Things To See And Do In Nova Scotia

There is nothing quite like the breath-taking sites and warm hospitality of the East Coast. Nova Scotia is the perfect getaway for couples, families, and solo travelers alike and has a variety of activities and attractions whether you’re visiting for the cuisine or the outdoors. From delicious food and drink to the beautiful trails and the quaint towns, we’ve rounded up the top 20 things to see and do in Nova Scotia, Canada.

1. The Cabot Trail

The Cabot Trail is 580 kilometers long, so while we’re not suggesting you hike or bike the whole thing (unless you’re into that!), it is quite the experience to see the fall colors, dine in restaurants along the trail, and take in some of the highland culture and music. You can hike portions of the coastal trail on your own if you visit Cape Breton Highland National Park or take a guided hike if you’re inexperienced or want to learn more about the local history. Alternatively, you can drive the entire trail in about 8 hours by car or motorcycle, if you’ve got a bike!

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2. Peggy’s Cove

Peggy’s Cove Coastal Region is way more than the iconic lighthouse, though you don’t want to miss Peggy’s Point lighthouse and surrounding village. Known as nature’s playground, this region is the perfect place for kayaking, hiking, birding, whale watching, golf courses, and pristine beaches. There’s enough to do here to spend two or three days with enough fresh seafood restaurants and cozy cottages and bed and breakfasts to make your time there comfortable. Peggy’s Cove is also a great place to head out on the water for a wildlife tour to see birds, puffins, seals, turtles, and fish, so book a tour while you’re in the area.

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3. Whale Watching

There are many parts of the province that you can head out on a whale watching tour, but regardless of what coastal town you choose to set off from, make sure you take the time to see these great creatures of the sea. It’s a classic East Coast activity to do in the Summer and Fall months (which are the best times for sightings) that may end up being the highlight of your trip! Depending on when you go in the season, you may see Minke, Humpback, Fin, Sei, or North Atlantic Right Whales on your tour.

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4. Wineries, Cideries, and Distilleries

Spend a day visiting some of the wineries, cideries, and distilleries that Nova Scotia has to offer! There are actually more of them than you might think – Nova Scotia has over 18 wineries, 12 distilleries, and 8 cideries to explore and drink at. Tour on your own or with a company that will drive you around. If you’re interested in doing a mix of all three, check out the Nova Scotia Good Cheer Trail to plot your trip around the province and grab your boozy passport!

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5. Halifax Boardwalk

Take a stroll down one of the world’s largest boardwalks! The boardwalk in Halifax is 3 kilometers of shops, restaurants, and gorgeous views. Explore the stores, grab a drink at one of the city’s best restaurants, and enjoy the lazy afternoon at the bustling boardwalk. Taking a harbor tour by boat is another great way to experience the waterfront and learn more about Halifax’s nautical history. Before departing on your trip, be sure to check out the Nova Scotia Tourism website to see what unique events might be taking place while you’re in town.

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6. Tidal Bore Rafting in the Bay of Fundy

The Bay of Fundy has a must-experience outdoor activity called tidal bore rafting. You go out on the bay in a motorized boat with a guide to take on the highest tides in the world – up to 16 meters! All you do is hold on! Different times of day have different intensities, making it a great thing to do regardless of whether you’re timid or a total adrenaline junkie. Tidal bore rafting (followed with some mud sliding!) has been named a Canadian Signature Experience, proving further that it’s not an activity to be missed while in Nova Scotia!

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7. Lunenburg

Lunenburg is a port city and UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its colorful and historic buildings and gorgeous waterfront, as well as the Bluenose II, a replica of the sailing boat that graces the Canadian dime. If you want to see the city from a local’s perspective, consider taking a Lunenburg walking tour where you’ll get to take in the sites and cuisine with a knowledgable 8th generation guide. The town has won several awards including Prettiest Painted Places in Canada and Communities in Bloom, making it a can’t-miss stop on your vacation.

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8. Sea or Lake Kayaking

Nova Scotia, or anywhere by the ocean, is a wonderful place to go kayaking and feel the rush that comes with being on the not-quite-flat water. You don’t need to be an expert as many guide companies are offering a variety of levels of difficulty. Don’t pass up this opportunity to explore the hidden coves, paddle the choppy sea, and perhaps even see some wildlife. If you’re looking for more flatwater to kayak in, check out this full moon experience for an evening paddle paired with local cuisine and music!

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9. Lobster-Related Activities

One of the best parts of the East Coast is all the delicious fresh seafood, including lobster! Make sure you indulge in at least one all you can lobster dining experience at one of the many seafood restaurants. If you’re visiting in February, be sure to take part in the infamous Lobster Crawl for some serious fun all month long! Other fun lobster-related activities include seeing the rare colored lobsters at the Northumberland Fisheries Museum hatchery, take a boat tour with a local lobster fisherman to experience a day in the life, or take a lobster cooking class! There are many fun ways to learn about this aspect of the province.

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10. Take in Live Local Music

From local pubs to street corners to boat tours, live East Coast music is everywhere in Nova Scotia. Before you leave on your trip, search for popular live music venues in the area you’ll be staying in. Then you just need to show up, grab a beer, and listen! East Coast music is some of the most lively, foot-tapping music, so don’t worry about seeing the concert of a bigger named musician! Locals know the best spots and favorite musicians, so don’t be afraid to ask the host at your accommodations for some recommendations in the area.

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11. Burntcoat Head Park

Visit Burntcoat Head Park to see the highest tide in the world (up to 53.6 feet!), walk the ocean floor during low tide, and find small sea creatures in the tiny pools left behind. It’s a beautiful display of nature and a lot of fun for kids and kids at heart! The park also offers guided ocean floor tours on certain days, so check the park’s calendar of events before you head East!

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12. Kejimkujik National Park

Kejimkujik Park is a breathtaking park to camp, hike, bike, paddle, learn about Mi’kmaw culture, view petroglyphs, and to connect with nature. The park is biodiverse, allowing you to explore many different habitats and take in the unpolluted night sky in the Dark Sky Preserve! The park has a variety of accommodations, from backcountry and front-country campsites to yurts and cabins, so there’s somewhere to stay regardless of your comfort level.

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13. Halifax Food Tour

Guided food tours are one of the best (and most delicious!) ways to get an overview of a bigger city and therefore are a great way to start your trip. In Halifax, there are two primary tour companies: Local Tasting Tours and Taste Halifax. Both come highly reviewed, so it’s up to you to decide what type of tour you want. Local Tasting Tours offers a downtown tour, SoMo neighborhood eateries tour, and a night out tour – all done on foot. Taste Halifax offers two food tours and two alcohol tours, all done by vehicle with a guide to drive you around. Regardless of which one you choose, you’ll get to taste the local cuisine (often in places that tourists might not otherwise know about) and get to see the city from a local’s perspective.

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14. Visit Sugar Moon Maple Farm

Sugar Moon is a can’t-miss attraction located on the North Shore of Nova Scotia that is all about maple syrup. It doesn’t matter what season you’re visiting in, there’s tons to do at the farm! The farm offers maple syrup tasting and tours, an all-day maple brunch with maple-themed cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages, monthly fine dining Chef’s Nights, hiking on the property, or the famed Maple Magic Package! It’s a quintessentially Canadian experience that even a home-grown Canadian can’t miss while in Nova Scotia.

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15. Sable Island

A trip to Sable Island isn’t necessarily the most budget-friendly activity to do on your Nova Scotia vacation, but it is well worth the trip if you’ve got the time and extra money. Sable Island is most well-known for the legacy of over 350 shipwrecks that dot the shore and the 400 gorgeous feral horses that roam the island. The 25-mile long island is entirely made of sand and boasts the world’s largest breeding colonies of harbor and grey seals. Sable Island is quite remote and takes planning, registering with Parks Canada, and several days to visit, so it isn’t for the faint of heart. But if you’re into adventure, it’s worth the trip by air or sea.

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16. Joggins Fossil Cliffs

The fossil cliffs are fun for both kids and adults! This world heritage site and natural attraction is a thorough fossil record of the Coal Age, which was 100 million years before dinosaurs roamed the earth! Here you can see some incredible exposed fossils on your own or on a beach tour with a knowledgable guide on easy, medium, or difficult terrain. New fossils are regularly being uncovered and guides are aware of them, making a guided tour a really great option.

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17. Oak Island Money Pit

Oak Island has a long and fun history of treasure hunting! In 1795, a teenager found a large oval-shaped hole in the ground that after many years of many people digging, has become much larger and well known as the Oak Island Money Pit. Though no treasure has actually been found, many other things have including wooden planks, a cavern, a tunnel, and other small things that are just enough to keep the mystery and digging going. You can read up on the full mystery here or just head to the island to learn all about it there!

