Canada is a country famed for its beautiful and vaste landscapes, so it seems only natural that there are countless ways to explore the great outdoors. While kayaking on Lake Louise, skiing in Whistler and white water rafting down the Clearwater River are favourites for the seasoned traveller, the following activities offer something just a little bit different from the norm.
Heli-hiking away from the crowds in Canada
Heli-hiking in the Columbia Mountains
What is heli-hiking? As the name suggests, a helicopter transports you to a wild and rugged area of the country usually only accessible after a long and arduous trek. Once here you can enjoy walks lead by expert guides who devise treks based on your abilities and interests, introducing you to your surroundings in a rewarding and informative way.
Heli-hiking is a great way to experience Canada’s great outdoors for those short on time and as hikes can be tailored to your specific needs, is particularly well-suited to those who don’t consider themselves experienced hikers.
St John’s signal hill in Canada
Take a haunted hike
On the edge of Canada’s east coast sits the small but historical metropolis of St John’s, North America’s oldest city. It is a place often cloaked in sea mist which gives it somewhat of a mysterious feel – what better place to take a haunted hike?
Learn all about the area’s grisly past, from hangings to murders, as you negotiate the city’s dark alleyways, but keep your eyes peeled for an unexpected visitors – you never know who might join the walk!
Walk amongst the tree tops
Witness Whistler from a whole new perspective on a TreeTrek Canopy Walk. From viewing platforms, suspension bridges and forest boardwalks you can enjoy a bird’s eye view of the surrounding ancient forest, thick with cedars, hemlocks and firs.
There is a real focus on sustainability here and those with a thirst for knowledge will love the interactive learning incorporated in the activity.
Chuckwagon racing at Calgary stampede in Canada
Experience a real-life rodeo
Calgary is the capital of Canadian rodeo and the Calgary Stampede is known the world over for its thrilling competition and $2 million prize. If you happen to be in the city when the rodeo is on, don’t miss the chance to experience the event. Known as ‘the greatest outdoor show on earth’, you’ll see the world’s best cowboys and cowgirls take part in bareback riding, bull riding, barrel racing, saddle bronc, steer wrestling and tie-down roping.
While you can’t take part in the activities yourself (for obvious reasons!) there’s still plenty to get the adrenaline pumping, including a number of white-knuckle rides perfect for thrill seekers.
Black bear watching in Canada
Black bear watching by boat
Canada is famous for its bears, particularly its grizzlies which can be viewed in a number of spots throughout the country, but for something a little different take to the water in search of black bear.
From April until October, the peaceful waters of Clayoquot Sound allow for a unique bear watching opportunity. Jump aboard a local vessel and view these amazing creatures up close as they forage about on the area’s beaches in search of food.
Author bio: Katy Pannell is Online Travel Editor at Audley Travel, an award-winning tour operator that specialises in tailor-made trips and small group tours to over 80 countries around the world.
Over the winter last year, we spent a couple of weeks in Vancouver, and from the moment we stepped off the plane to the moment we left ground on the flight back, our trip to Vancouver was truly enchanting – and I’m already looking to go back! What made it so special though – apart from knowing it was recently named the city with the
Vancouver at Sunset
Taking in the natural beauty
After getting over the stunning scenery and enjoying a cup of the famous Tim Horton’s coffee, it was time to discover what Vancouver had to offer for the entire family.
First and foremost, if you’re going to visit Vancouver, you can’t miss a trip to
Salwar kameez in Vancouver
Vancouver’s Punjabi Market
A little-known secret of Vancouver is its beautiful Punjabi market. Situated on South Main Street, Vancouver’s ‘Little India’ offers any visitor the chance to experience a different culture’s food, fashion and music. Definitely worth a visit one morning, although you may find yourself spending most of the day here!
Top of Vancouver revolving restaurant
One of my favourite things about Vancouver is its views, and there’s no better way to take them in than by enjoying a fine meal in the top of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant. Panoramic views of a fine city, coupled with delicious, succulent food. This was my meal of the year, by far – and I love my food… I’m still dreaming about the steak I had! Because of its resemblance to a control tower, we found that this restaurant wasn’t too hard to get into.
