7 Awesome Things to do with Kids in Alberta

Cowtown, as it’s often referred to, it’s absolutely jam-packed with things for kids and it’s no wonder so many families choose to visit the beautiful province of Alberta. From the epic mountains that offer exceptional glacier lakes and hiking to the incredible zoos and malls, this province offers something for every age. Discover the awesome dinosaur museum, the annual Calgary Stampede and more with these 7 awesome things to do with kids in Alberta.

7. Experience the Calgary Stampede

It is one giant party that takes place every summer and provides enough entertainment for kids to tire them out, both physically and mentally. The Calgary Stampede is for adults too but the big focus is on families here. There are endless rides, midway games, fried foods such as Oreo cookies and chocolate bars, livestock shows, a rodeo, pancake breakfasts and more.

The Stampede Parade is a favorite among little ones as the World Champion Calgary Stampede Showband leads the parade, followed by beautiful floats, marching bands, riders, celebrities and more. Visit the Indian Village, play a couple games of ring toss, get your picture taken under a giant cowboy hat and have fun until the cows come home.

6. Go Caving

Discover the secrets of underground caves when you head to Canmore to dive deep into the Rat’s Nest Cave; a wild undeveloped cave under Grotto Mountain. Discover a cave in its natural state where there are no handrails, no walkways, and no lighting installed. Discover breathtaking chambers of stalagmites and stalactites, lit by only the light on your helmet. There are a few different options depending on the age of your kids.

The Adventure Tour is one of the most popular, with a minimum age of 12 and runs a total of 6 hours long, with 4 hours spend underground. If your kids are younger than that you will want to book the Discovery Tour, a short 2-3 hour tour that includes a catch and release fossil hunting activity, wildlife tracking and a visit to the cave.

5. Travel to Drumheller

It is here where the famous Royal Tyrrell Museum is housed, a museum dedicated to the study of dinosaurs and where children can come face to race with real fossils. The museum features over 40 dinosaur skeletons, numerous kid’s programs and fun hands-on activities including fossil casting. This museum also happens to run a very cool 60-minute guided hike called “Seven Wonders of the Badlands” where the guide will take you through rocks that tell stories, ancient giants and those mysterious popcorn rocks that are seen everywhere.

After spending some time at the museum make sure to head to the Hoodoos- the unique rock formations that are over 70 million years old. They cannot be climbed but feel free to explore the surrounding areas and marvel at these crazy looking rock configurations.

4. Take a Jasper Raft Tour

A unique way to experience Jasper National Park is to take a scenic float trip down the Athabasca River, a designated Canadian Heritage River. Here all families need to do is sit back and enjoy the ride as a licensed guide provides commentary on the human and natural history of Jasper. Navigating the same route used by fur traders over two centuries ago, the guides will do all the rowing for you!

The trip is about 2.5 hours and covers 16km, passing through gentle rapids and calm stretches allowing you to take in the spectacular scenery around you. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as moose, wolves, mountain sheep and bears. This trip is truly designed for families, as anyone aged 2-99 years are welcome. Tours do operate rain or shine and a poncho will be provided if necessary. Enjoy Jasper from a different view and relax while someone else does the paddling and the talking.

3. Explore Lake Louise

Located within Banff National Park, Lake Louise is the perfect destination for families looking to get outdoors. This emerald green lake is absolutely breathtaking to look at and the region has a range of hikes for families. Whether you want an easy lakeside stroll or a steeper ascent, you can find it here. While you are here make sure to take a ride on the Lake Louise Gondola which takes visitors up Mt. Whitehorn offering spectacular panoramic views.

If you are lucky, the kids might just spot some grizzly bears or elk during the summer days. Ascend either on a ski lift, or a closed gondola, best for younger kids. If you have slightly older kids who are more interested in hitching a ride along the lake, make sure to book an awesome horseback tour that will give spectacular views of the colorful lake.

2. Visit the Calgary Zoo

The Calgary Zoo is a magical place, one where kids can come face to face with animals. A place that gets lit up with twinkling lights in the winter and that feature numerous outdoor exhibits in the summer. It is a zoo that took a huge hit during the flood and has rebuilt itself into a family-friendly attraction that is definitely worth checking out. What is nice about this zoo is there is a lot of things to see and do packed into a smaller space, meaning less walking for the little ones.

But don’t kid yourself, there are still plenty of animals to marvel out including lions, giraffes, gorillas, tigers, monkeys and more. And then there is the magnificent Penguin Plunge display. One of the best in Canada, this display gets you so close you could reach out and touch the playful penguins (No touching is allowed though). Watch them as they dive, splash and interact with visitors in this awesome exhibit. Trust us, the line up is worth the experience here.

1. Play at the West Edmonton Mall

The West Edmonton Mall is literally a kid’s paradise, absolutely loaded with attractions that cater to any age of kid (we can’t promise the parents you will ever get your kid to leave here). To start off with, let’s talk about World Waterpark that houses the largest indoor wave pool and more than 17 unique waterslides and play features. Did we mention the simulated surfing attraction as well?

Then there is Galaxyland, the world’s largest indoor amusement park that features more than 24 rides and play areas for all ages. A challenging 18-hole mini-golf course, a professional sized ice rink, an underground aquarium and a bowling alley are just a few more of the exciting things that happen at this mall.

The 9 Greatest Bars in the World

Narrowing down the greatest bars in the world is a tough feat, considering so many of them have managed to fly under the radar, guarding their locations and managing to keep them a secret. From hidden doors with doormen who usher you in quickly to dive bars that have retained their 1930’s charm to some of the most talented barkeeps and mixologists, these nine bars are considered some of the very best. Whether you dabble in cocktails, drool over in-house-made infusions or simply want a place to meet with friends, make sure to check out some of the greatest bars in the world.

9. Milk Tiger Lounge, Calgary

While many don’t associate amazing cocktails bars with the city of Calgary, there is one hidden gem here called the Milk Tiger Lounge. This classic cocktail bar employs mixologists and bartenders with levels of expertise and dedication to the craft you won’t find anywhere else in the province. It’s a throwback to the days when people would slide into a seat at the bar, take off their fedora and chat with the bartender.

The drink list is littered with cocktails you only have heard of in black and white movies and even features the first cocktail to ever be invented in America- the Sazerac. A well-chosen wine menu, delicious appetizers and a passion for cocktails set this bar among the best in the world.

Via Robert Pashuk Architecture

8. The California Clipper, Chicago

The Clipper is an old bar from the 1930’s, complete with red leather, lots of wood and cash only. The old-school jukebox is heavy on Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline which patrons are free to control. It can sometimes be referred to as a dive bar, but the best of dive bars featuring a craft cocktail list that shares menu space with cheap beer in bottles and cans.

Expect to shimmy up on one of the leather bar stools, order a famous Brandy Crusta and watch the live band. Or order a refreshing Amaro Shaved Ice, a drink hard to find anywhere else. Come for one drink and stay for many as the lights are dim enough in here to make you stay all night.

Via Californiaclipper.com

7. Arnaud’s French 75, New Orleans

It is a world-renowned cocktails bar in New Orleans and is not to be missed on any trip here. Interestingly enough it was originally a gentleman only bar during the days of the Cazenave family but today anyone is welcome here. There is an emphasis here on premium spirits, classic cocktails, and fine cigars.

The furnishings in here alone are incredible, both the bar and bar back were custom built in the late 1800’s. The staff is decked out in white tuxedos with black bow ties and the best barkeep in New Orleans, Chris Hannah calls this place home. We recommend going there and ordering an Old Fashioned, trust us.

