Canada Adventure Travel Guide
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Venture inside the Arctic or Antarctic Circles there are amazing holidays to be had, and visiting you'll enter a whole different realm of light and dark. With the sun hovering above the poles in mid-summer and abandoning them completely in... Read full post...Posted by Lucy Grewcock on 27th August 2012
Adventure sports fans love diversity, they are people looking for excitement who love the natural world. And they thrive on challenges, contrasting experiences, and the opportunity to try something new. Ontario, Canada is blessed... Read full post...Posted by Mark Pawlak on 28th March 2011
Where in the world has nine million hectares of prime natural wilderness to discover, 330 parks to explore, and a list of adventure sports opportunities as long as its crystal-clear rivers? It's Ontario, Canada! And if you enter Ontario Tourism's... Read full post...Posted by Mark Pawlak on 3rd March 2011
Winter temperatures fall below freezing across much of the country, and territories within the Arctic Circle stay in the minuses for seven months of the year. Canada’s tallest peak, Mount Logan (5,959m), frequently experiences lows of -40C. Temperate southern and coastal provinces enjoy warm, humid summers, with western and south-eastern areas receiving high rainfall.
For a classically Canadian canoeing experience, head to Bowron Lake Park in BC, a 116km chain of lakes and rivers, winding beneath the Quesnel Highlands and Cariboo Mountains. The entire chain could be accomplished in under 10 days but shorter trips are more suitable for novices. The season lasts from May to September.
Southern Quebec was made for cycling. ‘La Route Verte’ weaves over 4000km of bikeways throughout the province; the flat farmland and valley plains of the Saint Lawrence river are easy going, whereas the northern Laurentians and forested Appalachians provide greater challenges. Bike friendly cities, such as Montreal and Quebec, are packed with bike trails with hire and repair shops aplenty.
The best time to cycle is in the summer months of June to September, when rainfall is lowest and temperatures average around 20C.
Popular throughout the country, it’s possible to go mushing in all thirteen Canadian provinces and territories but climatic variations dictate the length of seasons.
Whitehorse in Yukon enjoys a colder November to March sledding period, whereas Quebec’s shorter season runs from January to March.
Trekking in BC’s Coast and Chilcotin mountains is a priority for many riders, and a great place for spotting grizzly bears and wolves.
For a mixture of mountain wildernesses and wide, open gallops head to eastern and southern Alberta.
To experience sub-arctic riding, head to Yukon, where winter temperatures (October to March) fall well below zero and the breathtaking northern lights can be seen. In the summer months of May to September, riders can experience the midnight sun and flourishing alpine meadows.
To experience Canada’s maple forests and rushing waterfalls, spring and fall in Quebec’s ‘Parc Massive du Sud’ are stunning, with temperatures averaging 15-25C.
One of the world’s largest fjords can be found along the Saguenay river in Quebec where huge glaciers have sculpted magnificent valleys. For whale spotting, aim for the Saint Laurent River where it meets the Atlantic. Here, beluga and humpback whales can be spotted, with May to October the best season to visit.
On the east coast, BC’s Johnstone Strait is home to the largest pod of orcas in the world; Telegraph Cove is a top ‘kayaking with whales’ destination. Off-shore, the remote archipelago of Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) draws ambitious sea kayakers and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, rich in rainforests and aboriginal culture.
When the ski-season ends in Whistler, the Rockies become a playground for mountain-bikers. The terrain is fantastic for downhill, freeride and Whistler-style cross-country. The ski lifts remain open year round, making the up hills less taxing and bike parks more accessible!
BC, Alberta and Quebec are where it’s at for winter mountain sports.
Whistler, in BC’s Coast Mountains, is Canada’s biggest and most popular resort, boasting 216km of pistes. Accessible for novices to pros and it’s only two hours drive from Vancouver!
