Canada is undoubtedly one of the world’s leading travel destinations. The Economist has repeatedly rated 3 of their vibrant cities (Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary) in the top 5 most liveable cities in North America; pushing Canada to the top of every traveler’s bucket list. But besides its modern metropolises, Canada also boasts some of the best natural wonders of the world; attracting millions of adventurous, eco-travellers annually.
Here’s a glimpse of the phenomenal visual spectacle you can expect from Canada’s natural wonders:
Niagara Falls is one of the most iconic waterfalls on the planet. The falls itself is a combination of three waterfalls (The Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls) along the Canadian-American border. The expansive width of Niagara Falls drops 20% of the all the world’s fresh waters, 57 meters high, to a thundering splash into the massive lake below. While not the tallest in the world, the Canadian Horseshoe Falls is impressively the most powerful waterfall in North America.
Whether you’re viewing the falls at close range on a tour boat, with an aerial view of a helicopter or a cliffside view at Fallsview Casino, there is no wrong way to witness the beauty of the iconic waterfall.
While scheduled daytime boat tours offer an amazing sight of the falls to tourists (expect you get really wet), it’s especially enchanting at night when floodlights illuminate the free falling waters into a colourful spectrum of mists and splashes. To add to the magic of the falls, scheduled fireworks are also on display at night!
Multitudes of outdoor activities are offered for all types of travellers; adrenaline junkies could test their nerves, zip lining at the falls or completing one of the adventure courses at WildPlay Element Parks. Curious wanderlusters can take a 10-minute drive north of Niagara Falls to admire the 99-acre botanical gardens in Niagara Parkway. Shops, casinos and restaurants are available in the area as well, and visitors shouldn’t miss out on the amazing panoramic view of Niagara Falls from the revolving decks of Skylon Tower.
Hornblower Niagara Cruises
Price: Multiple packages offered from daytime boat tours to evening illumination cruises and night fireworks cruises.
Website: Hornblower Niagara Cruises
Wildplay Element Parks
Price: Multiple courses offered, visit their website for a full list of adventure packages and pricing list
2. Banff National Park, Alberta
Banff National Park is Canada’s prized gem. Established in 1885, it is the oldest national park in Canada and showcases some of Canada’s most picturesque scenery. Home to the ever enchanting emerald green waters of Lake Louise, Icefields Parkway and stunning views of glaciers and snow-capped mountain peaks, visitors are surrounded by its ethereal-like beauty all year long.
There are many ways one can enjoy the spectacular view of Banff. The Banff Gondola, popular among tourists, offers a relaxing 8-minute ride to the summit of Sulphur Mountain, where visitors enjoy the breathtaking views of the Bow River Valley and Banff going up the 7,500-foot mountain. More adventurous nomads, on the other hand, would likely prefer hiking one of Alberta’s legendary 80 trails like ‘The Great Divider’ (for the more experienced trekkers) or the more moderate (but of equal beautiful) 3.6 mile (5.7km) hike up the East End of Ruddle (EEOR) Trail.
Outdoor activities vary in Banff National Park according to the season. In the summer, activities include hiking, fishing, biking and soaking up in the hot springs in the area.
Banff National Park transforms into a winter sports wonderland in the peak cold months of December to March. Lake Louise Ski Resort and Sunshine Village are both prominent ski destinations in Canada, where tourist flock during this period of time for winter activities like skiing, snow-tubing, dogsled tours and ice-fishing.
Address: 211 Bear Street Banff, Alberta, T1L 1A8
Opening Hours: Current: 8:30am - 7:00pm. Winter: 8:30am - 7:00pm. Summer: 7:30am - 9:00pm.
Contact: Local Phone: 403 762 4554 Toll-free, North America: 1800 644 8888
Email: [email protected]
Website: Banff Adventure
3. Churchill, Manitoba
This snowy tundra destination is known as the Polar Bear capital of the world! Visitors can visit the Wapusk (Cree for ‘white bear’) National Park in late February to see some 3-month old Polar Bear cubs explore the Arctic tundra lands for the first time with their mothers! Or you could come in late October and early November, where thousands of Polar Bears would be seen migrating to the land, roaming the region!
Tip: As this little development is isolated from everything else, wishing travellers must arrive here by train or plane to see the polar bears during the seasons.
