I Backpack Canada » Activities http://ibackpackcanada.com A backpackers travel guide to Canada Mon, 25 May 2015 17:53:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Why Niagara Falls Isn’t Totally Overrated for Young Adult Travelershttp://ibackpackcanada.com/why-niagara-falls-isnt-totally-overrated-for-young-adult-travelers/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/why-niagara-falls-isnt-totally-overrated-for-young-adult-travelers/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 18:36:27 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=7165 Young travelers today tend to look for the road less traveled — the exciting, the enriching, and (perhaps most importantly) the inexpensive. They want to be culturally stimulated and naturally awed, and they want the opportunity to forge their own paths in unknown country. Niagara Falls, which has been a major travel destination for centuries, […]

Why Niagara Falls Isn’t Totally Overrated for Young Adult Travelers is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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Young travelers today tend to look for the road less traveled — the exciting, the enriching, and (perhaps most importantly) the inexpensive. They want to be culturally stimulated and naturally awed, and they want the opportunity to forge their own paths in unknown country.

Niagara Falls, which has been a major travel destination for centuries, doesn’t exactly fit the bill. During the last few decades, the city around the natural wonder has developed into a tacky tourist trap, where overpriced hotels, restaurants, and attractions squeeze money out of well-meaning visitors. Travelers who come expecting breathtaking views are more likely to catch their breath on the seemingly unjust prices and copious crowds.

Yet, Niagara Falls is a unique destination in the world, utterly unlike any other waterfall or Canadian city, which means it absolutely should be a stop on any world traveler’s itinerary. Here are a handful of Niagara Falls activities sure to enchant even the purest of young travelers during a short trip to the falls and surrounding region.

Niagara Falls

Stage Productions

Though the region may not be as well-known as Italian opera houses or Broadway stages, Niagara actually boasts one of the most highly regarded theater festivals in the world. Every year, Niagara-on-the-Lake produces the Shaw Festival, a tribute to the brilliant, iconic works of George Bernard Shaw and his like-minded contemporaries. Shaw was known for his biting wit and social commentary, as well as his magical talent for making theater an absolutely immersive experience. And to feel the sensations of a Shavian play, thousands of travelers purchase cheap plane tickets on Flights.com between April and September to catch a weekend showing.

The shows change every year, but in 2015, the Shaw Festival is presenting the following productions:

  • The Lady From the Sea
  • Light up the Sky
  • Peter and the Starcatcher
  • Pygmalion
  • You Never Can Tell
  • And more!

Niagara Wine Country

Wine Country

Nothing quite says “excellent vacation” like free wine, and Niagara Falls’ superb wine trail certainly has plenty of it. Hundreds of vineyards knit the fertile landscape into a paradisiac quilt for wine-lovers, and nearly every winery offers visitors tastings of their award-winning wines. Travelers should stop in at these top-notch cellars to sample the best of the region:

  • Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery
  • Tawse Winery
  • Flat Rock Cellars
  • Five Rows Craft Wine of Lowry Vineyards
  • Peller Estates
  • Inniskillin

Small Towns

Much of the joy of romping around Central America or Southeast Asia is the opportunity to visit small villages and come face-to-face with a different cultural identity. Believe it or not, travelers can have the same experience in the Niagara Region, which is full of quaint communities that welcome visitors with open arms — and an added benefit is that they all speak perfect English.

Niagara-on-the-Lake is the most popular small town of the region, and it is just a short 20-minute ride from Niagara Falls proper. The town seems stopped in time, as the architecture in the town square is centuries-old and horse-drawn carriages are common on streets and parks. The shops around town are all locally owned boutiques, which brings travelers closer with the culture of the place. Niagara-on-the-Lake has frequently been voted the prettiest town in Canada, so it is a good stop for travelers looking for charm.

However, Niagara-on-the-Lake isn’t the only place where travelers can venture away from the hustle and bustle of touristy Niagara Falls. Nestled along the shores of Lake Ontario, dozens of small communities are worth visiting, including Jordan, St. Catharine’s, and Port Weller with the fascinating Welland Canal.

Beautiful Niagara

Hiking Trails

While the city may be overdeveloped, Canada and the United States have taken strides to make sure that ample natural space remains around the park for outdoor adventure. Thus, there are dozens of day hikes that take travelers deep into Niagara country for unforgettable views of the landscape. Here are some of the best hikes around the falls:

  • Niagara Glen Gorge Trail
  • Whirlpool Rapids and Devil’s Hole Trail
  • Niagara River Recreation Trail
  • Bruce Trail

Travelers who aren’t quite up to a forest trek — who perhaps are worn out by their earlier excursion on the wine trail — might prefer a leisurely stroll around Niagara Falls’ extensive parks and gardens. Absolutely beautiful when blooming during the spring and summer months, the Botanical Gardens are perfect for a picnic lunch. Alternatively, tired travelers can lie down in Queen Victoria Park and people-watch against the background of Niagara Falls, which is breathtaking in its natural beauty no matter how touristy the area has become.

Have you ever been to Niagara Falls? What did you think? Comment below!

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6 Spring Activities to Enjoy during Allergy Seasonhttp://ibackpackcanada.com/6-spring-activities-to-enjoy-during-allergy-season/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/6-spring-activities-to-enjoy-during-allergy-season/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 17:25:49 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=7108 It always surprises me how soon the last snowfall and the first warm sunny day are to one another. As the frost from a cold Canadian winter melts, we’re greeted with the warm, sunny spring. Grass turns from brownish-beige to bright green, flowers bloom, and the world wakes up from its winter slumber. While most […]

6 Spring Activities to Enjoy during Allergy Season is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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It always surprises me how soon the last snowfall and the first warm sunny day are to one another. As the frost from a cold Canadian winter melts, we’re greeted with the warm, sunny spring. Grass turns from brownish-beige to bright green, flowers bloom, and the world wakes up from its winter slumber. While most would be excited, for those suffering from nasty allergies, it can be a reminder that your nose is about to get runny. I partnered up with REACTINE® to help allergy sufferers kickoff the start of this spring with something more exciting than marathoning your next Netflix series. Here are 6 spring activities to enjoy during allergy season.

