I Backpack Canada » Blog http://ibackpackcanada.com A backpackers travel guide to Canada Fri, 27 Mar 2015 17:25:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 16 Must See Canadian Destinationshttp://ibackpackcanada.com/16-must-see-canadian-destinations/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/16-must-see-canadian-destinations/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 16:26:51 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=7073 I get hassled a lot by readers, asking what are the best Canadian destinations to see. I try my best to avoid naming names, but I’ll usually share a handful of what I deem to be the best. While I like to remind readers that the best is all subjective, I partnered up with Expedia […]

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I get hassled a lot by readers, asking what are the best Canadian destinations to see. I try my best to avoid naming names, but I’ll usually share a handful of what I deem to be the best. While I like to remind readers that the best is all subjective, I partnered up with Expedia Canada and came up with my own little hit list to share some of my personal faves. Something a little more public & out there, something that I can just link people to and say “Give this a read“. I’m hoping some readers will comment and share some additional must see Canadian destinations, but I hope this gives you a start!

tombstone mountain yukon

The Yukon

The wild, rugged Yukon has lured people from all over the world for hundreds of years. Home of the Klondike gold rush, thousands of kilometres of dense bush, and some of the most beautiful mountain ranges in Canada (I’m looking at you Tombstone Mountain Range). The Yukon is this mysterious territory where art meets manliness, where nature meets quirky towns and cities, where people don’t take anything too serious, except when it comes to making people laugh. SourToe Cocktails, gold miners trying to strike it rich, and 1:00am sunsets are sure to raise some eyebrows. The Yukon is too weird, too wild not to include in this list.

whale watching vancouver island

Vancouver Island, BC

Beautiful Vancouver Island is larger than it might sound. In fact, it’s the largest island on West Coast North America, and 43rd largest island in the world, measuring 32,134 km2 (12,407 sq mi). From the English inspired streets of Victoria, to the chill surfer vibe of Tofino & Ucluelet, there’s a large amount of must-sees on Vancouver Island, all within a relatively easy driving distance. While most of BC is already pretty laid back, you’ll quickly realize that Vancouver Island has it’s own pace. You see it in the arts, the culture, the sport, the food, and the people. I can’t name any one place in Vancouver Island as the only must-see, so I’m copping out and just saying “Go see it all“. It’s just a terrific island to cruise around and explore. A must see destination if you’re a die-hard hiker, a relaxed camper, an RVer, a luxury traveller, or just someone who likes to snap photos. Vancouver Island is truly a travellers paradise.

Kalamalka-Lake-Okanagan-Valley-British-Columbia

The Okanagan Valley, BC

Picture massive valleys, mild temperature, vineyards, warm lakes, wind & kite surfers, boaters, and cute beaches. The Okanagan Valley is often skipped by visitors in lieu of the nearby mountains. A weekend in the Okanagan is well worth the small detour, particularly in the summer. Rent a car, a bike, or a boat, and find yourself exploring this unique BC countryside. Panoramic views of this beautiful part of Canada will leave you with empty SD cards and countless warm memories. Or possibly a hangover, as the wine is delightful.

vancouver-bike-the-wall

Vancouver, BC

Vancouver, it’s often dreamed about by other Canadians due to its year round mild weather. While the weather may not be as extreme as other parts of Canada, the amount of activities you can squeeze in during a short stay in Vancouver is sure to make you think this area is anything but mild. Mountain biking, stand up paddle boarding, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, surfing, kayaking, you name it, you can probably do it in or near by Vancouver. While Vancouver is one of Canada’s larger cities, it’s still fairly easy to get around with public transportation. Surrounded by mountains and pacific ocean, Vancouver is a must-see destination simply due to its beauty, and also due to the sheer number of exciting activities that you can enjoy. An outdoorsy, nature lovers paradise, with an extremely large amount of good restaurants, and a superb stop for any visitor to Canada.

jasper mountains

Jasper National Park, Alberta

Nothing compares to Jasper. A rocky Mountain mecca that truly lets you feel like you’re alone on this planet. While Banff continues to draw in more visitors per year, Jasper has kept its pristine look and feel. You never really feel like you’re too close to people. There’s room to breathe, and even more room to explore. Countless hiking trails await you, world class skiing and snowboarding, Jasper is a year round meccca of discovery. By day you’ll come across all sorts of wildlife, and by night Jasper’s Dark Sky Preserve allows for some of the starriest nights you’ll ever experience.

