It’s definitely no secret that Canada is turning 150 years old this year. So what better way to celebrate our rich history, diverse culture, and unique provinces and territories than by exploring all that the Great White North has to offer?
Canada united as a Nation in 1867 and since then has become a country that people from around the world love to explore. These seven destinations are just a starting point when it comes to discovering all that Canada has to offer for both visitors and citizens.
Ottawa - Ontario
Of course the obvious choice to celebrate Canada’s birthday is a visit to our Nation’s Capital. Not only can you experience their permanent attractions such as touring the Parliament Buildings, paddling a canoe along the Rideau Canal, and enjoying a fresh meal grown by local farmers at the Byward Market; but this year there are plenty of additional events for Ottawa 2017. These special activities and once in a lifetime experiences include Inspiration Village packed with exhibits showcasing Canada’s provinces and territories and Canada Scene, a cultural festival with 1000 talented artists.
Must try Adventure: After you are done learning about Canada’s history and people, starting in June you can change into your bathing suit and water shoes for a white water rafting adventure along either the Ottawa River, the Gatineau River, or La Rivière Rouge for a thrilling water voyage.
Hopewell Cape - New Brunswick
This maritime province is packed full of adventures and makes a great road trip to celebrate Canada 150 to the max. If you are driving from Fundy National Park where you probably spent a few days hiking, kayaking, and swimming, continue driving through Alma towards country road Route 915 and look for the big blue Hopewell Rocks sign. Hopewell Rocks is the place to be if you want to witness the highest tides in the world. You can literally walk on the bottom of the ocean floor for three hours before and until three hours after low tide.
Must try Adventure: Walk though the magnificent sandstone formations that were created millions of years ago in the reddish cliffs and coves with nicknames like flowerpot and dinosaur. Bring a camera to capture the beauty and wear waterproof footwear so you can sink your feet deep into the wet spongy sand.
North Vancouver – British Columbia
If you want to combine exhilarating outdoor adventures with your road trip, North Vancouver is the place to be. Vancouver’s mountains provide endless activities for all ages such as hiking, mountain biking, zip lining, and paddling and kayaking along the North Shore. Two historic bridges link the North Shore area to the rest of Vancouver, the Lions Gate Bridge and the Ironworker’s Memorial Bridge, and make for an extremely exciting and scenic drive.
Must try Adventure: Capilano Suspension Bridge on the North Shore is located in a 27-acre park and stretches 450 feet and 230 feet above the Capilano River. Daring visitors can experience the thrilling Cliffwalk, described as a heart-stopping Cliffside journey that winds through the rainforest along suspended walkways that jut out from a granite cliff.
Niagara Falls - Ontario
With the warmer weather finally here it’s the perfect time for a road trip to Niagara Falls. The Canadian side of the falls is about an hour and a half drive along the QEW from Toronto. It could easily qualify to be the 8th wonder of the world, as the rushing water flowing from the Niagara River averages approximately 4 million cubic feet of water every minute – bring a rain jacket to keep dry from the mist! The Niagara Escarpment area that surrounds the falls contains exceptional geological features that were formed thousands of years ago and is worthy of a visit.
Must try Adventure: Hop aboard the Maid of the Mist to hear the crashing waves of the American and Horseshoe Falls for a 30 minute exhilarating ride.
Lake Louise – Alberta
Lake Louise is mostly outdoor activity based and the warmer months are the perfect time to explore Alberta. The lake thaws by June and is famous for its glistening turquoise colour. This super blue is the result of light refracting off the glacier silt and is actually sediment suspended in the water. If you love hiking up mountains, exploring forests, and paddling across lakes, you will feel right at home. The mountain destination of Banff & Lake Louise is situated along the Trans Canada highway that winds through the Canadian Rockies.
Must try Adventure: Ride the Lake Louise sightseeing gondola for a birds eye view of the Victoria Glacier at 6,850 feet and learn about the history and wildlife at Lake Louise, you may even spot a grizzly bear roaming through the woods.
Montreal - Quebec
If you want a spectacular view of the Old Port, a visit to Place Jacques-Cartier in Old Montreal is a must. It’s the oldest section of this 17th century city and appropriately named after the French explorer Jacques-Cartier. Kids will love running up and down the narrow cobblestone streets while adults can admire the authentic street art and talk to locals. There are enough delicious restaurants to suit every palate including several Italian eateries with authentic wood oven pizza.
Must try Adventure: It truly doesn’t get any more Canadian that devouring pure maple syrup boiled right from the tree and drizzled over ice and then delicately rolled onto a stick. This treat is available from Cabane A Sucre at the top of the hill in the square.
Charlottetown - Prince Edward Island
Known as the Birthplace of Canada, Prince Edward Island is made up of two main cities, Charlottetown and Summerside, and seven towns. This gentle island is home to stunning red sand beaches that stretch along the winding shore and seaside road trips are plentiful. Less than a half-hour drive from Charlottetown is Brackley Beach, part of the Green Gables Shore Touring Region that will keep you busy for days.
Must try Adventure:Rent a bike in Charlottetown, the capital city, and see for yourself just how stunning this province is with a nature ride along the Confederation Trail and through the streets of historic Charlottetown to see where it all began.
Miriam Porter is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, the Toronto Star, Travel + Leisure, Today’s Parent, Eater, Metro, Mental Floss, and Yahoo. She writes about family travel, social justice issues, and veganism. You can find her on Twitter @MiriamRiverP.