Montreal Bikes

Go Biking

While many Canadian cities lack the infrastructure for us to bike regularly, even getting out there once a week is enough to remind you that biking isn’t just a great workout, it’s actually fun. Leaning into turns, hopping curbs, riding through puddles knowing perfectly well that your backside may look like you lost a battle with a spicy burrito. It’s all part of the fun. On top of it all, you can burn a whopping 700 calories per hour if you’re pushing yourself. Say goodbye to that winter waistline!

Protip:

If you’re prone to suffering from allergies, consider biking later in the morning or earlier in the afternoon. Pollen has a tendency to hit you hardest in the early morning, and in the early evening, so plan around them!

bee-pollinating-purple-flower-1200x480

Plant a garden

Scientists have proven that gardening makes you happy. They claim microbes have been found to have similar effects on the brain and are without the nasty side effects of antidepressants. Not only does the soil give you a boost in happiness, it also decreases anxiety, and increases your ability to learn. Whether you’re in it for the mood-boost, or just want to chow down on some carrots and cucumber in a couple months, getting outdoors and planting something is a surefire way to beat whatever bit of winter blues remain.  If you’re prone to allergies and an avid gardener be sure to stock up on REACTINE® – using it daily helps to relieve allergy symptoms to help restore your normal quality of life.

best cameras for backpackers

Go on A Photo Journey

Spring is a great time of year to take photos of nature, the outdoors, or even your community. After months of greys and blues, we finally see the signs of the landscape burried beneath the snow. What was once a deathly looking tree becomes a blossoming tree. Consider putting together an itinerary. Aim to hit a handful of different locations, you might surprise yourself that your best photos end up coming from the travel to those locations.

macbook-pro-retina

Digital Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning is a regular part of most peoples yearly rituals. Packing up those giant winter boots, the thick winter jacket, that box full of single mitts that have lost their twin, it can be therapeutic. Sort of a farewell to a few items that dutifully served you during winter. While your closets may get tidied, your hard drives are often left a cluttered mess. Consider spending an afternoon organizing, labeling, backing up, and deleting files and photos you no longer need. Don’t forget to run a few updates when you’re done, or if you’re nerdy enough, nothing beats a reformatted computer. If you aren’t savvy enough to pull that last one off, consider taking your machine in to your local PC / Mac Service Centre and see what kind of maintenance package they offer.

Protip:

Check out the apps Daisy Disk for finding files / folders that are really eating up your hard drive space. Be sure to check out Adobe Bridge or Adobe Lightroom for organizing / tagging your photos.

Island Camping Kejimkujic National Park Nova-Scotia

Go Camping

While May long weekend is typically the official start of the camping season, it sometimes takes an extra couple of weeks before it warms up enough to really make it that enjoyable; however, that does depend on the part of Canada you’re camping in. If the weather is going to cooperate though, nothing beats a spring camping trip. It’s just warm enough to enjoy the outdoors, and still cold enough that the fire is a tremendous source of comfort and warmth. Throw some camp coffee in the mix, and you’ve got the perfect weekend getaway.

Protip:

Camping with allergies? If your tent isn’t protecting you from all the elements, you might want to keep some allergy meds like REACTINE® on hand. That extra bit of protection can really make all the difference in terms relieving allergy symptoms and getting a quality sleep. REACTINE® can start to work in 20 minutes and last 24 hours.

Montreal Vegetables Market Fresh

Visit Your Farmers’ Market

While many farmers’ markets stay open throughout the winter, many shut down and don’t open till spring. The vendors at farmers’ markets always make for a good conversation. Sure, spring season is often quiet, but the vendors showing up will often have specials on things like jams, jellys, and preserves. Their shelves might be a bit more sparse than they likely would be by mid-summer, but you’re sure to find something tasty, along with a few cute knick knacks.

Do you have any favourite spring activities? Comment below!

This post was sponsored by the makers of REACTINE®. All thoughts & opinions are my own.

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7 True Yukon Experienceshttp://ibackpackcanada.com/7-true-yukon-experiences/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/7-true-yukon-experiences/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2015 20:24:40 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=7116 I’m happy to feature a guest writer on I Backpack Canada this week. I was recently approached by a fellow writer who wanted to share some of her stories and photos. Gemma Taylor of Off Track Travel has been hiking, paddling, driving and writing her way around Western Canada with her boyfriend Jean Robert since 2011. Together, they’ve […]

7 True Yukon Experiences is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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I’m happy to feature a guest writer on I Backpack Canada this week. I was recently approached by a fellow writer who wanted to share some of her stories and photos. Gemma Taylor of Off Track Travel has been hiking, paddling, driving and writing her way around Western Canada with her boyfriend Jean Robert since 2011. Together, they’ve managed to cover a massive part of western Canada, including BC, The Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. I love seeing other writers’ and travellers’ stories and advice on Canada, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity! Be sure to check out her site for more posts like these! With that said, I’m going to shut it and let Gemma take over from here.

Canada’s Yukon is truly a place like no other. The name alone evokes images of wilderness and adventure. But where to start? Here are seven experiences which I believe sum up the Yukon best.

