Things to do on the British Columbia Coast
Spend a few days exploring all that Vancouver has to offer; hike up Grouse Mountain, cycle around Stanley Park and visit the Science Museum. In the evening head to the city's oldest district, Gastown, where in amongst the historic architecture you will stumble across innumerable cocktail bars and incredible seafood restaurants.
Enjoy the Views on the Peak 2 Peak Gondola
Joining the mountains of Whistler and Blackcomb, the Peak 2 Peak gondola offers 360 degree views of the beautiful scenery below. This gondola holds the world records for being the highest lift of its kind, 1,427 feet above the valley floor, and having the longest unsupported span, at 1.88 miles. Which means you can make the most of fantastic snow conditions in both Whistler and Blackcomb in the same day.
Enjoy Vancouver Island's Wildlife
Take in all the wildlife Vancouver Island has to offer, which is a lot. This is somewhere humans are outnumbered considerably by other species. Head out on a boat on a whale watching trip, looking out for grey, humpback and killer whales; spot grizzly bears fishing for salmon during spawning season in the autumn; or black bears feeding on the water's edge at low tide.
Watch Grizzly Bears Feed
Harness your inner Attenborough as you get up close to the amazing Canadian wildlife on Sonora Island. Embark on a grizzly bear tour and see these fabulous furry creatures that love this area due to the bounty of salmon that thrive in the calm river passages. As well as bears, it is also common to spot eagles souring over the retreat, so keep your cameras at the ready.
Embark On A Helicopter Adventure
The best way to take in the breathtaking views over British Columbia's coast is from a helicopter. Learn about the regions geography and sites from an expert pilot who will take you on an adventure over waterfalls, glaciers and snow-topped peaks. Continue to explore this magnificent countryside on foot, and hit the rivers for thrilling kayaking and rafting excursions.
Go Salmon Fishing
For the ultimate way to relax, unwind, and even catch some dinner, embark on a guided salmon fishing trip. Guides will teach you all you need to know if you're a first timer and will provide everything you need for a successful fishing experience. After watching the sun set over the snowy mountain tops, wave goodbye to the grizzly bears and head back to your hotel, vacuum-packed salmon in hand.
Things to do in The Canadian Rockies
Visit the Famous Lake Louise
Lake Louise is far from being a 'hidden gem' and the crowds here may put some people off, but getting up early to marvel at the bright blue of the lake and the stunning mountains that surround it is well worth it. For the best views, hike up through the forest to Lake Agnes and visit its iconic teahouse for a cuppa and a slice of cake.
Explore Jasper and Banff
Head to Banff National Park and take a trip in the Banff Gondola to admire views of the town and the stunning mountain scenery; or head out on an evening wildlife safari to spot elk, mountain goats and maybe even a grizzly bear. In Jasper National Park, go white-water rafting down the Athabasca River, where you can travel more than five miles downstream through Class Two rapids.
Take a Trip on the Rocky Mountaineer Train
A trip aboard the Rocky Mountaineer Train is more than just a convenient way to eat into the vast distances in western Canada, but an incredible experience in itself. Spending time in the glass-topped viewing carts is a fascinating way to witness the ever changing views around you in the day and to gaze at the stars in the unpolluted black skies by night.
Soak up Canada’s soul-stirring landscape from the comforts of a luxury carriage as you on a memorable train journey through the Canadian Rockies - probably the best way to capture the natural beauty of Canada.
There are a variety of routes to choose from including the 'Journey through the Clouds', the 'Coastal Passage', and the 'Rainforest to Gold Rush'. Each journey carves through wild rugged scenery, traversing across majestic mountains, climbing pine-covered slopes and speeding past scenic glacier-fed lakes.
Sit back in luxurious seat and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife passing by, from eagles gracefully soaring above to black bears lumbering in distant canyons. The Rocky Mountaineer hosts will weave stories into the journey adding a further authentic touch to the experience.
The glass-dome luxury coaches enable passengers to admire the majestic landscapes in comfort. Nibble on gourmet meals served alongside complimentary beverages. Hot gourmet breakfast and lunches are served as part of the gold leaf service, along with afternoon wine and cheese. Nights will be spent unwinding in luxurious at cosy hotels, before continuing the unforgettable adventure.
