Welcome to part 3 of 30 Amazing Places in Canada I Want to Visit. During the first week, I introduced you to some beautiful spots in Eastern Canada that I hope to venture to someday. Then last week, my list featured a giant moose, goose, t-rex and even a giant pierogi. To finish off my list this week, you’ll read about places where you can try a drink that includes a human toe (you read that correctly), see some of the oldest standing totem poles in the world, try surfing, and there are lots of spots with mountains…lots and lots of mountains.
30 Amazing Places In Canada I Want To Visit #21-30
21 – Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Almost 10 years ago when I was first getting into radio, I read a book by Elizabeth Hay called Late Nights on Air. It was a fantastic novel about a woman who moves to Yellowknife in 1975 to work at the radio station in town. The novel beautifully described the setting of Yellowknife and its surrounding area. So much so, that after reading the book, I began to look into flights to Yellowknife. To this day, I have yet to go, but the city still remains on my list of places I want to visit in Canada. The day that I do get to travel to Yellowknife, I have a feeling I’ll take a copy of Late Nights on Air with me and reread it while visiting the city.
As a kid, on Saturday nights, I would watch Hockey Night in Canada like most people in the country. During the early game, I would cheer for the Leafs and once that game was over, I would try and stay awake for the west coast game. Often those games were in Calgary. Before the game, coming back from commercials and during the intermission, HNIC would cut to scenes around the city. The night skyline of Calgary instantly attracted me. From the uniqueness of the Saddledome to the silhouette shape of the Rockies in the near distant, it all drew me in.
Although Calgary hosts big events like the Stampede, there’s not one specific thing about Calgary that I want to see. Really, I just want to spend a couple of day roaming around and soaking up the atmosphere and maybe eat a giant Albertan steak. Calgary is on our itinerary for our big adventure that we’re taking in just over a week so I will soon be able to cross this great city off of the list.
23 – Banff, Alberta
Just over 100km west of Calgary lays Banff a small town in the middle of Banff National Park. Banff is one of Canada’s most popular tourist destinations, yet I have not made it there myself. Therefore, it seems like a good idea to visit the town and park to see if it’s a gorgeous as everyone says it is. After looking at pictures, I’m sure it truly is as beautiful as people say. The town itself looks amazing and the park has stunning scenery.
© Parks Canada
24 – Jasper National Park, Alberta
As beautiful as Banff National Park is, Jasper may have it beat. Located just north of Banff, lays Jasper National Park which is filled with all sorts of remarkable surroundings. There are the glaciers of the Columbia Icefield, hot springs, waterfalls, and of course…mountains! Pretty much everywhere you go in Jasper will result in you looking around and saying, “wow!”
The drive to Jasper is an interesting one as you get to drive 230km from Banff along the Icefields Parkway until reaching Jasper. Those who have travelled the parkway say that it’s one of those drives that you never forget. The backdrop of the mountains is beautiful on its own. You also never know what wildlife you’ll encounter while travelling the road which is always exciting.
Update: Visited October 2016. An early bout of snow made our trip to Jasper a little different than planned but still amazing nonetheless. We enjoyed hot springs, wildlife, and of course – stunning scenery.
25 – Nahanni National Park Reserve, Northwest Territories
Nahanni is located in the Western part of the Northwest Territories. The South Nahanni River cuts through the Mackenzie Mountains in the park which creates four spectacular canyons simply named First, Second, Third, and Fourth Canyon. Along the East end of the Fourth Canyon lays the highlight of Nahanni National Park – Virginia Falls. Most people probably don’t even know about Virginia Falls, but they should. It’s actually more than twice the height of the most famous falls in the world – Niagara Falls, but with much fewer tourists.
© Parks Canada / Mike Beedell
26 – Vancouver, British Columbia
If there’s one thing I know for certain it’s that I know I will never be buying real estate in Vancouver. The prices of homes are astronomical. There are even some rundown houses that cost $750,000 only to be torn down and replaced with a modern home.
