The vast terrain of Canada is as diverse as the country’s people are friendly. Most of Canada is untouched wilderness, pristine and sometimes daunting. There is no shortage of forests, lakes and rivers to explore — along with their resident wildlife. For the adventurous spirit, Canada is a wonderland. This article lists and briefly explains seven Canadian adventures for the more intrepid of heart.
This thundering waterfall on the Canada-U.S. border is a destination that offers both exciting and easy activities for travelers. While Niagara Falls package deals are often popular among newlyweds and families, they can also be a good source of fun for adventure tourists interested in kayaking, jet boating or hot air ballooning.
Ski Steep Slopes
Take the plunge at Banff’s “Delirium Dive.” You’ll need to have a beacon, a shovel and a partner for this drop-in ski experience. It’s billed as the country’s most extreme off-piste skiing, and the danger of avalanches is high. Skiers will need to register with the snow patrol, and they’ll turn you back if you’re not prepared.
Hike a Rainforest
The Pacific Rim National Park Preserve in scenic British Columbia has a trail for every level of hiker, from day trippers to serious trailhounds. This area of the country is covered by temperate rainforest, so you’ll need all-weather gear to make sure you stay dry on the go. If you’ve got the time and the inclination, the West Coast Trail, which extends 45 miles between Port Renfrew and Bamfield, takes hikers through diverse terrain. It was originally made to aid sailors shipwrecked on the shore of Vancouver Island, but now you’ll just find outdoors lovers enjoying their week-long journey through the wilderness.
Join the Calgary Stampede
Experience Canada’s Wild West with the rodeos and exhibitions of the Calgary Stampede. Held yearly in July, it combines horse and cattle handling events with markets, a carnival-type midway, chuckwagon racing, and musical performances by international stars. Similar events have been held in Calgary since 1899, and it’s been called a “stampede” since at least the 1920s. The festival has grown a lot since its beginnings though — now it’s one of the top western-themed events in the world and attracts about a million people annually.
Visit Kelowna, the Heart of the Rockies
Kiteboarders love Okanagan Lake, which also provides excellent windsurfing and swimming. The nearly 220-square-mile body of water is ringed by beautiful beaches and easily accessed parks, many of them right in Kelowna’s downtown. If you do play in the water, watch out for Kelowna’s own Loch Ness Monster—the Ogopogo. Ogopogo has been spotted by First Nations people for at least a hundred years, and in 1926 there was an alleged mass sighting of this serpentine “monster.” For those who’d prefer not to get wet, visit Kelowna in the winter, when nearby ski resorts offer snowy pursuits for visitors.
Visit the Polar Bear Capital of the World
Churchill, Manitoba, is a small town for most of the year, but when polar bears migrate in October and November, humans come too — to see the bears navigate the frozen Hudson Bay in search of ringed seals. Polar bears can also be seen in the off-season. There are other animal encounters in the area: in the summer, beluga whales calve near here, and birdwatchers have recorded hundreds of species of birds between May and August.
Enter the Yukon on Dogsled
Learn how to mush over the snowy tundra in the Yukon. Between November and April, book a guide to combine a dog sledding lesson with an outdoors tour and camping experience. Arctic dwellers have been using sled dogs to help them traverse distances and haul heavy loads for thousands of years. During the Yukon Gold Rush of the 1890s, many prospectors used dog teams to help them reach their claims, and the art of dog sledding has not been lost in the region. There are many guide companies throughout the territory, but you might start by looking in Whitehorse, the starting line for the Yukon Quest 1,000-mile dog sled race. The race is held every February, and ends in Fairbanks, Alaska. Enjoy what Canada has to offer.
About the Author: Pauline Roberts is a ski instructor at Banff. In her free time she studies for a master’s degree in education and enjoys writing about Canada’s Great Outdoors.