Located on the transition between boreal forest and Arctic tundra, the biodiversity and cultural history of the lands contribute greatly to the uniqueness of Wapusk National Park. Visitors can lay their eyes on the mighty polar bears from the safety of tundra vehicles that would bring you across the snowy tundra terrains.
Churchill also offers great sights to kayak & snorkel with the migrating Beluga Whales. Between mid-June to mid-August, Hudson Bay of Manitoba expects up to 3,000 beluga whales swimming up to its shores to marvel all its guests! If you’re up for an exercise, you could kayak in the waters along these friendly sea creatures, or even better, snorkel beside them in their natural habitat! Either or, the experience of witnessing the Beluga Whales crowding the bay would be an unforgettable experience!
Address: 21 Forks Market Rd. Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 4T7
Contact: 1800 665 0040 / 1204 927 7838
Website: Travel Manitoba
4. Pacific Rim National Park, British Columbia
Pacific Rim National Park is one of Canada’s most visited tourist attraction. Its famous Long Beach captivates travelers with surreal views of the pristine undeveloped coastline of Long Beach, complemented by a backdrop of lush emerald rainforest and high peaks of misty mountains.
Beach combers will find their own little havens trailing along this 10-mile stretch of beach all the way to the most southern end Wickaninnish beach. Serious surfers also come during winter to challenge waves up to 26 feet high!
But to get the most out of this park, visitors are advised to visit between June and Labour Day (the first Monday in September) where park activities would be at their peak. Travelers are also advised to have a car, as the park’s attractions are far apart from each other.
26 km (16mi) worth of hiking trails are scattered in this park reserve. Whether you like strolling by the beachside or follow along on one of its forest trails, there’s plenty to endeavour in Pacific Rim National Park. What’s certain here is visitors would always be delightedly surprised by the dynamic views they would stumble upon at the end of their path.
Pacific Rim Hiking Trails
Website: Pacific Rim
5. Whistler, British Columbia
Whistler is Canada’s world renowned ski village. Propped up at the feet of Mount Whistler and Mount Blackcomb, this international winter sports area is the biggest in North America and co-hosted the Winter Olympics 2010 with Vancouver. These enormous mountains offer some of the best skiing and boarding slopes on the planet and are definitely not to be missed for all winter sports enthusiasts!
The village has a wide range of accommodations from mid-range condos to high-end luxury resorts. Around the area, there are plenty of restaurants, shops and galleries for tourists to enjoy.
North America: 1800 944 7853
International: 1604 932 0606
UK: 0808180 0606
Australia: 0011 800 9447 8537
6. Catheral Grove, British Columbia
MacMillan Provincial Park (180km/111mi. north of Victoria), also known to the locals as Cathedral Grove, has one of Canada’s largest area of Giant Douglas Fir and Red Cedar trees! Ancient trees of this park date back to more than 800 years old and tower well above 70 meters, seemingly like pillars holding up the sky.
Fun fact: The largest Douglas Fir is an astounding 76 meters high, to put into scale, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is only about 56 meters high!
It’s no wonder tourists all around the globe flock to walk through 136 hectares of ancient forests! But what’s the best part of the park? The park is free! It’s always good when you can enjoy the beauty of mother nature without burning a hole in your pocket.
Walking paths are well maintained in the park and instructional signs and public toilets (very important) are available there. Walking through the path provides an almost magical experience, where visitors would sometimes see giant uprooted trees on some parts of the path, giant fallen trunks as a result of fierce gale winds that blew through the valley in ‘97.
Official Website: Cathedral Grove
7. Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick
There’s nothing quite like the Bay of Fundy. Its unique shape allows it to have the highest tides on earth, at about the same height of a 5-storey building. The rising and falling of tides chisel away the shores coast to create some of the greatest natural rock formations around.
Scientists also continue to be fascinated by this place for the prehistoric revelations its shores hold, fossils of dinosaurs and pieces of evidence of the evolution of life, and semi-precious gems and minerals. Lovers of marine mammals congregate here as some of the rarest whales and dolphins can be spotted off these coasts!
One of the things that makes Bay of Fundy so unique is the 40-70 feet tall Hopewell Rocks formation, also known as the Flowerpot Rocks. The magnificent rock formation and arches are sculpted naturally by tidal erosion. Parts of these formations would be submerged under 40 feet of water during the high tides, leaving only a visible tip, but tourists would take the chance to explore the ocean floors and these beautiful structures of Hopewell rocks during its low tide period, when about 100 billion tonnes of water would be emptied out from the bay.