Via arnaudsrestaurant.com

6. Eastern Standard Kitchen and Bar, Boston

The beautiful lounge is enough to make one want to visit this incredible bar, as it boasts the longest marble bar in the city, where exceptional bartenders make top-notch cocktails. One of the best reasons to visit this bar is their cocktail selection, as the bar team seems to view the drinking process as a conversation.

They craft their beverage selection carefully, and their specialty is creating classic cocktails that utilize in-house made vermouth, infusions, and bitters from around the world. The drink list won’t be the same here if you come in different seasons as it changes at least 4 times a year. As an added bonus the menu happens to be incredible and features such things as seared salmon and delicious burgers.

Via cntraveler.com

5. Angel’s Share, New York City

It is one of the classiest joints in the East Village, easily reached by an unmarked side door at the front of the Japanese Restaurant Village Yokocho. Many do not know about this bar and perhaps that is one reason why it is so incredible.

You are not allowed to stand around in this bar, nor bring any more than three of your closest friends, this is indeed one of the best places to bring a date. With a stellar view of Stuyvesant Square, bartenders in tuxedos and arguably the city’s best grasshoppers; this is the place to be. Go now, before everyone else finds out about it.

Via cntraveler.com

4. Green Russell, Denver

An amazing cocktail experience awaits visitors to the Green Russell in Denver, located in the underbelly of the most historic block in Denver. Visitors reach this bar by entering through a pie shop and through a swinging door. The bar is actually named for an 1850’s Colorado gold miner William Green Russell.

Inside the bar is styled as a Prohibition-era cocktail joint, featuring exposed brick, opulent chandeliers, plush armchairs and one playful telephone booth. Hand-crafted cocktails are the specialty here using a variety of house bitters, infusions, freshly squeezed juices and small-batch spirits. Appetizers and fresh pie are available to order daily and this is the ultimate bar for quiet conversation and a damn good cocktail.

via 10best.com

3. Hop Sing Laundromat, Philadelphia

Located in Philly’s Chinatown, one has to know where to look to find this incredible bar, (hint-look for the metal gated doorway on Race Street) and one has to be dressed to impress in order to gain access. Visitors get taken inside by a doorman to a vestibule where the floor is coated in pennies and sat down in a church pew where you must hand over your identification for inspection.

Once passing that test, you head inside where you will sample some of the city’s best cocktails and hopefully meet the owner who boasts very firm rules: no sneakers, no shorts, and no photos. Le, the owner claims to be from North Korea, although he is, in fact, Vietnamese by birth. Think about stepping into Hogwarts, pulling up a chair and sipping on one of the best cocktails you’ve ever had. Don’t believe us? Try it yourself, just make sure you don’t wear running shoes.

Via wheretraveler.com

2. Canon, Seattle

It is the pinnacle of Seattle cocktail culture and Jamie Boudreau has made this cocktail bar into something so over the top, it is absolutely incredible. Walking in, the dark upholstery and antique cash register will immediately catch your eye and whether you are in a suit and tie or plaid shirt and jeans, you immediately feel welcomed.

The bar is stained with Angostura bitters, the barrel-aged cocktails served in glass flasks and the drink menu features over 100 different concoctions. The bartenders are superb, managing to balance the hard job of crafting each cocktail to perfection while doing so in a timely manner to serve so many patrons rapidly. There is a beautiful and extensive, almost drool-worthy collection of liquor and if you are a whiskey fan, this bar does not disappoint.

Via The Whiskey Wash

1. 365 Tokyo, Las Vegas

Good luck getting into this member only bar in Las Vegas, a Japanese-inspired bar located on the second floor of Inspire. This bar seats just eight patrons in a tiny room that is walled in on three sides by limo-tinted glass. Guests here are greeted with a bow from the lead barmen and his assistant, along with a warm scented towel, glass of cucumber water and cocktail menu. Much of the experience here is up to the guests, as they can choose which ice they want, the base spirit and even mixing technique.

We aren’t just talking about shaken or stirred here though, these advanced techniques include frozen with liquid nitrogen, siphon-infused with botanicals or even smoked with your choice of wood. Luckily for those who don’t know this much as cocktails, you can leave it up to the bartender to choose for you. Memberships are hard to come by, but we suggest jumping if you ever have the chance to visit this bar

Via Las Vegas Weekly

10 Canadian Attractions Every Kid Should Experience

Canada is loaded with both adult and kid-friendly attractions from coast to coast and whether you live in this beautiful country or are just here for a visit, there are a few key ones not to miss. From the highest point in Toronto to the red sands in Prince Edward Island to the frozen city of Quebec, here are 10 Canadian attraction that every kid should experience in their lifetime.

10. The Carnaval, Quebec City, Quebec

If there is a winter experience that every kid should have in Canada it would be the Carnaval that takes place every year in Quebec City. Every year thousands of visitors flock to this cold weather event which plays host to a slew of activities including snow sculptures, human foosball, snow slides, night parades, outdoor dance parties, sleigh rides, skating and more.

Kids love to meet the mascot of the Carnaval, Bonhomme-the giant real-life snowman who loves to meet with the kids. Make sure to visit him in his epic Ice Palace that is created especially for him and serves as a focal point for several of the activities. Visit a traditional sugar shack, watch as brave men and women frolic in the snow in only their bathing suits at the snow bath and take in one of the family-friendly shows. Whatever you do, make sure you bundle up!

9. Green Gables, Cavendish, P.E.I

Every year hundreds of thousands of people come to the tiny island of Prince Edward Island to visit the site that inspired L.M. Montgomery’s famous Anne of Green Gables novel. This is the perfect place to take the kids and one of the most famed attractions across the country. Located in the popular town of Cavendish visitors to the site will have the opportunity to tour the house and take part in interpretation programs, as well as a stroll through the Haunted Woods and Balsam Hollow trails as found in the book.

Head down to Avonlea Village, a recreated rural community based on the village where Anne lived. Here you can enjoy a children’s music show, browse electric shops and join an authentic PEI kitchen dance party with the kids. Don’t miss the chance to let the kids dress up as Anne at Gateway Village where they can get a replica photo taken, memories that will certainly last a lifetime.

8. Santa’s Village, Bracebridge, Ontario

This 60-acre family entertainment park is nestled in a beautiful setting on the Muskoka River in Bracebridge, Ontario, just a couple short hours from Toronto. It was established in 1955 and this particular location was chosen, as it is exactly halfway between the equator and the north pole, a place where Santa chooses to spend his warm months. This park is only open in the summer and plan on getting there early in the morning to enjoy breakfast with Santa, every day between 9:30-10:30.

Younger ones will love the rides such as swan paddleboats, air bouncers, a miniature Santa roller coaster and more. The splash pad feature giant water buckets that tip and towering candy cane fountains. Come decorate your Christmas cookies at the bake shop, head to Santa’s cabin to grab a photo or visit the farm where there are plenty of deer, sheep, and goat. It is truly Christmas in July here at this unique Canadian attraction.

Via Groupon

7. Algonquin Park, Ontario

If you are looking to get outdoors in the summer and hit the campgrounds there is no better place than Algonquin Park in Ontario. Let’s face it, as much work as it is for parents to take their kids camping, kids absolutely love being able to explore the outdoors. A canoe ride in this park should be on anyone’s bucket list, slicing over the still water with an expanse of water, rock and pine trees in the distance.

Although this park offers a ton of backcountry experiences, they have also made it extremely family friendly with kid-friendly camping areas, rentals on-site and recommended short canoe trips. There is no shortage of beaches to explore, hiking trails, wildlife and enough room for any kid to run around until they can run no more. Hey, maybe they might even sleep in past 7 am.

6. Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto, Ontario

With a name like that, it’s hard to write this list without recommending that this Canadian attraction is visited. The CNE, also known as The Ex is an annual event that takes place for 18 days leading up to an including Canadian Labour Day. Activities here range from an incredible air show, rides, and games, a farm, special kids world, talent shows, special demonstrations and foods that kids will go crazy for.

Every year there is one day during the event that has super discounted prices for kids with the purchase of adult admission. It is here where you will find sing-along with Dora, meet and greets with your kid’s favorite characters, art studios, toy workshops and enough activities to keep you busy for days. Bring a stroller for the wee ones though as it does require a lot of walking.

5. West Edmonton Mall, Edmonton, Alberta

It is the largest shopping mall in North America and absolutely littered with things to see and do, from amusement parks to theatres to an indoor water park. Galaxyland, the indoor amusement park features 24 rides and attractions including roller coasters and thrilling launch rides. World Waterpark is the second largest indoor waterpark and features the world’s largest indoor wave pool and towering twisting waterslides.

The Ice Palace invites skaters of all levels to skate on this scaled down version of an NHL ice rink in the center of the mall. Other exciting things to do here with the kids is indoor mini-golf, an arcade, bowling alley, indoor skate park and explore the theme areas throughout. We promise you could spend 5 days here and still not run out of things to do.

4. CN Tower, Toronto, Ontario

It is Toronto’s most famous landmark and going to the top as a kid is absolutely one of the most memorable moments. For a long time this city attraction was the tallest free-standing structure in the world, and although it lost that title in 2010 it still remains a popular tourist attraction. Kids will love riding in the glass-fronted and glass-floored elevator up to the SkyPod for fantastic views over the city, especially if the kids are a little older to appreciate just how high up they actually are.

The lookout level offers the chance for kids to step out onto the glass floor and really feel like they are floating. If you have kids under the age you will want to make your way to the KidZone, a recent addition to the CN tower which features over 1,500 square feet of space for kids to play. Kids also happen to love the short 14-minute film that features streetcars and propels the audience through the city. Fun for both kids and adults, visit this iconic landmark next time you are in Toronto.

3. Calgary Stampede, Calgary, Alberta

This annual rodeo, exhibition and festival is held every July in Calgary, Alberta and calls itself the greatest outdoor show on earth. Kids love the chance to get up close and personal with the animals at the Stampede including cows, horses, donkeys, sheep, dogs and more. Captivating shows such as superdogs, acrodunk, Thomas and friends, Dora the Explorer and more happen throughout the festival.

Fun interactive activities and rides are located throughout the park, along with enough deep-fried chocolate treats to keep them going all day long. With a midway, market, one epic parade, the rodeo and plenty of parties; the time is now to put on those cowboy boots and hit this epic Canadian attraction with the kids.

2. Canada’s Wonderland, Toronto, Ontario

It is one of the best theme parks in Canada and the largest, opened in 19981 and improving each year that passes. Located in the north of Toronto, it is the perfect day trip for families with kids of all ages. Open daily from May to September and then weekends only until November your best bet to avoid lines is to go during the week before school is out for the summer. Featuring 16 roller coasters, a waterpark, many thrill rides and a special kids-only zone; this park has something for everyone.

Planet Snoopy and Kidzville is perfect the wee ones in your life and features character meet and greets, miniature roller coasters, live entertainment, bumper cars, train rides, swings and more. If you have older kids you won’t want to miss the Halloween Haunt where the park transforms into one giant spooktacular experience complete with rides, mazes and scare zones with live actors throughout the park.

1. Niagara Falls, Niagara Falls, Ontario

It is well known that the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is far prettier than the American, but truth be told how many kids really care about that. Sure they love to see the gushing waterfalls but what makes this attraction really awesome in Canada is the amount of kid-friendly attractions near the falls.

The best-known attraction has to be the Maid of the Mist boat cruise which takes passengers into the rapids immediately below the falls, an exciting experience for all ages. Lundy’s Lane is where the kids will want to head in this town as it offers activities such as bowling, arcades, mini-putt, haunted houses, laser tag and an indoor waterpark. Watch the fireworks over the falls during the summer, grab a bite to eat and wander alongside the impressive thundering falls.

Canada’s 10 Most Beautiful University Campuses

Canada is blessed from coast to coast with incredibly beautiful and unique university campuses. While some feature historic buildings and castles, others are blessed with lush landscapes and an abundance of flora. Canadian universities have done their part to keep up these beautiful landscapes and as more modern buildings are created, they are done so in environmentally friendly ways. From the bustling metropolis of Montreal to the quiet paths of Thunder Bay; here are our top 10 choices for the most beautiful university campuses in Canada.

10. McGill University -Montreal, QB

McGill doesn’t just have one beautiful campus but two, both of them gorgeous in their own ways. The downtown campus features the lush greenery from the slopes of Mount Royal, combined with over 70 state of the art buildings. Macdonald Campus on the other hand is located on the very tip of the island of Montreal and features 100 year old buildings, numerous bike and walking paths, an awesome arboretum with skiing trails and just steps away from the mighty St. Lawrence River. Expect buildings here that have commanding stone walls, copper roofs, impressive stained glass windows, concrete plazas that have been turned into gardens. A shuttle runs between the two campuses and no matter where you study, or visit, it will be downright beautiful.

McGill University

9. University of Toronto -Toronto, ON

The University of Toronto offers three different campuses but it is no contest when it comes to which one is the most beautiful of them all. St. George’s campus is located right downtown and manages to blend incredible historical architecture with green space. Visitors should make their way to Victoria College and check out the Old Vic building, the oldest of the college and perhaps the most beautiful. Head over to University College, the founding college of the University of Toronto and check out Laidlaw quadrangle, which looks more like a medieval courtyard than a university campus. The Mississauga campus on the other hand is located on 225 hundreds acres of protected green space on the Credit River and provides a beautiful background for students and visitors alike.

University of Toronto

8. Queen’s University -Kingston, ON

Think limestone buildings, stunning architecture and waterfront; as that is exactly what Queen’s campus offers students and visitors. Fall is one of the best times to visit this campus as the leaves turn into brilliant shades of red and orange, making for a striking scene against the historic buildings. Students here spend a lot of time at Douglas Library and it’s not hard to see why, as not only is the building stunning but it features a pretty awesome fourth floor which houses a “Harry Potter” room. Although this campus isn’t as large as others on this list, the students and faculty make up for that as school spirit is high. Part of what make this campus so beautiful is the sense of community that is felt; expect to see a lot of blue, red and gold worn around campus as students show off their school spirit.

Queen's University

7. Western University -London, ON

Western offers the best of both worlds, historical architecture mixed with modern buildings and amenities. The campus is situated along the banks of the Thames River in London and offers trails both throughout the campus and along the Thames River. London isn’t the most exciting city on this list which means that students have created their own fun and expect to see them whipping down University Hill on skis and snowboards in the winter. The gothic style buildings have been restored to remain charming while the insides have been renovated, giving students the best of both worlds. This university also signed a pledge a few years ago to transform the campus into a model of environmental responsibility. Plans are in the works to add more buildings to this campus and expect great things in the years to come.