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18. Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

If you enjoy learning about history, the Maritime Museum is a great place to explore on a rainy day. Here you can learn about Nova Scotia’s rich and long relationship with the sea, from World War convoys and the Titanic to the Frankin Exploration to the Halifax Explosion. Like many museums, there are often events going on that may enrich your experience, so check out the events before your trip to see what’s going on! There’s lots to learn about and no better place to “dive in” than this museum.

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19. McNab’s Island

McNab’s Island is only a short boat ride out of the Halifax Harbor and has many historic and natural attractions, including wildlife and over 200 species of birds. The island boasts 18 kilometers of hiking trails and abandoned buildings and ruins to view and explore (though not all are open to the public). You can get to the island for about $20 per person round trip and guided tours are available during the summer months, though you can always explore on your own! It’s a great way to enjoy nature and history not far from the Halifax city center, making it a perfect day trip.

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20. Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Cape Breton is a beautiful park where the mountains and sea meet, making for exciting hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing. The Cabot Trail goes through the park and offers some of the best hiking and glorious views in the province. One of the coolest things about this park is it’s Equipped Campsite partnership with Mountain Equipment Co-op allowing you to affordably rent a campsite already equipped with a tent, dining shelter, sleeping pads, chairs, camp stove, dishes, utensils, cooking gear, wash bins and a lantern. This is a great way to experience the park if you don’t own the gear yourself or you couldn’t bring it along (for example, if you flew to the province).

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8 Historic Canadian Forts That Still Exist Today

Canadian forts offer a glimpse into the past, built over the last two centuries to defend the young country. Nowadays they stand as a testament to the history of Canada and offer visitors a chance to go back in time. Many of these historic forts have been rebuilt time and time again, in order to give visitors access to them. Beautiful views, fun activities and a great lesson in Canadian history await visitors to these eight historic Canadian forts.

8. Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site, Victoria, British Columbia

This coastal artillery fort was built in the 1890’s, intended to defend Victoria and the Esquimalt Naval Base. The site is adjacent to Fisgard Lighthouse, the first lighthouse on the west coast of Canada. Visitors here have the chance to tour secret bunkers, military command posts, and original 19th-century buildings.

Hear personal stories of soldiers and their families, explore the nearby tide pools and bring a picnic and spend the whole day here. Known for its breathtaking views, the fort overlooks the beautiful coastline and out into the mountains. Open every day except Christmas, most visitors choose to visit the fort and the lighthouse in the same visit.

7. The Citadel National Historic Park, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Fort George is the fortified summit of Citadel Hill, first fortified in 1749, the year when Halifax was founded. A series of four different defensive fortifications have occupied the summit of Citadel Hill. While it was never attacked, the Citadel played an important part in the defense of the Halifax Harbor and its Royal Navy Dockyard. The star-shaped structure offers an incredible view of the city and the harbor.

Visitors should plan on taking a guided tour to learn more about the fort’s history from 1749 through WWII. Make sure to visit the Army Museum while you are here to view over 70,000 artifacts chronicling Atlantic Canada’s military history. Visit in July and be a part of the Great Canadian Backyard Campout where you can set up camp inside the walls of the citadel.

6. Fort Chambly National Historic Site, Chambly, Quebec

This imposing stone structure has been guarding part of one of the largest navigable waterways in North America for more than two centuries. It was first constructed in 1711 to defend the colony and three wooden forts preceded the stone fortification. For many years this fort was the main footing of the defensive chain of fortifications along the Richelieu River, which was the easiest route into New France.

The fort was lost to the British in 1760 in The Conquest of New France, captured by American forces in 1775 and finally restored in 1882 by a citizen of Chambly. Today visitors can see a fully reconstructed version of the fort where they can learn more about New France history and culture.

5. Fort St. James National Historic Site, Fort St. James, British Columbia

It was one of the first permanent fur trading posts in the West, built in 1805-1806 and has been rebuilt a total of four times. Visitors here will get a good look at life in 1896 that includes a fur warehouse, storage facility, trade store, and gardens. It displays the largest group of original wooden buildings representing the fur trade in Canada and the story here revolves around the relationships and interactions between the fur traders and Native Peoples of the region.

Its location on Stuart Lake offers fun for outdoor enthusiasts including hiking, sailing, fishing and mountain biking. Special event days happen throughout the year including Salmon Day with its ‘iron chef’ cook-off and Harvest Day.

Via Salmon Trails | Northwest BC Culture

4. Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site, St. Andrews, Manitoba

The original Fort Garry was destroyed in 1826 by a devastating flood, leading the Hudson’s Bay Company to search for a higher ground to build the next fort. Thus Lower Fort Garry was built, 32km north of the original in 1830. What makes this fort so significant is the fact that Treaty 1 was signed here.

Visit here from May to September when costumed interpreters recreate like at Lower Fort Garry in the early 1850’s. Original buildings and walls, hands-on activities and original-to-era furnishings are all a part of the experiment. Around Halloween, candlelight tours are offered through the fort, along with hot chocolate around a campfire.

Via National Post

3. Fort Malden National Historic Site of Canada, Amherstburg, Ontario

It was formally known as Fort Amherstburg, built in 1795 by Britain in order to ensure the security of British North America against any potential threat of American Invasion. It here where Sir Isaac Brock and Tecumseh met during the War of 1812 to plan the siege of Detroit. Unfortunately, this border fortification was torn down after the War of 1812. The fort was rebuilt and it’s the second structure that survives today.

Ideally located along the Detroit River, visitors here are privy to some true Canadian flora and fauna including sugar maples, swans, and geese. Throughout the year there are special events such as the haunted fort tours during October and Christmas celebrations that show visitors how soldiers over two hundred years ago celebrated the holiday.

Via Ontario’s Southwest

2. Fortress Louisburg, Louisburg, Nova Scotia

The original settlement was made in 1713 by the French and developed over several decades into a thriving center for fishing and trade. Fortified against the threat of British Invasion during the time of empire building, Louisburg was besieged twice before finally being destroyed in the 1760’s. Luckily for visitors, archeologists have reconstructed the fortress as it was in the 18th century.

Today the site features more than a dozen buildings to explore as well as daily demonstrations recreating life at the fort that includes cooking, dancing, music and military drills. This is more than just a fort to explore, with its three 18th-century restaurants as well as a delicious bakery to explore. One of best things about visiting this fortress is the help you are giving the local economy, which has struggled economically with the decline of the North Atlantic fishery.

1. Old Fort Erie, Niagara Falls, Ontario

It is known as Canada’s bloodiest field of battle, due to more than 3,000 troops who lost their lives during the Siege of Fort Erie from August 3rd to September 21st in 1814. The original fort was built in 1764 and was the first British fort to be constructed as part of a network developed after the Treaty of Paris concluded the Seven Years’ War. The fort was first a supply base for British troops, before the War of 1812, a base for troops during the American Revolution and later an important crossing point for the Underground Railroad.

The annual Siege of Fort Erie takes place on the second week of August each year and is most definitely the favorite time to check out this historical fort. It is then that re-enactors from all over North America descend on the fort to re-create the historic battles, complete with plenty of firepower.

7 Small East Coast Towns with Big Appeal (Canada)

The east coast of Canada is known for its charming seaside fishing villages, hospitable people, and amazingly fresh seafood. From New Brunswick all the way to Newfoundland, small towns are everywhere. Despite popular opinion that these small towns all over the same, they are in fact quite unique and different from one another in a variety of ways. Discover the birthplace of Canada, colorful floating houses, icebergs right at your fingertips and miles of endless beach in these 7 small east coast towns that offer up a big appeal to visitors.

7. Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

This town of just over 2,000 people is touted as being one of the most beautiful towns in all of Canada. The location itself is simply amazing, along with a harbor and bordered by beautiful dramatic hills. Add in the fact that this town is dotted with pastel color buildings from the 18th and 19th century and you will soon understand the draw here.

Lunenburg also happens to be a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, winner of the prettiest painted places in Canada and located just one hour from Halifax. The downtown area buzzes with activity from art galleries to boutique shops to fresh seafood restaurants. Walkable streets, friendly people, an interesting history and some of the best lobster in the country all await you here at this small town with big appeal.

6. Twillingate, Newfoundland and Labrador

This town located on the northeast coast of Newfoundland is home to around 2,000 residents. This small fishing village features friendly locals, stunning coastline, and quiet scenic roads. The town also happens to be located right next to Iceberg Ally, a corridor of the ocean that runs down from Greenland and is home to whales, dolphins, and seals, and of course icebergs. Fishing boats, colorful fishing stages, wharves and dories dot the coast of this town.

Hiking trails, museums, beaches, coves, an astronomy observatory, a winery, lighthouse and plenty of cozy cafes set the mood for this quaint charming town. Visit in the right season (May to July) and come up close and personal with the incredible icebergs, or spot one of 22 species of whales that live in the area.

