause. Riel had the backing of the Cree, but times had changed: with the railroad nearly complete, government troops arrived within days. Riel surrendered in May and was hanged for treason later that year.

In addition, the new railroad opened the floodgates to immigration. Between and about 4. This included large groups of Americans and Eastern Europeans, especially Ukrainians, who went to work cultivating the prairies. I think we can claim that it is Canada that shall fill the 20th century. The issue took on even greater urgency when WWI broke out in But today, a growing number of Canadians see him as a hero who defended the rights of the oppressed against an unjust government.

Statues of Riel now stand on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and outside the Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg, where his boyhood home Click here and grave have become places of pilgrimage.

The University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon has named its campus theater, student center and pub after Riel. As the war dragged on and thousands of soldiers returned in coffins, recruitment ground to a halt. The government, intent on replenishing its depleted forces, introduced the draft in It proved to be a very unpopular move, to say the least, especially among French Canadians.

The conscription issue fanned the flames of nationalism even more. A U-boat launched a torpedo at an offshore freighter; it missed and struck inland at Bell Island. Under the government of William Lyon Mackenzie King, an eccentric fellow who communicated with spirits and worshipped his dead mother, Canada began asserting its independence.

Mackenzie King made it clear that Britain could no longer automatically draw upon the Canadian military, started signing treaties without British approval, and sent a Canadian ambassador to Washington. This forcefulness led to the Statute of Westminster, passed by the British Parliament in Oddly, that right remained on the books for another half century. Today, Canada is a constitutional monarchy with a parliament consisting of an appointed upper house, or Senate, and an elected lower house, the House of Commons.

Newfoundland finally joined Canada in Joey Smallwood, the politician who persuaded the island to sign up, claimed it would bring economic prosperity.

The conflict was sparked by a land claim: the town of Oka was planning to expand a golf course onto land that the Mohawk considered sacred. A day clash ensued, and one policeman died of gunshot wounds. The event shook Canada, and focused national attention on Aboriginal human rights violations and outstanding land claims. In the aftermath of Oka, a Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples issued a report recommending a complete overhaul of relations between the government and indigenous peoples.

Slow to respond at first, in the Ministry of Indian and Northern Affairs issued an official Statement of Reconciliation that accepted responsibility for past injustices toward Aboriginal peoples. It specifically apologized for the policy of removing children from their families and educating them in underfunded government schools in the name of assimilation. Most importantly, though, it pledged to give indigenous peoples greater control over their land, resources, government and economy.

You can read the entire Statement of Reconciliation at www. To learn more about this and other land claims, Click here; for information on Aboriginal-owned businesses, Click here. For a quarter century, it remained in the grip of ultra-conservative Maurice Duplessis and his Union Nationale party, with support from the Catholic Church and various business interests.

Advances included expanding the public sector, investing in public education and nationalizing the provincial hydroelectric companies. In , Canada became the first country in the world to pass a national multicultural act and establish a federal department of multiculturalism.

The new millennium has been kind to Canada. The loonie took off around , thanks to the oil, diamonds and other natural resources fueling the economy.

Tolerance marches onward, with medical marijuana and gay marriage both legalized recently. Expect the country to continue getting all glammed up before the world spotlight shines on it for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Circa 25, BC Hot on the hoofs of juicy caribou and bison, the first humans arrive in Canada by crossing over the land bridge that once connected Siberia to North America. It belongs to no nation; rather it serves fishing fleets from all over Europe. By the British claim it as the first colony of their Empire.

He searches for gold and precious metals, but gets only chilled rocks. Still, he plunks down the tricolore to claim the land for France. Soon he commands 40 ships and men. He eventually retires to France and becomes the Marquis of Savoy. Years later, the company morphs into The Bay department store chain. Some 14, men, women and children are forced onto ships during the Great Expulsion; many head to Louisiana in the USA.

It lasts less than an hour and kills both commanding generals. France takes it on the chin. Prospectors discover gold along the Fraser River in BC, spurring thousands of get-rich-quick dreamers to move north and start panning. Most remain poor.

Queen Victoria celebrates with Canadian bacon for breakfast. However, she retains the right to keep her mug on the money and appoint a governor general. The ban was supposed to be lifted within a few years, but depleted cod stocks never rebounded. Modern day warriors, indeed. Patients can buy ready-to-use buds, or seeds to grow their own.

Nice, but with no sense of humor. Our differences with Americans may be subtle, but they are significant. We are tolerant towards foreign cultures and celebrate their differences by encouraging multiculturalism. After all, we coined the term in and have it enshrined in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. And we are open-minded when it comes to alternative lifestyles like same-sex marriage and lighting up a joint.