The Bay of Fundy also booms with marine wildlife. It’s home to over eight species of whales; a fantastic destination for whale watchers as the whale population can exceed over 300 at any one time. Besides the whales, the ever charming dolphins could also be seen swimming in the sea of this bay. Some of the watching tours for whales and dolphins are spread out in the surrounding areas of St. Andrews, Grand Manan Island and Campobello Island.
Bay of Fundy Activities
Address: P.O. Box 6000 Fredericton, NB, Canada E3B 5H1
Website: Tourism New Brunswick
8. Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontrio
If you’re looking for some wholesome family fun, Algonquin Provincial Park should definitely be your next travel destination. Algonquin’s vast land is made up of great maple hills, rocky ridges, and thousands of mirroring lakes. While it is lovely to visit all year round, fall is especially a great time to visit this park, as visitors from all around the globe come to see the park’s forest change its colours from lively shades of green to fiery hues of red, orange, and gold; the kind scene you only get to see in the movies. But here, it’s a reality. In Spring, it also features a birding haven for all birders alike, as spring arrivals and migrants would be in abundance throughout the park!
Eight campgrounds are readily available in the park and campers would be pleased to hear that there are 14 through its forests and canoe rentals to explore deeper in its woods.
While the park landscape itself would awe all visitors alike, tons of outdoor activities and educational programs are held here by the park officials. Outdoor activities from hiking and canoeing to mountain biking and rafting are all available in this park. Travelers should also pay a visit to Algonquin’s Visitor Centre, as it has an amazing view of the forest from its viewing deck.
Algonquin Provincial Park
Address: Hwy 60, P.O. Box 219 Whitney K0J 2M0
Opening Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and holidays (excluding December 25 and January 1). All hours are Eastern Standard Time (EST).
Website: Algonquin Provincial Park
9. Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland
This next world-renowned National Park is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its complex geology. Gros Morne National Park is the second largest National Park in Eastern Canada that covers 1,1805 sq. km. (7391sq. mi.) of western Newfoundland. The views here are stunning as this huge park contains some 2,000 feet tall cliffs, some of the highest waterfalls in Canada while also having sand beaches, rock pools and draft forests.
The Tablelands, a unique rock massif in the park, was shaped by colliding continents and grinding glaciers, it happens to be where geologists proved the theory of tectonic plates as the mountain of flat-topped rock is only usually found deep in the earth’s mantle. The park is not only rich in its landscape, but also in its significant history.
Five campgrounds are available in the park, where campers can enjoy the summer days camping at either Berry Hill, Shallow Bay, Trout Tiver Pond, Lomond or Greenpoint Campground. Visitors should note that there is a daily entrance fee for the park, as well as additional fees for camping, backcountry hiking, and so on. A car is advised and is the most convenient way to get yourself around this huge park. Unless you don’t mind biking or walking through the hills, then that would be your other alternative!
If you own a canoe or kayak, Trout River Pond and Bonne Bay are great places for this activity; launch areas are located at Trout River Pond, Mill Brook, and Lomond day-use areas. But for those who don’t, there’s always guided sea kayak excursions with one of the various tourism operators available in the area!
Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism
Address: Confederation Building, Prince Philip Drive, St. John’s, NL Canada A1B 4J6
Email: [email protected]
Website: Newfoundland and Labrador
The last destination of this list is Yellowknife. Now there are many places where you can view the Northern Lights in Canada but, this is without a doubt the best place to do just that. Skeptical? Check out the video below to change your mind.
There is really nothing left to be said, the Northern Lights speaks for itself.
Address: Mail: P.O Box 1827 Yellowknife, NT, Canada X1A 2P4
Website: Aurora Village
On an end note, with Earth’s ever growing 7.5 billion human population, its perpetually expanding nations and growing cities, Canada sets an example by leaving mother nature alone and letting her beauty thrive in her solitude. From the thunderous cascading waters of Niagara Falls to legendary views up the treks of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains and the dazzling illumination of the Aurora Borealis in the night skies of Yellowknife, Canada’s vast diversity in its landscapes demands to be admired and her natural wonders, truly unparalleled.
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