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Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan

The prairies we know in Canada are not same prairies that existed 300 years ago. Once upon a time, a large part of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba were covered in grasslands, feeding herds upon herds of wild bison. Before the fields of wheat, barley, canola and flax, there was grass, and lots of it. Visiting the Grasslands National Park lets you truly experience what that would have been like. It has become a refuge for wildlife, flora, and some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world. If you want to really take it in, camping for a night or two in these parts is a must, just be on the guard for the wild bison, rattlesnakes, and the thousands of prairie dogs that live in these parts.

Winnipeg Legislative Golden Boy Hermes

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Winnipeg gets poked at across Canada, but spend a weekend there and you’ll quickly discover that Winnipeg is actually very awesome. I can’t help but wonder if the insults directed at Winnipeg for being too cold, too boring, are just tactics to keep the tourist masses out of this prairie city. With a wildly popular music scene, home to such great artists as Neil Young, The Guess Who, Bachman Turner Overdrive, and more, you can hop from bar to bar catching incredible indie bands and singer songwriters. Spend a day exploring the Forks, the historic & mysterious Legislative Building or any of the countless festivals that setup in downtown Winnipeg. Or simply explore the wildly different neighbours of the Exchange District, Osborne Village, or the french quarter, formally known as St. Boniface. Winnipeg’s got a lot to offer for those willing to look!

polar bear canada churchill mb

Churchill, Manitoba

I regularly receive emails asking where someone can spot polar bears. I’m always quick to educate people that the majority of us don’t live near polar bears, but there are some places in Canada where they’re regular visitors. The easiest place to see them without getting mauled to death, is hands down Churchill Manitoba. Located on the tip of the Hudsons Bay, known as the the home of the polar bear, beluga, and countless other wild animals. Churchill is a quirky town where industry meets rugged outdoors. This place is easily a must see Canadian destination. The VIA Rail trip from Winnipeg up to Churchill (2 days), is long and difficult, but very much worth it!

EdgeWalk CN Tower

Toronto, Ontario

Toronto is a different beast. While still very much Canadian, you can’t help but feel fully immersed in countless different cultures when exploring this city. Each neighbourhood differs so much from the next. With countless museums, parks, sports arenas, architectural wonders, and commonly known as a foodie’s paradise, Toronto has something for everyone. Public transportation makes Toronto easy to get around, and in spite of its size, it’s still very affordable to visit this metropolitan city. Take it all in from the top of the CN Tower, or do something crazy-stupid like hang over the edge of the building on the EdgeWalk. I have clammy hands just seeing that photo again!

ottawa-canada-day-streets-people

Ottawa, Ontario

The national Capital, Ottawa has always struck me as a mix between Halifax and Toronto, with a dash of Montreal. Historical buildings, governmental grandiose buildings, and a growing number of clubs, pubs, and restaurants makes Ottawa a beautiful city to visit. Explore the canals by boat, or bike & hike the countless paths throughout the city. There’s a ton to see and do in Ottawa, making it a great place to add on anyones Canadian bucket list. Consider visiting the nations capital during Canada Day to truly experience the Canadian pride associated with this great city.

montreal-tam-tams-drum-circle

Montreal, Quebec

This city is awesome. There’s really no questioning a visit to Canada should include this hip, cultural centre of Quebec. An incredible mix of french and english, with a dash of european culture peppered throughout. Food, music, arts, and the outdoors are such integral parts of this city, that you can’t help but feel inspired, exploring the streets of Montreal, or using this city as base camp for your Quebecois journey. A summer visit to Montreal is a must, taking in the numerous food & music festivals, such as POP Montreal, or the always-free, always-fun Tam Tams in Mount Royal Park.

quebec-city-fairmont-w1024

Quebec City, Quebec

The great walled city of Canada, this historic french city centre has been at the forefront of some of Canada’s most famous historical events. A history buffs dream come true, from old gothic architecture, to battlegrounds from hundreds of years ago. This city has retained it’s elegance throughout the years, and is still widely regarded as one of the best places to really expose yourself to french immersion. While Montreal can be very french at times, it’s common for people to live in Montreal and not speak a lick of french. If you want to expose yourself to true french Canadian culture, from the delicious artisan foods, to the beautiful views of the Fleuve St Laurent, Quebec City is a safe bet.

hopewell-rocks-new-brunswick-flowerpot-3

Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick

Home to some of the largest tides in the world, this entire area was carved out by the rising tides of the Bay of Fundy. The flowerpot rocks are a stunning example of natures power. During low-tide, hike throughout the rocks and explore the caverns carved from water. During high tide, kayak around the flowerpot rocks on the Bay of Fundy. While Hopewell Rocks are a terrific day trip that really lets you experience the wild elements in these parts, the Bay of Fundy is also home to some amazing whale watching tours, along with some beautiful highway drives.