According to almost every international institution, Canada rates in the top echelon in everything from public transit to freedom of the press to world business competitiveness. It is a compassionate and very pleasant country to live in, even if you are old, poor, ill or different. Yet listen to us!

We fret that multiculturalism might be leading to a splintered society with pockets of solitudes. And we are indignant about having to honor treaties we signed long ago with Aboriginals who refuse to simply fade into the sunset. We are more a nation of debaters than people of action. Canadians are like one small family living in a very big house in the suburbs. If something really irks, we can always retreat to another room until our anger dissipates.

Peace at any cost is an integral part of our heritage and psyche, and we are lucky to have never experienced war on our home turf. Despite the reality that Canadians have fought in overseas conflicts for the better part of a century, we see ourselves as a nation of peacekeepers; it was former prime minister Lester B Pearson who received a Nobel Peace Prize in for settling the Suez Crisis, an action that led to his being lauded as the father of peacekeeping.

A favorite quip is that the only thing unifying Canada is a universal hatred of successful, corporate, American-leaning Toronto, although a recent documentary on the subject revealed that no-one could say exactly why. Perhaps just to unite us. We may not have the sense of history of the UK, or the bravado and self-assuredness of the Aussies, but we do have our own quiet style that is the key to the miracle that has kept this complex, open society from falling apart or crashing into warring tribal factions.

We have learned that flexibility, compromise, tolerance, dialogue, a sense of humor and being nice just might be the glue that keeps this unlikely country together. While the present is rosy, Canadians are nervous about a graying future; one in every seven Canadians is a senior over 65 , and the number of children under 14 years is at an all-time low.

By there will no longer be enough new workers to replace retiring baby boomers, the fastest-growing demographic. At the same time, many provinces have abolished mandatory retirement at What does a typical Canadian family look like? Mum and dad are raising 1. The gap between rich and poor in Canada is increasing and income growth for the working classes has slowed. Canadians are borrowing more, especially to buy homes that have reached record prices in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario.

Kids will attend postsecondary education in numbers unrivaled in any other country with female students vastly outnumbering males , creating the most highly educated population per capita in the world. Inside an average Canadian home all the latest electronic gadgets are present along with a car or two in the garage.

One in 50 Quebecers is a Tremblay. Nationally, twice as many Canadians live in common-law relationships as Americans. In Canada became the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage; so far same-sex divorce has not yet been sanctioned. Same-sex couples comprise only 0. But a federal bill to legalize possession of marijuana for personal use remains stalled.

Leisure-loving Canadians work about three weeks fewer per year than Americans, and fewer than Australians, too. During the July and August school break, many kids spend a week or two in camp learning outdoor skills, languages and sports.

Canadians are known for winter sports like skiing and especially hockey, the national pastime, which is played by 1. But Canadians are much more likely to watch hockey than to play it. Crime remains higher in western Canada than in the east. Since the mids the government has steadily paid down the federal debt and now regularly posts budgetary surpluses.

The Canadian dollar is at a year high against the US buck, and unemployment rates are at a year low. While the economy is dominated by the service industry, Canada is unusual among developed nations in the importance of natural resources such as logging, mining, wheat and oil.

Oil in particular is a major factor in the current economic climate. Balmy weather in lower British Columbia attracts winter-weary Canadians from further east. In recent years the oil boom in northern Alberta has drawn workers from across the country, particularly Atlantic Canada, where it is almost a tradition for young people to leave their unemployment-plagued home provinces to find work in other parts of Canada see boxed text.

After all, it was the first country in the world to establish a federal department of multiculturalism. Chinese immigrants were brought to the west to build the transcontinental railway in the s, and by the time of the most recent census , the country had become home to different ethnic groups speaking languages. Canada has one of the highest rates of immigration per capita in the world and accepts large numbers of refugees.

With a growth rate of only 1. These 1. Among the Aboriginal population the average age is As in other nations such as Australia, the Aboriginal suicide rate, which is six times higher than for the rest of the population, is an alarming indicator of social crisis.

But the colonists saw treaties as a trade of land for compensation. More than 50 treaties were signed, first with the British and then the Canadian governments. Among those who did, many did not receive the land, money, food, medicine or housing they were promised. Since the s Aboriginal people have made land claims against the federal and provincial governments, an issue that gained urgency as plans were made to develop northern resources.

Where no treaties were signed, land claims now involve roughly half the total area of Canada. Resolution of land claims is complicated, as two levels of government are involved with all the ensuing debates surrounding land ownership and how treaties should be interpreted.

Some cases remain unresolved after half a century and frustration has mounted. A blockade by the Haida of British Columbia against logging an old-growth forest finally resolved a year land claims battle.

