Iconic Canadian Destinations

Canada’s most iconic destinations are also the playground of the adventurous. Spy on arctic fox in the Yukon, climb the Bear’s Hump for epic views of Canada’s beautiful Waterton Lakes in Alberta, or cruise cozy fishing villages in Nova Scotia as if you’re living within a watercolor painting. From the world’s most incredible mountains to epic oceanscapes, from coast-to-coast and sea-to-sea, Canada’s iconic destinations are simply stunning.

Alberta 5, Waterton Park, AB T0K 2M0, Canada
Banff and Jasper are top of mind when it comes to Alberta‘s Great Outdoors. Travelers flock to Moraine Lake by the busload for postcard-perfect snaps and zip through the province’s northern parks on the trail of grizzlies, elk, and moose. Waterton Lakes manages to fly just far enough under the radar that it never feels crowded or bustling, even on a wild Canada Day long weekend, which makes it a wonderful alternative for the “been there, done that” crowd. For an iconic view of Waterton Village and Upper Waterton Lake, test your mettle against the Bear’s Hump, a mile-long trek that begins at the Waterton Visitor Resource Center. The trail opens to a grand rocky plateau atop what was once called Bear Mountain by the Blackfoot people. Begin your trek early in the morning or late in the afternoon to have the mountain to yourself, but be warned that the wind atop the Hump can be ferocious. Knock your hat off and dump you off the mountain ferocious. Still, the views of Waterton Valley and Mount Cleveland are worth the challenge. [Flash traveled to Alberta courtesy of Travel Alberta.]
Maligne Lake, Improvement District No. 12, AB T0E, Canada
It takes patience and good fortune to create a unique image in a place considered Canada’s second-most-photographed landscape. The Through the Lens Cruise on Maligne Lake gives amateur and professional shutterbugs such an opportunity. While in the boat, the onboard instructor talks technique and composition with aspiring photographers and challenges seasoned veterans to try new perspectives. Once the group arrives at Spirit Island, everyone spends an hour framing the perfect shot. The cruise experience hasn’t changed much since Jasper National Park pioneers Curly Philips and Fred Brewster set up shop at Maligne Lake in the 1920s.
Grand Manan, NB, Canada
There’s a little slice of New Brunswick, Canada, off the coast of Maine, and it’s well worth a visit. Grand Manan Island is accessed by ferry from Black’s Harbour NB. The island is only 34km long and 18km wide, so it doesn’t take long to explore by car. Another popular option is to walk onto the ferry and rent bikes on the island. The main sights on Grand Manan are the beaches, rocky cliffs, and lighthouses. It’s a haven for artists, bird-watchers, and hikers. It’s also a great spot to enjoy fresh seafood. The journey to the island is one of the best parts as you often see whales, seals and other sea life from the ferry decks.
13315 Buena Vista Road & 87th Avenue, Edmonton, AB T5J 2R7, Canada
More than 350 animals call the Edmonton Valley Zoo, tucked on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, home. And visitors can see them all, from seals to red pandas, from snowy owls to Siberian tigers—during their stroll through a habitat that encourages animal engagements and educational sessions.
812 Wharf St, Victoria, BC V8W 1T3, Canada
Whale-watching tours are one of the best ways to experience the beauty of the outdoors in British Columbia. Prince of Whales offers a number of different tour options, from zodiac adventures in the Strait of Juan De Fuca to their Northbound Adventure Crossing, which crosses the Georgia Strait to Vancouver. Tours range from three to over ten hours, and can sometimes be split over multiple days.
100 Queens Park
From the outside, the Royal Ontario Museum appears to have been struck by a mineral formation from outer space. When the original building was overhauled by starchitect Daniel Libeskind, many locals were dismayed by the new addition, called the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, but most have come around to its angular charms. Visitors to this museum of world cultures and natural history can work their way through galleries showcasing Chinese sculptures, Canada’s First Nations artifacts and crafts, dinosaur skeletons, and Byzantine artwork. Special exhibits have included everything from the intricate textiles of Mexico to an in-depth look at the culture of tattoos.
