Did you know this about Canada?
A country that is forty times the size of the United Kingdom, Canada offers an abundance of natural spectacles, a fascinating history and plenty of urban playgrounds bursting with museums, theatres and art galleries.
Read on and discover some of the reasons why visitors return to the land of the ‘Maple Leaf’ – the surf swept coastlines of the West Coast Trail, Alberta’s legendary wildlife or Newfoundland and Labrador’s iceberg alley, just to name a few!
‘Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump’… excuse me?
A UNESCO World Heritage site and home to the Blackfoot culture museum, this tourist attraction focuses on a buffalo jump located at the foothills of the Rockies.
It was used by the indigenous people (the Blackfoot) who would drive the buffalo off this 11 metre high cliff. The people would dress up as coyotes and wolves in order to scare the buffalo along to the edge of the cliff, where they would fall to their peril.
The camp at the base of the cliffs provided the Blackfoot with what they needed to process the buffalo carcasses; the community made tools from their bones, clothing from their hide and the meat to feed everyone.
According to legend, a young member of the Blackfoot community was eager to watch the buffalo plunging down the cliff from below – but was unfortunately buried underneath a falling buffalo, later found with his head ‘smashed in’.
Hekla versus Hecla
Make sure when you discuss travelling to visit Hecla that you are going to be travelling to Canada, and not to see Iceland’s most active volcano Hekla – or maybe you would like to do both!
Hecla, Manitoba in central Canada is named after the Icelandic volcano and here you will find Hecla Provincial Park. The park is ideal for hiking or cycling in the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter – a natural playground teeming with wildlife, mesmerizing beaches and lush fauna.
And visit Hecla village, where you can trace the history of Icelandic settlement in the area, with buildings dating back to the 1920s.
Fancy sleeping in a lighthouse?
When travelling through Quebec, there are plenty of options to do something different – such as sleeping in a lighthouse!
You can keep an eye on the river from the Pot à l’Eau-de-Vie Lighthouse or clamber up to sample life in the trees at Au Diable Vert.
The Beatles tried living in a yellow submarine – would you like to be a guest on the Onondaga Submarine?
And let’s not forget about a stay in the exquisite Hôtel de Glace. Stow away to this frozen wonder world, where you can marvel at acclaimed artists ice murals and experience something truly memorable.
Extreme sports for fish?
When visiting the Cave of the Winds boardwalk at Niagara Falls, Ontario, watch out for flying salmon as they spring into the air and over the mighty Falls.
90% of these risk-takers survive the drop but they are hard to see as there is so much water rushing by them. The pool at the foot of the falls is over 150 metres deep, so most will simply carrying on swimming down the river uninjured after their tough landing!
But the salmon aren’t the only daredevils to conquer Niagara Falls. Charles Blondin walked on a tight rope above the Falls in 1859 – for obvious reasons this is no longer allowed!
The highest tides in the world
Where in the world can you find 300 million year old fossils and 12 species of whale?
The Bay of Fundy is home to the highest tide in the world, with every tide 100 cubic kilometres of water enters in and out of the bay – this is equal to the daily expulsion of all the world’s fresh water rivers!
This stunning bay is nestled between the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, where you can kayak and walk during low tide.
Ticklish Newfoundland & Labrador
Obviously you can’t tickle a province but to a mariner a ‘tickle’ is actually a narrow yet dangerous body of salt water similar to a ‘rip-current’, where the current can change unexpectedly and underwater a hazard lurks. Be careful when in Newfoundland & Labrador as it has at least 200 ticklish spots throughout its 29,000 kms of coastline!
Many people visit this area of Canada to take in the spectacle of the largest population of humpback whales in the world, with the best time for viewing starting from late spring. The whales visit the area speckled with 10,000 year old icebergs floating through Iceberg Alley.
Fancy a dip in Chocolate Lake?
Did you know that Canada has over 3 million lakes? This is more than every other country in the world combined!
You may have heard of the awe-inspiring Lake Louise with its turquoise water and sweeping lush surroundings. But have you visited Little Pockwock, Trousers, Wizard or Chocolate Lake?
Unfortunately you won’t able to backstroke through liquid cocoa in Chocolate Lake. The body of water is an artificial lake and was named after the chocolate factory based at the shore.
Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories, is Canada’s 4th largest lake and is the deepest at 614 metres deep. But Great Bear Lake takes the title as largest lake, which you can also visit when travelling through the Northwest Territories.
See a beaver damn from space!
Beavers have a reputation as hard workers, within their dams they store wood and food and use them to protect themselves from predators such as bears.
In 2007, one Canadian ecologist discovered the world’s largest beaver dam in Northern Alberta – it’s so large that it can be seen from space! It is quite unusual for beaver dams to be larger than 500 metres.
Construction of the dam is said to have started in the 1970’s with generations of beavers contributing to this mammoth effort. The dam is made from a combination of beavers transporting wood and building the walls, but also of naturally felled trees – all of which are cemented solidly together by mud collected and then plugged by the hard working beavers.
Take a walk through a graveyard
Thousands flock to the remarkable landscapes of British Columbia each year and walking the trails is just one of the area’s many appeals.
Due to its impressive natural beauty and challenging peaks, a popular choice is Vancouver Island’s West Coast Trail, which can take 5-7 days to complete. The West Coast Trail is located on the southern west coast of Vancouver Island and stretches for 77 kilometres from Port Renfrew to Bamfield.
This stretch of coastline is enriched with a fascinating traveller history involving missionaries, shipwreck survivors and lighthouse keepers.
The trail was originally developed as a means of rescuing shipwreck survivors from the treacherous Graveyard of the Pacifica and was originally know as the Dominion Lifesaving Trail.