There have been armed standoffs between Aboriginals and police like that at an Ontario reserve called Camp Ipperwash in , where police shot and killed Chippewa protestor Anthony Dudley George. It was the first modern-day land-claim settlement. Settling land claims is an important step for Aboriginals to become stewards of their own future. Since the creation of Nunavut there has been widespread mineral exploration that gives a territory the potential for much-needed revenue.

Aboriginal land claims continue to capture the front page of Canadian newspapers. For the latest in aboriginal news, visit www. Dotted throughout are the remaining areas of Allophones, representing languages from Icelandic to Urdu. Immigration patterns vary in different regions of the country. BC has a long history of welcoming Japanese, Chinese and South Asian immigrants, and more recently large numbers of people from Eastern Europe and Iran. Living conditions on reserves are often far below the rest of the country.

In March Statistics Canada projected that the number of visible minorities in Canada will double by , and that by the majority of the populations of Toronto and Vancouver would be comprised of visible minorities. Equally important, the cultural revival and sense of pride that an outside interest in aboriginal culture has generated gives young people a purpose to learn about their heritage. The further north in Canada you head, the more your travel dollars benefit Aboriginals.

Increasingly, Aboriginals are opening their lives to visitors. Dine on maktaaq, smoked whitefish and caribou stew in the Tuktoyaktuk home of a traditional hunter or try a homestay with an Iqaluit family. Many Canadians feel the system is too lenient on visitors who arrive in Canada and declare themselves refugees, which grants them a government-subsidized existence while they await a hearing on their status, which can take months or sometimes even years.

Some refugees disappear into the system or illegally skip to the USA. International people-smuggling rackets often target Canada because the coastline is vast and penalties are less severe than in the USA. The racketeers coach their human cargo on how to declare refugee status, but often their ultimate destination is the USA, a quick but illegal trip over the border. Return to beginning of chapter MEDIA Although often overshadowed by US airwaves and publications, Canada has a healthy media sector, with television and radio stations in both English and French.

There is a free press with very little censorship of editorial content apart from that which might discourage advertising or attract libel suits, both simmering issues. Most Canadian newspapers are owned by large chains, which have been known to gobble up city-based alternative weeklies that might threaten competition. In Canada, two-thirds of Muslims actively practice their faith, while only one-fifth of Christians regularly attend religious services. Teeth are optional. Until very recently lacrosse was in danger of disappearing from the public consciousness, but the sport seems to be experiencing a renaissance with a new pro league.

As such, the city is digging up every second road and making plans to hustle its street people off to Seattle when the world visits in February of that year. Tickets are distributed by lottery, and then you have to take whatever event they give you. Holy biathlon, Batman! Unless you know someone. With so many different cultures settling in Canada in the past generation, these sports are quickly emerging as alternatives to hockey for new communities. The origins of so many players on Canadian national and Olympic teams give a picture of the diversity and the challenges facing the country as it searches for its identity in the 21st century.

Finally, lest we forget curling, that unique brand of frozen shuffleboard that captivates large segments of the Canadian population each winter. A Canadian sport that actually eschews fighting, curling requires players to slide polished granite stones to a painted target at the other end of a long sheet of ice. Closest to the center wins a point in this sport that originated in Scotland.

Players use a broom to affect how much curl a stone will get. Today, literature is the creative endeavor by which Canada has most effectively defined and distinguished itself, and revealed its multicultural diversity of voices. And Canadian readers are darn proud of them. The festival website www. Translation is considered an art in Canada.

The finest French-Canadian literature can be read in English. Corner Gas and Little Mosque on the Prairie, the top two Canadian sitcoms, are both set in small-town Saskatchewan although only the former is filmed there.

Music Canadian fans are as loyal and adventurous as they come. Major galleries exhibit the strengths of their permanent collections and host traveling exhibitions from home and abroad. Travelers taking the back roads will discover plenty of local creativity, too. In the midth century, Paul Kane and Cornelius Krieghoff both painted aboriginal subjects; works by them can be seen at the Royal Ontario Museum and the National Gallery. Since the midth century there has been strong appreciation of and a market for aboriginal art, in particular Inuit sculpture.

Check out www. By the s, professional theaters existed in most cities, but Canadian talent remained under-utilized. The increasingly adventurous Canadian Opera Company moved to new Toronto digs in Traditions brought to Canada by early settlers Scots, French etc and dance styles of more recent immigrant groups eg Ukrainian, Afro-Caribbean and Indian , are represented by amateur and professional ensembles, many of whom perform during cultural festivals.

Landscape-altering architecture for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver created much local controversy, including protests about the environmental footprint and the loss of low-income housing downtown. But in recent years, the country that used to treat food as a way of fueling up for a hard winter of polar bear wrestling has undergone a two-course culinary renaissance.

