Last week, I introduced you to my idea to compile a list of 30 amazing places in Canada that I want to visit. I hope that my list inspired you to think of some fantastic Canadian locations that you someday would love to visit. There are many beautiful and unique spots across this great country of ours that we all should someday explore. The next 10 locations on my list are certainly a mix of beauty and oddity.
30 Amazing Places In Canada I Want To Visit #11-20
11 – Wawa, Ontario
Wawa is a very small town in Northern Ontario along Highway 17. There are two things that intrigue me enough about Wawa for it to make this list. First, Wawa is home to a 28-foot statue of a Canada goose. Why is there a 28 foot Canada goose in Wawa? Well, Wawa is a derivative of the Ojibwe word for “wild goose”. There’s a fun fact you can store away in your memory bank for that one time at trivia when a question about Wawa gets asked.
The second highlight of Wawa is Young’s General Store. It’s an old-fashioned general store that has been open since the early 70’s and features all sorts of unique Norther Ontario goodies. Even though I despise pickles (I actually have a pickle phobia), you may be interested to know that Young’s still serves pickle in an old-fashioned pickle barrel.
Update: Visited September 2016. We stayed in Wawa for a night while in Northern Ontario. We managed to see and learn about the three giant geese as well as enjoy some breathtaking views.
12 – Churchill, Manitoba
There’re not many spots in Northern Canada as popular with tourists as Churchill. The reason it’s so popular is simply because there are so many tourists that want to get up close to a polar bear. That’s exactly what happens in Churchill known as the Polar Bear Capital of the World. As a group, you can climb aboard one of the tundra buggies that will get you right next to one of the large white beasts. There are actually so many polar bears in the Churchill area that they have a “Polar Bear Jail” for polar bears that get a little too close to town. The bears often stay in “jail” until they can be rereleased into the wild far from town.
13 – Winnipeg, Manitoba
Winnipeg is one of those places that people either love it or hate it. I’ve heard both sides argue why the love and hate it. Those that hate it say that it’s too hot in the summer and way too cold in the winter. If that’s truly the case, I can understand that argument as I’m not very fond of extreme temperatures. Apparently, locals also say the mosquitos in Winnipeg and Manitoba are much larger than those in the rest of Canada. No thanks to that as well. The people that love Winnipeg say it’s a great city filled with great culture and food. Certainly, it seems like a city that is divided. The only way to break the tie between the love and hate is to figure it out for myself and to visit the city which we will happily be doing on our cross-country tour next month.
What I know about Winnipeg is that back in the day, it had an incredible music scene. The Guess Who are from Winnipeg, and although he’s not from Winnipeg, Neil Young got his musical start in the city. This song pretty much sums up the Winnipeg music scene in the early 60’s.
Update: Visited October 2016. While our stay was short, we enjoyed Winnipeg. The Forks and the surrounding area is great and Sargent Sundae served up some of the best soft serve ice cream we’ve had.
14 – Regina, Saskatchewan
Regina makes the list because of football – specifically Canadian football. To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of the CFL. I used to watch it back in the day when the Argos were great and Doug Flutie was on boxes of Wheaties. The one thing I know about the CFL is that the best fans are in Regina where they cheer for the Roughriders. One of the interesting things that members of Riders Nation enjoy doing while at games is wearing helmets made of watermelon. Yes – watermelon. I’d be interested in learning how this tradition first started. My guess is that it was some drunk guy in the parking lot before a game who thought it would be a fabulous idea to stick a watermelon on his noggin. It’s a strange tradition that’s been around for a while now, so I think it would be quite an experience to carve up a watermelon helmet and take in a Riders game sometime with other diehard melon heads.
15 – Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
Not too far west of Regina is the small city of Moose Jaw. Moose Jaw has two very unique attractions that I’m interested in seeing one day. First, Moose Jaw is home to Mac the Moose – a 32-foot tall moose sculpture that weighs almost 10 tons. I’ve always been quite fond of Moose, so seeing this distinctive sculpture would be fun. I’m quite certain Bella would bark at it. She doesn’t seem to trust statues or monuments for some reason.
Really fun would be exploring the tunnels of Moose Jaw. Back in the early 1900’s a widespread maze of tunnels was dug beneath the city as an underground steam system. Not long after the construction of the tunnels, they were abandoned. That was until the 1920’s came around and the tunnels became home to many rum runners. It’s rumoured that Al Capone once hid from the feds in the notorious Moose Jaw tunnel system.
16 – Glendon, Alberta
I could probably give you a million guesses as to why Glendon, Alberta is on my list and you will likely never guess. The sole reason that this small town of 486 is on my list is because it’s home to a Giant Pierogi. Growing up, I was raised on my grandmas and aunts pierogis which were always served at family get-togethers. Not only is there the giant pierogi in Glendon, they also have (obviously) a little café which sells, you guessed it – pierogis. Consider me sold. I’m shocked I haven’t actually looked at real estate in Glendon as of yet.
17 – Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta
No, this isn’t quite Jurassic Park. There are no living dinosaurs freely roaming about and I’m no Jeff Goldblum either, but this is a park that I’d love to go to someday. Dinosaur Provincial Park provides quite a different landscape that somewhat resembles desert areas of Arizona. It also doesn’t hurt to think that while going for a hike that you might stumble on a fossil that is millions of years old. Over 40 different dinosaur species have been discovered in Dinosaur Provincial Park. There have also been over 500 dinosaur specimens removed from the park to be displayed at various museums around the world.
18 – Drumheller, Alberta
Drumheller is very similar to Dinosaur Provincial Park as both are a part of the Alberta Badlands. In Drumheller, however, you can get a peek at the world’s largest dinosaur – an 86 foot T-Rex. At 86 feet tall, the monument is actually 4 times larger than an actual T-Rex and even has over 100 stairs inside of it which you can climb to view the vast landscape of the area. Again, like Mac the Moose, Bella would likely ferociously bark at it.
Drumheller is also home to the hoodoos aka fairy chimneys. The hoodoos are strange looking rock formations that have been shaped throughout the years by erosion. Locals say that at night the hoodoos come alive and protect the surrounding land by throwing stones at those who harm the area.
Update: Visited October 2016. It wasn’t originally a part of our itinerary, but we ended up visiting Drumheller and were happy to do so. It was amazing to see the Hoodoos.
19 – Wood Buffalo National Park, Alberta
Located in the far north of Alberta is Canada’s largest national park – Wood Buffalo National Park. It’s fitting that the park is the largest national park in the country as it’s also home to the largest land mammal in North America – the Wood Bison. The park was originally opened in 1922 to protect the bison and now today the park has a herd of roughly 5000. The park is also home to the tallest bird in North America – the endangered Whooping Crane. If that wasn’t enough, the beavers of the park have built the largest known beaver dam in the world.
© Parks Canada / Wayne Lynch
20 – Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta
Located roughly 1500km directly south of Wood Buffalo National Park is Waterton Lakes National Park. The park has the distinction of being a park where the landscapes of the prairies and the Rocky Mountains meet up to form a unique backdrop. The park is also connected to Glacier National Park in the US. Together, in 1932, the two parks were combined to be known as the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. The idea to combine the parks was first discussed between John G. Brown, the first park official for Waterton Lakes, and Henry Reynolds, a park ranger from Montana. Reynolds once said of sharing the two unique spaces, “The geology recognizes no boundaries, and as the lake lay… no man-made boundary could cleave the waters apart.”
© Parks Canada / Nick Alexander
There are still 10 more amazing places I would like to visit that I will share with you next Friday. Next week’s list will feature places in Alberta, BC, the Yukon, and the Northwest Territories.
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?