Western University

6. Bishop’s University -Sherbrooke, QB

This small liberal arts university in the tiny town of Sherbrooke offers a lot in term of beauty. Founded in 1843 the goal of this university is to educate the whole person, not just focusing on one subject. The campus is spread over 500 acres, at the junction of the St. Francis and Massawippi rivers and features some of Quebec’s most historic buildings. Many weddings are held at this university campus as St. Mark’s cathedral provides and absolutely stunning setting to say “I do”. This historical chapel features intricate woodwork inside and beautiful stained glass windows. McGreer Hall is the oldest building on campus and stands out as a stunning red castle like building, which looks even more amazing when white snow surrounds it. School spirit and community only adds to the beauty of this school and students who attend Bishops make lasting friends and family.

Photo by: QUT
Photo by: QUT

5. Mount Royal University -Calgary, AB

Mount Royal has a beautiful campus, there is no denying that, especially during the warm seasons when the ponds are shimmering and the gardens are blooming. One of the most notable features of this campus is the outdoor amphitheatre where the students and the community can gather for events, such as plays and concerts. Mount Royal is working hard to do their part in being environmentally friendly and in 2006 opened its first certified LEED building, and has since dedicated to making every new building on campus LEED certified. Make sure to head to the Taylor Centre for the Performing Arts, a beautiful modern looking building in which you can take in a fabulous performance or take some time to reflect in one of the many green spaces throughout the campus.

Photo by: Under Western Skies
Photo by: Under Western Skies

4. McMaster University -Hamilton, ON

Located in the residential neighborhood of Westdale in Hamilton, Ontario; McMaster is beautiful both inside and out. There are amazing trails to be found throughout the campus and in the surrounding areas, as well as conservation areas and a plethora of waterfalls to explore. The main campus itself is both bicycle and pedestrian friendly with wide paved paths throughout, making it easy to get from one place to another. Make sure to have lunch at the Refectory, one of the original buildings on McMaster, as the top floor features a restaurant that looks over a beautiful treed ravine. One of the highlights on this campus is Cootes Paradise, a wildlife sanctuary owned by the Royal Botanical Gardens which features an abundance of flora and fauna. With a mix of original architecture, new buildings and lush landscape, this university is downright stunning.

McMaster University

3. Lakehead University -Thunder Bay, ON

Lakehead University has two campuses, one based in Orillia and the other in Thunder Bay and it is here in Thunder Bay where you will find one of the most picturesque campuses in the country. Spread out over 116 hectares, under the steep cliffs of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, this campus features 39 buildings and an abundance of green space. What you won’t find here is the rows upon rows of historical buildings like many of the campuses on this list. Instead you will find stunning nature, all around you. Buildings were designed with floor to ceiling windows so both faculty and students could feel like they were outside. With gardens overflowing with beautiful flowers and Lake Tamblyn running through the campus it is easy to see why in the warm months, classes are often taught outdoors.

Photo by: Lakehead University
Photo by: Lakehead University

2. University of British Columbia -Vancouver, BC

It is arguably one of the most beautiful university campuses across the country with incredible surroundings and breathtaking views. The Vancouver campus is located at the western tip of the Point Grey Peninsula, surrounded by forest, ocean and mountains. Getting to downtown Vancouver takes just twenty minutes and there are numerous beaches just a short distance away. To add to this awesome campus are the ultra cool buildings situated here. Visitors should definitely head to the UBC farm and check out the yurt, one of the only yurts on a university campus in the world. The library is light and airy, featuring literary quotes on the outside of the building while the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health is sleek and modern with glass windows and a unique shape. Whether you are viewing this campus by air, walking through it or attending as a student, it is simply breathtaking.

University of British Columbia

1. Royal Roads University -Victoria, BC

Up until 1995 this University was actually a Military College and features an impressive main building, the Hatley Castle. The castle was completed in 1908 and was once meant to house the Royal Family, but instead they remained in the UK as the world was at war. Lucky for students and visitors alike, this campus is now a public university spread over 260 hectares of parkland with incredible surroundings. Walking through this campus gives visitors gorgeous views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the impressive Olympic Mountain Range. Walking, hiking and biking trails wind throughout the campus and you will come across an incredible Japanese Garden, among other hidden treasures. The entire campus is a part of the Hatley Park National Historic Site and between the incredible buildings and extensive gardens; it is clear why this truly is the most beautiful campus in the country.

Royal Roads University

The Best Urban Parks in Canada

Canada is known for some of its incredible National Parks but often what gets overlooked in this great nation are the incredible urban parks that have popped up from coast to coast. What makes one urban park better than another? Great access to activities, varied landscapes, incredible scenery and plenty of things to see and do, are what sets these eight urban parks above the rest. From the famous Stanley Park in Vancouver to the largest urban park in Canada to lesser known parks in the east coast; here are the best urban parks in Canada.

8. Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg

This park is considered to be one of Winnipeg’s crown jewels and offers over 113 hectares of woodland and plains along the River’s south side. Attractions here include the park zoo whose star attraction is the Polar Bears and the comprehensive exhibit that they are housed in. Known to be one of the most comprehensive zoological exhibits of its kind in the world, visitors have the chance to watch the playful bears in a stimulating environments inspired by their natural habitat. The park boasts more than just the zoo though, including gardens, playgrounds, restaurants, nature trails, a steam train and more. The park conservatory boasts over 8,000 flowers, trees and plants while the Gallery Museum features local artists and a permanent Winnie the Pooh artifact collection.

Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg

7. Beacon Hill Park, Victoria

Located on Victoria’s southern shores, Beacon Hill Park is an oasis of both landscaped and natural beauty, offering spectacular views during every season. The outer rim of the park is where nature lovers flock to, to Oceanside bluffs where paragliders and kite enthusiasts often can be seen. The inner park is where visitors will find most of the activities though. Wander through the manicured gardens and over bridged streams while music drifts out of the Cameron Bandshell. Or take the kids the the miniature golfing or petting zoo. Wildlife is abundant throughout the park with over a hundred species of birds, river otters, painted turtles and more. This park also happens to have the important status of being the western terminus, the Mile “0” of the 8,000km Trans-Canada highway and so happens to be a very popular tourist photo opp.

Mile 0

6. Pippy Park, St. John’s Newfoundland

At the northern boundary of St. John’s lays one of Canada’s greatest urban parks, Pippy Park, abundant in scenery and breathtaking views. The 27-hole golf course features some of the spectacular views of both the oldest city in North America and miles of rugged coastline, chances are you might even see an iceberg or whale while walking this course. If visitors want to spend more than just a day exploring this awesome park, the campground offers 216 sites on private treed lots that are steps away from playgrounds and the Botanical Gardens. There is a plethora of scenic trails that allow visitors to explore a variety of landscapes including wetlands, rivers, parklands and more. The rare Leopard march orchid can also be spotted here in the Botanical Gardens and offers visitors a once in a lifetime opportunity to see it up close and in person.

whale

5. Fish Creek Provincial Park, Calgary

It is the largest urban park in all of Canada, and just so happens to be one of the best, located in the southern part of Calgary and over three times the size of Vancouver’s famous Stanley Park. Fish Creek flows the entire length of the park and joins the Bow River at the east side, offering visitors a plethora of wildlife viewing opportunities. Visitors here will be privy to 200 bird species, deer, owls, beavers and coyotes which all call this park home. One of the most popular features of the park is Sikome Lake, a man-made lake where thousands of people flock to each summer to swim. A variety of unpaved walking, hiking and bicycle trails are also prevalent throughout Fish Creek Park. Two restaurants are located here, one which offers fine-dining and the other a bakery and café and an Artisan Garden is located in the east end. There are a ton of things to see and do here and if you happen to be a resident of Calgary, consider yourself lucky that you get to enjoy this park anytime at your leisure.