Photo by Gemma Taylor

Photo by Gemma Taylor

Hiking and camping on tundra in Tombstone Territorial Park

This protected area is a real rarity. Located only an hour from one of Yukon’s main two highways, Tombstone offers remarkably easy access to pure Yukon wilderness. In Tombstone, you can hike and camp anywhere. Seriously, it’s just a matter of choosing which direction you want to go and starting to hike if you have some back country experience. The lack of trees allows for unparalleled views and relatively straightforward navigation, though the squishy tundra can take some effort to cross. With few visitors even despite the road running through it, reaching solitude is not a problem. You can enjoy the magnificent views from a mountain summit all to yourself.

Photo by Gemma Taylor

Paddling the mighty Yukon River

Follow in the footsteps of the Klondike gold miners and journey up the Yukon River from Whitehorse to Dawson City. Rustic camp-sites line most of this section of the mighty Yukon, as do relics of the past. Up until the 1950s, the Yukon River was the main highway in these parts. Explore abandoned telegraph stations, stern-wheelers and trappers’ cabins. Slow down and get on river time; there’s no hurry here. Mountain goats and moose can be spotted along the journey as well as grizzly and black bears. With an average river speed of 10km/h, paddling the 700km route is less intimidating and more achievable than you may at first think.

Photo by Gemma Taylor

Photo by Gemma Taylor

Crossing the Arctic Circle

The Yukon is home to Canada’s only all-season highway passing the Arctic Circle. The Dempster Highway is a 740km dirt road that currently reaches all the way to Inuvik, NWT. The journey is the destination here, as the highway passes over tundra, spectacular wide-open landscapes and incredibly rugged mountains. This is a place that reminds you how small you are. Reaching the Arctic, your expectations are likely to be thrown out of the window. There may not be many people in this area but it is still vibrant with local culture and a variety of wildlife. And it gets hot in the summer, up to 24 hours of the day to match the sunlight. Just remember to take bug spray – the mosquitoes are alive and well throughout those 24 hours too.

Dog-sledding in a winter wonderland

Whipping through the forest on the back of a sled pulled by a team of dogs, mushing in the Yukon offers a winter experience like no other. With the Yukon River freezing over, the humble dog sled was once the main form of winter transport in the Yukon. February’s annual Yukon Quest race continues to keep the spirit of epic dog-sledding journeys alive. Visitors can get in on the action too with various mushing experiences on offer around the Yukon, which can be combined with visits to hot springs. A wonderfully low impact way to explore the wilderness, the dogs are likely to be as excited as you.

Photo by Gemma Taylor

 

Stepping back in time in Dawson City

With a year-round population of 2000, you may expect Dawson City to be a sleepy place. It is in fact anything but! Centre of the 1896 Klondike Gold Rush, Dawson City is now almost like a living and breathing museum. Costumed interpretors wander the streets in summer and tour visitors along the wooden boardwalks and around the preserved Gold Rush-era buildings. Thrice nightly cancan shows continue in Canada’s oldest casino, Diamond Tooth Gertie’s, while brave souls in the Westminster Hotel down a drink with a dead appendage in it to join the ‘Sour Toe Club.’ The half-way point of the annual Yukon Quest, Dawson City knows how to party in winter too.

Experiencing the Midnight Sun / Watching the Northern Lights

“There are strange things done in the midnight sun” wrote Robert Service in 1907 and he was absolutely right. Summer days are long in the Yukon, averaging at 20 hours for much of the territory. With this much daylight, exploring doesn’t have to stop at dinnertime. The Yukon offers an entirely different perspective to what is summer; one that is seemingly never-ending and full of possibilities. On the other side of things, winter days may be short but in exchange they provide the opportunity of seeing the famed Northern Lights. Who needs long days when there is a dancing light show happening in the skies? Yukon skies shimmer with green throughout fall and spring too, but the dark nights of winter provide the best time to see the show.

Driving in Yukon territory

Photo by Gemma Taylor

Driving the Alaska Highway

The longest stretch (958km) of the famed Alaska Highway actually runs through Yukon Territory. Considered one of the best drives in the world, the ‘Alcan’ was originally built to connect Alaska with the continental USA during WWII. It may be a modern road today but it still evokes adventure, even if you don’t drive it all the way to Alaska! Lined by mountains and one-of-a-kind views, the road travels past some of Yukon’s most iconic sights, such as Watson Lake’s Signpost Forest (started by the road builders in 1942), the Yukon River, Kluane National Park and the stunning Kluane Lake. Short detours from the main highway lead to anomalies like the Carcross Desert and intensely coloured Emerald Lake. If you have time, take the ultimate road trip and drive the entire highway from Dawson Creek, BC, to Fairbanks, Alaska.

About the Guest Author of this Post

Gemma has been hiking, paddling, driving and writing her way around Western Canada with her boyfriend Jean Robert since 2011. Their most recent five month road trip stretched all the way to Inuvik, NWT. Sharing their outdoor adventures and travel tips on offtracktravel.ca, Gemma has also recently released an eBook ‘the Ultimate Guide to a Working Holiday in Canada’ to help enable others to go on their own Canadian adventure. Connect with JR and Gemma on Twitter and Facebook.

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Interview with the Award Winning Big White Ski Resorthttp://ibackpackcanada.com/interview-award-winning-big-white-ski-resort/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/interview-award-winning-big-white-ski-resort/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 17:10:42 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=7096 I wanted to flesh out my site with some more ski & snowboarding content as I’ve had a hankering to get out there again soon. Then I heard Big White Ski Resort picked up a shnazzy new award, and thought I’d grill them to answer some questions and explain to me what exactly makes Big White so […]

Interview with the Award Winning Big White Ski Resort is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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I wanted to flesh out my site with some more ski & snowboarding content as I’ve had a hankering to get out there again soon. Then I heard Big White Ski Resort picked up a shnazzy new award, and thought I’d grill them to answer some questions and explain to me what exactly makes Big White so different from the other ski resorts in Canada. Their friendly team happily answered my email, and I think it’s safe to say I might have just decided where I’m going to snowboard next. Let’s get to the Q’s and A’s.

