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Archive for canada

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.

The Badlands of Canada

By Linda Tancs

Badlands are a type of dry terrain where softer sedimentary rocks and clay-rich soils have been extensively eroded by wind and water. In Canada, they’re particularly prevalent along the Red Deer River in Drumheller, Alberta. Overall, they span east from Drumheller to the Saskatchewan border and south to the United States. Legend has it that the term “badlands” there originates from early French explorers who considered the region’s steep-sloped mesas and deep, winding gullies as “bad lands to cross.” That’s hardly the sentiment today, with hiking being a key attraction. Head to Drumheller, touted as the best of the badlands, where Horseshoe Canyon provides a dramatic introduction to the terrain. Its sand and clay formed the internationally recognized hoodoos, which you can navigate via a heavily trafficked loop trail. You can also walk, bike or splash your way through 11 miles of pathways. Get your maps and guides from the Visitor Information Centre, which is located at the base of an 86-foot-high fiberglass Tyrannosaurus rex that is considered to be the world’s largest dinosaur. The views from its jaws aren’t bad, either.

Tilting in Canada

By Linda Tancs

They say that there are more varieties of English spoken in Newfoundland and Labrador than anywhere else in the world. One of those varieties is the Irish lilt in Tilting. Newfoundland and Labrador’s first Heritage District, it’s located on Fogo Island, the largest of the offshore islands in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Irish settlers arrived in Tilting in the 1700s to fish its cod-rich waters, and their influence remains to this day despite becoming part of the Town of Fogo Island through an amalgamation of towns in 2011. In fact, the community’s Irish roots greet you from a roadside welcome sign (in English and Irish). For a more personal greeting, you’ll want to head to Foley’s Shed, a gathering spot teeming with Irish accents, where an illuminated shamrock in the window will usher you in.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Hawaiian History in Canada

By Linda Tancs

Canada’s Gulf Islands are scattered across the Salish Sea between Vancouver and Southern Vancouver Island. Much of that natural oasis comprises Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, a place teeming with trails leading to mountaintop viewpoints, lighthouses and reminders of First Nations and pioneer pasts. Part of that pioneering past involves Hawaiians who homesteaded there. In fact, by the 1870s Hawaiians began settling in the Gulf Islands after the U.S. Government began passing legislation preventing them from becoming American citizens or owning land. In British Columbia they continued their work in the maritime fur trade and became landowners, farmers and fishermen. Part of that Hawaiian history is preserved on Russell Island at the Mahoi house, where descendants of Maria Mahoi (the sole heir to the island in 1901) share family stories about Kanaka (Hawaiian) settlement.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Life on the Straits

By Linda Tancs

The Strait of Belle Isle is a waterway in eastern Canada that separates the Labrador Peninsula from the island of Newfoundland. You’ll get panoramic views of it from Point Amour Lighthouse, the second tallest light in Canada. You’ll also see icebergs and the wreck of HMS Raleigh in the distance. By car, the site is about 30 minutes north of the nearest airport at Blanc-Sablon, Québec, and is located in L’Anse Amour, a small village on the coast of the Strait that boasts the oldest known burial mound in North America.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Canada’s Rainforest Islands

By Linda Tancs

Haida Gwaii is pristine, rugged and remote, a lush island chain off the coast of British Columbia, Canada. Its southernmost reaches are preserved as Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site. Haida refers to the Indigenous who have inhabited the area for thousands of years and continue to do so today. You’ll find their weathered totems, ancient villages and partially carved canoes throughout the lush rainforest islands of Gwaii Haanas. The term means “islands of beauty” in the Haida language. It’s been little more than a decade since the marine conservation area was established, a place where orcas pass through and humpback whales feed, often in vast pods numbering in the hundreds. Enjoy a wildlife adventure tour with one of the many operators offering excursions ranging from flight seeing and day trips by motor boat to longer sea kayak and sailing expeditions.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Top Vines in Canada

By Linda Tancs

In addition to being one of the warmest regions in Canada, the Okanagan Valley region of British Columbia sports wineries seemingly around every corner. One of its many wine trails is The Scenic Sip, so named for the lakes (Okanagan, Wood and Kalamalka) ringing its route that provide a stunning backdrop. Okanagan is particularly impressive, considering that some areas have up to 2,460 feet of glacial and post-glacial sediment fill which were deposited during the Pleistocene Epoch. Consider pairing your wine with a little lakeside relaxation.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Bugs in British Columbia

By Linda Tancs

Known by many as “the Bugs,” the Bugaboos are a mountain range in the Purcell Mountains of British Columbia, Canada. Touted as North America’s answer to the French Alps, they’re prized for their granite spires. Not surprisingly, the region is a magnet for mountaineers. In fact, some refer to it as one of the world’s great alpine rock climbing centers. That doesn’t sound like much of a bugaboo, as North Americans understand the term. Apparently, the moniker was coined by disappointed prospectors following a failed gold rush. If you drive there, be prepared to surround the base of your vehicle with wire, logs and rocks (provided on site) to protect its underside from porcupines with an affinity for brake lines. The Bugs are located within Bugaboo Provincial Park.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Dino Might in Alberta

By Linda Tancs

Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta, Canada, is aptly named. After all, over 150 complete dinosaur skeletons have been discovered there as well as over 50 species. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park reportedly yields the world’s most complete record of the late Cretaceous Period. In addition to its ancient remains, the site features a badlands landscape similar to that of the Badlands in South Dakota. It’s located in the Dry Mixedgrass Subregion of Alberta’s Grassland Natural Region, the warmest and driest subregion in Alberta.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

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