Things to do in Vancouver
Cycle In Stanley Park
Hop on a bike and cycle the six-mile route around the Stanley Park Seawall. Pedal beneath centuries-old red cedar trees and through colourful flower gardens. Take in the spectacular views of the North Shore Mountains and the Lions Gate Bridge from Prospect Point and snap some photos of the city from Brockton Point Lighthouse. Stop often to enjoy the lovely scenery or for a picnic on the beachside.
Granville Island Market
Indulge the senses and explore the famous market of Granville Island, a food lover's paradise. Wander the colourful stalls in search of the finest gastronomic delights and spoil yourself with delicious pastries, traditionally cured meats and freshly caught seafood. Savour the local cheese, sourdough bread and melt-in-your-mouth doughnuts and bag some tasty souvenirs to take home from smoked salmon and fine chocolates, to various blends of tea and homemade pickles.
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
For those who have a head for heights, crossing the Capilano Suspension Bridge delivers sky-high thrills. Perched at 230ft above the Capilano River, the views of the lush forests and intricately sculpted totems are breath-taking. The Cliffwalk - a dizzyingly high and narrow suspended walkway that is just glass in some places - will provide thrill-seekers with the ultimate rush, while the Treetops Adventure is perfect for the easy-going adventurer.
Things to do in Vancouver Island
Canada is well-known for its land-based wildlife, but don't forget about the marine inhabitants too. Off the coast of Vancouver Island is arguably one of the best places in the world to go whale watching and at certain times of the year you're almost guaranteed a sighting of these magnificent creatures. Aboard a boat with these gentle giants gliding underneath you'll have an experience you will never forget.
Explore The City Of Gardens
Victoria, the 'City of Gardens' is as beautiful as it sounds. The year-round mild coastal climate provides the perfect temperatures for blooms to blossom as early as February, while the rest of Canada remains nestled under a layer of snow. In the beautiful Butchart Gardens, enjoy an afternoon tea and a treat for the senses as you breathe in the floral scents and feast your eyes on the kaleidoscopic colours.
Strathcona Provincial Park
The stunning Strathcona Provincial Park - well known for its mountains, lakes, waterfalls and glaciers - is the perfect place for a day spent hiking and enjoying the great outdoors. Cool off with a refreshing swim in Buttle Lake, or hire a canoe to venture further out over the crisp water. The park is the pinnacle of serenity, the perfect escape from the fast pace of daily life.
Things to do in Whistler
Wind Down In Whistler Town
Free your feet from the ski boots and treat yourself to a stroll around Whistler town. This quaint mountain town is filled with numerous bars to match its party reputation, as well as a scattering of lavish restaurants and chic boutiques that are well worth exploring. End your day listening to live music in Mallard Lounge while sipping on a unique cocktail made with honey from the hotel's rooftop bees.
Conquer The Mountains
Spot bears roaming the mountainside as you soar between Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains in the World Record-breaking 'Peak 2 Peak Gondola'. The ride boasts unbeatable panoramic views of this ever changing landscape complete with volcanic peaks, coastal rainforests and ancient glaciers. For those who dare, venture higher up to Whistler Peak where you can traverse the Cloudraker Skybridge to the Raven's Eye which is suspended a whopping 7,156ft above the ground.
Zipline Whistler's Backcountry
For an adrenaline pumping way of taking in the dramatic views of Whistler backcountry, speed across four ziplines that criss-cross between woodland trails and boardwalks. With room for two on the ziplines you can ride side-by-side with friends or family, and snap plenty of mid-flight photos against the envious backdrop. Take a seat, buckle up and prepare for an unforgettable sky-high adventure.
Discover the best of Canada and all it has on offer with a wide range of exciting activities and adventures Original Travel can organise for your holiday. From ziplining through Canada’s backcountry at 6,000ft to spotting Beluga whales, you will not be short of things to do while visiting this remarkable country.
Kayaking with Beluga Whales
July and August heralds the arrival of more than 3,000 Beluga Whales into the mouth of the Hudson River where they summer in the estuary. These incredible pure white creatures stick around for weeks in order to give birth and feed on the plentiful shoals of fish, moving in and out of the Hudson Bay at tide.
Famously relaxed and curious around humans, the best ways to see them is by kayak. We can arrange for you to paddle among these incredible creatures accompanied by an experienced guide and naturalist. When the whale’s surface, you might get the ultimate close up. Belugas are also supposedly the only whales that can turn their necks, so you can find yourself being eyed up by whales below as you snorkel.