5. Cavendish, P.E.I

This small rural town located on the tiny Prince Edward Island is home to only 300 residents, give or take, although summer tourism makes that number jump up. The claim to fame here is that this particular town was home to Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of the famous Anne of Green Gables. Visitors here flock to this town to check out her home and surrounding landscape, which the books are based on. But Cavendish offers so much more than just one famous house.

Red sandstone cliffs, sand dunes, warm crystal blue waters and endless stretches of beach set the stage for a magnificent setting. Activities range from world-class golfing to deep sea fishing to touring the art galleries to parasailing or even fine dining. Treat yourself to an ice cream as you walk the quaint streets, stopping to talk to the friendly locals as they ask you how your vacation is going. After all, this is the east coast, where some of the friendliest people reside.

4. St. Andrews, New Brunswick

This charming seaside town has a population hovering around 2,000; although summertime months bring many people to the area. This dreamy little town in New Brunswick boasts scenic architecture, rich marine life, and stunning scenery. Designated as a National Historic District you can be sure that the turn-of-the-century charm awaits you, along with a slew of modern amenities.

Dine on delectable lobster rolls and the catch of the day, sink your feet into the white sand and warm ocean and don’t miss out on the art galleries and museums. The local farmer’s markets and boutiques offer handmade one of a kind creations and the downtown is bursting with independent shops. From whale watching to touring gardens to festivals; there is something happening all year round.

3. Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia

Known as Canada’s birthplace, this small town is home to just 500 residents. If you are looking to dive into Canadian history, this is the place, as it features over 150 historic sites and heritage buildings. The town is nestled between mountain and sea offering visitors a spectacular waterfront setting for dining, shopping and staying. The town is home to St. George, Canada’s oldest street, on which you’ll also find the country’s oldest wooden house.

Guided tours of the area are a great way to learn more about the fascinating history of this town and make sure to do the National Historic District Tour and the Candlelight Graveyard Tour. A waterfront boardwalk teems with shops, a farmers market shines out with fresh produce and handmade arts and crafts and the people are as welcoming as one would expect.

2. Trinity, Newfoundland

Located three hours from St. John’s, this 18th century fishing port is home to just around 200 residents, with a slew of visitors coming to discover this charming town. Historic buildings, art galleries, museums, old churches and a beautiful scenic harbor are what draw visitors here. Hiking trails lead hikers up granite slopes and through beautiful beaches, while whales, birds, and icebergs float by in the distance.

The people of Trinity are really the forefront of what makes this place so spectacular though, known for their genuine hospitality and talent in entertainment and performing arts. Visitors should not miss out on taking the scenic walking tour where you are whisked back to the past. Make sure to stay in one of the charming B&B’s, cottages or guesthouses located throughout the town.

1. Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia

This picture perfect marine town is home to just over 900 people and sits in the perfect location, a bay with access to over 100 different islands. The surroundings are simply stunning, protected waters and magnificent vistas, perfect for sailing, kayaking, hiking, and cycling. There are 100 miles of groomed trails, world-class beaches, and islands galore to explore. The main street is lined with charming shops, boutiques and unique eateries.

Local art studios are open and invite visitors to watch as they create masterpieces, whether it is rug hooking, sculpting or painting. The town is full of 19th century architecture but what draws visitors here are the three iconic churches along Edgewater Street that are one of the most photographed views in Canada. Great scenery, welcoming locals and an abundance of things to see and do make this one awesome small town with a big appeal in Eastern Canada.

The 11 Best Wilderness Retreats in Canada

If there is one thing Canada does well, it is Wilderness resorts. From the west coast to the east, and everything in between, this country is overflowing with incredible log cabins, luxury glamping resorts and scores of activities centering around nature. Discover one of the most expensive lodges in the country, hike through the Great Bear Rainforest, come eye to eye with an Orca Whale and embrace the beautiful country at these 11 incredible wilderness retreats.

11. Tweedsmuir Park Lodge, Bella Coola, BC

Nestled in a beautiful and secluded area of British Columbia is this breathtaking wilderness lodge, with a specialty in grizzly bear viewing. The lodge was originally built in the 1920’s as a hunting and fishing lodge but today serves visitors as an eco-friendly, wilderness retreat. Placed in the middle of one of the healthiest bear habitats in the world, bears can often be seen wandering past the lodge or even napping on the lawn.

Springtime brings something special as the bears come down to the Atnarko River to feast on spawning salmon. The beautiful open lodge is welcoming with its amazing fireplaces, outdoor hot tub, and large dining rooms. Guests will spend the night in one of 11 private chalets that sleep anywhere from 2-4 people. With helpful guides on site, you can choose to do as little or as much as you want here at this incredible wilderness retreat.

Via Bella Coola Heli Sports

10. Siwash Lake Ranch, Cariboo Mountains, British Columbia

This remote resort is small, personal and sophisticated, beckoning travelers who are looking for an authentic adventure and life-enriching experiences. This genuine family-owned ranch is located in cowboy country and legendary for providing guests with the ultimate wilderness experience. Guests here have the choice of suites in the ranch house or private luxury tent suites overlooking the Siwash Lake. Dine on food that has been grown on-site or foraged from the nearby forests in the authentic dining room or outside on the sun deck or fireside.

Besides the signature horseback riding program that is offered to all guests, this ranch offers other exceptional activities and experiences including but not limited to archery, wilderness survival, kayaking, yoga, mountain biking, swimming and more. This off-grid ranch is determined to offer an authentic wilderness retreat to guests of all ages, including families that tend to head here in the summer months.

Via Nation Geographic Lodges

9. Trout Point Lodge, Tobeatic Wilderness Area, Nova Scotia

It boasts itself as luxury accommodations in unspoiled wilderness, an intimate secluded resort that caters to anyone looking to escape the ordinary. This wilderness lodge and nature retreat offers guests locally-inspired cuisine and copious amount of nature activities. Picture a massive lodge created out of log walls and beam ceilings, furnished with Tiffany lamps and handmade furniture. Crackling fireplaces, incredible views, and a welcoming atmosphere complete the picture.

With two dining venues, every guest is taken care of and served the freshest of Canadian seafood along with fresh veggies and organic ingredients. The real draw to this wilderness retreat though is the experience, from hiking through the Acadian Forest ecosystem to trout fishing in the lakes to star gazing at night to soaking in the cedar hot tub; there is no shortage of amazing experiences to be had.

Via Booking.com

8. Wilderness Resort, Sunshine Coast, BC

Located in one of BC’s best-kept secrets, this resort offers over 124 acres of pristine wilderness at your fingertips. Wilderness Resort is located within the Sechelt Inlet Provincial Marine Park on the Sunshine Coast and you can expect to share your space with bald eagles, black bears, bobcats, deer and more. Getting here is just the beginning of your wilderness experience as it’s either a 20 minute float plane ride or 40 minute ferry ride. Accommodations here range from cabins to platform tent cabins and all come beautifully furnished, ready to enjoy.

Guests here take advantage of the incredible kayaking, hiking, yoga, bird watching expeditions, sailing and seaplane tours. There is no dining room on-site here, instead fresh food is brought in daily and guests can cook it themselves, with the hosts, other guests or hire a personal chef to do it all for them. With one of the most beautiful landscapes surrounding you, the urge to go out and explore will keep you busy all day here.

Via My Trips Canada

7. Esnagami Lodge, Nakina, ON

This premier fly-in fishing lodge is for those who are looking to get serious in nature and catch the fish of their lifetime. Fully furnished cabins complete with beautiful lake views are the source of accommodation here, along with a lodge that houses a beautiful dining room, comfortable couches and other modern amenities you may need. Esnagami Lake is known for its bountiful waters, majestic wildlife, and trophy fishing.

This pristine lake offers over 120 miles of shoreline and over 200 islands, along with 18,000 acres of clear cool water. What awaits you after a full day of fishing, either guided or self-guided, is warm delicious home cooked meals in the main lodge’s dining room, a crackling fire and great company.

Via Scottmillsfishing.com

6. Cathedral Mountain Lodge, Canadian Rockies, British Columbia

Sitting in the very heart of the Canadian Rockies, it is hard to imagine how one could not fall in love with this incredible wilderness lodge. This stunning timber lodge is combined with 31 luxury lodge cabins offering the ultimate in accommodations to visitors. Activities here are endless, from 310 miles of hiking to kayaking, white water rafting, mountain biking, fishing, horseback riding and more. Guests will wake up surrounded by majestically mountains, the smell of pines and the sound of the river.

Meals are served in the incredible dining room that looks out onto the Kicking Horse River and is accompanied by fine wines. The on-hand adventure specialist has the inside scoop on wildlife sightings, the best hikes and all the activities guests can participate in here. With no televisions or phones, the Cathedral Mountain Lodge encourages you to shut down from your normal life and get outside and explore the beauty that surrounds you.

