Technically, I have travelled Canada coast to coast, having lived in Vancouver, British Columbia and spent a short weekend in Halifax, Nova Scotia many years ago. However, Canada is a massive country and there is a lot more in between that I have yet to discover.
Given the current state of international travel, I expect that I may not make it out of country for the rest of this year and likely through at least the first half of 2021. Although I mentioned previously that I was considering a trip out west this late summer or early fall, we have decided to forego even out-of-province travel for now. Regardless, I can still dream, so I’ve decided to create a bucket list of Canadian destinations I’d like to visit, someday.
Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
Starting out on the west coast, I have been doing some research on the Queen Charlotte Islands. This archipelago off the northern Pacific coast of British Columbia was officially renamed Haida Gwaii in 2010 as part of a historic reconciliation agreement between the provincial government and the indigenous Haida Nation. These islands form the heartland of the Haida people, who have lived in the region for over 13,000 years.
Haida Gwaii is best known for its Aboriginal culture, as well as its rich biodiversity. Its extreme isolation has nurtured the growth of some of the largest and oldest spruce trees on the planet; 20 kinds of whale, dolphin, and porpoise; and animal subspecies that exist nowhere else, such as the Haida Gwaii black bear. In fact, the area has earned the moniker ‘Canadian Galapagos’ for its array of wildlife. It’s a fascinating place that is a bit challenging to reach, but I think it would be well worth the effort to see.
Tofino, British Columbia
When I was living in British Columbia, many of my colleagues and acquaintances made regular trips out to Tofino, but I regrettably never ventured over there. Tofino is a district on the west coast of Vancouver Island, sitting on the tip of Esowista Peninsula and edge of Clayoquot Sound. With only 1,932 local residents, it is a highly popular tourist destination that swells in size during the summer months.
Tofino is a dream travel destination for nature lovers. Its beaches and nature reserves are ideal for surfing, hiking, camping, whale watching, bird watching, fishing, and just being outdoors. Pacific Rim National Park and Maquinna Marine Provincial Park are a couple top spots nearby to explore for their beaches and natural hot springs, respectively.
Quebec City, Quebec
I had the chance to visit Quebec City back in the winter of 2013, where I spent about three days attending a conference by day and exploring Old Quebec by night. It was absolutely freezing when I was there in November, so I would like to revisit someday when temperatures are not subzero!
Quebec City is the capital of the province of Quebec. Its historic centre, Vieux-Quebec, is a UNESCO World Heritage site, notable for its preserved ramparts that surround the Citadelle of Quebec. Quebec City is in fact one of the oldest European settlements in North America, and the only fortified city north of Mexico whose walls remain intact. Since I won’t be travelling to Europe for a while, I’ll settle with Quebec for at least a hint of Old World atmosphere.
Fundy National Park, New Brunswick
Beyond that brief weekend visit to Halifax, Nova Scotia, I have not spent any meaningful time in the Maritimes. I actually have some personal connection to the east coast, as my father lived out there for several years after immigrating to Canada, but we never revisited as a family.
One particular Maritimes destination I’d like to explore someday is Fundy National Park, located in the province of New Brunswick. Originally opened in 1950, Fundy National Park is situated along Goose Bay, the northwestern branch of the Bay of Fundy. The park showcases a rugged coastline with some of the most extreme tides in the world, and more than 25 waterfalls. The Bay of Fundy is a star attraction, named one of the Seven Natural Wonders of North America.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Mr. Chuckles had several memorable experiences travelling in Newfoundland during his childhood, and hearing his stories has piqued my interest enough to add it onto my Canadian travel bucket list. Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost province of Canada, composed of the insular region of Newfoundland and the continental region of Labrador to the northwest. Originally a Viking settlement and subsequently a colony of the United Kingdom, Newfoundland became the final province to enter Confederation in 1949.
The first thing that is likely to strike you about Newfoundland and its people is their way of speech. Newfoundland English encompasses several accents and dialects that differ substantially from the English commonly spoken elsewhere in Canada and the North Atlantic. Many are influenced by dialects of the West Country in England, with some Irish and Scottish elements thrown in too. Beyond its quirky culture, the vast province features incredible feats of nature. From icebergs to some of Earth’s most ancient fossils, ‘The Rock’ is a striking pocket of Canada that I hope to explore someday soon.
Do you have any places to add to this Canadian travel bucket list? 🇨🇦