For travelers, this means that eating and drinking in Canada can now be a highlight of a visit here, rather than a disappointing pit-stop necessity. With the Irish bringing potatoes to the table, the Germans rolling in with smoked sausages and the Chinese dropping by with dim sums, Canada has always been a finger-licking smorgasbord of food styles, making it the original home of fusion cooking.

This approach is still the cornerstone of dining here today: contemporary restaurants often add a dash of Japanese influence to their French cuisine or a pinch of East Indian Flair to their west coast seafood menu. But while tweaking traditional recipes is common in Canada, some dishes continue to define specific regions. These provincial soul foods directly reflect available local ingredients and the diverse influences of their cooks. Next door, Nova Scotia visitors should save their appetites for butter-soft Digby scallops and rustic Lunenberg sausage, while the favored food of nearby Newfoundland and Labrador is cod: cod cheeks, cod tongues and cod-and-potato-blended fishcakes.

Head next door to Saskatchewan for dessert, though. Backcountry foraging is also a big tradition in Canada: BC is a popular spot for mushroom pickers, New Brunswick is ideal for fiddleheads and almost everywhere else offers some kind of wild-growing seasonal fruit, including blackberries or blueberries. Here you should hunt around for the dark, chocolaty or downright earthy tastes of beer from local producers such as Storm, Phillips, Dead Frog or Russell Brewing. If you time your visit well, you might catch a regional wine festival, enabling you to sample a few unfamiliar tipples as you rub shoulders with bleary-eyed local imbibers.

Wine lovers are spoilt for choice when it comes to festivals. There are also many family-oriented, midpriced eateries for those traveling with kids, and bars are usually just as interested in serving food as they are beer.

While there are many variations, breakfast spots often open from 8am to 11am, lunch is usually offered between am and pm on weekdays and dinner is frequently on the menu from 5pm to pm daily. Midrange and family restaurants usually stay open all day. Closing times vary greatly and often depend on how busy the restaurant is on the day: hours are especially liquid in larger, tourist-friendly towns.

Service is generally excellent at Canadian restaurants and bars. Solo travelers are welcomed at most eateries, although family-oriented restaurants may baulk at sacrificing a large table to a lone nosher. See opposite for information on tipping. Expect similar responses in the Maritimes and on the prairies, where the carnivorous approach is a way of life. Not surprisingly, vegans can expect an even rougher ride.

The handy VegeDining website www. Check locations in BC www. Kids menus often rely heavily on breaded chicken and brightly colored mini pizzas. As an alternative, ask for a half-order of something more nutritious from the adult menu.

Servers often work extra hard to keep kids happy, so consider adding a few dollars to your tip to reward exemplary service in the face of adversity. On weekends, many restaurants serve brunch from as early as 8am, sometimes until as late as 4pm. BC and Ontario are the main regional producers. Table service is common in most pubs, although you can still order at the bar. A small number of areas still allow separate smoking rooms and patio smoking but this is also being slowly stubbed out. Twinkle-eyed Bernard leads gumbooted groups across the muddy beach at Whiffen Spit, extolling enthusiastically on the culinary properties of the many seaweed varieties growing in the ocean garden around her.

Running for a couple of hours, the Outer Coast Seaweeds tours , ; www. Call ahead for reservations. Get behind the cuisine of French Canada by getting to know the language. For pronunciation guidelines, Click here.

Diamonds, oil, gold and timber? Later generations, moving westward, found fertile soil in the prairies and gold in the Klondike. Much of this water fills the dips and dents of the massive Canadian Shield, a vast horseshoe-shaped region of Precambrian rock chiseled and gouged by glaciers and erosion over hundreds of millions of years. In addition to Aboriginals, many of those living here are miners and loggers who exploit the enormous wealth of natural treasures, including nickel, copper, silver, gold and diamonds.

Ottawa is the second-chilliest national capital, after Ulan Bator, Mongolia. In the Pacific region, coastal British Columbia has the most temperate climate, but is often drenched by rains. Along with Alberta, the Yukon is part of the Cordillera region, which is also defined by other mountain ranges, most famously the Canadian Rockies. Dinosaur Provincial Park Alberta, ; Click here A fossil site with bones from 35 species of dinosaurs, some 75 million years old.

Gros Morne National Park Newfoundland, ; Click here Superb mosaic of coastal lowland, alpine plateau, fjords, glacial valleys, sheer cliffs, waterfalls and pristine lakes. Waterton Lakes National Park Alberta, ; Click here An exceptional variety of plants and mammals in prairies and forests, and alpine and glacial features. That baby measured 7. Scientists say every to years the region gets hit by a major quake, ie one measuring 8. The last one occurred in , which means Canada is due for another spanking, oh, any day now?

Whales, polar bear and the goofy, twig-eating moose are wildlife-watching favorites. They live in forests throughout the country and are most active between dusk and dawn.