It’s no wonder the prices of homes are high in Vancouver, it’s such a beautiful spot. It’s a city right on the water with the mountains looming closely. Let’s not forget about the weather. It rarely snows or gets below the freezing mark in Vancouver. That’s a definite bonus.
Vancouver is also a great city for those who enjoy the city life but also enjoy outdoor adventure. There’s so much to do and see in and around Vancouver. I can’t wait to get there.
Update: Visited October 2016. What a city! We typically aren’t fond of larger metro cities but Vancouver is wonderful. The amount of parks and green space in the city is just one of the reasons we enjoyed our day in the city.
27 – Tofino, British Columbia
Vancouver Island is dotted with all sorts of great little towns but the most popular is without a doubt – Tofino. The small village of fewer than 2000 people is usually host to 20,000+ tourists at any given point throughout the year. Many call Tofino the Hawaii of Canada. It’s a paradise for nature lovers with many different types of whales and birds in the area. It’s also the unofficial surfing capital of Canada and is one of the greatest surfing destinations in the world.
Kate and I are both extremely excited because we recently decided that we’re going to be staying for the fall and winter months in Tofino at the beautiful Crystal Cove Beach Resort.
28 – Haida Gwaii/Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, British Columbia
Here is another one of those parks that is not the easiest to get to but is definitely worth whatever it costs to get there. You can only get to the park by boat or floatplane. If you’re a bit more adventurous, you can also kayak to the island. That definitely might be fun.
Although the island of Haida Gwaii isn’t too far from the mainland, it’s a completely wild experience once you arrive. There aren’t any roads in the park. Not one. There also isn’t cell phone service so you can’t Snapchat while you’re roaming about. That’s definitely ok with me.
Interestingly, there are parts of Haida Gwaii that didn’t freeze over during the last ice age. This meant that there were some species that actually survived the ice age.
The Haida cultural sites in the park are a must. There are plenty of cedar totem poles that are some of the oldest standing totem poles in the world.
29 – Kluane National Park, Yukon
Want to go on a really breathtaking adventure? Head to Kluane National Park in the Yukon. The park is home to Mount Logan which is Canada’s highest peak at almost 6000 metres. Not only does Kluane have the tallest peak in Canada, it actually has 17 of the 20 highest peaks in Canada. It’s not surprising that Kluane is a must for mountaineers. I’ll stick to hiking myself, which is also apparently quite amazing in the park.
© Parks Canada / Fritz Mueller
30 – Dawson City, Yukon
Way, way up there in the Yukon is Dawson City a small village that was a booming spot during the Klondike Gold Rush. Nowadays, the population of the village is under 1500, but in the peak of the gold rush over 40,000 people were set up in Dawson City while on the hunt for sparkling yellow nuggets.
While mining for gold isn’t something I’m particular interested in, I am interested in one day visiting the Downtown Hotel. Why a hotel? Well, the hotel serves an interesting cocktail. The drink is called the Sourtoe Cocktail which features an actual toe. A mummified human toe to be exact. Yup – sounds a bit bizarre and it is, but over 65,000 people have sampled the cocktail. Believe it or not, there was actually someone who intentionally swallowed the toe back in 2013. Gross, right?
Not many places can say they serve a drink with a mummified toe in it, so that’s why I think it’s definitely worth the trip to Dawson City someday.
There you have it. That’s my list of 30 Amazing Places in Canada That I Want To Visit. I hope that by reading my list, that you have jotted down some places that you one day wish to visit. Maybe it’s a place that you had never heard of before, maybe it’s a place filled with a high amount of adventure, or maybe it’s just a place with a giant pierogi. Make a list of places you want to visit in Canada. Keep that list in the open and look at it often. Hopefully, in doing so, you will slowly cross some fantastic places off of that list and get to go on some brilliant experiences while doing so.
Which of these 10 spots would you most like to visit? What place in Canada do you most want to visit or would you recommend others visit?
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