Photographer:Quickpics Photo Credit:"Big White Ski Resort"

Photographer:Quickpics Photo Credit:”Big White Ski Resort”

Ski Canada Magazine recently awarded Big White “Best of Skiing in Canada,” what is it that sets Big White apart from other ski resorts?

Big White Ski Resort offers up big outdoor adventures in the heart of the Okanagan Valley. Nestled in the picturesque Monashee Mountain range, Big White Ski Resort is just 45 minutes from Kelowna International Airport. Boasting Canada’s largest ski-in, ski-out resort village, Big White Ski Resort can accommodate more than 17,000 guests. And all that winter fun hasn’t gone unnoticed. Big White has racked up numerous accolades, such as the people’s choice for 2014 Family Ski Resort of the Year.

BW-AlpineMap-Full

How long has Big White been in operation, could you share a bit of the history?

The history of Big White Ski Resort dates back to 1963 when the hill opened with a day lodge and the longest T-bar in Canada. In 1963 the Serwa’s and Mervyn’s families started a huge undertaking, creating Big White Ski Hill from scratch. In their first year they had to build a road, a day-lodge and a lift. The original base area was located approximately where The Aspens is now. In that first year they did successfully complete the road, the day-lodge and the T-Bar. That feat put Big White Ski Resort on the path to becoming what it is today. In 1985, the Schumann Family purchased Big White Ski Resort with the goal to build a world-class ski resort focusing on customer convenience and service, while increasing capacity, and offering new skiing terrain.

Photographer: Keiran Barret Photo Credit:"Big White Ski Resort"

Photographer: Keiran Barret Photo Credit:”Big White Ski Resort”

While some ski resorts are known for powder, some for the terrain, some are known for parties, what would you say Big White is most well known for?

It’s all that beautiful champagne powder that makes Big White Ski Resort one of Canada’s top ski destinations, with an average annual snowfall of nearly 7.5 meters (24.5 feet). Big White Ski Resort boasts 118 runs spread across five powder bowls, and to handle all that winter-time traffic, Big White Ski Resort hosts 16 liQs, and a total uphill liQ capacity of 28,000 skiers per hour so you can spend more time on the runs and less time in pesky lines.

As Canada’s most family friendly ski resort, Big White Ski Resort is abound with family friendly fun. The resort has received top honours for offering up this and other types winter-themed fun for the whole family. Snow Action Magazine in Australia named Big White its 2014 Family Ski Resort of the Year, and the resort made the Out & About with Kids Best of Family Awards list as their pick for the 2014 Best International Family Ski Resort.

ice-climbing-canada-big-white

Photo Credit:’Big White Ski Resort’

Sore bones, muscles, and ego’s tend to heal best with a day off of the slopes. Besides the amazing ski & snowboard, what are some other things to take in while visiting Big White?

From snowshoe tours to horse-drawn sleigh dinners to snowmobiling, Big White Ski Resort has an activity to suit every preference, including:

  • Dog Sled Tours
  • Ice Climbing Tower
  • Ice Skating
  • Sleigh Rides
  • Snowmobile Tours
  • SnoLimo Tours
  • Snowshoe Tours
  • Tubing
  • Dining Tours
  • Wine Tours

Read more about some of our other Big White Ski Resort Events & Activities.

Are there any big events that take place in Big White that you’d recommend planning your trip around?

Other fun family events:

Special thanks to Big White for letting me ask a few questions and find out more about their resort. If their photos are a sign of anything, it’s that I need to get out there soon! That powder… goodness me.

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Check out these Canadian Backpacker Tour Companieshttp://ibackpackcanada.com/canadian-backpacker-tour-companies/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/canadian-backpacker-tour-companies/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 03:47:20 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=4480 There are many different types of travellers. From long term travellers, to weekend warriors, finding something that will suit you is crucial to getting the most bang for your buck. If you’re short on time, but want to pack in as much adventure, sights, and memories into a week or two, then these three Canadian […]

Check out these Canadian Backpacker Tour Companies is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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There are many different types of travellers. From long term travellers, to weekend warriors, finding something that will suit you is crucial to getting the most bang for your buck. If you’re short on time, but want to pack in as much adventure, sights, and memories into a week or two, then these three Canadian backpacker tour companies are definitely worth checking out.

Moose Travel Network Backpacker Tours

moose-travel-network backpacker toursI’m going to start with Moose Travel Network, because they’re the only one I’ve had a chance to experience. Their staff are incredibly helpful and knowledgable. When you book a tour with them, you can pick from several routes, allowing you to see a variety of regions throughout BC, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland. You’ve got a ton of flexibility as well, as they allow you to setup hop on and hop off style itineraries. If you decide mid way through your trip that you want to explore Banff a little while longer, it’s just a matter of letting your driver know, and then you take care of your hostels and you’re set. When you’re ready to pick up where you left off, just inform Moose Travel Network and you can hop back on the tour.

Their drivers ensure that they break up the drives between destinations with fascinating stops at stunning panoramic views, random trips and excursions, and some of the best food and drink joints along the way. Good music, laughs, and company are easily found on their trips.

Check out my interview with a Moose Travel Network Guide.

Read my experiences in the Rocky Mountains with Moose Travel Network.