Barrington St Bike

Halifax, Nova Scotia

One of my favourite cities, Halifax is a superb combination of metropolitan fun mixed with maritime heritage. Easily one of the most walk-able cities in Canada, Halifax is a great place to visit, and an even better place to settle down for a bit. I found myself living there for nearly 5 years, and enjoyed nearly every minute of it. From historical pubs, delicious microbrews, countless colleges & universities, and the gateway to some terrific tours. A weekend in Halifax is sure to be met with a few hangovers, but before the drinks begin to flow, you’ll be immersed in some of Canada’s earliest history.

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St Johns, Newfoundland

Screech, beer, hard drinks, wild parties, all surrounded in a historical maritime harbour. St Johns, Newfoundland is definitely a must-see-must-experience Canadian destination. It’s funny what a stretch of water will do. While very much similar to Halifax, it’s easy to see that Newfoundlanders are their own breed of maritimers. With their celtic inspired tunes, cute but sometimes hard to understand accents, and their affinity for embarrassing CFA’s (come from away’s) by initiating them into Newfoundland culture by kissing a cod. The easy to walk (though be warned, they’re hilly) streets of Newfoundland make it a great city to stumble around, crawling from pub to pub and sampling their local beers, eats, and laughing with some of the friendliest people in Canada. If you can squeeze in George Street Fest on your visit, all the power to you. Just be sure your liver is up to it! Those east coasters can put ‘em back.

fogo head trail

Fogo Island, Newfoundland

This charming, mysterious island takes control of you in weird ways. You’ll find yourself staring out into the Atlantic Ocean, wondering “Why can’t I live here forever“. Fogo Island’s scenery is some of the most unique in Canada. Everywhere you look is rock, moss, trees, ocean, and stunning beauty. The Island residents have known this for a long time, in fact, artists from all over the world fight for the chance to become an artist in residence on this small little island. Some of the worlds freshest seafood, the most spectacular drives, and the friendliest people you’ll meet are all found on Fogo Island.

Am I missing any must-see destinations in Canada? I’d love to hear from you, comment below or throw a tweet my way @ibackpackcanada!

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The Wild Within: British, Columbiahttp://ibackpackcanada.com/the-wild-within-british-columbia/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/the-wild-within-british-columbia/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 06:00:45 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=7069 Okay, so I’m a day late again on my Sunday Canadian Travel video series. But I have an excuse. I was woodcarving all Friday night and Saturday morning/afternoon. Once Sunday rolled around, I decided to have a lazy day and avoid my computer all together. I’m happy to have found this video though, and sharing it a […]

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Okay, so I’m a day late again on my Sunday Canadian Travel video series. But I have an excuse. I was woodcarving all Friday night and Saturday morning/afternoon. Once Sunday rolled around, I decided to have a lazy day and avoid my computer all together. I’m happy to have found this video though, and sharing it a day late is still going to be worth it. I promise!

The Wild Within is a travel short by Destination BC. It’s travel porn at it’s finest. Nature, slow motion, epic lighting, serene music. The sort of video that makes you want to smash your computer, drive into the woods with a canoe, and throw the car keys into the middle of a lake. Or maybe that’s just me.

Head to the youtube page to view the location list and get an idea where these shots were filmed. If this doesn’t make you want to explore BC a bit more, then you are insane.

