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So you think you know Canada? With almost 10 million square kilometres to explore, Canada abounds with unique places and unusual experiences. Let's see how many of these surprising Canadian spaces and places you have yet to discover.
Where will you go first?
Iceberg Alley, Newfoundland and Labrador
Iceberg Alley: a fitting appellation for the waters that welcome the 10,000-year-old ice giants that float down the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador in the spring and summer time. While icebergs are visible from land, a boat or kayak tour is one of the best ways to get up close and grasp their immense beauty (expect whale and seabird sightings too). The best time to see icebergs is from April to August, although you can sample them year-round in picturesque St. John’s, thanks to the unique Iceberg beer from the Quidi Vidi Brewery.
Parc de la chute-Montmorency, Quebec City
A 15-minute drive along the St. Lawrence River takes you from historic Old Quebec City to the impressive Montmorency Falls. This 83-metres (25 storeys!) waterfall is part of an accessible park that offers scenic adventures for all ability levels: catch a ride on the panoramic cable car, zipline across the falls, feel their power from the suspension footbridge or hang out cliffside on the via ferrata course. Drive back via historical Route de la Nouvelle-France to sample local flavours from nearby Ferme Le Comte de Roussy.
West Point Lighthouse Inn and Museum, Prince Edward Island
Canada's first Inn in a lighthouse, the West Point Lighthouse Inn and Museum, offers intimate, four-star, accommodation on a beautiful red sand beach in Prince Edward Island. This working lighthouse is part of Cedar Dunes Provincial Park and hosts a museum that documents the history of the province’s lighthouses. To get there, follow the North Cape Coastal Drive, along which you’ll find the Bottle Houses, a must-see attraction in Prince Edward Island.
A 10-minute ferry from downtown Toronto will transport you to the relaxing, car-free Toronto Islands. This natural archipelago is ideal for an urban day trip filled with beach time, water-based activities (try “paddlebirding” or a calm sunset paddle) and leisurely bicycle rides. Let your exploration guide you all the way to The Riviera - Ward’s Island Kitchen before making your way back to your city-bound ferry.
One of the best places to see the northern lights in the world is the Northwest Territories where they’re usually visible 240 nights a year. For an immersive Indigenous experience you’ll remember for your entire life, stay in a teepee at Aurora Village in Yellowknife. While winter and fall are the most popular aurora viewing seasons, you can also admire them in summertime.
A whale-watching adventure is in order when visiting Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. The city’s neighbouring Pacific waters are home to the most fabulous wildlife, including resident orca pods (pictured above). Most marine wildlife tours take visitors through Race Rocks Ecological Reserve, British Columbia’s southernmost point. Cap off your Pacific Ocean exploration at oceanfront Oak Bay Beach Hotel and its spa’s rejuvenating seaside mineral pools.
10th Street Wave, Calgary, Alberta
Thanks to the Bow River and the emergence of river surfing, land-locked Calgary has become a hot spot to hang ten. According to local surf shop Outlier Surf, “the 10th Street Wave is one of the world’s most beginner friendly river surfing waves.” Once you’ve acquired a taste for urban surfing, recharge your batteries by sampling signature Alberta food around the city.
Athabasca Sand Dunes Provincial Park, Saskatchewan
The largest active sand surface in Canada can be found at Athabasca Sand Dunes Provincial Park, Saskatchewan. The dunes here spread over 100 kilometres along the shores of Lake Athabasca, Canada’s eighth largest lake. The area is especially popular for hiking, fishing, paddling and, of course, photography.
Rideau Canal National Historic Site, Ottawa, Ontario
The Rideau Canal National Historic Site stretches 202 kilometres from Ottawa to Kingston. From May to October, the canal turns into a paddler’s paradise (boat cruises through Ottawa are a care-free way to take it all in from the water). In wintertime, this historic waterway turns into the world’s longest outdoor skating rink. If you prefer adventuring on land, hop on a bike to discover 800 kilometers of recreational pathways with easy access to parks, historic sites, breweries and wineries.
Looking for a change of scenery? Explore the Montréal Biodôme’s tropical forest for guaranteed warm weather, lush, diverse greenery and exotic animal sightings (think, piranhas, parrots and even marsupials). The Biodôme, situated in the heart of Montreal, is part of the Space For Life museum complex which hosts the city’s planetarium, insectarium and botanical garden.
Overlooking Halifax and its harbour, you’ll find the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, which defended the region as a high point above the shores from 1749 to 1906. Today, this historic fortress provides visitors with an immersive overview of the life of Victorian era soldiers that called the citadel home. For a deeper dive into the region’s history, take a 15-minute walk east to reach the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic along the Halifax Waterfront.
In 2021, downtown Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Art Gallery welcomed Qaumajuq, an innovative museum that hosts the world’s largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art. This immense cultural space bridges Canada’s North and South through art, research and education. After your visit, pursue your journey into Indigenous cultures with a meal at Feast Café Bistro.