5 great Canadian escapes
With Covid-19 vaccines on the way, it’ll soon be the perfect time to discover your own country. Spectacular from coast to coast, Canada isn’t lacking in attractions. Here are five incredible destinations you definitely need to visit to change your scenery, without changing countries.
1. The greater Vancouver area
Whether for its temperate year-round climate, its festive atmosphere or the beauty of its skylines, Vancouver is a Canadian must-see. Located between the ocean and the mountains, the city abounds with activities for all, and especially for outdoorsy types.
If you’re more of an inveterate city-goer, the downtown area is equally not to be missed. Enjoy Gastown, Vancouver’s historic district, which features the city’s most beautiful Victorian buildings. Or stroll along in Yaletown, a hip and lively neighbourhood. Once a manufacturing center, the area is now home to a host of sustainable shops and some of the best restaurants in town.
2. Banff National Park
The true jewel of the Canadian panorama, Banff National Park is nestled in the heart of the Rockies. It’s registered as a UNESCO world heritage site and it’s in this park that you’ll find the two most-photographed lakes in the entire world: Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. Thanks to rock flour that has gradually been carried into the water from nearby glaciers, the colour of these lakes can only be described as a striking and unreal turquoise blue.
Beyond these gorgeous lakes, the park is full of exceptionally beautiful hiking trails. Choose the trail best suited to you and let yourself be awed by the nature that surrounds you. Only a 1-hour drive from Calgary, Banff National Park is a necessary stop for anyone who sets foot in the Canadian West.
3. The Yukon
If you’re someone who answers to the call of adventure, the Yukon is your dream destination. Less touristy than British Columbia or Alberta, it’s the perfect place to get away from civilization. The territory encompasses wild landscapes of unparalleled beauty. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported to the far end of the earth. But visiting the Yukon is also an opportunity to discover the rich and varied culture and traditions of the region’s many First Nations.
Among the can’t-miss spots to visit, Kluane National Park and Reserve is the pinnacle. It’s where you’ll find majestic Mount Logan, Canada’s highest peak. You’ll also enjoy making a stop in Whitehorse, capital of the Northwest Territories. And, if you need a relaxing break after all that, the thermal pools at Takhini Hot Springs are beyond compare. The temperature of this naturally mineral-rich water stays at about 40 degrees Celsius all year long.
4. Bruce Peninsula National Park
Dreaming of crystal-clear turquoise waters, soft, sandy beaches and secluded little islands? Bruce Peninsula National Park will bring you to the edge of the world without even leaving Ontario. Located on Georgian Bay to the north-east of Lake Huron, the park boasts enchantments that will make you swear you’re in the Caribbean.
The star attraction sits at the very tip of the Bruce peninsula: Flowerpot Island. Famed for its two towering rock pillars that are detached from the island, visitors come to swim in the blue-green water that surrounds it. The splendours of the park don’t end there. Its spectacular cliffs, dense forests, rocky expanses and lush landscapes will forever mark your memory.
5. Cape Breton Highlands National Park
To the far east of the country, Nova Scotia entrances all who visit it. Located in the northeast of the province, Cape Breton Highlands National Park is among the country’s most majestic destinations. Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Cape Breton’s mountainous plateau, the park overflows with flourishing forests, canyons, rivers and marine landscapes. The site can be accessed via the famous Cabot Trail, a panoramic route nearly 300 km long, which forms a ring around Cape Breton Island. It’s widely regarded as one of the most scenic roads in the whole world.
Once there, you’ll have a chance to fish Atlantic salmon, admire the moose as you make your way along one of the many picturesque walking trails, and even camp on the Gulf of Saint Lawrence near the Fishing Cove. Keep your eyes open while you’re there: small baleen whales are known to come salute visitors to the park.