October 11, 2018 | By Marc Beaulieu |
From see to shining see
At once untamed, refined, and culturally captivating, Canada lays out vast, virgin wilderness as easily as it does vibrant metropolitan hubs.
Morning mist floating over the foothills of the Rockies. Frosty Yukon tundra under the glimmer of midday. Colourful fishing boats lapped by wavelets as the sun melts into the Atlantic. A night of pristine cuisine, cutting-edge art shows, and tasty cocktails spilling over into dawn. From good morning to bonsoir, Canada stays eternally compelling.
A land of impressive extremes, its seasonal cold of legend is effortlessly matched by the warmth of its people. Still, there’s just some stuff that Canada does better than any place on the planet.
Here’s why the Great White North is so great right now.
Rustic accommodations in comfy log cabins, dogsledding through the Yukon (mush!), Tundra Buggy rides across ice-white landscapes for a world-class feast in an 18th century fort, hanging out on an ice shelf with adorable harp seal pups in Îles-de-la-Madeleine after a wildlife heli-tour, proper 5-star luxury at a pristinely refurbished chateau—literally and figuratively—Canada is the coolest playground around. And it never closes for cold weather.
Of course, should your perfect cold-weather getaway involve carving up double black diamond trails (or sipping hot cocoa back at the lodge after a few hours on the bunny hill), Canada delivers nothing but downhill dreams of packed powder in some of the best ski resorts on earth.
Taste lives here.
An eclectic and culturally rich history can’t help but inform all things culinary here. Every urban cityscape is a true foodie promised land. And it’s not all fries, curd cheese and gravy…
You can’t throw a dumpling without hitting a tasty, traditional Asian eatery in Van City—Vancouver is home to Canada’s largest Chinatown. Delivering contemporary edibles, authentic flavours and innovative cocktails, Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie is a preferred way to get your night started, or wind it down.
If you’re going to try poutine, try it in Montreal—no city does it better. For less humble fare and no-fail, upscale gustatory pleasure, tuck in at Liverpool House from the folks that spawned Joe Beef.
Still hungry? St. John’s plates some of the choicest seafood in Eastern Canada. If it has fins, feathers, fur or foliage and it’s local, Raymonds knows how to serve it so that it elicits eye-rolling ecstasy.
Peppered with hidden geographic gems only a local could find and conspicuous mountain ranges looming larger than life, Canada is nirvana for the nature set.
With jutting, snowcapped peaks aching for an Instagram pic and freshwater lakes begging for a dip, Alberta’s provincially protected Kananaskis Country offers a rarefied glimpse of raw wilderness you simply couldn’t get elsewhere. Cue elk lumbering through a secret stream looking for the leaves to lunch on.
Unspoiled forests are hard to top, but a day kayaking the Johnstone Strait as a pod of humpbacks crest the surface to spray summer air with blowhole mist comes pretty close. Keep an eye out for the tell-tale two-tone of Orcas—the gentle giants are also known to loll about playfully in these waters.
Open road. Open heart.
Get pulled into the sky by gondola over Sulphur Mountain after parking by the Rockies for a view that will stay with you. Always. Steer your wheels towards the glacier-fed, turquoise waters of Lake Louise, crowned by cloud-scraping mountains and then on to Okanagan wine country. Keep on rolling to the First Nations totem poles of Stanley Park and the whistling Steamclock of Gastown—all waiting for you, your road bud and your camera as you pull into Vancouver.
Got some wanderlust left in the tank? The heart of Montreal’s buzzing metropolis is Mount Royal Park—its mountain paths and sprawling green spaces were designed by Frederick Law Olmstead who designed Central Park in NYC. Do make time for the cafés and cachet of the Mile End: it’s the coolest neighbourhood in the world, ranked.
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