Canada is famously known for its maple syrup, poutine and affinity for hockey, but it’s also one of the top vacation destinations as of late. Yes, part of this is due to the borders reopening since the COVID-19 pandemic, but it can also be related to how jaunts over to Canada have aspects unlike anywhere else– they’re just so Canadian, eh? We have our trip booked and are merely counting down the days. But, we did want to share some of our favorite things about the country, activities and sites we’re incredibly excited about and what we’re doing between now and our trip to get the most out of our vacation.
- Poutine of course had to be on this list, but did you know it was invented in Québec dating before the 1960s? Apparently, a customer who was in a rush asked for his order of cheese curds and fries to be thrown into the same bag. Cue Jean-Paul Roy in 1964 adding a gravy recipe to the mix, and the three-ingredient dish, named after the Québécois slang word meaning “mess,” continues to be a Canadian staple.
- Cat Skiing is another, likely lesser known, Canadian original. Back in 1975 in British Columbia, Brenda and Allan Drury found a way for their love of back-country powder to become an entirely new subset of the sport. The excursion is exclusive by default, since there’s limited space in the snowcat, but the areas accessed outside of resort limits are seemingly endless, leaving plenty of untracked snow to go around amongst the powder-hungry cats.
- Often referred to as ‘The Father of Heli-Skiing,’ Hans Gmoser is the Canadian mountaineer we have to thank for the combination of helicopters and backcountry skiing. If you’re looking for a heli-skiing adventure derived right from the source, Canada Mountain Holiday, or CMH, is the place to book. Founded by Gmoser back in 1959, the company continues to be a leader in both safety and helicopter practices for guests.
- Canada can’t claim the invention of this last one, but does own the title of one of the best places for viewing this natural phenomenon. Experiencing the northern lights is an event unique to many, but not necessarily Canadians. There are multiple small towns throughout the country you can venture to in order to see the mystic light show. Thanks to the spread-out nature of these towns, there’s also more than one time window a year you’ll be able to visit during to gaze up and take in these gorgeous streaks of light.
Where We’re Going
- Whistler is at the top of our list as it’s home to the largest ski resort in Canada. In addition to cruising down the over 8,000 acres of terrain, we have heli-skiing on our list and are making a point to come back over the summer to walk across the Cloudraker Skybridge.
- Enjoy a pow paradise on the legendary loop in British Columbia known as the Powder Highway. Eight total mountains all connected by a road will take you through the Purcells, Selkirks, Monashees and Rocky Mountains with everything from groomers to untracked backcountry routes. This truly is a skier’s delight and a bucket list item we can’t wait to cross off.
- For more skiing and wilderness views we’re looking to visit Lake Louise over in Alberta. Skiing in Banff National Park, stopping for high tea at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and seeing if we can spot any wood bison in Wood Buffalo National Park are all on our list for this region.
- We’re also excited to explore Québec as a unique province and its mountain destinations in the Eastern part of Canada. Two of Québec’s top mountains, Mont Tremblant and Le Massif Charlevoix, are also on our itinerary for getting some turns in. The latter has terrain for alpine and cross-country skiers, plus the all-inclusive Club Med resort, a perfect one-stop-shop for us so we can direct all our attention to spending time on the mountain. Mont Tremblant’s claim to fame is the European-esque pedestrian village at the bottom of the mountain, restricted to pedestrians and brimming with restaurants, nightlife and apres options, a perfect pairing for an evening after a long day of skiing.
- Next, to pair our mountain peaks with a taste of the city life, we plan to spend some time in Toronto. We’ll be taking a stroll into the historic Distillery District visiting various shops and eateries and touring the unique architecture of Casa Loma, a castle built by Sir Henry Pellat dating back to 1914.
Before We Pack our Ski Bags…
- Canada officially lifted all Covid-19 border measures on 10/1/2022. This means, all requirements regarding vaccination, mandatory use of ArriveCAN and any testing, quarantine or isolation policies will end for all travelers entering Canada by air, land or sea.
Other to-do’s to get stoked:
- Planning on dusting the cobwebs off our passports and making sure they’re renewed in time for the trip.
- Getting in multiple movie nights to stream Strange Brew, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World and of course the classic Out Cold to help get you ready for winter, just to name a few.
- Listening to Neil Young, Alanis Morisette and Drake on repeat. Don’t worry, we have our Canadian playlist in the works, but the list of artists from the Great White North seems to keep growing and growing…
Canada has us feeling some kind of way and now that you’ve heard about our dream itineraries hopefully you’re itching to head Do North this year. Maybe we’ll see you up there, eh?