If you see the legendary fur-ball, submit a report to the Sasquatch Research Initiative www. This curious, slow-moving animal is covered in up to 30, quills, which form a formidable defense mechanism. When under threat, the porcupine vigorously lashes its tail, thereby dislodging loose quills as if throwing them.

It feeds mainly on bark and tree buds, and used to be a staple of the Aboriginal diet. The quills are sometimes used in aboriginal decorative work. Its bigger relative, the caribou, is unusual in that both males and females sport enormous antlers. Barren-ground caribou, which feed on lichen and spend most of the year on the tundra from Baffin Island to Alaska, are the most common. Still more humungous is the moose, whose skinny, ballerina-like legs support a hulking body with a distinctive shovel-like snout.

Males grow a spectacular rack of antlers every summer, only to discard it in November. Newfoundland has grown a huge moose population since they were first introduced there in the early s Click here. Neither moose nor elk are generally aggressive, and they will often generously pose for photographs.

During mating season September , the males can become belligerent, so stay in your car. The huge, heavy-shouldered, shaggy bison buffalo that once roamed the prairies in vast herds now exists only in parks. It is said that there were once as many as 70 million bison in North America. Their herds would often take days to pass by a single point. Keep your distance, though; for more, see the boxed text below. About half a million of these furry critters patrol the forests and bushland just about everywhere except Prince Edward Island, southern Alberta and southern Saskatchewan.

But it never hurts to be prepared, as the old boy scout saying goes. The endangered grizzly bear and the smaller black bear both hang out in Canada, mostly in the Canadian Rockies. Just to confuse you, black bear are sometimes brown and some grizzlies are almost black.

The way to tell them apart is to look for certain distinguishing characteristics: the grizzly has a dish-shaped face, small and rounded ears and a prominent shoulder hump. Both grizzlies and black bear are intelligent opportunists who quickly learn that humans come equipped with tasty packages of food.

Never feed these majestic animals. Always use bear-proof bins provided at campgrounds to store your food properly, and keep your campground tidy by picking up all scraps. Bear basically only attack if their cubs are around or if they feel surprised or threatened. Your best defenses against surprising a bear are to remain alert, avoid hiking at night when bear feed and be careful traveling in places where visibility is obscured. If the bear sees you, slowly back out of its path, avoid eye contact, speak softly and wave your hands above your head slowly.

Never turn your back to the bear and never kneel down. If a bear charges, do not run or scream which may frighten the bear and make it more aggressive , because the bear may only be charging as a bluff. Drop to the ground, crouch face down in a ball and play dead, covering the back of your neck with your hands and your chest and stomach with your knees. As we said before, bear attacks are really quite rare.

Give the bear, and other animals, the respect they deserve and the space they need. If you see one on the side of the road, consider not stopping. If you do decide to pull over, move on after a few minutes. If simple steps are taken to minimize human encounters, it will help ensure future generations of visitors have the chance to see wildlife that is still truly wild. It stands up to a fearsome 3m tall and has a distinctive hump between its shoulders. Grizzlies are solitary animals with no natural enemies except humans.

Although they enjoy an occasional snack of elk, moose or caribou, they usually fill their bellies with berries and other vegetation. Pretty much the only place to observe them is from late September to early November in Churchill, Manitoba, one of their major maternity denning grounds.

For more information about these fascinating creatures, Click here. Another formidable predator is the wolf, which can be every bit as fierce and cunning as is portrayed in fairy tales, although it rarely attack humans. Belugas are the smallest, typically measuring no more than 4. They are chatty fellows who squeak, groan and peep while traveling in closely knit family pods. Each one chows down about 40 tons of krill per day.

Minkes can grow to 10m and are likely to approach boats, delighting passengers with acrobatics as they, too, hurl themselves out of the water a bit more easily than the lumbering humpback.

Everyone loves these cute little guys, a sort of waddling penguin-meets-parrot cross, with black-and-white feathers and an orange beak. They hang out in the Atlantic provinces, especially Newfoundland. The true ruler of the sky, though, is the bald eagle, whose wingspan can reach more than 2m. It was Canadian banker Charles Broley who first connected the dots between DDT and the plummeting population of these regal birds.

That was in the late s, and things have been looking way up since then. Trees cover nearly half of the country, providing living space to roughly two-thirds of the estimated , species of plants, animals and micro-organisms living in Canada. Stretching from coast to coast and from the US border to the Arctic tree line, they are highly diversified and have adapted to the soil, climate and weather conditions. Further south, tundra transitions to taiga, better known as boreal forest, named after Boreas, the Greek god of the north wind.

Cold-tolerant conifers such as pine, fir and spruce thrive in this harsh climate of long winters and short but warm summers. Ontario hosts the parkland zone, which marks the transition between the eastern forests and the prairies.

