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3 January 2022

22 Ways To Explore Canada in 2022

Quidi Vidi, St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, we are fond of the kind that lead to more travel around our great country. Want to learn to kayak? We’ve got a trip for that. Climb a mountain? You’ve come to the right place. Get off grid for a night? We can help.  If you want to add some adventure to your 2022, we are here to support you.

We’ve come up with 22 amazing ways to explore Canada in the new year and we can’t wait to share them with you. Add one, two or all 22 of these to your list of resolutions and let’s start dreaming! We will be featuring many stories from these incredible places in the coming year, so be sure to sign up for the weekly Landsby Journal.

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The situation with Covid-19 and its related travel restrictions is ever-changing. Please reach out to us if you need up-to-date information when considering your 2022 travel plans.

The Pinawa Suspension Bridge in Manitoba is part of the Trans Canada Trail

1. Hike the Trans Canada Trail

Unless you live in Nunavut (where there are no roads to link the rest of Canada), you likely live close to part of the Great Trail — or the Trans Canada Trail, as it is also known. In fact, 80% of Canadians live within 30 min of the 27,000 km trail that links Canada from Newfoundland in the east to Vancouver Island in the west and extends up to reach the Yukon and Northwest Territories. You can hike, bike or run any part of the trail and it is a wonderful way to slow down and experience parts of the country you may never have seen before. What part of the trail are you going to tackle? We’ve got our eye on Manitoba.

Sonora Island, BC. Photo by Brian Caissie

2. Go on a wildlife safari

Canada might not have lions, giraffes or tigers, but we’ve got some incredible wildlife living in our forests, prairies, tundras, wetlands and oceans. Canada’s most iconic animals range from the large (think polar bears, moose and orcas) to the small (beavers, arctic hares and puffins) and many are in danger due to habitat loss and climate change. Choose a responsible company that will help you respectfully view wildlife in its natural habitat and consider making a donation to a conservation organization dedicated to preservation of these magnificent animals. Our dream this year includes whale watching and grizzly bear viewing on the west coast.

3. Catch a spectacular sunset

From oceans and lakes to mountains and prairies, Canada is home to some truly spectacular places from which to view the setting sun. You likely already have a favourite spot, perhaps it’s even one you return to year after year, but we’d like to offer three of our favourites — in case you’d like to add one to your must-see 2022 sunset list: anywhere along the shore of Lake Huron in Ontario (we are partial to Bayfield, but Grand Bend is world-famous for its sunsets), the Fjord du Saguenay in Quebec and Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia.

Cup & Saucer Lookout, Manitoulin Island Ontario. Photo by Maxime Coquard

4. Hike up for the view

There’s no shortage of places across Canada where you can hike up to the top and see some incredible views. There are scenic mountain peaks, rocky outcrops, water towers and rolling coastal hills. This year, pick a new spot and see what amazing slice of Canada you can view from up top. In our experience, the view is always worth the climb.

Alexandra Falls on the Hay River, Northwest Territories. Photo by: Darren Roberts/NWT Tourism

5. Go chasing waterfalls

While Niagara Falls may be Canada’s most famous waterfall, it certainly is not the only one worth seeing. There’s thundering Montmorency Falls just outside Quebec City, scenic Helmcken Falls in Wells Gray Provincial Park in BC, booming Alexandra Falls on the Hay River in the Northwest Territories and so many more gorgeous waterfalls all around Canada. If you live in Southern Ontario, you can spend the year checking out the more than 100 waterfalls throughout the Hamilton region — with so many falls going over the Niagara Escarpment in that area, it has become known as the Waterfall Capital of the World.

Boat to Battle Harbour, NFLD. Photo by Dru Kennedy

6. Explore Canada’s saltwater

Bordered as it is by three oceans — the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic — Canada is full of places that offer adventures on the salty waters. From deep sea fishing and surfing to beachcombing and wave jumping, Canada’s coastlines are a water-lover’s paradise. Resolve to spend at least some time in the salty sea this year — visit a fishing village in Newfoundland, head out on a sailboat in British Columbia, or hunt for seashells in PEI’s red sands. If you are looking for a truly salty adventure, consider a trip to Saskatchewan’s Little Manitou Lake, the saltiest lake in Canada. Its high salt content is three times that of the ocean and it will allow you to float as easily as in the Dead Sea.