Further east, in the Canadian Rockies, ‘Kicking Horse’ is infamous for its fine, dry, powder. A favourite with hard-core skiers and boarders, heli-skiing here is phenomenal, whereas tree-lined pistes are good for learners.
On the Alberta border, Banff, is split into two ski areas: Norquay (steep, with mogul fields: best for intermediates) and Sunshine Village (renowned for its long season and huge snowfalls).
In Quebec, The Appalachian and Laurentian mountains are the home of snow sports, and the season runs from November to April. Mount Tremblant is best known for its huge range of activities and rates high in overall satisfaction.
Snowmobiling is hugely popular in any winter location. Top destinations include the Mauricie and Lanaudière regions near Montreal, in the east, and Canadian Rockies in the west.
The West Coast Trail, on Vancouver Island, incorporates 76km of ladders, suspension bridges and exposed coastline. A route for adventurous hikers, the entire route takes around three weeks to complete and walkers have to register for a permit months in advance. Open from May to September, you can expect 14C temperatures and sporadic, stormy weather. Outside this season, wild weather and high tides can prove fatal.
For mountaineers, The Rockies hold no end of adventure and in eastern Canada, the Appalachian Mountains offer hiking in stunning maple-leaf and evergreen forests. The spring and summer months are warm and best for wildlife viewing.
The Chilko-Chilcotin-Fraser rivers in BC serve up huge stretches of Class III and IV rapids. The season runs from June to September in southern BC, when temperatures linger around 20C. Up north, the season is much shorter, with July and August being the peak months.
For Arctic rafting, try Yukon’s remote Firth and Alesk rivers. In the summer season (May-June), the sun never sets and temperatures average around 7C. Expect to see the Grizzly bear, wolverine and arctic fox.
Wildlife and Nature
Northern Canada’s subarctic climate makes it an ideal location to see beautiful sights and also wildlife that would usually be confined to much less accessible regions. Polar bears roam the ice, and are easy to spot in the October to November season. There are a multitude of other animals to see, such as the iconic reindeer and wolves.
There are natural wonders to behold too. And those who are very lucky will see the stunning aurora borealis: the Northern Lights.
Off the coast there are opportunities to see some of the world’s most rare and beautiful marine life up close. Orcas and beluga whales are inquisitive creatures and nothing compares to the thrill of seeing them in the wild.
Cowboy culture thrives in Alberta and, in July, the ‘Calgary Stampede’, involving chuck-wagon racing and bareback rodeos, has been held for almost a century.
In BC, May to October is the biggest ranching season; the Rockies and Chilcotin mountains are snow free and salmon are abundant in the Campbell River. Expect to see grizzly bears, moose and coyotes.
Canada is a huge country and if you want to see lots of different areas in a short space of time, internal flights are your best bet. If you’d rather not do so much travelling it’s probably a good idea to stay local; you can find most activities throughout Canada.
The west of Canada is where you’ll find British Columbia. Here you can enjoy an array of experiences that might not seem like they fit together. You can surf on the coast, ski on the snowy resorts and mountain bike along the rocky trails.
Cultural and scenic Ontario and French-speaking Quebec are the eastern regions. The former is home to cosmopolitan paradise Toronto and the natural beauty of Niagara Falls. The latter is a vibrant hub of adventure and culture. The mountains here are excellent for the winter sports.
The subarctic Yukon in the northwest is remote, but certainly provides enough adventures for any thrill seeker, while the natural beauty of the Prairies in the mid-west is ideal for combining exhilarating experiences with beautiful scenery.
Untouched icy beauty combined with metropolitan cities makes for limitless possibilities. There are many unusual methods of traversing vast Canada. Helicopter rides offer the opportunity to see the snowy canvas from a birds-eye-view. In the summer you can float serenely down the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, or wait for the winter when it freezes over and serves as the world’s longest skating rink.
The cities in Canada are regularly voted as having some of the highest quality of life, and even if you’re mainly there for the adventure you should take some time to enjoy the urban delights, too.