205 Boulevard des Cèdres, Québec, QC G1L 1N8, Canada
The place to be right now and every February is Québec; specifically at the 60th Winter Carnaval de Québec. And if you’re a fan of winter fun and ice buildings, this bit of info is for you. Bonhomme, the larger-than-life Carnaval mascot lives in the Ice Palace.The structure at 300 tons of ice and at 40 feet tall, is made of 40% more ice than 2013’s palace and includes individually sculpted rooms of the “King of the Party” Bonhomme. Carnaval goers are invited to explore his foyer, kitchen, bedroom and dining room, all so stylishly decorated with items sculpted from ice. The mysterious Bonhomme creates the joi-de-vivre each winter for the Québequoise and visitor. Almost a cult figure and certainly a celebrity, his persona can ignite hysteria at some of the drink-fueled nightime concerts he attends during Carnaval. In his Ice Palace, discover “ bits and pieces of Bonhomme’s private life and his creation workshop where all of his crazy ideas come to life!“ says the proud Carnaval Committee. Certainly based on the excitement he generates, this new glimpse into his “ life” in the Ice Palace will delight his adoring fans. Carnaval opens for 2014 January 31st when the world’s largest winter celebration launches a huge fireworks show, and concludes February 16th. The entire schedule of events throughout Québec is online. It is the biggest celebration in the snow you’ll have all winter, Bonhomme guarantees it.
48-60 Queen Street
As the old truck lumbered down the highway we talked about the type of photography I normally like to do and he was able to narrow down some key stops for our morning where I’d be able to get some great shots that fit my style. It really is rare to get this kind of personalized treatment; this is where small town hospitality comes in. There’s no better way to photograph a region than going with a local who actually knows the region. Derek picked me up at the DesBarres Manor Inn after breakfast. He was not just a local who had grown up in the area, but he also was a photography enthusiast and was privy to some of the best views of the area. That morning he drove me all over the region – to the high points, the abandoned buildings and bridges, and some gorgeous wetlands that I never would have known existed. During the whole time he and I chatted about the progress of state of Guysborough, and the region in general. It was not only a great way to get photos that most visitors would never find, but it provided a super local insight into the region. More Information: Contact the DesBarres Manor Inn to scheduled a personal photography tour. http://www.desbarresmanor.com/
Hwy 16 E, Tofield, AB T0B 4J0, Canada
The Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village is a living history museum and one of Canada‘s premier historical sites. The Village, notable for the ethnic Ukrainian and Canadian cast members who live and act in full period costume, is both engaging and inviting, and a revealing look at life in Western Canada between 1899 and 1930. The Village is home to more than 30 fully restored (and in some cases, relocated) buildings that include a blacksmith shop, Eastern Byzantine churches, a grain elevator, one-room schoolhouse, traditional burdei sod house, a general store, and more. The first time a “Ukrainian” blacksmith jaws at you in period lingo is somewhat jarring, but by the time you’ve visited a few sites, you’ll find yourself swept up in the moment – and the history – and quizzing the local folk on their way of life. You may even find yourself working the fields, scythe or hammer in hand. Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., May Long Weekend (Monday before May 25) to Labour Day. [Flash traveled to Alberta courtesy of Travel Alberta.]
Takhini Hot Springs Rd, Whitehorse, YT Y1A 7A2, Canada
A half hour drive outside of Whitehorse in the Yukon is the Wildlife Preserve where visitors can walk through the property and get up close, but not too personal, with Canadian wildlife — including elk, buffalo, mountain goats, deer, and all types of big cats. At the highest point on the trail, you can see into the untouched wilderness. Despite being the end of May, there was still snow on the mountains and chill in the air.
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Journeys: Africa + Middle East
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