Ziplining in Whistler
Fly through Canada’s backcountry at heights of about 600ft, stretching over a kilometre and get an adrenaline rush with speeds up to 100km/h. Enjoy stunning views of the majestic old- growth forest old and experience the thrill of flying with high quality safety equipment and expert supervision.
Soar across spectacular mountain valleys and gaze at its various ecology and wildlife. The best bit about this high-wire adventure is that no experience is required, and it is available all year-round for a unique experience each season.
For those who still crave more adrenaline – twilight Zipline tours are available throughout Whistler’s forest. Explore the forest with only a headlight lamp while flying through the night and making this the most unique adventure.
Combine a helicopter flight and exclusive camping experience with fine dining, and you have a night at Cloud Camp – located 4,500ft above sea level on the Ursus Mountain, taking ‘glamping’ to a whole new level. Accessible only by helicopter, those ingenious folk at the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort have crafted the ultimate camping experience.
This is Canadian wilderness at its most exclusive; after the scenic chopper flight to camp, explore the mountain lake with your own private guide, as your private chef prepares a five-course fine dining experience - complete with wine pairings - for you to enjoy atop your own private mountain. Snuggle up under cosy down duvets for an overnight stay, before a continental breakfast and a dip in your private mountain lake the following morning, before returning to Clayoquot. We told you it was exclusive.
Peak 2 Peak Gondola
The Peak 2 Peak gondola spans nearly three miles between Whistler and the Blackcomb Mountains, making it both the longest and highest gondola lift in the world. It is thanks to the gondola that skiers can now combine both the Blackcomb and Whistler ski areas during winter, while in summer the 30-odd miles of trekking trails criss-crossing both mountains are also much more accessible.
Needless to say, the views from the gondolas are spectacular but if you want a closer look at this marvel of engineering, take a peek at the Peak-to-Peak Viewing Gallery, a raised walkway that gives you the opportunity to see the gondola's engineering and inner workings.
Via Ferrata in Banff
Mount Norquay in Banff is a great ski area in winter, but come summer it’s now also home to the Via Ferrara route. A Via Ferrata (literally iron road in Italian) is a system of cables, ladders and suspension bridges in a mountainous region that those with a head for heights can tackle without any previous mountaineering experience, and the Mount Norquay system is designed for beginners to more serious climbers depending on your ability.
Your certified guide will explain the various bits of equipment and how to safely tackle the route before you set off to traverse this dramatic mountain landscape. Banff is famous for its spectacular views, but they are made even better when you have earnt them by finishing the Via Ferrata.
Things to do in Churchill
See Polar Bears
Churchill, the polar bear capital of the world is one of the top places to catch a sight of these magnificent white beasts in the wild. October and November are the best months to see polar bears, when they relocate from their summer home on the tundra back to the pack ice which forms every winter over Hudson Bay, perfect for hunting for seals.
Listen To Beluga Whales
Armed with a hydrophone, listen to schools of beluga whales chatting to each other in the waters around Churchill for a truly jaw-dropping marine experience. Northern Manitoba's Hudson Bay coastline boasts the largest population of beluga whales in the world, with over 57,000 gathering in the region from June to September. Hop aboard a passenger boat or climb into a kayak to get up close to these magnificent creatures.
Tundra Buggy Adventure
Aboard a Tundra Buggy, explore some of Churchill's most remote and exclusive areas and spy out polar bears, arctic foxes, ptarmigans, snow geese, and other wonderful wildlife. Immerse yourself in the full arctic experience with an overnight stay in a Tundra Buggy Lodge. Fall asleep to the northern lights dancing above your head, and wake up to a polar bear peering through your window on this utterly unforgettable arctic adventure.
What to Eat in Canada?
The food in Canada is as diverse as the country itself. They cannot claim one culinary culture as every region has its own traditional dishes that are often made from local ingredients to create an added personal touch, the most representative is the rutabaga cheese which is used in soups and meat stews.
The coastal region of Canada has excellent seafood, especially British Columbia, including shrimp, crab, cod, haddock, salmon, oysters and other shellfish that can be cooked in many different ways. In Fraser Valley you will find numerous hazelnut farms and not far east you can find the Okanagan Valley, one of Canada’s best wine producing regions and well-known for its delicious red, white, sparkling and ice-wines.