Snowboarding in Whistler
Hitting the slopes
It’s hard to visit Vancouver without hitting the slopes. Whether you’re an experienced skier, or you’re just starting out (like I was), you’ll be well looked after. We rented a car and drove down to Whistler for a day; and despite it being very busy, it was magical. The atmosphere, the ambience – whatever you want to call it – it was perfect, and I would highly recommend a visit. Not just for the resort itself, but for the drive to and from the resort. You get to see so many amazing things on the drive: wild bears (not too close to the road, though!), eagles and some of the most impressive snow sculptures!
If you don’t fancy driving while you’re away, North Vancouver has plenty of slopes to meet your needs. You’ve got Grouse Mountain and Mount Seymour (we love it here), to name just two. They’re both worth a visit and you can really get to know the locals while you’re there; you may even get to share a lift down the mountain with them.
If you’re looking for somewhere a little out of the centre, but still want to experience Vancouver’s stunning views, I’d advise heading down to Deep Cove. We stumbled upon this place by accident (we stayed on our bus for too long!), but we’re so glad we did. Beautiful lakeside views backed by rolling residential streets, and a few boutique shops and cafes to keep your energy topped up throughout the day.
Deep Cove near Vancouver, Canada
We spent our time walking the streets of Deep Cove, but there are other things to do. If you’re into water sports, for example, their canoe and kayak centre is well-equipped for those of all abilities. For all it’s worth, I’d say Deep Cove was my favourite place in Vancouver simply because of its hidden location and truly enchanting views.
So, there you have a brief account of what this wonderful city has to offer. Like anywhere, it’s not going to be for everyone, but if you’ve got a bucket list, add a trip to Vancouver to it right now!
My thanks for this article by Nick Boyle, brought to you by Cruise 1st . If you want to see the latest cruise deals in 2013, both to Vancouver and around the world, please visit their website.
For holiday fun with the family in Calgary, this article offers ideas to entertain the kids, from space flights to animal encounters to a heart stopping view from the Calgary tower.
Located in close proximity to the rolling foothills of the Canadian Rockies, Calgary is majestic, safe and a truly heartwarming city. Considering all major Canadian cities, there are only few that can match Calgary’s abundant family activities and destinations, which are adorned by kids and parents alike.
Whenever I visit Calgary, an overwhelming sense of realization grips me while contemplating over the fact that the city has evolved from an early 1800s outpost of the North West Mounted Police and a haven for ranch builders to a bustling city that retains the magical small-town spirit. Calgary has always fostered a “family-friendly” culture and encourages the development of parks, playgrounds and fun activities for the entire family. To elaborate my point, I have jotted down a list of the city’s landmarks that are sure to make you chuckle with glee with your kids.
Be sure to check out these top family delights in Calgary…
Little Green Men at SpacePort in Calgary International Airport
If you fly to Calgary, head to the food court on the third floor of Calgary International Airport. Located next to the food court is a 6,000 square foot high-tech interactive zone called SpacePort. It houses four flight simulators, a time machine and visitors can also take a virtual tour of the International Space Station. SpacePort offers free facilities and exhibitions, except for simulation rides that carry a small charge. The educational exhibits give hands-on experience and information about flight simulation, the Canadian Space Agency, and communication technology. Hence, it is a truly entertaining and engaging outing for families. I personally enjoyed dodging aliens!