 

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Explore the Elementshttp://ibackpackcanada.com/explore-the-elements/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/explore-the-elements/#comments Thu, 05 Feb 2015 19:27:59 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=7057 It’s rare that I submit photos in these blog-style photo submission contests, but I like the concept of this one. On top of that, Dave from the Planet D is judging, and I think he’s the bee’s knees, so I figured what the heck. These photos were taken over the last few years during several […]

Explore the Elements is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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It’s rare that I submit photos in these blog-style photo submission contests, but I like the concept of this one. On top of that, Dave from the Planet D is judging, and I think he’s the bee’s knees, so I figured what the heck. These photos were taken over the last few years during several of my journeys across Canada. I wanted to capture a few of my favourite places and keep it on theme with my blog as best I can.

castle butte sk moon saskatchewan

Earth

While very much tricky to find, in south east Saskatchewan, I visited Castle Butte. Castle butte was formed from glaciers thousands upon thousands of years ago during one of the ice ages. You have to use your imagine to picture a massive glacier carving out the landscape and leaving this megalithic tribute to Earth. I shot this photo a couple of summers ago. The moon overlooking this landscape just adds to the intrigue of this photo. Some say this is the Uluru of Canada, and while it may not be as large as it’s Australian counterpart, it truly is the beauty of the badlands.

Johnson Lake alberta

Water

For the last few years, canoeing has been one of my favourite activities in the summer. It can be hard when you want it to be, or super chill and scenic when you’re feeling like smelling the roses. I shot this photo a couple of years back when I was doing some hiking in Banff. This photo was taken at Johnson Lake, a popular destination for swimmers, and hikers as it’s super close to Banff, but far enough away that you feel like these mountains were built for you. I was fortunate enough for some canoeists to paddle into my shot, which I feel really sells this very Canadian photo.

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Fire

Nothing beats warming up by a fire with a hot cup of coffee after a handful of runs down the mountain. I captured this shot of a mountain-side warm-up session during one of my rests after several hours of snowboarding. This image was shot at Panorama Mountain Resort, BC last winter.

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Air

I shot this photo of my (now) wife back when we were casually seeing each other. This was shot on a walk to the Quidi Vidi Brewery in St Johns, Newfoundland. The walk from the hostel to the brewery is surprisingly scenic, passing Jelly Bean Row, several parks and a small lake. We stopped for photos and the wind was blowing just enough to keep the summer sun from feeling too warm. While she was focusing her camera I snapped this shot which I’ve always loved. Kind of has that airy, beautiful, simplicity to it. Plus who doesn’t love bokeh. (Hey sug, you is easy on my eyes!)

Special thanks to Thomas Cook for putting this photo contest on. As per the rules, I’m going to nominate a few other bloggers. If you’ve been nominated already – soooorry.

Riles from Riles for Miles

Candice from Candice Does the World

Cailin Oneil from Travel Yourself

Chris from the Aussie Nomad

Gemma & JR from Off Track Travel

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Vice Presents Canada’s War On Weedhttp://ibackpackcanada.com/vice-presents-canadas-war-on-weed/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/vice-presents-canadas-war-on-weed/#comments Sun, 01 Feb 2015 18:17:38 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=7025 I’ve always considered myself a bit of a libertarian. What you put into your body is between you and yourself, particularly when it’s a non-harmful substance that isn’t going to hurt anyone else. While I’m not a smoker myself, I have several friends who partake, and the topic of legalization has always intrigued me. With […]

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I’ve always considered myself a bit of a libertarian. What you put into your body is between you and yourself, particularly when it’s a non-harmful substance that isn’t going to hurt anyone else. While I’m not a smoker myself, I have several friends who partake, and the topic of legalization has always intrigued me. With recently legalization in several states in the US, British Columbia’s budding marijuana industry has felt the pinch. While legislation may be coming down the pipe over the next couple of years, it’s still a bit of a hot topic in most provinces outside of British Columbia. While this Vice video on Canadian Weed is a bit out of date, it gives you a good idea of what to expect in Canada when it comes to the world of Canadian weed, and it’s current legal status.

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Daybi talks Rap, Arts, & Culture on the Kahnawake Mohawk Reservehttp://ibackpackcanada.com/daybi-rap-arts-kahnawake-mohawk-reserve/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/daybi-rap-arts-kahnawake-mohawk-reserve/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 19:54:12 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=7018 I was away in British Columbia for the last 5 days enjoying some snowboarding, which unfortunately pushed my Sunday Canadian Travel Video back by a day. This week’s video features Daybi, one of Canada’s well known rap artists. Montreal film director Mathieu Favreau’s most recent video on Canadian rapper and media artist Daybi is a tribute […]

Daybi talks Rap, Arts, & Culture on the Kahnawake Mohawk Reserve is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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I was away in British Columbia for the last 5 days enjoying some snowboarding, which unfortunately pushed my Sunday Canadian Travel Video back by a day. This week’s video features Daybi, one of Canada’s well known rap artists.