Southern Vancouver Island produces fresh fruits, vegetables and plants like no other region in Canada. The fresh ingredients, combined with local fish and meat as well as the inspiration of French and Italian cooking methods create the memorable taste of these regional dishes. Take a culinary tour through bustling Oak Bay Avenue, tasting the local new trends for a fantastic gourmet tasting adventure.
Quebec is known for its modern and innovative farm-to-table cuisine, and home to its famous meat pies, otherwise known as tourtieres. Some of Canada’s best restaurants are situated in Quebec, so be sure to get glammed up here and sample all they have to offer. A guided walking tour through old Quebec also gives a great insight into the region’s gourmet delights.
Vancouver is a great spot for guided culinary tours, eating your way through the city streets, stopping by local eateries and skipping the tourist traps. Many culinary tours are offered, from the cities growing street food scene to fascinating Granville Island Market and Gastown's hippest restaurants and pubs. The historic Gastown district is Canada's cocktail capital and hides Vancouver's most vibrant restaurant scene. Taste local craft beer and time-honoured canapés at the Crafts cocktail bar and snack on local farm charcuterie and cheeses alongside a British Columbia wine.
Alternatively, you can enjoy a gourmet kayaking weekend in the summer months, where you paddle to stunning gulf islands and sample fine food and wine while watching river otters and harbour seals. There is also an option to have a guest chef prepare a multi-course dinner in front of you, before enjoying a variety of local single malt whiskeys after eating.
Whale Watching in Canada
Canada is one of the best places in the world for an awe-inspiring whale watching adventure. The enormous coastline offers many spots to observe magnificent whales and gain an unforgettable lifetime experience.
Whale watching can be enjoyed in British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and Quebec. However, the coast off British Columbia is the main whale watching destination due to its high population of grey whales, minkes, humpbacks and the world's highest orca population. About 20,000 grey whales annually pass Vancouver Island's west coast on their journey from their winter home off the Mexican Baja Peninsula to their summer feeding grounds. Newfoundland offers some of the most extensive variety of whales in the world, offering the chance to see belugas, minkes, pilots, humpbacks, fin and blue wales – the largest animal in the world.
The whale watching season varies by province but is generally from May to October. Choose from a range of whale watching tours and spend a day, or an exciting few hours, aboard a whale watching boat gazing at these wonderful creatures.
Sea to Sky Climb
Discover Canada’s dramatic Sea to Sky Climb scenery, expanding from Vancouver to Whistler. A unique way to experience this British Columbia landscape is by joining the Sea to Sky Climb train and admiring breath-taking views between Vancouver and Whistler in comfort and style.
A three-and-a-half-hour train trip will bring you from Vancouver to Whistler, introducing you to the Corridors immense beauty while passing massive mountains, waterfalls and travelling steep climbs. During your journey you will travel through downtown Vancouver and Stanley Park as you depart and revel in the views of the British Columbia Coastal Mountains once the train greets the oceanfront route along the eastern shores of scenic Howe Sound. You then glide through spectacular Cheakamus Canyon and pass the tumbling waters of Shannon Falls, the third highest falls in the province. Gaze at the spectacular 70-metre Brandywine Falls and at British Columbia’s best-known volcano, the Mount Garibaldi. It is your own choice whether you take the train back to Vancouver the same day or enjoy a relaxed stay at one of the many lovely lodges and hotels in the Whistler region.
The train, however, is not the only way to discover the Sea to Sky Corridor – outdoor hikers might find themselves in a paradise while exploring the region. Provincial Parks, such as the Shannon Falls and Mount Garibalds Park invite for a hike on its numerous trails. The town of Whistler, which was host to the 2010 Olympic Games, is renowned for outstanding skiing and year-round outdoor activities. This is also a great place to be explored on your own once the train arrives in Whistler and why not treat yourself to a snack or warm meal at one of the many mountains top venues while enjoying remarkable views.
Coastal Black Bear Boat Trip
Departing from Tofino on Vancouver Island, this half day boat trip allows you the chance to get up close to coastal black bears after their winter semi-hibernation in Calyoquot Sound.
The trip takes place in an open air (the tour company provides floater suits) Zodiac rib-style boat with a shallow draft that allows the skipper to guide her into even the narrowest and shallowest inlets where you can see the bears in their natural habitat, scavenging, foraging and catching rock crabs along the shoreline.
Vancouver Island has a total bear population of approximately 7,000, so chances of a sighting are pretty high. Seeing the bears foraging on the seashore is exciting enough, but it’s even better when there are adorable cubs in tow.