Let's Go To...Canada!
You've read the articles in my "Let's Go To..." series before. Usually I highlight a destination and dive into its wonders to encourage you to visit this fabulous place. I haven't written one in a while - the last one was about Morocco, right before the pandemic laid waste to all our travel plans. We couldn't spread our wings, so "Let's Go To..." any place was nonsensical, and "Let's Go To Nowhere" would have been too depressing.
It's time to re-energize the series! In last week's article, I promised that I’d refresh your memory of some Canadian destinations for you to think about, now that we’re a mere week away from the grand reopening of that country’s borders. Undoubtedly, there are places you already have in mind, either because you haven’t been in a while or maybe have never been. In addition, as your wanderlust is asking to be satiated, Canada is a relatively close destination, meaning that cost and risk are more manageable in these uncertain times, if that’s a concern you have. So let’s take that refresher course, traipsing through the Canadian Rockies, Toronto/Niagara Falls, Québec and British Columbia.
THE CANADIAN ROCKIES For me, beautiful Banff, Jasper and Kootenay National Parks, immediately spring to mind. While in Alberta explore Banff as you paddle e-bikes along riverside trails and float down the Bow River; go off the grid and deep into nature during a helicopter-assisted hike through a high-alpine meadow; or join your guide on an off-road excursion to a remote ridgeline trailhead known only to locals.
Situated in magnificent Jasper National Park, and surrounded by nature and abundant wildlife, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is a 700-acre, year-round luxury mountain resort which wraps around the shores of pristine Lac Beauvert and Canada's #1 Golf Course. The resort's charming village of cedar chalets and Luxury Signature Cabins, all connected by picturesque paths, offer guests unique access to explore the surrounding natural environment.
If you prefer less active pursuits, rolling through the Rockies on Rocky Mountaineer is the perfect choice. This is slow travel at its best through time and unending beauty. Travelers who opt for GoldLeaf Service, the line’s top of two classes, ride in custom-built bi-level cars are bilevel. Up top, comfy reclining seats under glass-domed ceilings offer 360-degree views. Below, locally sourced, multicourse breakfasts and lunches are served on white tablecloths. The open-air platform at the back of the car offers the simple pleasure of mountain air and warm sun. There are no sleeper cars, and that’s a good thing. This isn’t scenery you want to pass through with your eyes closed. The train stops for stays at spectacular hotels at the end of each day, giving passengers a chance to stretch their legs and explore more via boots, bikes, and boats.
TORONTO AND NIAGARA FALLS What’s to do besides bustling nightlife and city sight-seeing? I’m glad you asked:
- explore Niagara Falls by helicopter and boat, then go behind the scenes at the newly reopened, historic Niagara Parks Power Station.
- sample ice wines on a journey along the Niagara Wine Trail, or delight in tasting Burgundy-style pinots in the under-the-radar wine destination of Prince Edward County;
- explore Toronto’s fun and funky neighborhoods with a local insider who will reveal this dynamic city's off-the-beaten-track highlights;
- detour to Muskoka– dubbed the Malibu of the North– to spend the day cruising on the lake, then take a scenic flight back to Toronto.
Stay at 1 Hotel Toronto, which is quickly becoming a fan favorite for sophisticated travelers and sustainability enthusiasts alike. Inspired by Canada’s natural beauty, you’ll find eco-friendly details throughout the hotel. Rooms boast custom organic cotton mattresses, hangers made from 100% recycled materials, HEPA filters, and live greenery, plus filtered water taps designed to eliminate single-use plastics. The main lobby even has a farmer’s market with local, seasonal produce available to all guests.
MONTRÉAL, QUÉBEC and the EASTERN TOWNSHIPS Explore the celebrated culinary city of Old Montréal with a local insider and end your tour with cocktails and sweeping views at a chic rooftop bar. Or savor gourmet Québécois flavors during a guided foodie experience. Embark on a private river cruise to take in Québec City from a novel vantage point, then immerse yourself in its fascinating culture and history as you explore its historic cobblestone streets with a local guide.
The Ritz-Carlton Montréal offers a striking blend of modern touches and historic elements. It’s a this European-inspired retreat and the perfect destination for a luxurious stay in beautiful downtown Montréal.
BRITISH COLUMBIA You'll find both urban adventures and wilderness retreats in B.C. The trendy waterfront city of Vancouver will keep you busy all day, and is worthy of me dedicating an article to its many charms some day. Until then, ferry over to Vancouver Island and enjoy the spectacular floral displays at Butchart Gardens. Whistler awaits you too – it’s not just a winter wonderland – and I can help you explore it’s summer fun. Cruise B.C and the San Juan Islands on an eight-day expedition. For this, I recommend sustainability-minded Lindblad Cruise Lines. Their cruises have no single-use plastics, and they are a 100% carbon-neutral U.S.-based company – just two of their eco-conscious qualities.
Your accomodations in B.C. can be as luxurious, as rustic or as zen as your imagination allows and your psyche desires. Glamping at Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge on Victoria Island is an unforgettable adventure; or stay city-side at the contemporary yet sophisticated Fairmont Pacific Rim - it has spectacular views of Coal Harbor, North Shore Mountains and Stanley Park.
My family is sprinkled across Canada, so I'm way overdue for a visit myself. Plan your winter-time vacation now; and for next summer, given that you won't be the only one seeking a Canadian escape, now is the best time to plan that too.
'til next week.
Did you miss any of my articles? They are all here.
I create indulgent, transformative vacations for people who crave immersive travel. If you don't have the time to plan the details of your own well-deserved escape, don't know where to begin, or are simply longing to make unforgettable memories with those you love, then don’t wait another day. Let's talk.
Contact: GLOBAL EXOTIC ADVENTURES - Juliet Weller, Founder