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Archive for canada

Iceberg Alley

By Linda Tancs

Iceberg Alley is an area stretching from the coast of Labrador to the northeast coast of the island of Newfoundland. From spring to September, the locale presents the most unusual of tourist attractions as icebergs break off in the Arctic and float down past the coast. The goliaths are most plentiful in April and May (in fact, over 600 have already appeared, with a seasonal average just under 700) but they may be locked up in sea ice, so late May and early June are best for viewing. Some of the more popular viewing locations (by land, kayak or boat tour) are St. Lewis, Battle Harbour, Red Bay, Point Amour, St. Anthony, La Scie, Twillingate, Fogo Island, Change Islands, Bonavista, St. John’s/Cape Spear, Bay Bulls/Witless Bay, Cape St. Mary’s and St. Vincent’s.

The Super Natural in British Columbia

By Linda Tancs

Nature reigns supreme along the central and north coast of British Columbia, Canada. That’s where you’ll find Great Bear Rainforest, home to the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest. It’s also the only place in the world where you can see the Kermode (spirit) bear, a sub-species of black bear noted for its white fur. Stretching for 250 miles, the diverse ecosystem teems with marine life, endless fjords and towering granite cliffs. Wildlife tours are plentiful along with hiking, kayaking, boating and fishing opportunities. The visitor center is located in the Copper Sun Art Gallery in downtown Bella Coola.

Island of the Arts

By Linda Tancs

In the Gulf Islands of British Columbia on Canada’s west coast you’ll find Canada’s best loved outdoor market on Salt Spring Island.  Internationally known, Saturday’s Market in the Park features over 100 artists, writers, musicians and farmers, showcasing their handiwork under the market rule of “make it, bake it or grow it.”  The world-class artistry exhibited at this seasonal event has garnered the island the moniker “island of the arts.” The market  takes place weekly on Saturdays from April through October in Centennial Park and in the adjacent parking area in downtown Ganges.

To the Moon and Back

By Linda Tancs

The shorebird Rufa red knot pursues an annual migration that, over the course of an average 13-year lifespan, represents a journey to the moon and back.  Well, almost.  The average distance to the moon is 237,000 miles; the average red knot will have traveled over 194,000 miles over a lifetime–breeding in the central Canadian Arctic and wintering in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, an exodus of roughly 14,950 miles each year.  But of course there are outliers.  Like the so-called Moonbird, calculated to be at least 21 years young and to have traveled a whopping 400,000 miles.  And that’s no April Fool’s joke.  Undoubtedly, Moonbird is the king of long-range fliers in the avian world.

A Distinctive Voice in the Gulf

By Linda Tancs

One thing you’ll notice among Canada’s Magdalen Islands is the array of distinctive voices peppering the locals’ speech.  It’s part of the charm of this archipelago in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  So, too, are the harp seals.  Now is the time to observe them in their natural habitat on the ice floes around the islands.  Year-round service to the region is available by plane or bus.  Ferry service is available off-season by reservation.

The Highest Tides

By Linda Tancs

Atlantic Canada’s Bay of Fundy captures the world’s highest tides.  Stretching between the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, this ocean bay bests the combined flow of the world’s freshwater rivers in every tide cycle with 160 billion tons of seawater.  It takes six hours and 13 minutes for the tide to go from low to high (or vice versa).  Needless to say, a tidal coastline like this offers plenty of hiking and kayaking opportunities.  And don’t miss the rare northern right whale at the bay’s mouth.  Previously in January the tides were exceptionally high, but great viewing is yours year-round.  The best airport for arrivals is Halifax Robert L. Stanfield Airport.

Polar Bear Capital of the World

By Linda Tancs

Churchill, Manitoba, is one place in the world where you can feel emboldened to get up close and personal with a polar bear.  It is, after all, one of the few developed areas where the bears can be observed in their natural habitat, some calling this Canadian province the polar bear capital of the world.  October and November mark the prime viewing season, when polar bears migrate from the tundra to icy Hudson Bay to snack on seals.  Viewing options include a tundra vehicle tour, a stay at a wilderness lodge along the migration route, or a guided nature walk.  Don’t worry–bad actors are detained in polar bear “jail” or trapped.

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