Trembling aspen is the dominant tree. Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta are best known for their flat prairie grasslands, now mostly covered in cultivated grains.

Short, mixed and tall grasses once blanketed this region but, except for a few protected pockets, these are a thing of the past. BC has the most diverse vegetation in the country. The Rocky Mountain forests consist of sub-alpine species such as Engelmann spruce, alpine fir and larches, with lodgepole pine and aspen at higher elevations. In the rainforest-like climate of the Pacific coast, the trees soar skyward.

There are ancient, gigantic western red cedar, Douglas fir, western hemlock and Sitka spruce species. Some are more than years old, making them veritable Methuselahs of the tree world. Actually, the pitcher plant chows down mostly on insects, captured via its water-filled trap. Keep an eye out next time you walk through a bog. Flip to it for the lowdown on activities, itineraries, costs and history. Each province also runs its own system of parks and reserves.

There are literally hundreds of them, mostly used for recreation but also, to a certain extent, to protect wildlife and historic sites. Many are just as spectacular as the national parks. The best-organized provincial parks offer similar infrastructure to their national cousins, including interpretive centers, equipment rental and campgrounds.

Parks in the territories tend to be small, simple and inexpensive to visit; they are often used for overnight camping, although facilities may be basic. It birthed Greenpeace, for crissake! The group launched from a Vancouver living room in Vancouver is also the home of environmental pioneer David Suzuki, a retired professor from the University of British Columbia UBC who has been writing about sustainable ecology for more than 30 years.

The Green Party www. Alberta and British Columbia offered the strongest support, Manitoba the least. Apparently not. Meanwhile, the clock ticks. The average annual temperature has increased by 0. Take the Yukon. Shorter winters have dissolved their ice-based seal-hunting habitat, and all of a sudden, nearby humans are starting to look like juicy T-bones Click here for more. Climate change also has bizarre economic ramifications.

And the Olympics are headed to Vancouver in , but will there be enough snow for the slopes and bobsleigh runs?

Take as much as you want! In the early s, Atlantic Canada faced the horrifying fact that the cod were fished out. The greatest fishery in the world, in business for more than years, was now kaput.

Cod were even listed as endangered in For additional information, Click here. Polar Bear, meet Walrus. They used to be strangers, until global warming brought their habitats together. Most hiking and camping advice is common sense. First, know what you are getting into. Get trail maps and take a few minutes to talk to a ranger about trail conditions, dangers and closures.

Rangers can also confirm if your abilities and equipment match the needs of your trip. Once in the wild, do everything possible to minimize your impact. Stick to established trails and campgrounds. Use a gas stove for cooking or make fires in established fire pits only. When you leave, take out everything you brought in and remove every trace of your visit. Try to learn about local conservation, environmental and cultural issues before your trip and during your visit.

Ask questions and listen to what locals have to say. And finally, support tourism companies and environmental groups that promote conservation initiatives and long-term management plans. Along the same lines, companies strip huge areas of forest and soil cover to access coal, iron, nickel and other mineral resources.

These ore deposits are developed all the time, particularly in seldom-visited northern regions such as Labrador and the Northwest Territories, where there is little public scrutiny or attention.

Recently there has been a spate of oil and natural gas development in the Atlantic provinces, much of it on the ocean floor, with untold consequences for marine life for an example of such actions, Click here. In northern Alberta, oil is coaxed from oil sands, a messy process that requires huge amounts of energy and poisons the atmosphere with greenhouse gases Click here for more. Nearby, plans are underway for a controversial km-long pipeline, the Mackenzie Gas Project, to be tunneled beneath the wilderness of the Northwest Territories.

Their website www. Is that good enough? Stay tuned. Not even close. And I can explain it all in two simple words: endless and staggering. No matter what your ability, no matter what your taste, there is something here for you.

Adventures for the rank beginner or the seasoned veteran are all over the place, even just on the edge of, and sometimes within, city limits. Whatever outdoor activity you can imagine, it exists in the highest of quality, right here in Canada. But, for nearly half the year, much of Canada really is snow-covered, and hockey and beer-drinking really are favorite pastimes.

But there is so much more here than that oversimplified pictorial and those stereotypical flannels. Welcome to the most abundant, most breathtaking, least busy playground on the planet. Welcome to half the world.

Hills in the flatlands, like Saskatchewan and southern Ontario, are built on available or creatively used geography river hills or garbage dumps. Damn cold. But instead of complaining about it, Canadians are apt to do something in it.

Find a snow-covered hill not too big and slide uncontrollably downhill. Combine this motorized activity with backcountry skiing to access tons of powder. Canadians have a chronic fishing problem. Fish from inside an ice shack, drill into the ice, turn on the space heater and drop your line. Snowpack ranges from 2m to 6m-plus, depending on how close the resort is to the Pacific Ocean.