Via Cathedralmountainlodge.com

5. West Coast Wilderness Lodge, Egmont, BC

It is one of the most accessible wilderness retreats in British Columbia, just a three hour drive or 20 minute float plane ride from downtown Vancouver. Guests will feel as though they are miles away from reality though as they stare out at the calm waters that surround this lodge. This lodge offers superior marine and wildlife tours by zodiac, the only ones of its kind on the Sunshine Coast and this comfortable and exciting journey are one of the best ways to learn about the ecology and geography of the west coast.

Guided tours are the specialty here and include ocean kayaking, canoeing, fly-fishing and nature hikes, just to name a few. Nature is behind the design of the accommodations and guests here should expect spectacular views, private decks, outdoor hot tub, and communal fireplace lounge. This lodge also boasts one of the most incredible water-front restaurants in the country and watch as eagles soar high above and sea lions laze on by while indulging in incredible gourmet meals.

Via wcwl.com

4. Tincup Wilderness Lodge, Yukon

This breathtaking wilderness lodge is set right on the shore of Tincup Lake, surrounded by miles and miles of the untouched and raw beauty of the Yukon. The lodge can only be reached by floatplane and sets a maximum of 10 guests per week, making this an incredibly personal and unique experience. Accommodations echo the true idea of Canadian comfort, log cabins that are comfortably furnished and a large welcoming lodge with woodstove, kitchen and dining room.

The lodge here prides itself on delivering fresh authentic Northern cuisine and provides all three meals to guests. Activities here range from fly-fishing in the crystal clear lake teeming with fish to hiking one of many trails that start at the lodge to canoeing and kayaking through the calm waters. If relaxing in nature is more your style, you will love the lakeside sauna and hot tub.

Via Tincup-lodge.com

3. Nimmo Bay Resort, Port McNeil, BC

This all-inclusive luxury resort is reached only by helicopter, float plane or boat and has been listed as one of National Geographic’s most unique lodges worldwide. This intimate family owned and operated resort promises to deliver the ultimate wilderness retreat to its guests through a variety of activities, luxury cabins, and an incredible dining experience. The nine wooden cabins include awesome extras including BC wine, luxury linens, organic bath and beauty products and more.

Dining is done in the cozy lounge or outdoors on the gorgeous floating dock where local, homemade meals are served alongside local wines and beer. Included in your stay here are activities such as bear watching, canoeing, hiking, snorkeling, sunset cruises, yoga, whale watching, windsurfing and more.

Via Outside GO

2. Tagish Wilderness Lodge, Tagish, Yukon

Offering intimate and memorable experiences, Tagish Wilderness Lodge is located in the middle of the Yukon’s pristine wilderness, accessible only by boat, floatplane, skiplane or dogsled. The lodge is made up of 4 private log cabins, with a maximum of eight guests in total at one time, along with the main lodge which features a wood-fired sauna and large dining table. All meals are included and served around a family-style dining table using only the freshest of ingredients.

The lodge operates in both the winter and summer and different activities are available depending on when you visit. During the summertime, guests should expect plenty of canoeing and kayaking, fishing trips, boat tours, and hiking. In the winter guests enjoy snowshoeing, dog sledding, ice fishing and staring in wonder at the Northern Lights. Any time of the year you will be sure to observe local wildlife like moose, bears or caribou in their natural habitat.

Via Charlote Travel

1. Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, Tofino, BC

This five-star wilderness retreat is seriously one of a kind and from the moment guests step off the float plane they know they are in for something special. Visitors to the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort will experience world-class dining, luxury tent accommodations and countless activities to choose from. This resort is only open from Mid May to September and is one of the most costly resorts per night in the country.

Accommodations are safari-style tents decorated with antiques, king-size beds, remote-controlled propane wood stoves, and ensuite bathrooms. Gourmet meals are served and often include wild salmon, scallops, and vegetables from the organic garden. Because of its location in the 350,000-hectare Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve, guests are invited to can catch salmon and halibut, ride horses into the old-grown rainforest, kayak in the Bedwell River and hike along numerous trails. This once in a lifetime wilderness retreat should not be missed, as long as you have the money to spend.

Via Kiwi Collection

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

8 Historic Canadian War Sites You Can Still Visit Today

If you are a history buff looking to explore the many war site in Canada, you’re in luck. From Nova Scotia to Ontario all the way to Saskatchewan, there are an abundance of places to visit, which were at one point, battlefields during the numerous wars. Some of the sites are designated National Historic Sites with activities, events and interactive displays while others are living museums and fortified towns. If you have ever wanted to put your feet onto an actual battleground, now is your chance with these 8 Canadian Historic War Sites.

8. Nancy Island Historic Site, Ontario

It is one of the lesser-known war sites in Canada, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting. The story here goes that The Nancy was a British Schooner, a fur-trading vessel during the war of 1812. It was on the Nottawasaga River on August 14th 1814 when Lt. Worsley, the commander of the ship did everything he could to defend her form the American attack. Unfortunately the Nancy was destroyed, although the crew lived to fight another day. Today on Nancy Island visitors can see the hull of the Nancy, built in 1789. Also on the site there is a replica of a 19th century Great Lakes lighthouse and a video presentation that shows visitors the crew’s heroic story. In the summer make sure to tour the site, participate in a cannon demonstration and interact with a historical character.

"Wasaga Beach, Ontario, Kanada; Nancy Island Museum" by Christian Budach - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Wasaga Beach, Ontario, Kanada; Nancy Island Museum” by Christian BudachOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

7. Plains of Abraham, Quebec

The Battle of the Plains of Abraham, which took place on September 13th, 1759, was a pivotal moment in the Seven Years War and in the history of Canada. General James Wolfe led the British invasion force to defeat the French troops leading to the surrender of Quebec to the British. The battle only took 30 minutes, as the British soldiers climbed the steep hill in darkness and through a single deadly volley of musket fire, defeated the French. Today it stands as one of Canada’s most important historical parks and there are numerous exhibits throughout for visitors to explore the story through uniforms, maps, interactive games and period reproductions.

Plains of Abraham, Quebec

6. The Fortress of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia

It was during the Seven Years War that British troops were looking to gain control of Quebec with Louisbourg being their gateway to the St. Lawrence River. They attacked this military fortress that was erected over the course of three decades. The British brought a major artillery assault to this fortress, causing major structural damage and with 14,000 British soldiers and only 9,000 French soldiers; the Brits had a significant advantage. Setting the enemy’s ship on fire and then the main centerpiece of Louisbourg on fire meant that the French had no choice but to surrender. This fortress may have been lost to history if not designated a National Historic Site in the 1960’s and today it is one of the largest reconstructed 18th-century French fortified towns in North America.

LunaseeStudios / Shutterstock.com
LunaseeStudios / Shutterstock.com

5. Ridgeway Battlefield National Historic Site of Canada, Ontario

The Battle of Ridgeway was fought on June 2, 1866 between Canadian troops and an irregular army of Irish-American invaders who called themselves the Fenians. It was the first modern industrial-era battle to be fought by Canadians, the first to be fought only by Canadian troops and the first to be led exclusively by Canadian officers. It was actually a defeat for Canadians, and the first and only armed victory for the cause of Irish Independence between 1798-1919. As it happens the Fenians only held Ridgeway for a short amount of time, in which a rapid convergence of largly British and Canadian reinforcements convinced many of them to return in haste to the United States, where waiting US authorities took their weapons. Visitors can find out more at the Battle of Ridgeway Memorial Park site where there are outdoor interpretative displays and panels.

Photo by: Eric Lorenzen Photography
Photo by: Eric Lorenzen Photography

4. Chippawa Battlefield, Ontario

The Battle of Chippawa was actually a victory for the United States Army during the War of 1812 when they invaded Upper Canada along the Niagara River on July 5th, 1814. It was the longest and bloodiest military operations of the War of 1812. The actual site of where it took place was on the fields of Daniel Street’s farm near the banks of the river and started when a force of 2,000 men attacked an invading American army of 3,500. The fighting lasted all day until the Brits were forced to withdraw and the Americans won, but only for three weeks, until the bloody battle of Lundy’s Lane was fought and won by the Brits on July 25th. Niagara Parks has preserved the 300 acres of the pristine battlefield, one of the last remaining sites from the War of 1812 and visitors are encouraged to go on the self-guided walking tour that retraces the events of the war.

Photo by: Ontario War Memorials
Photo by: Ontario War Memorials

3. Battle of the Chateauguay Historic Site, Quebec

It was October 26th 1813, during the War of 1812 when a British force of 1,630 regulars, volunteers and militia from Lower Canada and Mohawk warriors repelled an American force of about 4,000 who were attempting to invade Lower Canada and attack Montreal. The Battle of the Chateauguay was one of the two battles that caused the Americans to abandon the Saint Lawrence Campaign, a major strategic effort put on by the Americans. This site has been turned into a Historic National site in which visitors can come to learn more about the battle and how the Canadian took victory. The interpretation center is where visitors can have interactive experiences learning about the lives of soldiers and more. Outside visitors can tour the archaeological landscape that witnessed the battle or head to the beautiful monument that commemorates the battle.