Skimmerhorn Winery & Vineyard in Creston, BC. Photo by Kari Medig/Destination BC

7. Try a new winery (or a new wine region!)

Canada has more than 800 wineries, growing everything from robust reds to fancy ice wines. If you want to turn your next holiday into a wine getaway, you’ll have dozens of regions from which to choose. Some vineyards are now offering overnight stays for guests and most are located within a short distance from accommodations. We love the idea of exploring a new wine region for a few days. The Okanagan Valley in BC, perhaps? Or maybe Ontario’s Prince Edward County? Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley offers breathtaking views and Quebec is full of beautiful valleys that produce notable whites and rosés, among others.

Badlands in Dinosaur Provincial Park. Photo by Scott Bakken/Travel Alberta

8. Check out Canada’s cool fossils

Dinosaurs once roamed the Earth and Canada was no exception. Evidence of the extinct reptiles has been found in many parts of Canada, most notably in Alberta. Tracking the fossils is a great way to see parts of the country you might otherwise not explore. One of the primary places to visit when you’re on the hunt for dinosaur fossils is Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta, where more than 35 species of dinosaurs have been discovered. But Alberta isn’t the only province where interesting fossils can be seen. Cool dino sites include British Columbia, Saskatchewan, all three of Canada’s territories and Nova Scotia, where the high tides of the Bay of Fundy continue to uncover really fascinating finds.

Old Montreal, Quebec

9. Explore a new city

Canada not only has many incredible wild places to explore, but also some wonderful urban spaces. If your idea of a good holiday includes dining in amazing restaurants, shopping, people-watching and exploring urban attractions, you should consider a holiday in one of Canada’s beautiful cities. Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver and Ottawa are the most popular, but we also love to explore the slightly smaller cities, such as Halifax, Charlottetown, Kamloops or Kingston.

10. Go on a road trip

Take the road less travelled — or pick a well-known route — and explore Canada by car. With its wide open spaces, Canada is a roadtripper’s dream and has some of the world’s most epic overland adventures. Some of the most famous trips around Canada include the Icefields Parkway in Alberta, the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia, the Sea to Sky Highway in British Columbia and the Lake Superior Coastal route in Ontario. But of course, the best part of a roadtrip is discovering new places that are not on the well-travelled path and Canada is full of those! For a fun twist on the family road trip, consider renting an RV.

Jasper National Park, Alberta. Photo by Ryan Bray

11. See the night sky

If you’ve never seen a truly dark sky lit up with the hazy glow of the Milky Way, you’re in for a treat! Canada’s numerous parks and wild spaces are ideal for viewing the night sky away from pesky light pollution. Look for places that have designated Dark Sky Preserves for a truly magnificent experience. On clear, moonless nights, you’ll be able to see the Milky Way and its millions of stars with the naked eye.

Kamloops, BC

12. Learn about Indigenous culture

Discovering Canada through the eyes of authentic Indigenous tour providers is a great way to experience something new and different. Listen to stories handed down through generations, learn about the deep connection to the land through shared traditions and gain a deeper understanding of the vibrant and varied culture of the more than 700 unique Indigenous communities in Canada. Visit Destination Indigenous for a list of providers at your chosen destination. We love the immersive experience being offered from this beautiful spot in Kamloops, BC. 

Thousand Islands, South Eastern Ontario. Photo by Ben Flock

13. Island hop

From entire provinces to stunning archipelagos and isolated bands of sand in the ocean, Canada’s vast landscape is home to more than 50,000 islands. If you’re looking for a unique way to experience Canada this year,  you can’t go wrong with an island adventure. PEI, Vancouver Island and Newfoundland are obvious choices for adventures on big islands, but Canada also has many smaller places to explore. The Thousand Islands archipelago in Ontario’s St. Lawrence River is easily accessible and a joy to explore year round. Fogo Island off of Newfoundland’s east coast is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The Îles de la Madeleine in Quebec are a beautiful summertime destination. With so many island destinations to pick from, you could spend the whole year island hopping.

Aurora Borealis in Nunavut. Photo by Mark Aspland

14. Hunt for the Aurora

The magical Aurora Borealis — or the Northern Lights, as they are commonly known — continues to draw people to some of Canada’s most remote northern regions. The Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Churchill (Manitoba) and northern Alberta are all great choices for a once-in-a-lifetime Northern Lights experience. But did you know that the Aurora can be viewed in more southern locations as well? Although not as reliable as the far north (due to its placement in the Auroral Oval), southern regions of Canada do experience the Aurora from time to time. Want to learn more? Reach out and we’d be happy to help.

Camping on Outlook Plateau, Kluane National Park, Yukon. Photo by Rich Wheater

15. Go camping

Camping in the Great Outdoors is one of Canada’s beloved pastimes. Whether you’re heading out with an RV or tent, the possibilities for camping in Canada are seemingly endless. Canada’s National, Provincial and Territorial parks are all great places to start your camping adventures. If you’ve never camped before or just want to lighten the burden that comes with setting up camp, many of these parks offer roofed accommodations such as oTENTiks, yurts and cabins. Spending a night or two under the stars, enjoying a camp fire and cooking outdoors is guaranteed to create lasting memories. But be warned: camping can become addictive!