Medicine Hat, Alberta, with days sans rain. Cross-Country Nordic Skiing Instead of swishing through the snow, go straight on a set of Nordic skis. Most ski resorts in Canada offer a groomed network of cross-country ski trails which are much cheaper than a downhill lift ticket. Compare lung capacity with Canadian national team members at the Olympic site in Canmore, Alberta. Ski Touring Ski touring, downhill skiing with a backpack instead of a lift, is the cheapest way to tap into the deep and dry snow that is world-renowned in BC.

Rogers Pass in Glacier National Park has the most beautiful glacier tours and tree skiing within a single-day tour. Or fly into a backcountry lodge like Blanket Glacier Chalet www. BC towns like Revelstoke, Nelson and Golden are touring hubs and have a number of shops that can provide gear, maps and information on snow conditions, where to park etc.

That said, Canada has revolutionized mountain biking and provides an expansive landscape for two-wheeled exploration. The entire 18,km trail some of it river routes will link communities from coast to coast to coast and provide for multi-use access to cyclists, snowmobilers, horseback riders and hikers. Check www. Most popular ski areas like Panorama www. Or you could choose shorter regional rides. The east coast, with more small towns and less emptiness, is a fantastic place to pedal, either as a single-day road ride or a multi-day trip.

Sure, we use plastic and fiberglass today, but boat design and techniques have hardly changed. No longer used for hunting, this double-bladed, covered-deck paddlesport is still the most efficient human-powered way to move across lakes and along coastlines.

Make sure you have a solid Eskimo Roll for righting yourself when you flip. Luckily www. As old as kayaking, and equally Canadian, is the canoe. Travel a thousand miles by train and you are a brute; pedal five hundred on a bicycle and you remain basically a bourgeois; paddle a hundred in a canoe and you are already a child of nature.

Here are some of our favorites, to help you decide which way to turn your toes. Also, k. Also visit the Parks Canada site www. Watch wild animals, cross unbridged rivers and see not a soul. Access is via Whitehorse. Take a compass and GPS; the alpine plateau is crisscrossed by a web of caribou trails. An offshoot will head northwards from Calgary through the Yukon to Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories, with a branch extending east through Nunavut to Chesterfield Inlet on Hudson Bay.

The TCT will be the longest such trail in the world, linking millions of travelers, hundreds of communities and dozens of landscapes. Its entire length will take about days to cycle, days to ride on horseback or days to walk. The now-disbanded organization in charge of the celebrations wanted to leave a lasting legacy, and provided enough seed money to launch the project in This entitles them to have their name inscribed on one of dozens of Trail Pavilions along the route.

So far approximately , people have immortalized themselves in this fashion. The TCT is knitted together from existing and new trails. Much of it, including all of the Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island sections, will run along former railway tracks.

For now, the TCT remains a work in progress. More than half of it is currently unstable; it is scheduled for completion in the fall of From here you can march through dense spruce and pine forests that burst into a stunning bright-yellow canopy in the fall. Then ascend into alpine meadows that are carpeted with wildflowers and surrounded by crumbling glaciers and azure lakes.

This trail network weaves together pristine lakes with some of the largest peaks in the Rockies. And the BC Parks system www. There are sizable mountains out east, too. For the serious backpacker looking for the least beaten path and the biggest mountains east of the Canadian Rockies, plan on visiting Torngat Mountain National Park in Labrador.

Though portions are near cities like Hamilton and Toronto, it is surprisingly serene. Backroad Mapbooks will show you the way. Outdoor recreation and camping overviews accompany each book, but make sure you cross-reference with the locals. Canmore, just outside Banff, is the ideal place for beginners and beyond. Climbing shops, a climbing school www. All levels of climbers bask in the spring sun while climbing the plus gneiss and nice, too!

It features hundreds of tours, from day trips to summit missions to epic traverses. While Canadians are practically born on skates, it might take you a couple of hours to get the hang of it.

Skating has spawned many a Canadian pastime and takes regional forms. Grassroots hockey, aka pond hockey, takes place in communities across Canada every night on a frozen surface. All you need is a puck, a hockey stick and a few friends to live the hockey dream. Winnipeg, Manitoba, notorious for chilly winters, has 3km of cleared ice on the Assiniboine and Red rivers. In Alberta, you can race in the Sylvan Lake 50km Marathon on a 10km track, the longest in the world.

They just don a pair of warm mitts, a down jacket, crampons and an ice axe, and are pretty well ready to take on the most abundant and consistent ice climbing in the world. Banff, Kootenay, Yoho and Jasper national parks remain frozen for six months a year, and by early November notorious routes like Polar Circus and Curtain Call are in full form.