deer

4. Rockwood Park, St. John New Brunswick

This park offers an abundance of activities to enjoy in an unspoiled setting where unusual topography and geography are prevalent. The billion years of history here can be seen in unique rock formations, caves and waterfalls and this park often refers to itself as an all-season natural amusement park. Sports enthusiasts will enjoy the opportunity for hiking, fishing. Boating, climbing, camping, golfing and mountain biking while those looking for something a little more low key can visit the Cherry Brook Zoo, located in the north section of the park. Other awesome amenities include beaches, gardens, stables, campgrounds and picnic sites, along with 890 hectares of forest and the beautiful Lily Lake.

rockwood park NB

3. High Park, Toronto

It is Toronto’s largest public park and in recent years the city has invested a lot of time, energy and money into making it one of the greatest urban parks in Canada. High Park is home to a greenhouse, zoo, restaurants, off-leash dog park and more. The signature Sakura cheery blossom trees in Hillside Gardens are the star attraction during April and May when they are in full bloom. Grenadier Pond is the place to head for fishing off the south rim while visitors who want to swim or skate can head to the designated pool and rink. From wandering through the nature trails to playing on one of many playgrounds to taking in a sport at one of the great facilities, there is certainly no shortage of things to do here.

high park

2. Mt. Royal Park, Montreal

It is the best urban park in all of Montreal and so happens to be one of the best in all of Canada, laying in the midst of Montreal island and including 200 hectares and the highest spot in the city. The park is home to over 180 species of birds and 20 mammals and enough hiking and biking paths to keep any active visitor busy. In the winter time enjoy the 20km of cross country trails, horse drawn carriage rides and an awesome tubing and tobogganing run. Other features of this impressive park include Beaver Lake, a sculpture garden, Smith House – an interpretative center, and two belvederes. Designed by famous architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed New York City’s Central Park, visitors can assure that there is no shortage of spectacular views of the city below and varied landscapes to explore.

mt royal

1. Stanley Park, Vancouver

It is known for being one the best parks around the world, and recently held the title of “best park in the world” by Trip Advisor, therefore no trip to Vancouver should be complete without visiting Stanley Park. This lush green space covers over 400 hectares of parkland and west coast rainforest. Things to do at this park include visiting the indoor/outdoor aquarium, walking the 8.8km stretch of seawall and discovering the Brockton Point’s First Nations totem poles. The park is also absolutely loaded with gardens, beaches, landmarks, sculptures and lookout points, along with a golf course and a Lost Lagoon. Whether you spend an hour, a day or three days exploring this park, one thing is for sure – it is easy to understand why this is truly the best urban park in Canada.

totem

 

8 Best Winter Adventure Parks Canada

So you want to have a winter adventure but you have no desire in strapping on downhill skies or a snowboard. Luckily for you, Canada is one step ahead and has been designing winter adventure centres for the non-skiers. From tube parks to Nordic centers to a former Olympic Park, these eight winter adventure parks in Canada will have you strapping on your boots, pulling on your mittens and going out to play in the snow.

8. Whistler Blackcomb Tube Park, British Columbia

There is no special equipment or training required to ride these hills, with over 1000 feet of sliding bliss and is no shortage of fun to be had. Multiple lanes, a special conveyor lift and a park that is easily accessible from Whistler Village making this one of the most popular winter activities here, other than skiing or snowboarding of course. The Tube Park is open from December until April, weather permitting and is open at night for special sliding. There are seven lanes to enjoy, from a smaller gentle slope for the young kids to longer faster lanes. Tubes are sized for kids and adults, with double tubes also being available. With heated washrooms, food and beverages for sale, a full sound system and a fire pit with seating; it’s easy to enjoy the whole day or night here.

Photo by:  Go Whistler via Facebook
Photo by: Go Whistler via Facebook

7. Calgary Olympic Park, Alberta

This one-of-a-kind attraction is located just 15 minutes from downtown Calgary and has been welcoming visitors since 1988, when it was the premiere site of the XV Olympic Winter Games. Yes, there are awesome ski and snowboard hills here, after all it is the second largest ski school in Canada, but there are also other awesome winter activities to take part in. Have you ever dreamed of being in a bobsled, racing down sheer ice at over 100 km an hour? Now is your chance as the fastest sport on earth is available to the public. How about taking part in the sliding sport of the Luge, an adventure that will take you through five twisting turns in just 40 seconds, also known as one of the most dangerous winter sports on earth. Olympic Park also offers public skating and two kilometers of groomed trails for cross country skiers, perfect for both day or night skiing. A whole day can be spent at this impressive venue without strapping on skies once.

Jeff Whyte / Shutterstock.com
Jeff Whyte / Shutterstock.com

6. Blue Mountain Resort, Ontario

Get the most out of winter at one of Ontario’s premier winter resorts, Blue Mountain. Here families and people of all ages can enjoy an abundance of winter activities. Blue Mountain’s newest winter activity is its Hike N’ Tube, where riders don’t have to strap on skies to experience the thrill of flying downhill. Instead they can sail down by tube, perfect for younger ones as young as three. The Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster is perhaps one of the most loved attractions at this adventure park. This winter coaster takes riders on an exhilarating experience as it twists and turns 3,560 ft. down the mountain through varied terrain. Riders control how fast they go and can expect to reach speeds up to 42 km/hr — if they are real daredevils. Snowshoeing, skating and playing in the heated outdoor aquatic center are all other awesome activities to take part in at Blue Mountain Resort.

Photo by: Blue Mountain via Facebook
Photo by: Blue Mountain via Facebook

5. Glissades, Quebec

Hailed as being one of the largest snow tubing parks in Canada, it is clear that Quebec takes its winter adventures very seriously. The snow tubing park itself boasts a whopping 32 slopes, ranging from beginner to expert along with two magic carpets and a chairlift. With a 250 vertical drop, lighted runs for evening sliding and over a thousand tubes to rent, you can be sure this will be one fun-filled day. In addition, this park boasts the opportunity to slide down one of 7 slopes with multiple people packed into winter canoes. Choose to slide down with either eight or 12 people in this epic experience. Here is also your chance to try out the four-man bobsleigh with three runs that are more than half a kilometer long. It has a unique lift that will take you to the top, provided you are wearing helmets, this sport can be safely enjoyed. With huge amounts of snow, this is one of the best winter adventure parks in the country.

Photo by: Glissades des Pays d'en Haut via Facebook
Photo by: Glissades des Pays d’en Haut via Facebook

4. Canmore Nordic Centre, Alberta

If you are looking for some unique winter activities to try, heading to Canmore Nordic Centre in Alberta is the right choice. Here you can take part in activities such as Winter Disc Golf. With eight holes available during the winter season and free access to the course, this otherwise summer sport is perhaps even more fun in the snow. Why not try your hand at the popular growing sport of fat biking? With designated single track trails, this hot new sport is easy to enjoy here. Ice skating, snowshoeing and tobogganing are other activities to take part in at the Nordic Centre, and the best thing about these is they are all free! Most winter enthusiasts head here for the cross-country skiing though, as there are more than 65 km of groomed nature trails to explore.

Photo by: Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park via Facebook
Photo by: Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park via Facebook

3. Cypress Nordic Area, British Columbia

Located less than 30 minutes away from Vancouver’s downtown, you will feel as though you enter a different world, one that seems more like a winter wonderland, loaded with fun activities for the whole family. The Nordic Area is where you will find plenty of access to cross country skiing- with over 19 km of groomed trails, and 11 km of snowshoeing trails that run through sub alpine meadows and snowy mountain forests. If you really want to get some thrills in though, head to Gnarly’s Tube Park where you can slip and slide your way down six different chutes that measure 100 meters in length. A tube tow does all the work bringing you back to the top and all you have to do is a pick a chute, lie back and enjoy. For the little ones who are too small to slide, they can enjoy the gentle sliding area that features a gentle slope with a 4 meter drop over 25 meters. Bring your own sled for this one or rent a crazy carpet.