Salty Bear Adventure Travel Tours

Salty-Bear-tours canadaSalty Bear Adventure Travel was started by a local Nova Scotian backpacker who was keen on showing off the maritimes to people from across the world. Salty Bear hires local Canadian drivers with a passion for their locale, ensuring you’ll know that what you’re seeing and experiencing authentically Canadian. Salty Bear is similar to Moose Travel, as they do drop offs at hostels, but will accomodate anyone if you’re staying elsewhere. They also supply tours along the way, ensuring that you get to experience the best tours along the way.

West Trek Tours

West trek tours backpackerWest Trek provides high quality adventure tours to backpackers both young and old, interested in seeing and experiencing the best of Canada. Explore the Rocky Mountains, mountain bike in Whistler, Surf in Tofino, Explore Victoria, Vancouver, and even parts of USA. Their award winning tour company is rated highly by visitors across the world.

Am I missing any other awesome Canadian Backpacker Tour companies? Don’t hesitate to share below in the comments.

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The Ultimate Canadian Candy Listhttp://ibackpackcanada.com/ultimate-canadian-candy-list/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/ultimate-canadian-candy-list/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 15:27:32 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=5858 It’s late January, meaning a lot of us have fallen off the “Get Healthy New Years Resolution” bandwagon. Let’s celebrate failure today by going over the wicked world of Canadian candy. This is sort of a continuation on my last post on 17 delicious items of Canadian Junk Food. I’m concentrating primarily on Canadian chocolate bars, Canadian Candy, […]

The Ultimate Canadian Candy List is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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It’s late January, meaning a lot of us have fallen off the “Get Healthy New Years Resolution” bandwagon. Let’s celebrate failure today by going over the wicked world of Canadian candy. This is sort of a continuation on my last post on 17 delicious items of Canadian Junk Food. I’m concentrating primarily on Canadian chocolate bars, Canadian Candy, and Canadian Chips this time around. There’s a lot of treats in the junk food aisle that you can only find in Canada. Candy and chocolate bars make for very cheap and easy souvenirs to bring home for friends, or just when you’ve got a sweet tooth. 

Canadian Chocolate Bars

Big Turk

I still have not eaten a Big Turk. Though the more I talk about them, the more people tell me “You gotta have one!”. One of these days I will, but when I’m buying chocolate or candy here in Canada, I end up falling back on my go-to’s. The big turk consist of pink turkish delight, rosewater confection based on a gel of starch and sugar, then coated in milk chocolate. Supposely they’re awesome, and those that like them rave about them and demand them to be sent from afar. This is one Canadian chocolate bar that I’m going to try to pick up, next time I’ve got a hankerin’ for chocolate.

Coffee Crisp

The Coffee Crisp Chocolate bar is one of those bars that grows on you as you age. As a kid, I remember these things were just plain weird. But I recall my Mom & Grandma picking through my Halloween pickings and doing me the favour of eating them. As I grew older and found a love for coffee, these Canadian chocolate bars soon became my go to. Airy, waffery, chocolatey. These fellows can be found just about anywhere Candy is sold in Canada.

Crispy Crunch

The Crispy Crunch chocolate bar used to be sold in the United States, but due to some chocolate-drama, can only be found in Canada. This uniquely Canadian chocolate bar is basically a flattned bar, filled with crispy, crunchy, flakey/chewy peanut butter.

Neilsons Jersey Milk

Neilsons Jersey Milk is made in Canada, and very popular amongst die-hard chocoholics. This chocolate bar is known as one of Canada’s most creamy-milk bars. You can’t beat simple. And this is by far one of the simplest.

Sweet Marie

The Sweet Marie Chocolate bar was inspired by a Canadian love affair, which was wrote about in a poem titled “Sweet Marie”. Raymond Moore then took the poem, put it to music, and the song took off. This hit song / poem / story then inspired a Canadian chocolate company to create the Sweet Marie Chocolate Bar. The Sweet Marie is sort of similar to a Mr. Big. It has rice crisps, peanuts, cramel, and a chewy nougat.

cadbury-pepCadbury Pep Bar

I always associate these mint chocolate bars with my Grandma. I don’t know what it is about older ladies and mint-chocolate, but they just eat that stuff up. The Cadbury Pep Bars aren’t that popular, and are actually kind of tricky to find. My guess is Grandma’s across Canada are scoopin’ them up like hot cakes. It’s a working theory…

Aero

The Aero is one of my personal favourite chocolate bars. While not completely unique to Canada (I’ve enjoyed one in Australia before), they’re widely popular here. While Aero’s expanded into more flavours, including caramel, orange, and mint, the original milk chocolate Aero is where it’s at. The quirky, fun, bubbly texture is melt in your mouth awesome.

Caramilk

The Caramilk bar is my fiancé’s favourite chocolate bar. Caramilk bars are essentially a bar of squares, each individually filled with caramel, surrounded by milk chocolate. Very much a chocolate you share, as they are easily broken apart. They are wildly popular in Canada.

Mr Big

This Chocolate Bar is crazy popular in Canada. The Mr. Big is one of the largest chocolate bars you’ll come across. It’s the length of two standard sized chocolate bars, hence the name. Canadians can’t get enough Mr Big. It’s found its way into ice cream, and several variations of the Mr. Big, including Mr. Big Fudge, Mr. Big Maple, and Mr. Chew Big.

Wunderbar

The Wunderbar is only sort-of Canadian, but I’ve included enough sort-of’s in this list that I’m obligated to throw it in here. There’s variations of this bar all over the world, marketed under other names such as the Star Bar. The Wunderbar is a superb chocolate bar though, name aside. Chewy, chocolatey, goodness. Eat one. In fact, you should eat two.