"Lieu historique national du Canada de la Bataille-de-la-Châteauguay 02" by Benoit Rochon - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Lieu historique national du Canada de la Bataille-de-la-Châteauguay 02” by Benoit RochonOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

2. Batoche National Historic Site, Saskatchewan

Batoche is the site of the historic Battle of Batoche during the northwest Rebellion of 1885, which pitted Canadian authorities against a force of rebel Metis. The Metis settlement of Batoche was established in 1872 and by the time the battle took place it numbered 500 people. The battle resulted in the defeat of Louis Riel and his Metis forces, resulting in the collapse of the Provisional Governments. Batoche is now a National Historic Site where visitors can come and learn more about the history of the community and its inhabitants via a multimedia presentation. There are several restored buildings with costumed interpreters who depict the lifestyle of the Metis between 1860-1900’s.

Batoche National Historic Site, Saskatchewan

1. Fort Henry National Historic Site, Ontario

It was at the beginning of the war of 1812 that local militia erected a blockhouse and battery on Point Henry to defend the important naval base on Point Frederick, as well as to monitor maritime traffic on the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. On November 10, 1812 this battery was involved in repelling several American warships that were attacking the Royal George that was taking refuge in the Kingston Harbor. Distrust continued after the War of 1812 between the British and the Americans and the original fort that was built was demolished to make way for a more extensive fort, built between 1832-1836. Although this new fort was never attacked, it has now becoming a livening museum for visitors that come from all over the country.

Felix Lipov / Shutterstock.com
Felix Lipov / Shutterstock.com

10 Historical Landmarks Every Canadian Should Visit

Canada is a relatively new country in the grand scheme of things and isn’t usually considered as a historical tourist destination. Most people who visit Canada come for the expansive, diverse and stunning landscape, and for good reason; Canada has some of the most impressive natural wonders in the world. But Canada does have an important and rich history, and you would be remiss to explore Canada without a visit to one of the nearly 1000 national historic sites and landmarks found across the country.

10. L.M. Montgomery’s Home -Cavendish, Prince Edward Island

Readers of the Anne of Green Gables series, one of Canada’s most well-known literary works, will be familiar with the National Historic Site. Located in rural Prince Edward Island, near Cavendish, is this quaint landmark; included in the historic site are the Green Gables house, the Cavendish home and the surrounding landscapes, including several lovely hiking trails ideal for a relaxing stroll. Even those who are not familiar with the books or the author will appreciate this beautiful home and the scenery typical of Prince Edward Island; plan for the day and bring a picnic to enjoy on the grounds!

Anne of Green Gables House

9.  Rideau Canal -Ottawa, Ontario

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rideau Canal in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa is an impressive feat of engineering and architecture, and is a favorite destination among both tourists and locals. Officially connecting Kingston to Ottawa, this 202 kilometers of canals is a beautiful chain of lakes, rivers and canals perfect for a day out canoeing or sight-seeing. The exact location of the UNESCO site is in Ottawa; originally built for military purposes in the 1800’s, the series of lock stations and fortifications are architecturally impressive and still completely operational- many still hand crank operated!  It is a favorite for locals too; during the winter months you can strap on some skates and travel nearly the entire canal- make sure you grab a beaver tail and some hot chocolate at one of the many kiosks set up along the way!

Rideau Canal Ottawa

8. Batoche, Saskatchewan

Established in 1872, this Métis settlement was the site of the historical Battle of Batoche during the Northwest Rebellion of 1885 and is now a National Historic Site in Canada. Situated in the heart of the prairies on the South Saskatchewan River, it is here that Louis Riel was infamously defeated and a new country was formed. Walking through this historical landmark, you realize what an important moment this was for Canadian history; in fact, you can still see some of the bullet holes from the final battle. Not just for history buffs, take the family and spend the day walking in the shoes of Métis settlers on the shores of the river and learn how the old way of life disappeared and a new one began.

Batoche, Saskatchewan

7. L’Anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland and Labrador

Visit the L’Anse Aux Meadows National Historic Site on the tip of the island of Newfoundland and you can see evidence of the very first European settlers to set foot on North American soil. Scattered amongst this striking landscape is evidence of an 11th century Viking settlement; the only known location of a Viking settlement in North America, this site holds a tremendous amount of historical importance in terms of migration and discovery. Spend some time looking for the excavated remains of the wood-framed turf buildings (like the ones found in Iceland and Norse Greenland), and wandering around the site. The scenic, yet unrelentingly harsh landscape makes it all the more impressive that an entire culture managed to settle and live here hundreds of years ago.

L’Anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland

6. Fortifications of Québec -Québec City, Québec

As the only fortified city north of Mexico, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is rich in history and architectural beauty, akin to historical cities scattered all over Europe. Walk the walls around Old Québec, nearly 4.6 kilometers in length to marvel at the views of the city and beyond, and to marvel at the military engineering of the fortifications developed in the early 1600’s. Old Québec is a beautiful city to explore by foot; many pedestrian only streets make it easy to get around, and the slower pace makes it easier to take all your pictures! There are also plenty of delicious cafés and quaint shops (although venture off the main streets for a less touristy experience), and plenty of maple syrup inspired treats to keep you going during the day!

meunierd / Shutterstock.com
meunierd / Shutterstock.com

5. Dawson, Yukon Territory

Way up north, in the harsh, unforgiving, stunningly beautiful landscape of Canada, you will find Dawson, Yukon, the heart of the Klondike Gold Rush and a charming town, well preserved and rich in history. Although small, there is plenty to do here; adventure enthusiasts will enjoy the outdoor landscape made for hiking and rafting, yet those searching for a more relaxing visit will enjoy the traditional pubs and boardwalks through town. Those feeling lucky can try their hand panning for gold in the Klondike Gold Fields and enjoy a tour through some of the still operational gold mines. Dawson is worth the trek up north, but given its remote location, be sure to stay awhile and enjoy the surrounding areas to make the most of your trip!

Pecold / Shutterstock.com
Pecold / Shutterstock.com

4. Fort Garry Hotel -Winnipeg, Manitoba

Those afraid of ghosts may want to skip the Fort Garry Hotel- the infamous Room 202 is said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman, but those brave enough won’t want to skip a visit to this landmark. A National Historic Site located in downtown Winnipeg, this famous hotel is one of Canada’s grand railway hotels, and built in 1913, it was the tallest structure in town upon completion. The architecture is reminiscent to other chateau style hotels in Canada, like the Fairmont Chateau next on the list, and is a unique and beautiful addition to the industrial core of Winnipeg.

Photo by: Fort Garry Hotel
Photo by: Fort Garry Hotel

3. Fairmont Chateau Frontenac -Québec City, Québec

One of the most beautiful and grand buildings in all of Canada, the Fairmont Château Frontenac in Québec is considered as one of the most photographed hotels in the world, in part because of its sheer size and grandiose nature on the Québec skyline. Designated as a National Historic Site in 1980, this hotel was built for the Canadian Pacific Railway company in the late 1800’s to promote luxury travel and tourism; it was a hotspot for wealthy travelers and those searching for a glamorous experience. This is the most prominent building in Québec and surely can’t be missed when exploring the area; spend some time exploring the glitzy, over the top décor inside and the intricate architecture on the outside- bring an extra memory card  for your camera when visiting this landmark!

Chateau Frontenac

2. Terry Fox Memorial -Thunder Bay, Ontario

All Canadians are familiar with Terry Fox; in fact, he is probably one of the most well-known Canadian icons, recognized nationally and around the world. Visiting the Terry Fox Memorial, overlooking Lake Superior, you can’t help but be overwhelmed by this man’s courageous and inspirational quest to make the world a better place. Terry Fox was a humble young man who has inspired generations of Canadian’s to raise money and improve the lives of cancer patients worldwide; because of him, hundreds of millions of dollars has been raised for cancer research. All Canadian’s can find something to relate to in Terry Fox and the life he led; because of this and his relatability, this Terry Fox memorial is possibly one of the most emotional and inspirational in all of Canada.

"Terry Fox" by Richard Keeling - Own work. Licensed under GFDL via Commons.
Terry Fox” by Richard KeelingOwn work. Licensed under GFDL via Commons.

1. Fortress of Louisbourg -Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

Located on the Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, this National Historic Site is one of the most important sites in defining Canada as it is today. The Fortress of Louisbourg was settled in 1713 and fortified later in the mid-18th century, and was the site of historic Anglo-French battles crucial to our history. Enter the fortified city and feel what it was like living in a fishing, port city during the 1700’s. Take one of the many walking and guided tours available, or spend some time exploring on your own; whatever you choose you will be sure to leave with a better understanding of how the original settlers of Canada lived hundreds of years ago.