Photo by: Cypress Mountain via Facebook
Photo by: Cypress Mountain via Facebook

2. Horseshoe Resort, Ontario

A variety of winter activities await visitors at this awesome winter resort. Winter tubing is the most popular activity here, as the adventure park features five big chutes to fly down. A magic carpet whisks riders to the top ensuring you can go time and time again, without getting tired. Open during the day and at night, sliding down is an experience not to be missed. Fat biking is also available at this park and the 20 km trail is perfect for beginners and intermediates. Ride your way through the loops and track and discover why this is one of the fastest growing winter sports. Snowshoeing can be done on the 35 km of groomed trails through the Copeland forests which offers incredible scenery and landscape. And let’s not forget about the mini-sled program where kids get to learn how to snowmobile. With all these activities, its hard to choose which to do first at this awesome adventure park.

Photo by: Horseshoe Resort via Facebook
Photo by: Horseshoe Resort via Facebook

1. Valcartier Village Vacances, Quebec

It is the largest winter adventure park in Canada, offering loads of activities for anyone of any age. Offering over thirty different tubing slides and adventures, this winter park takes the top spot on this list. Thrillseekers should head to the Himalaya slides, where the four longest and steepest slopes are houses and riders can expect to hit up to 80 km/hr. If you want fast but not that fast the Avalanche area features 9 inner tube slopes ranging from easy to difficult to very difficult. It is in this are where you will also find the Snow Rafting and Tornado slides. Two experiences that lets you take on the slopes as a group, from 12 passenger rafts to 8 passenger spinning circles of fun. With a half pipe, children’s only area, skating path and more; this is the ultimate winter playground in Canada.

Photo by: Village Vacances Valcartier via Facebook
Photo by: Village Vacances Valcartier via Facebook

The 8 Best Sledding Hills in North America

Winter is coming and one of the best ways to enjoy the cold snowy weather is to bundle up and go play in it, whatever age you are. Luckily you don’t need any special skills to enjoy the snow, indeed all you need is a sled. Tobogganing, sledding, whatever you want to call it is one of the most popular free winter activities that can put a huge smile on your face, no matter what age you are. Here in North America there are some pretty epic sledding hills that will shoot your down at colorful speeds and leave you breathless. Getting up is the only hard part here. From Ontario to Colorado to Halifax to Ottawa, we have rounded up the best 8 sledding hills in North America.

8. Firecracker Hill – Telluride, Colorado

This ski town is known for it’s awesome powder, incredible resorts and laid back feel but skiing just isn’t the only thing you can do here. The town may not have an official sledding park but one local hill is where to go to get your sled on. On the southern side of Telluride Town Park lies Firecracker Hill, follow the orange cones that the city puts out to mark the walking path to the hill. Don’t worry if you don’t have own your sled, the Telluride Nordic Center will rent you one for just a few bucks a day. You will find a mix of locals and visitors at this hill, riding anything from GT snow racers to saucers to mini snowboards. Obey the signs, recognize this is avalanche country and slide down this awesome hill in the ski town of Telluride.

Photo by: The Denver City Page
Photo by: The Denver City Page

7. St Andrews Heights Toboggan Hill – Calgary, Alberta

This hill is known for it’s massiveness, incredible speed and downhill length. It has been tempting daredevil sledders for years. Located in the St. Andrews neighborhood, to reach this hill park in the Community Hall lot and then make your way to the top. A quick warning, it is a heavy hike to the top and be prepared if you have younger ones to pull them most of the way. To understand how big this hill is let’s use statistics. It has a run of about 150m, a drop of 17m and then a run out of 100m. That is a lot of hill to come down, and a lot to go back up. The end of the run is separated from the road by a fence to keep sliders safe. Expect to see a ton of people using this hill in the winter time, including junior snowboarders who practice here before hitting the big slopes.

Photo by: 102.1 The Edge
Photo by: 102.1 The Edge

6. Grand Mesa Old Powderhorn, Grand Junction, Colorado

It is referred to as “Old Powderhorn” by locals and it part of the old Mesa Creek Ski Area, located about three miles past Powderhorn Ski Resort. The parking area is located on the south side of the road and once you have bundled up and got your sled ready, its time to head up the trail head. There are plenty of trees to avoid coming down and the ride can be described as a wind-burning, adrenaline pumping, heart-stopping kind of ride. Expect the tiniest of snowdrifts to send you airborne and we recommend wearing your thickest snowsuit. Best for older kids and adults as there are plenty of trees that pose a threat of crashing into. Or at least bring a sled that you can steer.

Photo by: The Denver City Page
Photo by: The Denver City Page

5. Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum – Boston, Massachusetts

Head to Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood where Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum is located, offering 281 acres of exotic trees and flowering shrubs, which in the winter is host to an abundance of awesome sledding hills. Peter’s Hill has to be the favorite here as it offers incredible views from the top and no trees to contend with on the way down, making it safe for all ages. It also boasts the highest and longest slope in the area. The steep Weld Hill is the favorite amongst daredevils as it offers a ride of 350 feet long with parts that are at a 60-degree slope. We suggest hanging onto your hat as you race down these hills.

Photo by: Shutterstock via Boston Magazine
Photo by: Shutterstock via Boston Magazine

4. Mount Royal Park – Montreal, Quebec

This Montreal park is popular all year round but really comes alive in the winter thanks to all the visitors that take part in sledding down the hills, whether on rented tubes or sleds of their own. For decades this has been the place to take part in winter fun and the slope at the corner of Cote-Ste-Catherine and Parc looks tame from afar but in fact offers an incredible speedy and bumpy ride. Families and people of all ages flock to this hill with tubes, crazy carpets and even traditional wooden sleds. Straw barriers keep riders from going into the streets and there are even washrooms and a cafeteria on-site so you can warm those hands and grab a snack.

Photo by: J'aime le mont Royal/Facebook
Photo by: J’aime le mont Royal/Facebook

3. Citadel Hill – Halifax, Nova Scotia

It is undoubtedly the best hill to sled on in the city of Halifax and when the snow flies, people of all ages are flocking here. What makes this hill so popular is the awesome incline, lack of obstacles and location. Head to the south and west faces as they offer the best sledding, especially the slope that leads down to the Garrison Grounds. Grab your GT snow racer, a crazy carpet or even a cafeteria tray and prepare for one adrenaline-rushing ride down the best hill in the city. This hill does get busy with locals and visitors and your biggest obstacle here may just be the other sledders. Luckily this hill has a spacious landing area for sledders, ensuring that everyone stays safe.

Photo by: Destination Halifax
Photo by: Destination Halifax

2. Dutch Henry Tubing Hill, Leadville, Colorado

It calls itself the highest, fastest sledding hill in all of Colorado, and it just happens to be conveniently located one-minute south of downtown. The hill here is open seven days a week and free to all visitors who bring their own sled. Rentals of tubes are available on weekends during the day for a small fee. Big, steep and fast are the only three words that come to mind when you head to this hill and sledders should prepare themselves for a wild ride. Not recommended for younger kids, head to this hill with a group of friends, adults or older kids.