Eat More

Ooey, chewy, stretchy, peanuty goodness. I can’t really call this a chocolate bar, because it’s very odd in its taste, and consistency. It’s more of a peanut-candy bar. But since it’s in a bar format, I’m throwing it in with the rest of the Canadian chocolate bars. Whatever we want to categorize it as, it’s one of my personal favourites. The eat more bar is made of dark toffee, peanuts, and chocolate.

Canadian Candy

Smarties

American’s often confuse this Canadian Candy with their local variety of Smarties, which are actually more like our Rockets, a sugary candy disk. Smarties are colourful candy coated chocolates. The crunchy candy shells melt in your mouth, making the 3 – 4 handfuls of Smarties per box disappear very quickly. Smarties are also one of the most expected types of Candy you score while trick or treating on halloween.

Glosettes

You won’t find this popular Canadian Candy in America. Glosettes are extremely popular as a movie theatre snack. Each box contains countless chocolate covered raisins (though peanuts and almond version exist as well). I know a lot of people have some weird gripe with Raisins, but say what you will about those wrinkly grapes, Glosettes are awesome.
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Malted Milk

The Malted Milk is a tricky chocolate bar to find, but if you catch one on a shelf in Canada, it’s well worth picking up. It’s a bit like a milky way, kind of like a 3 Musketeer, only better. It’s got a tasty nougat and a good helping of Caramel. Another delicious Canadian treat to add to your list of things to watch for.

Maltesers

Maltesers are crunchy, light, balls of milk chocolate with a malt honeycomb centre. You can always find a bag fall of Maltesers are the local movie theatre, or in just about any Candy aisle in Canada. They’re a bit like Whoppers (the chocolate, not the burger), but noticably different. Personally, not my favourite, but I know lots of people gobble them up.

Mackintosh Toffee

While at first glance, it looks just like another chocolate bar in a cute tartan package, it’s actually a large brick of toffee. It was briefly discontinued in Canada, but has since come back. Probably one of my favourite types of Canadian candy due to its classic simplicity, I would advise that if you have any issues with your teeth, to be careful with these fellows.

Crunchie bar

Honeycomb toffee, covered in chocolate. Light, crunchy, and incredibly airy, Crunchie Bars aren’t exactly unique to Canada, but they’re very commonly found anywhere candy is sold, so guess what? They’re on the list!

Swedish Berries

Swedish berries are delicious, red, berry-shaped soft chewy candy made by the candy company Maynards, located in Canada & the UK. Commonly found in Canadian convenience stores, gas stations, and in bulk boxes as large department stores, these are very popular amongst Canadian candy addicts. Swedish Berries are related in taste and consistency to Swedish Fish, which is another Maynards product.

Wine Gums

Popular in Canada and in just about any of the Commonwealth countries, Wine Gums are similar to gumdrops without the sugar coating. They come in different shapes and colours, and despite the name contain no alcohol. When I’m having a down-day, I oftentimes find myself eating a bag or roll of these until I feel ill. Totally worth it.

Thrills Gum

Thrills is a popular (but kind of in an indie way) brand of chewing gum made in London, Ontario. It’s deep purple colour is easily recognizable, and the rosewater flavour cause many people to compare it to the flavour of soap. The package pokes fun at itself with a cute tagline “It still tastes like soap!”. It’s weird, but in a quirky awesome way.

ganong-Fruitfull-jellies

Ganong Fruitful Jellies

Locally produced in Canada, Ganong Fruitfuls are the rolls royce of candies in Canada. They’re soft, real fruit jellies, made with six fruity flavous, including strawberry, kiwi, lemon, orange, raspberry, and peach. Tricky to find, but wildly popular to those who’ve found them.

Maple Candies

You can’t get more Canadian than “Maple Candies”. These sugary Maple Leaves made of 100% Canadian Maple syrup make for great souvenirs. While they’re a bit too sweet for my liking, if you or someone in your family has a sweet tooth, these are a must. The good thing with Maple Candies is it’s nearly impossible to binge eat them. So you can pace yourself and celebrate knowing you haven’t completely ruined your diet.

Canadian Chips

Dill Pickle Chips

I’m not completely sure who had the bright idea to bring the flavour of dill pickle into chip form, but I have to commend them. They are one of my go Canadian chips. They’re a bit like sour cream & onion, only more pickly, and immensely better.

Ketchup Chips

The king of strange Canadian snacks, but so very, very awesome. Ketchup Chips are a very awesome gift to bring home for some raised eyebrows. I grew up on these red, finger staining chips. Hockey rinks, swimming pool, movie night. Look for Lays or Old Dutch ketchup chips, the latter are by far more ketchupy, but either or will rock your socks. Or completely gross you out.

All Dressed Chips

People all over Canada rave about All Dressed chips. But I dont know, I’ve never been sold on them. Just too intense for me. They’re a bit like sour cream, a bit like barbeque, and sort of like ketchup. I wouldn’t be surprised if the chip scientists just jammed all those falvours into the bag (hence the all dressed), but I’m probably out to lunch. Not for me, but I’d still say give ’em a shot!

Hickory Sticks

Kind of strange chips, as their shape are completely different than the other chips you’ll find in Canada. These are more like tiny, flat, crispy french fries with a hickory smoked flavour. They’re highly addictive, so consider yourself warned.

hawkins-cheesies

Hawkins Cheezies

Cheezies on their own aren’t exactly Canadian. In America, you’ll find Cheetos, and Cheese Balls, and Cheese Fluffs, and all sorts of cheesey tubes. But Hawkins Cheezies are ours. They’re the Canadian Cheezies. They’re crunchier, chunkier, mis-shapennier (Yes, that’s a word now) tubes of cheesy goodness. A staple for Canadian snackers with salty, cheesy cravings.