LunaseeStudios / Shutterstock.com
LunaseeStudios / Shutterstock.com

The 12 Best Rooftop Bars and Patios in Canada

Canada…often known as the land of ice and snow actually gets enough warm weather in the summer time across the country to house some pretty epic rooftop patios and bars. While you won’t find very many year round pools, you will find handcrafted cocktails, live music and lively atmospheres. Locals and visitors come together on these patios to drink, dine in style and escape the busy streets below. From Victoria to Toronto to Halifax, here are our top 12 choices for the best rooftop bars and patios across the country.

12. Bovine -Toronto, Ontario

It is Queen West’s most enduring rock bar, a smorgasbord of music, junkyard memorabilia and plenty of tourists but in recent years an incredible addition was added to the roof. Although this rooftop patio took a long time to happen, the result is a hidden tropical oasis complete with a tiki hut serving as a bar, picnic bench seating and a jungle of tropical plants. No need to look any further than here if you are craving tropical drinks as this bar serves us pina coladas, mai tais and hurricanes, along with a rum collection that tops out at 50 different kinds. Expect live music events throughout the summer, drink specials and a whole lot of Hawaiian like fun! If it is rock music you are craving though, you will have to head indoor for that.

Photo by: The Joy Architects
Photo by: The Joy Architects

11. Reflections -Vancouver, British Columbia

This outdoor restaurant and lounge is situated within the inner courtyard of the Rosewood Hotel’s fourth floor. This oasis offers a laid-back vibe featuring infinity water features, a central fire pit, private cabanas, beautiful lanterns and oversize teak seating. Guests here will find specialty cocktails and menu that revolves around shared plates of salads and items from the grill. Local fare is on the menu here and most of the menu focuses on ingredients found nearby, as well as the wine list host an abundance of BC wines. Although it appears to be swanky and snobbish, rest assured that this bar invites people of all walks of life to enjoy. On cold nights they provide warm blankets and heaters to warm guests up.

Photo by: Rosewood Hotel Georgia
Photo by: Rosewood Hotel Georgia

10. “Flight Deck” at The Pilot -Toronto, Ontario

It is a Yorkville rooftop patio at its finest and Flight Deck at The Pilot is one of the most beloved outdoor spots in the city of Toronto. Simple seating that encourages conversations, prompt and attentive service and retractable awnings for any types of weather makes this rooftop patio a winner in our eyes. The entire bar is decked out in stainless steel and metal, including the tables and chairs which make it an unusual atmosphere but combined with the lively groups of people that are found here, makes it work for this cool and hip patio. The menu here is mostly pub fare and includes such favorites as the fish tacos, pilot nachos and handmade burgers. With a huge beer and wine list, it is easy to see why so many people flock here for after work drinks and dinner.

Photo by: The Pilot Toronto
Photo by: The Pilot Toronto

9. Thompson Rooftop Lounge and Pool -Toronto, Ontario

This chic and exclusive rooftop lounge provides breathtaking views of the Toronto Skyline and Lake Ontario. Although you have to be a guest of the hotel or a lounge member to visit here, it is well worth it to experience this swanky rooftop. By day you will find guests swimming in the beautiful infinity pool and relaxing on sun loungers. Comfortable oversize couches, cabanas and a bar provide the perfect atmosphere when the sun goes down. Enjoy hand crafted cocktails, an extensive wine list and small plates to share. If you do plan on coming up here at night make sure you have your smart evening attire on as there is a fairly strict dress code.

Photo by: Thompson Hotels
Photo by: Thompson Hotels

8. Hilton Montreal Bonaventure, Rooftop Garden -Montreal, Quebec

Located 17 stories up this rooftop is loaded with lush gardens, paths and streams loaded with resident goldfish. It also happens to feature an impressive year-round outdoor pool complete with poolside bar during the summer months. The hotel itself is located just a stone’s throw away from major attractions and incredible shopping. The catch here is that rooftop visitors have to be guests of the hotel, a bonus for those who are planning on staying a few nights in the city. Guests up here are treated to lunch, dinner or late night snacks and as many cocktails as they can handle while soaking up the hot sun. With terraces, a pond with resident ducks, friendly service and year round swimming; this rooftop bar is a must visit.

Photo by: Hilton Hotels
Photo by: Hilton Hotels

7. Argyle Bar & Grill -Halifax, Nova Scotia

Head to the East side of Canada to eat and drink with the locals at this spectacular rooftop patio located in the heart of downtown Halifax. Plenty of large trees and flowers create an incredible atmosphere at this large rooftop patio, giving visitors the sense that they have stepped into another world. The biggest days to come out and play here are Thursday and Saturday nights when this heated patio gets packed with both locals and visitors. During the day huge patio umbrellas are opened to beat the heat and a large shaded bar area is provided. One of the best things about this patio has to be the rooftop bathrooms, where you can avoid walking down the stairs after one too many mojitos. This bar and grill also has an awesome sidewalk patio in case the roof becomes too crowded.

Photo by: The Coast
Photo by: The Coast

6. The Drake Hotel Sky Yard -Toronto, Ontario

This rooftop patio can be visited during the summer or winter months, a welcome change to most others in Canada who only offer summertime hours. In the summer expect to enjoy a variety of hand-crafted cocktails that make up the 24-page cocktail menu. More of a snack bar than a restaurant, the food here is incredible and unique with dishes such as lobster nachos and truffle fries. During the winter time the patio is decked out with canvas tents, heat lamps and decorated with vintage skis and toboggans. A fire pit sits in the center with thick logs around it, perfect for sitting on and sipping one of the amazing seasonal cocktails, such as the Brown Butter Maple Old Fashioned. If you prefer sitting inside up here, head on it to “The Tunnel”, a long enclave of couches decked out in blue and orange patterns, with a flat screen showing retro cartoons. One of the coolest and hippest places to be, summer or winter is the Sky Yard at the Drake Hotel.

Photo by: The Edito
Photo by: The Edito

5. Terrasse sur l’Auberge -Montreal, Quebec

If you are looking to dine in style with incredible views of the Old Port and the St. Lawrence River, head no further than this amazing rooftop. As an added bonus the month of July offers guests the chance to see the spectacular fireworks light up the sky during the International Fireworks Competition that takes place every year. Food wise, guests here will be delighted in local cuisine, hand-made dishes and an incredible array of choice. We suggest trying the smoked duck breast salad and Quebec cheese platter. As far as cocktails go, this rooftop bar has an impressive wine list along with an array of spirits and handcrafted drinks. Opening hours tend to be from 2pm-11pm and on Thursday nights a local DJ spins the hottest tracks of the summer. With a variety of seating choices, a hip crowd and unbelievable views of the city, this is one of the hottest rooftop patios in Canada.

Photo by: Terrasse sur l’Auberge
Photo by: Terrasse sur l’Auberge

4. Surf Club, The Strathcona -Victoria, British Columbia

This unique rooftop bar has a laid back Vancouver Island feel to it and features some pretty epic amenities, such as two full sized volleyball courts. The atmosphere is always pumping here with a DJ spinning live beats and a disco ball to match. With a view of the city on all sides, it seems this is one epic place to party. Delicious West Coast fare is served up alongside signature cocktails and local brews. Enjoy food such as fresh local steamed mussels, fish tacos, an array of burgers and more. With weekly specials including oyster bars, $5 off pizzas and more; any day of the week is a good time to visit. Weekly events are held all summer long with club nights and other special entertainment. With impeccable service, awesome views and the right atmosphere, the Surf Club offers one of the best summer vibes.

Photo by: Tripadvisor
Photo by: Tripadvisor

3. Roof Lounge, Park Hyatt -Toronto, Ontario

This legendary roof lounge is located eighteen floors up and although mostly enclosed, it does offer a heated outdoor area. Known for being only the second Toronto bar to receive a cocktail license, the history here goes back a long way, and during the 40’s was a hot hangout for Toronto literati. The most famous thing to sip on up here is one of the famous cocktails such as the Yorkville Squeeze or the Neighborhood Negroni, as well as smoke a Cigar, just like back in the day. The view is beyond comparison and sunset is a popular time to head up here to watch as the sky changes dramatic colors. Whether you come for brunch, a martini or a taste of incredible culinary fusion, chances are you won’t be disappointed.

