Extreme Canada: 11 Adventurous Reasons to Head North
Photo courtesy of Richard Voliva // Churchill Wild
Canada, the second-largest country by landmass in the world, is a nation of superlatives. With the longest coastline in the world (150,000+ miles), the largest number of freshwater lakes (3 million+), the highest tidal ranges and some of the finest ski resorts in the world, the country is an adrenaline junkie’s dream.
Long before there was an activity called adventure travel, intrepid European explorers flocked to Canada’s northern shores, braving frozen, Arctic waters in search of a viable route through the Northwest Passage. Since then, the snowmobile, the hydrofoil, ice hockey and Heli-Skiing have all been invented in Canada.
Ready to create your own adventure? Set your compass for #TrueNorth and let these tours catapult you out of your comfort zone:
Heli-Skiing: Heli-skiing was invented in the Bugaboos, a mountain range located in eastern British Columbia, by Hans Gmoser founder of Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH) in 1985. Today, the company’s Heli-Assisted Touring operate throughout a patch of land that is about 1/3 the size of Switzerland. Hurry, though, these popular tours often sell out early in the season. Seven days; from US$ 3,490.
Moose & Polar Bear Photography at Hudson Bay: A favorite reason to visit Canada is because the nation’s vast landmass is home to a variety of wildlife that remain wild. Budding and professional photographers can up their photo game with Churchill Wild’s Hudson Bay Odyssey. The Sept. 25 departure is led by noted photographer Charles Glatzer. The trip is timed so that participants should have the opportunity to shoot polar bears, black bears, wolves, the giant bull moose and the Northern Lights. Seven days, from C$ 10,545.
In Search of Killer Whales: British Columbia’s Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound is one of the best regions in the world to see killer whales, humpback whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals and sea lions in the wild. On Outer Shores Expeditions Whales by Sails program, you’ll set sail on the six-passenger Passing Cloud for an intimate voyage of the area. By using an underwater hydrophone to hear the whales “speaking,” passengers will soon learn to tell the difference between fish-eating “resident” killer whales and mammal-eating “transient” killer whales. Six day; tours are sold out for 2016, availability exists for 2017.
Snowmobile Safari in Canada's Arctic: As spring blooms throughout Canada’s arctic lands, visitors can often witness grizzly bears, caribou and wolves, and at night, the ever-changing Northern Lights. On the Arctic Snowmobile Safari in Nunavut by Great Canadian Adventure Company, you’ll spend three days exploring Canada’s Barrenlands. When not searching for wildlife and racing across wide-open spaces, participants also enjoy ice fishing and sample truly regional cuisine such as caribou carpaccio and lake trout gravlax. Eight days; from C$ 7,900.
Calgary Stampede: Although a trip to the Calgary Stampede is less about hands-on adventure and more about witnessing amazing athletics, a trip to Canada’s most famed rodeo is a must. Brewster Travel’s Calgary Stampede Thrill Package includes premium seats to such events as ladies barrel racing, tie-down roping, steer wrestling and saddle bronc riding. Four days; from $C 931.
Cod Jigging: Once upon a time, much of Newfoundland’s economy relied upon cod fishing. Today the Atlantic province is best known for its stunning iceberg flotillas and its hospitable people, and it is gaining a well-deserved reputation for its growing arts community. With Newfoundland Walking by Butterfield & Robinson, you’ll spend your time traversing the province’s famed trails. While not hiking, you can forage for wild foods and learn how to jig for cod, from a seasoned fisherman. Six days; from US$ 5,995.
Kayaking with Black Bears, Bald Eagles and Sea Otters: Flow with the tides and enjoy British Columbia’s finest scenery as you kayak its coastal waters. Curious sea otters will follow your travels, but be sure to keep your eyes open for whales, puffins and bears. With the 5-Day Sea Otter Kayak Tour by West Coast Expeditions, you’ll explore tide pools, take interpretive walks and learn all about the Kyuquot-Checleset First Nations people that inhabit the area, all in the company of a professionally trained guide.
Iceberg Run: Some 500 miles above the Arctic Circle, the Canadian Arctic Wilderness Lodge is a premiere beluga whale observation site. During Adventure Week, June 30-July 7, guests can enjoy trail runs along the frigid waters of the Northwest Passage. There are no paved roads here, just pathways marked with Canadas’s iconic inuksuk. Spend the week at the Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge with Quark Expeditions and you'll ride fat bikes, set out on ATV adventures, river kayak and paddleboard through Arctic waters. Eight days; from US$ 5,995 per person.
Wild Horses & Shipwrecks: Nova Scotia’s famed Sable Island is one of the remaining places in the world to support a wild horse population. But the island is also home to a significant number of historic sites and shipwreck memorials. With Sable Island 2016 from Adventure Canada, you’ll board the Ocean Endeavor and sail to Sable Island, where you’ll four days exploring the island in depth. Nine days, from US$ 2,395.
Canoeing & Trapping in an Ancient Forest: while many travelers equate Ontario with famed, cosmopolitan city, Toronto, the northern portion of the massive province butts against the Hudson Bay, from which the famed trading company took its name. Here, in the ancient boreal forest which dates back 60 million years, there’s plenty of adventure to be found. With Wild Exodus’ Glamping Timmons, you’ll canoe along ancient waterways and hike with a trapper before you sleep under the stars in a deluxe prospector’s tent, appointed with handmade log furnishings.
Walk on the Ocean Floor: Explore some of the world’s highest tides in the UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve in Atlantic Canada. With World Expeditions’ Bay of Fundy Trek for Foodies, spend four days exploring the rugged Fundy Footpath, just one segment of the nationwide Trans Canada Trail. At famed Hopewell Rocks, when the tide is low, you’ll walk on the ocean floor. The itinerary includes some of area’s finest culinary offerings, including a lobster dinner on the beach. Eight days; from US$ 2,399.
For more information on exploring Canada, visit www.destinationcanada.com/.
More by Monica Poling
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