The word sesquicentennial may not have been part of your vocabulary before now, but it’s about to be shouted from the rooftops coast to coast as Canadians mark the 150th anniversary of our nation’s birth. And while there are plenty of official events on the calendar, one important way to celebrate is to simply enjoy the best that each part of the country has to offer. Here are 11 ideas to fuel your travel planning.
WEST COAST LIVING
British Columbia: Go deep coastal
Get way away from it all at the secluded Nimmo Bay Resort, a boat or float plane ride from northern Vancouver Island, where your customized visit might include heli-fishing, paddleboarding, kayaking or a bear- and whale-watching excursion.
Alberta: Touch glaciers
Get up close and personal with the mountain landscape on a tour of the Columbia Icefield. Your vehicle will climb right on top of the Athabasca Glacier while you learn how such massive geological features affect our environment.
Saskatchewan: Live the ranch life
At Reesor Ranch, you won’t just head out on a trail ride – though that’s an essential part of the experience. You’ll meet barn cats as you learn to saddle a horse, and enjoy a reading of cowboy poetry as you sip on local fruit wine.
Manitoba: Explore its many museums
Canada’s history and culture are alive in Winnipeg, where you can learn about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, hold a $600,000 gold bar at the Royal Canadian Mint and take a fresh look at the legacy of Confederation at the Manitoba Museum.
EXPLORING EASTERN CANADA
Ontario: Go below the surface
Throughout 2017, access to Parks Canada sites is free to all. In Ontario, one must-visit is Fathom Five National Marine Park, home to more than 20 historical shipwrecks accessible to snorkellers and divers, plus fantastical geological formations both below and above the water.
Quebec: Take a spa day (or three)
La belle province is known for its joie de vivre, and that appreciation for the finer things in life extends to its love of the wellness retreat. Get away at restored convent (now boutique hotel) Le Monastère des Augustines, in the heart of Quebec City, or sample the saunas and plunge pools at spots like Sibéria Station Spa.
ADVENTURES IN ATLANTIC CANADA
New Brunswick: Explore Canada’s roots
Designed to be both interactive and fun, Kings Landing Historical Village is a piece of the 19th century just outside Fredericton. Visitors can try their hand at candle making, join a tour that digs deep into Victorian taboos or sample the house amber ale at the King’s Head Inn.
Prince Edward Island: Get fresh
Fresh air, fresh seafood: It’s a combo that comes in multiple flavours with tours by Experience PEI. Enjoy lobster or mackerel prepared right on your fishing boat, dig for clams on the beach or pick up oysters from the ocean floor – then learn the right way to shuck them.
Nova Scotia: Take a sip
Canada’s ocean playground has been gaining a reputation for another kind of liquid: craft beer, wine, cider and spirits made in large part from locally grown ingredients. The Good Cheer Trail makes it easy to explore the options, from Rudder’s Seafood Restaurant & Brew Pub in Yarmouth all the way up to Cape Breton’s Glenora Distillery.
Newfoundland: Stretch your legs
The spectacular scenery of Canada’s 10th province deserves to be seen in slow motion. Join a luxury walking tour to do just that: Hike top trails, converse with locals and dine and overnight at the renowned Fogo Island Inn.
NOTHING LIKE THE NORTH
Nunavut: Cruise Baffin Island
Arctic voyages by One Ocean Expeditions bring you to the people and wildlife that call the far north home. The 12-day Jewel of the High Arctic tour, for example, hops from Iqaluit up the island’s east coast, so guests can watch for walruses and polar bears, learn about Inuit arts and crafts and hike above the Arctic Circle.