Photo by: Colorado Come To Life
Photo by: Colorado Come To Life Tourism

1. Carlington Park, Ottawa, Ontario

It is known as one of the top sledding destinations in North America, and that should come as no surprise considering its steepness and the wild thrills it offers, essentially this former ski hill offers two hills in one, the highest being the steepest and showcasing a platform before the second hill. Not for the faint of heart, this hill is usually riddled with many jumps carved into the snow and expect to be sharing the hill with amateur snowboarders. Lights make it tempting to slide down this hill at night, for an even more extreme thrill. Parking is provided here at the J. Alph Dulude Arena and just use caution and avoid areas that are fenced off for riders. Enjoy one of the wildest rides in North America at Carlington Park in Ottawa, Ontario.

Sledding

6 Incredible Hockey Rinks to Visit this Year

Watching a hockey game, whether it is a professional league or a kid’s game is entirely more enjoyable when you are sitting in the stands, rather than watching it on TV at home. Teams have made a strong effort to enhance fan’s enjoyment of the game by creating some pretty incredible hockey arenas over the years. Boatloads of amenities, unique architecture and the fans themselves are all reasons why these six hockey rinks deserve a visit this year. Go on, throw on a jersey and explore.

6. Gjovik Olympic Cavern Hall – Norway

Built in 1993 for the 1994 Olympics, this structure, which includes not only a hockey rink but also a swimming pool, is the largest cavern all for public use in the world. This is because the Norwegians decided to build their hockey rink into the Hovdetoppen mountain, instead of dwarfing the landscape. What this means is that all nine stories of the building are actually underground. Visitors here must actually go completely subterranean to watch a local professional hockey game. Seating capacity for this rink is 5,800 and one won’t have to worry about being unsafe in here, as the hall duplicates as a civil defense facility and is designed to withstand nuclear, conventional and gas attacks! Expect a dark and mysterious feeling to this rink as the venue was designed to reflect Norwegian culture and character, and based around caves of fairy tale trolls.

Photo by: Visit Norway
Photo by: Visit Norway

5. Ericsson Globe – Stockholm, Sweden

Often referred to as the Stockholm Globe Arena, this is the national indoor arena of Sweden and currently the largest hemispherical building in the world. Remarkably it only took two and a half years to build and has a diameter of 361 feet and inner height of 279 feet. The Globe has been host to many NHL games over the years as well as being host to Pope Jon Paul II in 1989.  There are a ton of amenities at this rink including some awesome restaurants, child seat cushions and priority seating for those with disabilities. Taking in a hockey game here is a must, as is riding to the top on the SkyView Gondola, which offers a fantastic view of all of Stockholm.

Lucian Milasan / Shutterstock.com
Lucian Milasan / Shutterstock.com

4. Scotiabank Saddledome – Alberta, Canada

Designed by Graham McCourt Architects, this arena is one of the best in the world when it comes to visibility, as in there is no bad seat in the house thanks to the pillar-free viewing seat design. Coincidentally this design resembles a saddle, perfect for the home of the Calgary Stampede. This 1980’s icon holds the world record for the longest spanning hyperbolic paraboloid concrete shell. This arena seats 19,289 for hockey and lacrosse and varies for other events that take place throughout the year. It remains one of the oldest arenas in the NHL fueling speculation that it may need to be replaced in the near future. For now though, fans should hurry up and check out this awesome arena packed with some of the most loyal fans in the country.

Richard Cavalleri / Shutterstock.com
Richard Cavalleri / Shutterstock.com

3. TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts

The passion of the Boston Bruins fans make visiting this hockey arena quite the experience, that is unless you are rooting against Boston, in that case we suggest you keep that to yourself. With not a bad seat in the house and with multiple train lines inside and around the building, it is also very easy to reach. Close to the historic north end of Boston, you may just find yourself at one of the great pubs around the corner after the game. Inside TD Garden you will find plenty of concession options with short line ups, letting fans catch the most of the game while chowing down on some grub. One of the finest ways to catch a game here though is in the Legends Club where five-star food is served in a luxurious atmosphere. However you choose to watch the Bruins take on their opponent, this experience will be well worth it.

Richard Cavalleri / Shutterstock.com
Richard Cavalleri / Shutterstock.com

2. Xcel Energy Center – Minnesota

It is one of the most fan-friendly hockey venues in the United States and one of the best to watch the Minnesota Wild take on their opponents. This ultra-modern arena is beautiful both inside and out and from a technological standpoint, it is one of the best in the league. An absolutely mammoth jumbotron makes sure that fans don’t miss a single moment of the game while an excellent sound systems makes things even more exciting. The concourse of this arena is overly large and hosts a variety of food options to keep everyone happy throughout the game. The fans here are the ultimate hockey fans, based in “the state of hockey” and love to show their love for the team, which makes watching them in this arena that much better.

Photo by: Brandon Meier via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by: Brandon Meier via Wikimedia Commons

1. United Center – Chicago, IL

There is a reason that this hockey rink is called “Madhouse on Madison,” it is undoubtedly the loudest hockey arena in the NHL league and is one of the largest arenas in which to watch a NHL game. There is extensive hockey history here; along with on ice success and awesome arena entertainment; which is why this is the most incredible hockey rink to visit this year. An average of 21, 600 fans pack into the arena on game night and are treated to a fantastic show. One unique aspect of the hockey games here is the music that is played during the games, in particular the Allen Digital Organ. The organ and its sound took over a year to create and is based on the famous Barton Organ that was found in the old Chicago Stadium. Because the organ was too bug and difficult to transport to the new arena, each sound was digitally re-created to provide fans with the utmost authentic sounds of the famous organ. Banners and jerseys hang in the rafters, fans cheer wildly and the players play their hearts out; really what more could you ask for.

Photo by: Wally Gobetz via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by: Wally Gobetz via Wikimedia Commons

The 6 Busiest North American Airports at Christmas

North American airports are notoriously busy, especially when you look at holiday times. It’s not just the influx of passengers that makes these airports so busy, although that helps, it’s also the weather that cancels and delays flights and the security lines that get extra slow. Luckily some of these airports do what they can to make flying over the holidays easier, such as bringing in Santa Claus to amuse the little ones or even bringing out adorable puppies for weary travelers to pet. Discover the busiest Christmas airports in North America, and which ones are the best and worst to fly through during the holidays.

6. LaGuardia New York Airport

It is one of the worst airports in the country, that we can all agree on, however you choose to measure it. Crowded and stranded travelers often pace the terminals as there is inadequate gate seating, a lack of power outlets and even a lack of restrooms for the 27 million travelers a year that cross through the gates of LaGuardia. At Christmas time this gets even worse and as the bad weather often hits, the runways become congested leaving passengers trapped in the airport. Luckily at Christmas time the staff try to make your day a little more pleasant by offering holiday greetings as you board the plane, unfortunately that’s about the only Christmas spirit you will find here. We recommend you try to avoid this airport at all costs during the Christmas season.

Photo by: Business Insider
Photo by: Business Insider

5. Calgary International Airport

Although it is one of the busiest airports in Canada around the holiday times, this airport is big on sharing the Christmas spirit with traveling guests. As the hub of WestJet airline, you can expect friendly service from these workers, donning blue Santa hats and festive Christmas sweaters. As you walk through the Calgary airport expect to find a brightly lit Christmas tree and carolers singing merry tunes. Mrs. Claus will even be offering story time in the terminal. Although security lines tend to get long here, flyers are often quite friendly and the line will pass quickly as you are swapping stories with a cowboy boot wearing guest behind you. It may be busy, but this is one of the friendliest airports to fly out of at Christmas.