Funky Canadian Flavoured Chips

There’s countless other uniquely Canadian flavoured chips out there. Maple syrup, poutine, sour cream and bacon, you name it. Many of them are only for a limited time, or are just considered experimental. So keep your eyes out for some of the funkier flavours popping up in a junk food aisle near you.

Am I missing any Canadian treats?

Please don’t hesitate to leave some suggestions in the comments below and I’ll try to update this list as more junk food ideas come in.

Disclaimer: Some of the Candy / Chocolate / Salty treats may be found in other countries. In this day and age it’s hard to say “These chocolate bars you can only find in Canada, period.” Candy wholesalers ship this stuff around like the addictive drugs they are, so you’re bound to find a few of these treats in specialty Candy stores all over the world. Also – there’s some affiliate links in this post that link to Amazon. Please support my site by buying something through them.

The Ultimate Canadian Candy List is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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Kayaking with Belugas in Churchill, Manitobahttp://ibackpackcanada.com/kayaking-with-belugas-churchill-manitoba/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/kayaking-with-belugas-churchill-manitoba/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 15:58:32 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=5362 The tip of my paddle sliced through the cold arctic waters of the Hudson River, a loud burst of air and mist erupted from the water. I watched as a smooth, silky white body of one of Churchill Manitoba’s yearly visitors, the belugas, gently peeked out of the water. As I swivelled my head I […]

Kayaking with Belugas in Churchill, Manitoba is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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The tip of my paddle sliced through the cold arctic waters of the Hudson River, a loud burst of air and mist erupted from the water. I watched as a smooth, silky white body of one of Churchill Manitoba’s yearly visitors, the belugas, gently peeked out of the water. As I swivelled my head I realized I am completely surrounded. I let out a nervous laugh & quickly decided that it was time to make friends with these 2000 lb cetaceans.

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Paddling with Churchills Belugas

My sea kayak glided towards a pod of belugas headed straight for me. I worried that I found myself in an arctic version of chicken that I have yet to learn the rules to. Thankfully, they all dove before impact and barrel rolled underwater, studying the kayak and no doubt wondering what this cold, wet, bearded fellow above is all about.

I soon discovered that belugas love playing cat and mouse. Chasing a colourful kayak through these cold waters is considered a good time by belugas, and judging by how much I abided, I have to admit it’s my kind of game as well. After an hour of padding with pods of these magical creatures, encouraging as many to follow in my wake, they had all but completely wore me out.

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An Encounter with an Infant Beluga

As I rested, watching the 4 other paddlers in my group laugh at the excitement of seeing belugas at every angle, I dipped my hand into the cold waters, hoping to get my newfound group of underwater friends attention. A grey juvenile beluga swam closer, inspecting my hand. We maintained eye contact, starring into one another’s eyes, studying. I held still, hoping with all my might that this young beluga might see me as friend and not a foe. The juvenile gracefully floated closer, nudging my hand with his nose. Suddenly he (or she) swam away, only to return a few seconds later to touch my hand again. “Hello to you too“, I quietly said. I pulled my hand from the water in shock, and yelled to the group “I just touched a beluga!“. Jealousy erupted in our group, as I spent the last hour kayaking in complete disbelief, laughing and shaking my head, wondering how I got so lucky. This was hands down one of the highlights of my life!

Polarbears & Belugas

While many people head north in search of polar bears, I traveled north to Churchill for the belugas. Not only because summer is their high season, but because as a child I was Raffi’s biggest fan, belting out the words to “Baby Beluga” louder than Axl Rose could scream. Despite being such a huge fan of his hit song, I had never seen a beluga in real life. I was convinced that this summer was to be the one that changed that, looking back, that was one of the best goals I had set in a long time.

kayaking with belugas in churchill

Churchill’s Kayak & Beluga Experts

The folks at Sea North Adventures offer travellers a wide range of adventures, including kayaking & snorkelling with belugas, exploring the Churchill Fort, or hopping on a zodiac in search of polar bears. The staff at Sea North Adventures have to be some of the hardest (and friendliest) workers in Churchill. When you don’t see them touring people through the frigid waters of the Churchill River, you might find them serving guests at the Tundra Inn Pub.

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VIA Rail from Winnipeg to Churchill

I boarded VIA Rail’s “Hudson Bay” train from Winnipeg to Churchill, a 40 hour ride that let’s you truly experience the vast distances and picturesque landscapes of the Canadian prairies, the boreal forest, and the sub-arctic tundra. This is by far the cheapest way to get up to Churchill, and despite the long hours on board a train, you’ll find that it’s just part of the journey. Part of what makes Churchill so intoxicatingly alluring! Be sure to try and remember your fellow VIA Rail passengers names as you’ll likely be seeing them throughout town when you arrive. While flying is an option to get to Churchill, VIA Rail is significantly more friendly on the budget, and in my opinion a better way of traveling to this small northern Canadian town.

churchill-manitoba-beluga-whales

Churchill is for the Adventurous

Churchill brings about a certain type of traveller. You’ll find that they all have something in common. Whether it’s their desire for the great outdoors, an insatiable quench for adventure, or a passion for arctic wildlife, you’ll come to realize those you meet in the small town of Churchill are here for a lot of the same reasons as you. What’s more shocking than this is the fact that residents of Churchill continue to possess these same qualities, and best of all, they’re willing to share their slice of heaven with visitors from all over the world. With a population of under 1000 people, you’ll come to find that each and every one of them have a story worth listening to. Be sure to take the time to listen, next to the belugas and polar bears, they’re the most interesting form of life this far north.