As in summer, Canmore is the place to get started and take a lesson. With www. Great for climbers, hikers and sightseers. Give yourself a couple of weeks to work your way up ft or m this ice-riddled Kluane National Park massif. For better odds all around, watch out for the more common and visible Canadian critters. The Arctic has tusked narwhals and belugas, while Nova Scotia has humpbacks, minkes and the rare North Atlantic right whale.

Polar bear can be spotted in Churchill, Manitoba on the shores of Hudson Bay. Operators will tour you around the Polar Bear Capital of the World in elevated tundra buggies.

At one time 60 million bison roamed the North American plains. Over 50 grizzlies live on this 45,hectare refuge. A few eco-tour operators have permits for viewing this at-risk species. The mountain national parks Banff, Jasper, Kooteany, Yoho also offer a chance to see these rare omnivores. But driving, hiking or cycling in Algonquin Provincial Park is a golden opportunity to see each and every one. Return to beginning of chapter FISHING It should probably come as no surprise that some of the best fishing in the world can be found in a country that harbors more freshwater than any other.

Elaborate native societies based their entire nutritional structure around fish, and fishing has since become a sacred recreation. Calgary Stampede www. Logger Sports www. See pros carve chairs, hand-saw at lightning speeds and cut trees with pinpoint precision in this heritage event held in Squamish, BC, in the first week of August.

Yukon Quest www. Survivor Kananaskis www. Last one standing wins. Held the last weekend in May on the Kananaskis River, one hour west of Calgary. Less controversial than a hockey scrum, fights at the end of a fishing line are equally exciting. The fiercer, the longer and the more unpredictable the fish fight, the better. And on just about any Canadian freshwater lake, you could get yourself into a serious brouhaha. Northern Saskatchewan contains some of the most productive lakes, and many are serviced by fishing lodges.

Check local, provincial and federal fishing regulations wherever you are; most hardware or fishing shops can tell you everything there is to know.

Scuba divers can become one with one of the most abundant and diverse marine areas on earth from the perfectly-placed ocean cities of Vancouver and Victoria. Ocean life here also benefits from the cold, nutrient-rich water. June and September are best for mere mortals, but if you want to test some of the fiercest storms the Pacific can dish out, try surfing in winter.

First-timers will enjoy the challenge with many great surf schools both east and west. Tofino, outside Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, has a superb choice of surf schools and offers the most variety for learning.

Squamish, BC Click here, benefits greatly from a wind-funneling venturi effect, which gets wild in Howe Sound. No trees hold back the wind; only power-generating wind farms compete for a chunk of the gust. Sheltered lagoons offer safe learning locations for testing kiteboards or seeking shelter during heavy days.

Today, horses help all kinds of people, from couch potatoes to the uberactive, get out to enjoy the landscape. Be ready to get down and dirty. Most Ontarians live in the south within a few hundred kilometers of the US border, where winters are bearable and steamy summers lure folks outside. No longer a steadfast political filing cabinet, contemporary Ottawa is as hip as you want it to be. Year-round, Ontario celebrates its diversity with a cavalcade of festivals.

And if you must seek out wildlife, there are some excellent national parks here too. The first Europeans on the scene were 17th-century French fur traders, who established basic forts to facilitate trade links with the Mississippi River. With the arrival of the British Loyalists around , large-scale settlement began. The northern continental climate sees bitterly cold winters and mild summers. This creates steady precipitation throughout the year, heavy summer humidity and much milder winters than in the north.

That said, the entire province is blanketed with heavy snowfalls during winter. In the south, where most of the population lives, winter snow melts rapidly in spring. As summer draws closer, the strip of land bordering the USA gets increasingly hot and sticky, particularly the Niagara Peninsula.

There are also provincial parks here, offering hiking and camping facilities. Make reservations with Ontario Parks ; www. Charismatic megafauna has largely been evicted from southern Ontario due to development and agriculture, but the further north you travel, the more likely you are to spot hairy roadside individuals no, not lumberjacks. Two Weeks Feel like a road trip?

Heading northwest, take a paddle through the expansive Algonquin Provincial Park, visit Manitoulin Island for a dose of aboriginal culture, and try Sudbury and Sault Ste Marie for a history lesson on shipping and mining in northern Ontario.

 
 

 

Canada day vancouver island’s wilderness lodgepole campground

 
BC has a long history of welcoming Japanese, Chinese and South Asian immigrants, and more recently large numbers of people from Eastern Europe and Iran. The highlight is the landscaped, lounge-worthy garden overlooking the inlet, complete with hammocks and a rope ady. Look out for the iridescent jellyfish tank cmpground the two playful sea otter as well as the stroll-through butterfly environment. On our visit, plans were afoot for a /28863.txt BC Transit bus service on canada day vancouver island’s wilderness lodgepole campground island.

 
 

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