Photo by: Park Hyatt
Photo by: Park Hyatt

2. Terrasse Nelligan -Montreal, Quebec

If you are looking to hang with the cool crowd on top of a rooftop make sure to head into Old Montreal and visit Terrasse Nelligan, the seasonal groovy rooftop terrace at Hotel Nelligan. Although this posh patio is only open until 11pm, it is well worth a visit to take in the views of the Old City and the St. Lawrence River. You won’t have to worry about the weather up here as retractable awnings allow guests to enjoy whether rain or sun. Thirst-quenching cocktails, a fresh menu and a hip young crowd all contribute to the lively atmosphere found here. Happy Hour is the most popular time of day to visit and make sure to try one (or two) of their delicious freshly made mojitos. Colorful plants, bright umbrellas and comfortable tables and chairs set the stage for the ultimate Montreal rooftop patio experience.

Photo by: Terrasse Nelligan
Photo by: Terrasse Nelligan

1. Harvest Kitchen -Toronto, Ontario

This tree-canopy rooftop patio caters to just about everyone visiting the city and although you may be tempted by the lovely inside décor, make sure to head upstairs as this patio should not be missed. Brunch and dinner are the busiest times here and the electric menu and commitment to ethical sourcing brings both vegetarians and meat lovers to this patio. Make sure to give their wine on tap a try, as it is not only more environmentally friendly but also friendly to your wallet being only 99 cents an ounce. Although this rooftop patio is only open 10am-10pm, it is well worth visiting during those hours. A casual walk in restaurant, guests here can wear anything from formal wear to yoga clothes and it is a welcome change from many of the restaurants in this city. Local beer, local wine, handcrafted cocktails and fresh food make this our favorite rooftop patio across Canada.

Photo by: 30 Day Adventures
Photo by: 30 Day Adventures

8 Best North American Destinations to See the Colors of Autumn

Summer is drawing to a close; kids are back to school and there’s a frosty feel in the air at night. This year’s fall equinox is September 23, marking the official start of the autumn season in the northern hemisphere. One of the most exciting things about fall is the fantastic display in the forests and countryside, as plants turn a myriad of brilliant colors—reds, golds, browns and oranges speckle the vibrant landscape. The following 8 destinations are good viewing points for nature’s radiance; pick a clear and crisp autumn day to get out and enjoy nature’s beautiful hues.

8. Lake Placid, New York

Nestled away in the Adirondack Mountains, Lake Placid is part of the Tri-Lakes area in Essex County, New York. The village is well-known to outdoor enthusiasts; its renowned for its winter sports scene, including skiing and bobsledding. In fact, it hosted 2 Winter Olympics (1932 and 1980). The area is also great for mountain climbing and hiking. The area, much of it now parkland, is the southernmost part of the Eastern forest-boreal transition ecozones, and includes pine, spruce and deciduous trees. Almost 60% of the Adirondacks park is covered in northern hardwood forest. Tree species include sugar maple, white ash, American beech and yellow birch, which make for a spectacular mix of colors, from the showy maple trees to the reliable colors of the ash trees. Take a hike through some of the mountainous trails and enjoy the scenery rolling across the hills.

Lake Placid, New York

7. Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Cape Breton, part of the province of Nova Scotia, is Canada’s 18th largest island. Its geography is widely varied, including plateaus, headlands and glacial valleys, along with mountains and, yes, forests. The northern part of the island, known as the Cape Breton Highlands, is home to the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The forests here are mixed between the Acadian forest and Boreal forest, which is found at higher elevations. You can hike the Cabot Trail or the Skyline Trail, which wrap around the park’s coast line. The forests of the area are home to many species of pine and spruce, but their deciduous inhabitants include birches, beeches, maples and oaks. Cottonwood and poplar species turn brilliant yellow in autumn, adding sunny colors to the canvas alongside the deep reds and oranges of maples and oaks. Visit the Beulach Ban Falls in the Aspy Valley for some spectacular fall colors.

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia Cabot trail fall

6. Aspen, Colorado

The west usually isn’t the first stop on people’s list when they think of fall foliage, but the forests of the Rockies put on a good show, giving the eastern Appalachians a run for their money. Aspen, Colorado, is named after a tree and there are plenty of aspens around. Their foliage turns a beautiful golden-yellow hue in the fall and even seems to shimmer in the breeze. They provide a perfect contrast to the background of the evergreens on the craggy mountains. The biggest problem, however, is that viewing season is short: onset happens mid-September and by the first week of October, most of the trees will have shed their leaves. That means you have about 3 weeks to get out and see the colors. If you happen to be in the area anyway, be sure to take the time to appreciate the splendor of Mother Nature’s palette.

Fall Landscape of Maroon Bells Aspen Colorado

5. Ludlow, Vermont

Vermont is renowned for its forests—they give the state’s iconic Green Mountains their name, after all—so it should be little surprise that there’s a number of great places to view fall foliage in Vermont. Ludlow, in the Okemo Valley, is one of those places. Although it’s often passed over for the Green Mountain Byway, Okemo Mountain provides a 360-degree view of the Green Mountains and the valley. Ludlow is surrounded by prime viewing spots: the Scenic Route 100 Byway will take you to Coolidge State Park and the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site with their mountaintop views. The area shares similarities with the Adirondacks and Cape Breton forests, which means the autumn colors are a splendid mix of reds, oranges and yellows, thanks to the mix of trees like maples, birches and poplars.

Ludlow, Vermont

4. Portsmouth, New Hampshire

It’s hard to go wrong picking a fall foliage destination almost anywhere in New England, but Portsmouth, New Hampshire, might be a good selection. Although it is somewhat famed as a historic seaport (and the end of Paul Revere’s infamous 1774 ride), Portsmouth is like many New England towns—awash in early American colonial history and endowed with ample tracts of northern hardwood forests that offer up the colors of maple, oak, ash, beech and birch in the fall. The town has restored 17th-century buildings along its waterfront district and the 10-acre Strawberry Banke Museum, where you can wander as you take in the fall foliage. By car, you can enjoy the fall colors by cruising down the 18-mile Coastal Byway. You could also hop on an inland river cruise; there are a few dedicated to highlighting the fall foliage.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

3. Lenox, Massachusetts

Lenox is an affluent town nestled away in the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts. The town was once part of nearby Richmond, but because the mountains pass between the 2, they were eventually divided into 2 towns. The Housatonic River flows through the east side of Lenox, and parts of the Housatonic Valley Wildlife Management Area and the October Mountain State Forest line the east banks of the river. October Mountain rises further east and in the west, Yokun Seat is the highest peak at 2,146 feet. The Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary is also in the area, to the south of Yokun Seat. What all of this means is that there are a lot of wilderness spaces around Lenox and a lot of trees. Leaf-viewing season usually starts October 1; the Jacob’s Ladder section of U.S. Route 20, a 35-mile stretch near Lenox, is popular for taking in fall foliage.

Fall colors trees

2. Mont-Tremblant, Quebec

Mont-Tremblant, approximately 80 miles northwest of Montreal, is perhaps most famous for its skiing. Long a winter destination for snow bunnies, the area actually hosts a number of sporting events throughout the year and presents great opportunities for activities like hiking, ziplining and cycling. Mont Tremblant, at just under 3,000 feet, is one of the tallest peaks in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec. Dense boreal forest in the area promises a mix of evergreens splashed with color from aspens, birches, willows and rowan. Larches, one of the most common trees in the boreal biome, also turn color in the fall, adding a distinctive yellow hue to the forests. Take a tour along the Via ferrata du Diable, which offers a hybrid hiking-climbing experience, in nearby Mont-Tremblant National Park. The path is open until October, making it a unique way to view the autumn colors.

Mont-Tremblant fall

1. Skyline Drive, Virginia

This 105-mile stretch of highway in northern Virginia winds through Shenandoah National Park. It features almost 75 mountain overlooks and forests chockful of colorful sumac, locust, sassafras, scarlet oak, red maple and sweet gum trees—a combination that makes for a brilliant blending of reds and yellows that stretches on for miles. October is prime viewing month for the colors in the park. If you have time, pick up the Blue Ridge Parkway and continue through the southern part of the state, into the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. If you prefer to go on foot, Shenandoah National Park has over 500 miles of trails through the Blue Ridge Mountains. The park is about 75 miles from Washington, D.C., making it a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the nation’s capitol and get back to nature.

Shenandoah National Park Skyline Drive

The Bucket List’s 13 Canadian Towns You Must Visit

The common old saying, ‘the best things come in small packages’ holds true when it comes to Canadian small towns. Visiting small towns isn’t normally at the top of our bucket list, but we’ve come up with a list of great towns that are perfect just the way they are, which is often quiet and out of the way, typically passed by on highways and main roads, tucked neatly away on the outskirts of a city. This list is a baker’s dozen compiled small towns to love, we’ve covered all our bases including one from each province and territory. What are you waiting for? Get going!