Special thanks to the folks at Frontiers North Adventures, Sea North Tours, and the warm folks at Tundra Inn for helping out with my Churchill Adventure. Another thanks to the helpful staff at Travel Manitoba for bringing me in to cover the region.

Please forgive the Instagram quality photos in this post, I wasn’t brave enough to haul my DSLR out for this kayak trip and I only ended up having my Waterproof Case for my iPhone to snap these.

Kayaking with Belugas in Churchill, Manitoba is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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5 Snowboarding Tips That’ll Keep You From Dyinghttp://ibackpackcanada.com/5-snowboarding-tips-keep-you-from-dying/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/5-snowboarding-tips-keep-you-from-dying/#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 20:03:43 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=6999 We’re going to talk about snowboard safety here – no, wait just there. Don’t go clicking away. Safety isn’t the most exciting topic to write about – I know, but if you’re new to the sport, or just a smart ass know-it-all who’s too cool for helmets, let’s get things straight. This sport is a […]

5 Snowboarding Tips That’ll Keep You From Dying is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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We’re going to talk about snowboard safety here – no, wait just there. Don’t go clicking away. Safety isn’t the most exciting topic to write about – I know, but if you’re new to the sport, or just a smart ass know-it-all who’s too cool for helmets, let’s get things straight. This sport is a somewhat riskier sport than most with a high rate of injury. Adrenaline causes people to make some questionable decisions, and even before that kicks in, we can all sometimes get a bit cocky. So in an effort to keep you from dying on the mountains this season, I wanted to share 5 snowboarding tips that’ll keep you from dying.

snowboarding-safety-tips

Hey cool helmet. You like safety or something?

Gear Up with Quality Snowboard Equipment

You’ve got your snowboard, bindings, boots, what else do you need? First and foremost – grab a helmet. Don’t be a dummy. If they’re cool enough for the pros, they’re cool enough for you. Now I’m the first to admit, I used to never wear a helmet. My reasoning was that since I didn’t plan on doing backflips, or anything more crazy than a 180 here and there, that it just wasn’t needed.

For 13 years of snowboarding I got on fine. I’m not sure if it was my growing maturity, or the one face-plant where I knocked my head on the ground heard enough to freak me out. But I decided then, that not wearing a helmet was just stupid. I remember thinking to myself “What if I broke my skull! I’d be screwed”. I didn’t want to get carried off the mountain. That would be far more embarrassing than wearing a helmet.

Get properly fitted for all the gear you need. Talk to a local snowboard shop or take your things in and get their opinion. If you’re new, you might want to consider investing in some wrist-guards, knee-guards, and if you might even want the hip-guard/butt-guard combos that I’ve been tempted to get. If you’ve ever hurt on your tailbone, you’ll know that these aren’t as silly as they look.

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Couple of Buddy’s

Use the Buddy System

If you’re unfortunate enough to injure yourself seriously, or do something as goofy as losing your snowboard because you forgot to wear a snowboard leash, the buddy system is going to be your lifeline. Don’t snowboard alone. Stay within shouting distance of a friend at all times, and regularly check to be sure you’re still snowboarding with the guy or girl you rode up with. It’s an easy system, but it works.

Don’t be a Dick

This is just a good philosophy in general, but in terms of snowboarding. Avoid dickish behaviour. Dickish behaviour can not only get yourself injured, it can also hurt others. Plus it’s just super irritating. What might you ask is dickish behaviour?

  • If you’re chatting with a friend in front of the off-ramp of the chairlift, you’re being a dick.
  • If you’re skiing or snowboarding in a wall-like fashion, preventing people from easily being able to get by, you’re being a dick.
  • If you’re cutting people off going downhill, yes, you’re being a dick.
  • If you’re riding within a couple arms reach of someone else, you’re not just being a dick, you’re being a stupid dick.

It’s fairly simple, just be courteous and watch your surroundings. Oh, and if you can avoid all of the above, that would be great.

snowboard-trails

Stay on the trails

Each year we hear about some poor soul that ended up out of bounds. Most times the story ends on a sad not. Either they get turned around and lost, or hurt themselves bad enough that they couldn’t get back to the trail to be found. People go missing for days, some are never heard from again. Groomed trails keep people safe. No, they might not always have the freshest pow (that’s a cool-guy-snowboarder term for “powder”), but they’re maintained, and are regularly watched out over by Snow Patrol. Break an arm on a trail, you’re going to get help. Break one out of bounds, and you might be there a while.

Just note, as soon as you cross that line into the out of bounds, you’re signing your life away. I personally advise you to stick within the mountains trail system. Safety first!

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Respect Your Limits

As adrenaline courses through your veins, it’s sometimes possible to think you’re invincible. New snowboarders on their 2nd day of snowboarding find themselves biting off more than they can chew on a black diamond. Avoid taking on something you’re just not ready for. You’re more likely to hurt yourself, and you’re really not going to enjoy sliding on your butt all the way down.

This rule doesn’t only apply for trail colours. If you’re new to snowboarding, or it’s your first weekend trip back. You’re going to be sore. Expect it. Sometimes you have to listen to your body instead of your brain. You’re brain is going to urge you to get the most bang for buck, hit as many runs, keep up with your friend that gets out every other weekend. There is no shame in calling it quits a run or two early if it means you’re going to be able to get back on your board the next day.

You can read all of the snowboarding safety tips you can find on the internet, but at the end of the day, common sense goes a long way. Use your brain, trust your gut, but enjoy yourself!

This post was published in collaboration with SecuriGlobe Travel Insurance. Check them out if you’re in the market for some quality travel insurance.

5 Snowboarding Tips That’ll Keep You From Dying is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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