Montreal film director Mathieu Favreau’s most recent video on Canadian rapper and media artist Daybi is a tribute to the artist and his community. Currently residing with his son on the Kahnawake Mohawk reserve on the outskirts of Montreal, Daybi grew up in Vancouver and Winnipeg, where he began rapping at an early age before living in New York and Los Angeles. His music has brought him to connect with a number of American and Canadian artists such as Moka Only, Aceyalone, and the Freestyle Fellowship.

I love using these weekly video shares to cover unique communities, cultures, and people, and I think this short kind of nails them all. The cinematography that Mathie Favreau captures is unreal, and you really get a sense of Daybi’s passion for music, his family, and the thriving rap scene in Kahnawake Mohawk Reserve and Montreal. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: This video was brought to you by the Rap loving Canadian Sandwich Artists at Subway Sandwiches.

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Home from Mathieu Favreau on Vimeo.

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Vice International Covers Prohibition in Northern Canadahttp://ibackpackcanada.com/vice-prohibition-in-northern-canada/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/vice-prohibition-in-northern-canada/#comments Sun, 18 Jan 2015 12:24:34 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=7001 Nunavut is a beautiful arctic territory, isolated from the rest of Canada with its own culture and language. While expensive for most to visit, over 30,000 people call Nunavut home. It’s widely known, however, that despite strict alcohol laws, this territory suffers from some serious social problems. This week’s Sunday Canadian Travel Video is going to cover some of […]

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Nunavut is a beautiful arctic territory, isolated from the rest of Canada with its own culture and language. While expensive for most to visit, over 30,000 people call Nunavut home. It’s widely known, however, that despite strict alcohol laws, this territory suffers from some serious social problems. This week’s Sunday Canadian Travel Video is going to cover some of those issues the people of Nunavut face. Vice International recently sent one of their reporters there to cover the story.

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American’s Trying Canadian Snacks For First Timehttp://ibackpackcanada.com/americans-trying-canadian-snacks-for-first-time/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/americans-trying-canadian-snacks-for-first-time/#comments Sun, 11 Jan 2015 11:59:09 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=6793 It’s safe to say that Canada has some curious snacks and treats. From the sweet, the salty, to the eyebrow raising. American’s visiting Canada are often surprised that while we’re only a short drive away, that border is actually a gateway to a whole new world of food not available in America. The smart folks at Buzzfeed […]

American’s Trying Canadian Snacks For First Time is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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It’s safe to say that Canada has some curious snacks and treats. From the sweet, the salty, to the eyebrow raising. American’s visiting Canada are often surprised that while we’re only a short drive away, that border is actually a gateway to a whole new world of food not available in America. The smart folks at Buzzfeed Yellow managed to capture that experience. So without further ado, this is “American’s Trying Canadian Snacks for the first time”. Bon Appétit!

 

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Explore the Great Bear Rainforest in 4khttp://ibackpackcanada.com/explore-great-bear-rainforest-in-4k/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/explore-great-bear-rainforest-in-4k/#comments Mon, 05 Jan 2015 02:52:56 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=6131 I recently came across my new favourite video on youtube. This awe-inspiring video of British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest summarizes the beauty and pristine nature of this area. The Great Bear Rainforest spans 12,000 square miles (or 32,000 square km) of BC’s temperate rainforest. This part of Canada has been in the news quite a […]

Explore the Great Bear Rainforest in 4k is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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I recently came across my new favourite video on youtube. This awe-inspiring video of British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest summarizes the beauty and pristine nature of this area. The Great Bear Rainforest spans 12,000 square miles (or 32,000 square km) of BC’s temperate rainforest. This part of Canada has been in the news quite a bit lately due to the Northern Gateway Pipelines Project. This project would expose this region to crude oil tanker traffic that would regularly pass through the narrow channels. Simply put, it’s not a matter of if an oil tanker were to spill, but when.

Devin Supertramp, the videographer behind this amazing video, managed to not only capture the wild expanse of this beautiful BC rainforest, but also some insanely awesome shots of the wildlife that call this part of Canada home.

Where is the Great Bear Rainforest?

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