13. Nelson, British Columbia

For a town of under 10,000 people there is a whole lot going on in Nelson. The skiing in the Kootenay Rockies is sensational. When it’s time for water skis, Lake Kootenay offers any activity you want on and under the water. There are thermal and natural baths and less than an hour away, as is the beginning of the province’s fabulous wine country. Nelson is something of an artistic community with a surprising cache of Victorian, Queen Anne and Beaux Arts architecture. The town website claims more restaurants per capita than San Francisco. It also likely has more hippies per capita as the counterculture is bred by American draft dodgers during the Vietnam War and continues on today.

Nelson British Columbia

12. Legal, Alberta

A proud little town whose website says it “puts unity back into community”. It’s close enough to be considered a suburb of Edmonton, but it retains its separate identity with its old rural charm intact. Still bilingual, it was founded as a French-speaking settlement in 1894, before Alberta was a province and less than a decade after French Canada’s champion Louis Riel was hanged for treason. The stop signs still say ‘Arret/Stop’. Legal is renowned for its 28 French murals and its summer Fete Au Village, or Town Festival.

Photo by: Town of Legal
Photo by: Town of Legal

11. Forget, Saskatchewan

This town is nothing like it sounds, rather it’s sure to give you an unforgettable experience. It is a one of those places through the Canadian and American Midwest that serves as a reminder that French explorers were the first Europeans to pass through and that many of the early post-Confederation settlers were from Quebec and their descendants still proudly call themselves Saskinoises, as did Canada’s first woman to serve as Governor General, Jeanne Sauvé. Despite its minuscule size (at last count 104) it has become known as an artists’ colony. The old Rectory built in 1904 is now The Ananda Arthouse.  Its French Catholic roots are evident in the name of a much-praised hangout and kitchen called The Happy Nun. And should you go there, please recall it’s pronounced for-JAY.

Saskatchewan

10. Flin Flon, Manitoba

There are few more quintessentially Canadian towns than Flin Flon.  A sub-Arctic hardworking mining community with a stellar hockey history. Six hundred miles northwest of Winnipeg in the Manitoba Lake District, it boasts a big trout festival and wilderness activities in summer and with the exception of downhill skiing, a full range of winter sports. It is one of Canada’s hockey factories, having sent a number of big stars to the NHL, including Bobby Clarke, Reggie Leach and Blaine Stoughton. And there is of course its iconic name with a minor literary pedigree, the only town named after Josiah Flintabbatey Flonatin, a character in a 1905 science fiction book The Sunless City. The venerable American cartoonist Al Capp was so intrigued by the story, he created the statue of the town’s namesake that still stands.

Flin Flon, Manitoba

9. Port Hope, Ontario

Sixty miles east of Toronto, Port Hope is a pretty little town with a lovely and well preserved 19th century downtown. The Capitol Theatre opened in 1930 and is one of a dwindling collection of ‘atmospheric theatres’, an ornate style movie house that resembles a palace. It has been cited for the province’s Community Leadership award for exemplary “leadership in heritage conservation and promotion”. The antique shopping is renowned as is the fly-fishing in the Ganaraska River. A timeless scene of Victorian Ontario.

Photo by: John Vetterli via Flickr
Photo by: John Vetterli via Flickr

8. Hudson, Quebec

Hudson is a picturesque, historic place set on the Lac des Deux Montagnes that dates back to New France and celebrates its 150th birthday as a town in 2015. Now it’s also known as where the late Jack Layton called home. Forty miles west of Montreal, it has long been known as a wealthy Anglophone enclave with a Yacht Club dating back to 1909 and a polo club from 1901.  It re-established in the 1990’s as the Club Nacional and is was well-known for its star players that included some of the great Montreal Canadiens from the teams that won five Stanley Cups in the 1980’s. Now it has a nice arts scene, great antiques. It’s not a place you would spend a week, but perfect as a weekend destination or day trip. It just might even leave you trying to figure out ways to move there for good.

Photo by: Hudson Yacht Club
Photo by: Hudson Yacht Club

7. Victoria-by-the-Sea, Prince Edward Island

When it comes to flat out, good old fashioned small town charm, it’s very hard to beat the Maritimes. Victoria lies on the island’s south coast just 20 miles from Charlottetown. It was once an affluent, busy trading port and the pretty houses and stores don’t seem to have changed much, except for fresh coats of brightly colored paint. Another charming little (population: 200) place that attracts artists and craftspeople. The Victoria Playhouse has been written up by no less than the New York Times. The mandatory red sand beaches and Lighthouse museum are present and accounted for. Sea kayaking in the Northumberland Strait is the main offshore activity. The town website almost brags that when the Trans Canada Highway passed the town by, so did the malls, fast food joints and tourist traps.

Victoria-by-the-sea, PEI

6. Saint Andrews, New Brunswick

The town was settled by Loyalists from Maine in 1783. Thirteen of the streets are named after the offspring of George lll (aka Mad King George) not to mention King, Queen and Prince of Wales Streets. Like much of the region, its economic apogee passed with The Steam Age. After decades of bad times, the onset of the railway plus, the ocean breezes and natural beauty, brought well-to-do visitors seeking respite from the heat and filth of the industrial northeast. Saint Andrews became the country’s first resort and was rewarded for its economic stagnation with unspoiled downtown and surroundings that became their major industry and engine of growth.  The legendary Algonquin Hotel remains a wonderful example of CPR hotel architecture (or ‘Parkitecture). Kingsbrae Gardens is an award winning masterpiece of horticulture and whale watching has been added to the array of watery attractions.

Photo by: Douglas LeMoine via Flickr
Photo by: Douglas LeMoine via Flickr

5. Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia

Another coastal gem, Mahone Bay was founded in 1754 and was a shipbuilding center for over a century. The shelter of the Bay encourages sailors, kayakers, and fishers to explore the 365 islands that dot the waters of Mahone Bay, including Oak Island, with its legend of buried treasure. It’s a summertime boom town, attracting visitors for its beaches, biking and ski trails, along with a rich history and oceanfront location. Not to mention that fresh, fresh seafood.

Mahone Bay NS

4. Trinity, Newfoundland and Labrador

Fisherman were summering in relative safety in trinity bay since the early 16th century. It is full of heritage buildings of saltbox architecture dating from the 1850’s. All the towns on this list are scenic, but only The Rock combines mint conditioned, brightly colored historic buildings with rugged beauty of the unforgivingly harsh Newfoundland rock face which is a base for hiking and boat tours to see whales and icebergs. Its preserved perfection of houses from the 1850’s attracted the makers of The Shipping News and there are tours of where the famous cast shot scenes and stayed, some of them were so taken by the land and people, they bought houses or cottages nearby!

Photo by: Brian Summers via Flickr
Photo by: Brian Summers via Flickr

3. Dawson, Yukon

You can still pan for gold and have the famous Sour Toe cocktail. For a more satisfying taste – attempt to make it yourself! It was parodied by a Dawson banker named Robert W Service in the “Ice Worm Cocktail” a story of a gullible Englishman who downed one with great trepidation and comic results. The romance of the Gold Rush, even more than a century come and gone remains. Such was the transient wealth, it was called the Paris of the North. Heritage buildings from its 15 minutes of wealth and fame abound. And yes, you can see the can-can girls at Gambling Gerties, but it’s not a one-trick pony. Cruise the Yukon River and/or hike 1700 feet up the Midnight Dome and take in the views of it and the Klondike Valley. Parks Canada has a nice tour from Crocus Bluff to Service’s cabin in the hills, conducted with excerpts from his legendary poetry.

Josef Hanus / Shutterstock.com
Josef Hanus / Shutterstock.com

2. Rankin Inlet, Nunavut

In Inuktitut, it’s called Kangiqtiniq – ᑲᖏᖅᖠᓂᖅ, meaning ‘deep inlet’. It has become the gateway to the territory for civil servants, mining execs, scientists and adventure travel aficionados, hence the cell phone service and golf courses not common to the rest of the region. There is a thriving Inuit art scene, especially in ceramics and carving. For exploring the stunning, pristine Iqalugaarjuup Nunanga (‘the land around the river of little fishes’) Territorial Historic Park has hiking, fishing and fauna that you won’t see south of 90 degrees north. There are also habitations and graveyards from the 13th century. To celebrate spring Pakaluk Time there is a festival which includes music dancing and the famous, unique Inuit sport competitions.

Photo by: Electronker via Flickr
Photo by: Electronker via Flickr

1. Fort Smith, Northwest Territories

Fort Smith deserves a place on the bucket list if for no other reason than it being a place that is a gateway to the remote, spectacular World Heritage Site, Wood Buffalo National Park. The northern boreal plain and forest is home to endangered species like wood bison, whooping cranes and peregrine falcons. Seemingly endless acres of pristine natural beauty that are a paradise for the outdoor enthusiast. Its name in Chipewyan is Thebacha or ‘beside the rapids’, and those rapids on the Slave River are a major attraction for white water buffs today.

Photo by: Ansgar Walk via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by: Ansgar Walk via Wikimedia Commons