Photo by: Vimeo/WestJet
Photo by: Vimeo/WestJet

4. Ronald Reagan Washington Airport

This airport promises to be busy, especially considering all the government employees that fly home to see their families around Christmas time and expect to be fighting lines and crowds of people. Luckily this airport makes it a little less stressful around the holidays with some awesome ways to pass the time. Make sure to check out the humongous Christmas tree that gets erected and this year keep your eyes out for more than just one. Kill time by browsing through more than 100 shops and restaurants located throughout the three terminals. The Gallery Walk located in historic Terminal A is a great place to view paintings, sculptures and other works of art from local artists. This airport also hosts singers, dancers and performing artists throughout the holiday season.

Photo by: Washington Post
Photo by: Washington Post

3. San Francisco International Airport

It’s no wonder this is one of the busiest airports during the holiday season as people flock to the warmer temperatures often found here. The bad news for fliers is that this airport does get overly crowded with long line ups as more than 2 million passengers come through over the two weeks surrounding Christmas. Luckily everyone at this airport is committed to making the holiday travel season as enjoyable as possible. Think festive holiday lighting, live music, social media events and mobile performers delighting passengers with music, magic tricks and storytelling. With kids spots located throughout, plenty of power outlets to charge those iPads and art displays throughout, passengers will forget it’s even the busy season, that is until they hear those carolers busting out their holiday tunes.

Photo by: SanFrancisco Airport
Photo by: SanFrancisco Airport

2. Toronto Pearson International Airport

An airport that is notorious for its long security lines, cancelled and delayed flights because of weather and its business at Christmas. Toronto Pearson promises to be busy during the holiday season but in recent years has done its best to ease stress on travelers. Airport ambassadors are now out roaming the terminals, helping guests figure out where to go, helping with bags and otherwise on hand to deal with any questions. Christmas carolers are set up throughout the airport bringing merry tunes to all who pass them and Mrs. Claus is often seen reading stories to little ones. There is even a spot set up where families can have their picture taken in a holiday setting. Yes, you will be waiting in line, yes you will be dealing with throngs of other passengers and yes you will most likely be delayed, but hey at least there are carolers.

rmnoa357 / Shutterstock.com
rmnoa357 / Shutterstock.com

1. Los Angeles International Airport

It is one of the busiest airports in North America and at Christmas time it only gets worse, although thankfully they don’t have to worry about weather delays on their end. Still snowstorms that blanket the Northeast will delay flights in LA. There are an estimated 3 million passengers that go through this airport over the two weeks near Christmas but luckily LAX is determined to make traveling a little stressful. Santa is often found roaming the terminals, taking photos with little ones and handing out candy canes. Last year members of the LAX Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUPS) program fanned out across the airport and were making their furry selves available for petting, a simple stress reliever for weary travelers. Expect to see plenty of Santa hats and holiday cheer here!

Photo by: LA Times
Photo by: LA Times

Top Places to Celebrate New Years Eve in Canada

It is one of the most awaited festivals all over the world, where people come from all nooks and crannies to indulge themselves in one epic partying spree. In fact, planning your New Years Eve can be downright stressful and overwhelming. From free outdoor music concerts to dazzling displays of fireworks to black tie galas, the choices are endless. And that’s not even the hard part. Deciding where to ring in the new year can be tough, do you stay in your hometown and attend a local party or make your way into a different city to see how they do it? If you want options, you got them. Here are our favorite places to ring in the New Year in Canada:

6. Toronto, Ontario

Whether you are looking for family fun, adults only, a retro party or an intimate pub, the lively city of Toronto has the right celebration for you. The Mod Club in Toronto is the place to head if you are looking for retro, it is wonderfully designed with the famous event “From Britain with Love”. The Britain inspired theme of this event has made a landmark in the city of Toronto, making numerous visitors coming to the city on the New Year’s Eve. However, that’s not the only party in the city. Head to Nathan Phillips Square on New Years to skate on the famous outdoor rink, enjoy a local DJ and local live music and take in the spectacular fireworks display at night.

Canadapanda / Shutterstock.com
Canadapanda / Shutterstock.com

5. Ottawa, Ontario

It is the capital of Canada and one can expect that they go big when it comes to ringing in the new year, and boy oh boy do they ever. Head to Ottawa City Hall where the celebration is known as the TD Hogmanay Scottish New Years Party. Visitors here will have the chance to skate to Celtic music, ice sculpt, scotch taste, listen to live music and more. And when midnight strike, prepare for an amazing display of fireworks off the roof of city hall. Or head to the family event, Rick Chiarelli’s New Year Eve where there are plenty of alcohol free events and includes countless entertainers, from magicians to dancers to face painters, and of course some pretty awesome fireworks. Or head to Metcalfe Square and Sparks Street where a free outdoor concert will help you bring in the new year, along with one giant flare and dazzling lights in the sky.

Photo by: Maclaine
Photo by: Maclaine

4. Vancouver, British Columbia

One unique way to ring in the new year is to celebrate on the water. The city of Vancouver offers a variety of choices when it comes to NYE cruises and most come complete with drinks, dancing and complimentary champagne when the clock strikes midnight. Pride of Vancouver Charters and its Luxurious Pride vessel is one of the best ways to celebrate. This cruise provides entertainment, dancing and a delicious buffet, all in the luxury cruise ship tradition. If you are single and looking to meet someone to help bring in the new year snap a spot on the queen of Diamonds cruise where a great party brings up to 400 other singles who are also looking to meet someone. Countdown parties, midnight fireworks and plenty of fun is to be had on this New Years Eve experience.

Vancouver new years eve

3. Montreal, Quebec

Montreal is really known for its one famous party at the L’Olympia de Montreal, where 2500 people gather to drink, dance and ring in the New Year in one crazy insane party. But that’s not the only big party in town. Clubs such as Roxbury, Rouge Nightclub and La Boom can see crowds between 800-2000. Some of these parties even include an open bar and all your drink tips. If you are after more dinner and dancing and less club hopping the choices are endless from the Hyatt Regency Gala New Years Eve party to the La Finale New Year’s Eve at Jargo. No matter where you go or what you want to do, Montreal is one of the hottest places to be.

Photo by: Tourisme Montreal
Photo by: Tourisme Montreal

2. Calgary, Alberta

The city of Calgary certainly knows how to include the whole family when it comes to New Years Eve celebrations, but don’t let that fool you, there is still plenty of adult only parties too. If you do have the kids in tow though, why not head to Calgary Olympic Park where you can bundle up and enjoy skating, music and family fun, ending with a spectacular display of fireworks at midnight. The zoo offers fireworks a little earlier in the evening for those who want to get their kids in bed earlier, along with zoolight displays, fire pits, wild entertainment and plenty of hot chocolate. For the adults who are looking for a good time head to one of many events including the Mystique Ball, the Black and White Ball at the Casino or the Beatmatrix Gala where you will feel as though you have transported right into Atlantic City. Surely this city is one of the best places to be to ring in the new year.

Photo by: City of Calgary
Photo by: City of Calgary

1. Niagara Falls, Ontario

It is Canada’s largest free New Years eve concert and fireworks, making it this the number one place to be to ring in the new year. In fact, this concert actually draws about 40,000 people to Queen Victoria Park and along with an epic line up of musical guests, there are two awesome fireworks displays (one at 8:45 for the wee ones and midnight). To help welcome in 2016 Demi Lovato will be the headliner along with other guests such as Sam Roberts Band and Serena Rider. With an abundance of awesome places to eat and stay, this is one Canadian tradition you should do once in your life. Did we mention the falls are also lit up in beautiful colors?

new years eve niagara falls