Maple Trees and Vagaries – A Canadian Adventure

Story by: Estella Bouchard     Date: 16 May 2021    Image by: Unsplash | Kevin Noble

4 minutes reading time Canada

For centuries, Canada has been the second largest country by area, while its population lags behind. In 2019, Canada was ranked first in regard to global quality of life, out of 195 states. Despite these statistics, the Great White North stands at #38 on the list of countries and dependencies by population. Why is Canada so underrated?

Acadia National Park

The simplest way to find out what makes this Northern American country special despite its lack of inhabitants is to travel there. From captivating landscapes of Acadia to the elegant West coast of British Columbia, this would be a trip to remember. To begin, we drive to Winnipeg, Manitoba (MB). Then, we drive to Thompson, MB, stopping at Pisew Falls, a memorable spot where the Grass River drops over 40ft and shifts directions. Kwasitchewan Falls are the tallest waterfall in Manitoba, and they can be accessed by a 22km hike from Pisew Falls. This takes at least an entire day. From here, we indulge ourselves in a ~20-hour train ride from Thompson. Finally, we arrive in Churchill, Manitoba – home of the Aurora Domes, where you can observe the northern lights, glimmering above your head in the obscure, yet somewhat soothing sky. The next day, we visit the Miss Peggy plane wreck, a fascinating landmark. Miss Peggy was an overloaded C-46 Commando cargo plane that crashed in 1979, shortly after takeoff. The plane’s length expands 23 metres (or 75 feet), and tourists continuously flood Manitoba to see it. Now covered with over 40 years of tourists’ graffiti and artwork, Miss Peggy remains a historical sight to see. Our last Manitoban endeavor involves a short journey to Wapusk National Park, where you can meet enormous polar bears. Be warned! Polar bears are warm-blooded mammals who thrive in cold weather, and you are not! Bring a warm jacket, as it is not uncommon for the weather in Northern Manitoba to reach -20 to -30 degrees Celsius in the winter months. In the summer, the temperature is usually stable around zero degrees.

Following our adventures with Manitoban polar bears, it is time for a meteorological bombshell! That is right. We are moving towards the center of the country – to the undervalued province of Saskatchewan, where the weather will drastically change, as we make our way to the Athabasca Sand Dunes National Park to visit a tiny desert with sand dunes as large as 30 metres high (98.5 feet). The park is only accessible by flight, as it is isolated near the northern border for Saskatchewan.

Moraine Lake, Canada

With a slight change in direction, we make our way to Edmonton, where we will spend a ravish few days in the enormous West Edmonton Mall. This is no ordinary shopping center, as entertainment does not lack. This mall measures over five million square feet and could very much be compared to a tiny city. It contains over one-hundred restaurants and cafés, nearly a thousand stores, two hotels, an indoor skating rink, a waterpark, a rollercoaster, and even an accredited zoo! Once our wallets have suffered the direct consequences of this breathtaking building, we aim to connect with nature a little more by driving South-West, to Jasper National Park. This is the home of the Athabasca Falls. Then, we pass through Icefields Parkway (also known as Columbia Icefield), a highway through the snowy mountains of Jasper National Park, leading to the mesmerizingly clear, azure blue Lake Louise of Banff National Park. Banff is occupied by The Mountaineer Lodge, a cabin-style resort that is open all year round to host hikers and explorers out on a journey to discover the Valley of the Ten Peaks, Johnson Canyon, and Bridal Veil Falls – some of Canada’s most beautiful natural wonders. We stay the night at Fairmont Château Louise, which, though quite pricey, is a gorgeous castle-like hotel that sits next to Lake Louise. It is a popular tourist attraction, so it is important to book a suite ahead of time.

The Black Tusk, Canada

After exploring some of the most beautiful landscapes of central Canada, we make our way to British Columbia (BC), home of Vancouver Island, where whale-watching is all the rage. After a day on the isle, we head to the lower mainland, to Whistler, BC. Here, we spend an entire week venturing the Whistler Suspension Bridge, the Audain Art Museum, Peak 2 Peak Gondola, the Whistler Train Wreck, and the Whistler Backcomb, which is a ski resort with an altitude of over 700 metres at the summit. Finally, Black Tusk Trail measures 25.9 kilometres and overlooks enormous, snowy mountaintops, tall ridges, and clearwater lakes. It is an unforgettable sight to see. After a long arduous hike through Black Tusk, it is time to settle down at Nita Lake Lodge in Whistler, BC to unwind for a long trip back to the East coast of this exquisitely riveting country we call The Great White North.

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