16. Take a journey by train

Travelling through Canada by train offers a whole new perspective on the country. We loved the idea of discovering South Eastern Ontario by train this winter so much that we partnered with VIA Rail to bring you some amazing train experiences through our Rail+Roam campaign.  While winter is an especially enjoyable time for train travel, there are epic Canadian train journeys available throughout the year. Hop on VIA’s Canadian for a Toronto to Vancouver journey, head into the Rockies on the Rocky Mountaineer or descend 500 feet into the Agawa Canyon on a one-day train that takes travellers from Sault Ste. Marie into the depths of the surrounding wilderness. There are train experiences in almost every corner of Canada.

17. Swim in a freshwater lake

As Canadians we are spoiled with access to 20% of the world’s fresh water in the way of lakes and rivers. In the winter, many of these places freeze over to offer amazing skating, snowmobiling and snowshoeing opportunities but come summer, Canadians flock to freshwater lakes for one of the country’s most pleasurable experiences: a refreshing dip on a hot summer day. Do you like to cannonball off a dock into a deep lake? Or perhaps you enjoy lakes with a sandy beach for a gentle entry? Whatever your favourite method for taking a dip, Canada has you covered with thousands upon thousands of freshwater lakes located throughout the country.

Prince Albert National Park, Saskatchewan. Photo by Greg Huszar

18. Paddle a river

Dipping a canoe into one of Canada’s iconic rivers is a dream vacation for many Canadians. There’s nothing more relaxing than paddling along a meandering waterway surrounded by lush greenery. But Canada’s rivers are as varied as the rest of the country and offer everything from that iconic gentle paddle to more wild adventures on some of the world’s best whitewater rafting rivers. This summer, try a paddling and camping adventure in Ontario’s Madawaska River or go on a boating holiday on the Rideau Canal.

19. The view from above

See Canada in a whole new way by booking a helicopter ride overhead. Fly over the Niagara gorge and see the Falls like never before, swoop over the Thousand Islands to get a feel for the vast landscape or fly into the Rockies for a private adventure. A helicopter tour can be a great add-on when exploring a new destination or a fun new way to experience a place you’ve been to before.

White River Suspension Bridge in Pukaswka National Park, Ontario

20. Cross a suspension footbridge

There is something so magical about crossing a suspension bridge. It might be the gentle sway, the unnerving drop or the stunning views. Canada has many incredible bridges with views over gorges, mountains and forests. Some of the most stunning are the world-famous Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver, the Eagle Canyon bridge in Ontario (which spans almost 600 feet!) and the Yukon Suspension Bridge that offers thrilling views of the swirling Tutshi River. If you’re looking for an Ontario hike, we are loving the view from the White River Suspension bridge in Pukaswka National Park near Thunder Bay and the lovely Ranney Gorge Suspension bridge that crosses the Trent River at Ferris Provincial Park in Northumberland County.

The rocky shore of Lake Superior

21. Explore the Great Lakes Shoreline

A series of interconnected deep, freshwater seas, the Great Lakes are some of the largest lakes in the world. Four of the five Great Lakes (the exception being Lake Michigan) reside, in part, in Canada. Exploration of the Great Lakes is a wonderful way to explore the small towns, big cities and wilderness spaces that lie along the shores. Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are probably the most accessible, with more than 20% of Canada’s population living along its shores in what is known as the Golden Horseshoe area of Southern Ontario. Lake Huron is known for its sandy beaches, incredible sunsets and lovely seaside towns. It is also home to Manitoulin Island, which is the largest freshwater island in the world. Lake Superior is the largest of the lakes and the most rugged and remote. The drive from Sault Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay is one of the most scenic in the world.

Beaubears Island, New Brunswick. Photo by Jessica Emin

22. Walk among the (leafy) giants

Nearly 40% of Canada is covered in forests, with the majority found in the boreal zone that spans much of the country. In fact, Canada’s boreal forests are some of the last remaining intact forests in the world. For the last few years, as the world has struggled with the fear and anxiety of the global pandemic, we’ve found great relief in a stroll through the woods. Walking in the forest has been proven to provide many health benefits, from promoting relaxation to reducing fatigue and anxiety. So if you do nothing else on this list in 2022, commit to at least taking a few walks in one of Canada’s many beautiful forests — accessible year round and guaranteed to improve your mood.