A place so vast, so undiscovered, so pristine & so damn naturally beautiful. Canada doesn’t have to try very hard, it is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. As I sit here writing this at Kathleen Lake in Yukon Territory, I am blown away at the height of the mountain in front of me and the quietness of the lake. It truly is mesmerizing.
Canada Day is my home country’s birthday, and this year I am spending it in the mountains. At 5514 km wide and 4634 km tall there is so much to explore. I’ve been as far to the East as Quebec and as far to the West as the ocean. I’ve been across the Southern border in multiple provinces, and have now been as far North as one of the territories! I have a few favorite places, and want to share them with you. Here are my favorite beautiful Canadian landscapes.
Québec is a special place. It is the only province in which French is the main language, and is home to the 2nd oldest city in Canada: Montréal!
INotre-Dame BasilicaMontréal is a special city any time of the year. If you visit in the Winter, you will be greeted by snow banks higher than cars, but also some pretty awesome skating. If you visit in the Summer, you can aimlessly stroll around Vieux Montréal. It is a European looking city, by Canadian standards, with a huge cathedral and old buildings. There is even an Olympic Stadium from the 1976 Olympics!
Truthful Travel Tip: Even if you do not speak French, learn basic conversation before you go. Like in many French speaking countries, the locals will appreciate if you try to speak their language instead of resorting to English!
Hidden almost 4 hours from the city of Toronto is a harbor on a peninsula with crystal clear waters and unique rock formations.
Tobermory is strictly a summer destination, with the small town essentially shutting down in the excruciatingly cold and snowy Winter. Although it has some cabins and hotels, in my opinion it is best to camp. You can scuba dive, take a boat tour to an aptly named “Flowerpot Island” (there is a Flowerpot rock formation!) or hike around Bruce Peninsula National Park. Tobermory is a perfect outdoor destination!
Truthful Travel Tip: Because it is only open in the Summer (you can go in the Spring and Fall but not all tours are running and the water is way too cold to swim) it gets quite busy. There are a few secluded spots that tourists have not seem to have found yet, so seek those out for some solitude!
Jasper National Park, Alberta
You haven’t seen Canada until you’ve seen the Rocky Mountains. Because of their beauty, the Summers are often crowded with people. There is one place where you can be guaranteed to find less crowds: Jasper, which is North of the famous Banff National Park.
There are short hikes, there are long hikes, and there are views of jagged snow capped mountains as far as you can see. You can find elk in town, and moose just a short drive outside of it. There is something for everyone to do in the park. The Icefields Parkway links Jasper and Banff, and includes waterfalls and glaciers. One of my favorite hikes is Valley of the Five Lakes (a 4.5 km hike) which circles, you guessed it, five lakes!
Truthful Travel Tip: Late Fall is an amazing time to visit the park. You will need access to a car, but you will be greeted by the first snowfalls of the season, waterfalls freezing over and a quiet park!
Joffre Lakes Provincial Park
In a province whose motto is “Beautiful British Columbia” there is a lot of beauty to see. While I lived in the province for a year I did not explore as much as I wanted to. However, I have had the chance to see beautiful lakes set to a glacier backdrop.
North of Whistler lies a trail that will take you through various glacial lakes. The trail is dog friendly (always a plus with us!) and although it is rated moderate the views are definitely worth the trek. There are friendly birds that will make you feel like a Disney princess (or prince!) and each lake gets better as you climb higher. This hike was my first in British Columbia and it set the bar quite high!
Truthful Travel Tip: The parking lot gets full quickly, as do the overnight campsites. Arrive early to ensure access to the park, and if you are camping, a place to legally sleep.
Kluane National Park and Reserve, Yukon Territory
The largest internationally protected area in the world is so incredible that I am still at a loss for words.
Kluane National Park is located at the Western border of Yukon, bordering Alaska. It is home to the world’s largest non-polar ice field, which I was lucky enough to see from the sky. Flying over glaciers and seeing mountain peaks, crevasses and Kluane Lake down below is not something I will soon forget. If these towering peaks (Mt Logan is the tallest at 19,551 ft!!!) do not leave you awestruck, nothing will. There is much to explore on land as well: Kluane Lake has many access points, as does Kathleen Lake a bit further South!
Truthful Travel Tip: Save up for a flight tour over the glaciers. Only the very small and very close mountains can be seen from the road, and you are barely scratching the surface of what there is to see. Weather permitting, you can even land on a glacier and walk around (we did not get a chance to do this!)
There is a variety of beautiful Canadian landscapes, and so many things to see. With 10 provinces and 3 territories, it is the 2nd largest country in the world. You could visit it over and over and still have so much to discover. This Canada Day I hope to inspire you to come visit The True North!
Happy Canada Day!
A Truthful Traveler