Spaceport at Calgary International Airport
Phone: (403) 717-7678
Opening hours: 9am-9pm Mon-Fri 9am-5pm Sat & Sun
Calgary Zoo, Botanical Garden and Prehistoric Park
Calgary Zoo offers habitat to more than 1,100 animals and a wide variety of species from different parts of the globe. The highly innovative and themed exhibitions offer close encounters with grizzlies, wolves, moose, cougar, bison, bighorn sheep and many other animals. If you feel like going green, you can step in the lush Botanical Garden. I love the serene environment of this garden, especially the charm of the butterfly garden. If you believe that size does matter, then head to the Prehistoric Park where you can view life-sized dinosaur models lurking in prehistoric lands. I visited Dino Island to experience its unique simulator ride that placed me right in the middle of prowling dinosaurs! Calgary Zoo also offers catered sleepovers specially for birthday parties for kids and other special occasions. Hence, you can enjoy the thrills of three unique attractions in a single Calgary Zoo. Moreover, it only takes 10 minutes to reach the zoo by train from Downtown Calgary.
Calgary Zoo, Botanical Garden and Prehistoric Park
Formerly known as the Calgary Science Centre, the TELUS World of Science offers highly intriguing and interactive exhibitions that cover various aspects of science ranging from biology to astronomy. TELUS World is complete with a Discovery Dome Theatre, WOWTown, Creative Kids Museum and an Amazement Park.
Moreover, you can clarify any doubts or queries with professionals with guided programs and interpretive tours. The displays are changed frequently. Hence, I always keep an eye out for upcoming interesting exhibitions.
TELUS World of Science, 701-11th Street Southwest, Calgary, AB, T2P 2M5s
Phone: (403) 268-8300
Opening hours: 9:45am-4pm Mon-Thurs, 9:45am-5pm Fri, 10am-5pm Sat, Sun, Holidays
Picture yourself with your family standing midair at 525 feet and looking straight down at the heart of Calgary. You can experience this thrill at the Observation Deck of the Calgary Tower. The tower is not the tallest building in Calgary, but you can walk on a 36 feet long glass floor that presents a panoramic view of the city and the breathtaking magnificence of the Rockies at the horizon.
View from the Observation deck of the Calgary Tower
Crossroads Market is Calgary’s largest indoor-outdoor market that is open round the year. Located at at the junction of Ogden Road and Blackfoot Trail, Crossroads is just a 5-minute drive from Downtown Calgary. Moreover, the market offers free parking facility. The minute I stepped in the premises of this colossal market, I was exposed to the overwhelming presence of a flea market, antique market, indoor farmer’s market, and a seasonal outdoor farmer’s market – all under the same roof! Over 125 vendors represent a maze of booths that offer a mesmerizing display of unique products, rare collectibles, and antique treasures. The fresh produce, delicious baked goods, locally raised meat and poultry available at the market will certainly turn your visit into a grand feast. There are also many vendors who sell gluten-free products.
Crossroads Market, 1235 – 26 Avenue S.E., Calgary, AB T2G 1R7
Phone: (403) 291-5208
Opening hours: Indoor-Outdoor Market: 9am to 5pm Fri, Sat, Sun
Food Court: Open on Fridays for lunch
Flea & Antique Markets Mall: 9am to 5pm Sat & Sun
Family Friendly Tip
Keep an eye out for the “sunburst logo” of Child and Youth Friendly Calgary (CYFC). Established more than 14 years ago, this organization accredits establishments for “child-friendliness”. A strict inspection is conducted by Calgary’s youth and the businesses that pass this test earn the right to display the organization’s logo.
Thanks for this article to Vinay Shingornikar, who is a professional writer and has authored insightful articles for a wide spectrum of publications. Currently, he is working with Flight Network, which is Canada’s second most visited online travel agency. Flight Network negotiates bulk rates with major airlines such as WestJet and Air Canada to offer the cheapest flights to customers.
Photo Credits: Little Green Men by Cuppojoe , Calgary Zoo by k-ideas , Calgary Tower by vill3r , Plasma Disks by D’Arcy Norman .
Hi, I'm Heather and welcome to my travel blog where you'll find my travel tales, videos, podcasts and photos from Europe and around the world. From my home in Bristol, England I seek out travel inspiration and fun with my friends and family, tasting the food, exploring the culture , meeting the locals and soaking up the sunshine Read More
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