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Archive for canada

Canada’s History

By Linda Tancs

The Canadian Museum of History is the most-visited museum in the nation. It’s also one of the country’s oldest institutions, with roots dating back to 1856. Boasting 25,000 square meters of display space and representing nearly as many years of human history, its purpose is to promote Canadian heritage and research in the fields of history, archaeology, ethnology and cultural studies. In addition to ongoing exhibitions like Grand Hall and First Peoples Hall, the facility provides special exhibitions on not only Canadian history but also on world history and civilizations. The museum is located in Gatineau, Quebec, on the banks of the Ottawa River directly opposite Parliament Hill.

Enchanted Ice in Edmonton

By Linda Tancs

Named after Britain’s Queen Victoria, Victoria Park is a picnic and activity park forming part of the North Saskatchewan River Valley park and trail system in Edmonton, Canada. This time of year it’s best known for the Victoria Park IceWay, a skating trail wrapping through the majestic forests of the park. At night it’s illuminated with colorful lights, making the experience all that more magical. Public skating is from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, and admission is free.

First Sunrise in North America

By Linda Tancs

An iconic symbol of Newfoundland and Labrador’s maritime history, Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site is the most easterly point in North America, the place where the sun rises first in the continent. With your back to the sea, there’s nothing behind you until Ireland. In addition to lighthouse tours, you can tour Fort Cape Spear, where Canadian and American soldiers guarded St. John’s from lurking German U-boats. That’s one of many attractions along the Cape Spear Path, a section of the East Coast Trail. The site is located nearly 8 miles southeast of St. John’s at the end of Route 11.

Waterfall Capital of the World

By Linda Tancs

The city of Hamilton in Ontario, Canada, boasts more than 130 waterfalls, earning it the title “Waterfall Capital of the World.” One of the most popular falls is Albion Falls, a cascade waterfall about 62 feet high flowing down the Niagara Escarpment in Red Hill Valley. Despite its size, it will freeze completely if the weather is cold enough, making a winter trip just as interesting as any other time of year. In fact, many of the falls will freeze completely from top to bottom, offering stunning views.

Canada’s Little Jamaica

By Linda Tancs

Eglinton Avenue West in Toronto, Canada, is ground zero for Little Jamaica. One of the city’s many ethnic neighborhoods, it’s been a hub for Jamaican and the wider Caribbean communities since the 1950s. Savor the jerk chicken and beef patties and, for some visual appeal, be sure to check out Reggae Lane’s large-scale mural featuring portraits of renowned local and international reggae musicians. Take public transit to Eglinton West subway station.

The Slender Bay

By Linda Tancs

Baie Fine (meaning “slender bay” in French) is one of the largest freshwater fjords in the world. Nearly 9 nautical miles long, it’s bounded by high quartz mountains and dotted with anchorages that are ripe for gunkholing, a sailing term related to the practice of seeking out coves and other out-of-the-way places. Some of the more popular coves are Mary Ann Cove, North Shore Cove and The Pool. Located in Ontario, Canada, Bair Fine is entered from Frazer Bay, between McGregor Point and Frazer Point. 

Dining Above the Falls

By Linda Tancs

The Skylon Tower in Niagara Falls, Ontario, is an observation tower that overlooks both the American Falls in New York and the larger Horseshoe Falls in Ontario, Canada. Featuring both indoor and outdoor observation decks at 764 feet, you’ll zip to the top in 52 seconds in an outside-mounted “yellow bug” elevator. Besides the sweeping vistas, you can enjoy a singular meal at the revolving restaurant, which, of course, offers more incredible views. The dining room does a complete revolution once per hour. On a clear day, visibility might reach 80 miles.

Where Prairies Meet Peaks

By Linda Tancs

There’s no such thing as a bad time to visit Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada. It just depends on your taste. This time of year the wildlife viewing is best, especially for black bear, elk, bighorn sheep and deer roaming around larch and aspen groves sporting brilliant shades of yellow and gold. If springtime color is your pleasure, then you’ll love the wildflowers exploding in the prairies, including Waterton’s signature beargrass. Summer brings the thickest crowds and recreational experiences, whereas winter promises more solitude framed by snowy backdrops of the Rocky Mountains. The park borders Montana’s Glacier National Park.

A Place of Spirits

By Linda Tancs

Fewer than 1,000 people visit Canada’s Torngat Mountains National Park each year. It’s the nation’s newest national park, but its freshman status isn’t the reason for the low numbers. Located on northern Labrador’s Atlantic coast between Northern Québec and the Labrador Sea, it’s quite remote. In fact, the park is accessible only by boat, charter plane or helicopter during the summer. This is the land of the Inuit, named for the Inuktitut “Tongait,” or “place of the spirits.” Most visitors stay within the bear-fence-enclosed Torngat Mountains Base Camp and Research Station located outside the park on Saglek Fjord, where Inuit guides lead excursions. Take advantage of that opportunity because there are are no roads, trails or signs in the park. There are, however, unmarked hiking routes and traditional Inuit travel routes. You’ll likely see polar bears, whales and caribou in their pristine natural environment, an untamed wilderness framed by towering peaks and glistening fjords.

Whale Watching in Québec

By Linda Tancs

You’ll find some of the best whale-watching sites in the world in the maritime regions of Québec, Canada. One of the best locales is Tadoussac, a small village at the confluence of the Saguenay and Saint Lawrence rivers. Minke whales, humpbacks, fin whales and blue whales arrive from May to October to feed over the summer, and beluga whales can be spotted year round. You can opt for a whale-watching cruise in the comfort of a large sightseeing boat or take an excursion in a Zodiac or sea kayak. Onboard naturalists will often signal the perfect time to take that money shot, but be sure to use a camera adjustment that allows for rapid shooting. Multiple excursion packages are available from Québec City.

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