Canada might just be the most naturally beautiful country I have ever been to. With the friendliest people, an abundance of animals and outdoor activities for any season, you could never be bored. I could probably just insert a heap of pictures on this post and that would be enough to get you logged onto Expedia to book the next flight over, but I thought I should share some personal thoughts on the land of the maple syrup and grizzly bears.
In June 2014, I visited Canada with a friend. We traveled the west coast areas around Vancouver, Whistler, Calgary and the Canadian Rockies including Jasper National Park and Banff National Park. Away from the overcrowded hustle and bustle of the United States major tourist attractions, the Rockies are a breath of fresh air (literally) and will make you appreciate our natural world.
If you want something different, why not consider Canada over the USA? Well, here’s why…
Enough said. Even driving throughout the countryside from Vancouver to Jasper, I was in awe of the views. Then when I arrived in the Jasper National Park, it was hard to believe my eyes. Driving the Icefields Parkway from Jasper to Banff is breathtaking and it is voted one of the most scenic drives in the world. Everywhere you turn is a Kodak moment.
I know it sounds cliche but Canadians are some of the nicest people you could meet (up there with the Aussies). One example I can think of relates to the homeless. Vancouver was a big shock for me when arriving because of all of the homeless people in the streets. With Canada being such a cold country, Vancouver is the warmest major city meaning homeless people flock to it. But I quickly realized that even the homeless people in this country were friendly. Some would keep to themselves, some would hold doors open for people for money and some made funny signs like the one on the left. The province of British Columbia has a law that homeless people may only ask people for money once, and even though you wouldn’t consider homeless people to be law abiding citizens, they did seem to stick to it and graciously accept money or a ‘no’. Apart from that, everyone I encountered was lovely. I even especially remember a lovely waitress in Jasper who gave us helpful advice about the area. People can really make or break a trip.
THE LAKES LOOK FAKE
I didn’t think lakes could even have the kinds of colors I experienced in Canada. One of the most impressive was Peyto Lake (above), a lake so blue it looks like someone laid down a pool tarp over the entire thing. The photo does not do it justice and I could have caught so many bugs with how far my jaw dropped upon arrival.
BECAUSE THE GLACIERS WON’T BE AROUND FOREVER
Sadly, global warming is melting the beautiful glaciers seen throughout the Rockies and whilst the melting of snow and glaciers creates the beautiful hues of the lakes, its sad to see them disappear. The huge masses of ice have been around for hundreds or even thousands of years and can even be thanked along with gravity for making valleys as they slowly slide with erosive force.
From bears to eagles, the wildlife in the area is exciting. Whilst driving through the Rocky Mountains you will see cars pulled over, taking photos of a bear or a moose or dear. The teamwork between tourists is great to see, when drivers will let you know if there is something ahead. I counted 8 black bear sightings during my time in Canada, one female moose, one elk, a few deer, an eagle, multiple sheep/rams, many chipmunks and a weird rodent I’m still trying to figure out. The bear above walked right out in front of our bus on the Icefields Parkway and the moose to the right was just grazing beside the road (and ran away pretty quickly so that’s the best shot I got).
Go for a hike in the mountains, ride a bike around Stanley Park in Vancouver, ski or snowboard the amazing slopes or go canoe or kayaking on a lake or river. Get outside, get active and enjoy a more rewarding experience than you could experience at a typical big city tourist hub such as L.A or New York.
Think fun, think beautiful, think nature. Think Canada.
You won’t be disappointed.