Canadiana

This post was inspired by a conversation I had with my dear friend, Jon. We were talking about travel in general and he brought up his disappointment in Canadian travel — mainly that it’s no wonder such a small percentage of Canadians have been able to travel throughout Canada simply because it’s so bloody expensive to do so. For example, at certain times of the year a flight to Newfoundland can be comparable in price to a flight to Europe. Chances are if someone has the dilemma of having to choose between a Roman holiday and a vacation on The Rock, they’re going to opt for Italy.

Prior to this past August the amount of travelling that I had personally done within Canada fits into Jon’s assumption — it was very limited. I’ve been to Halifax, Montreal, Quebec City (a grade twelve party trip…not much sightseeing so it doesn’t really count), Ottawa for a day, and various places throughout Ontario. Manitoulin Island was the farthest west I had been. When I had the opportunity to visit Banff and Calgary for a business trip this summer it made me realize how much of a bubble I’d been living in. As much as I love Toronto, there’s more to see in this country than the T-Dot.

That’s one of the reasons why I chose to finally take the train to Vancouver and what prompted me to talk to Moose Travel Network about their tours in Western Canada. I also recently started following the Canadian Tourism Commission on Facebook and Twitter. I had come across their Facebook page via a post that Matador Network had shared and immediately became interested in the idea of dedicating some decent travel time to our country. My upcoming trip will cover a good portion of Canada, but I’m aiming to eventually visit every province and territory within our borders.

I found this list of “The Top 10 Places You Should Visit in Canada” put together by Crave Canada and I have to admit I’ve only been to three. I’m going to relist them here for you, but I also feel like there’s a few more that should be added.

The original list:

  1. The Canadian Rockies
  2. Niagara Falls
  3. Pacific Rim National Park
  4. The Cabot Trail
  5. Baffin Island
  6. Vancouver
  7. The Prairies
  8. Old Quebec City
  9. The Bay of Fundy
  10. Toronto

…and my additions:

  1. The Magdalen Islands, Quebec
  2. Manitoulin Island, Ontario
  3. L’Anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland
  4. The Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia
  5. Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Alberta
  6. Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario
  7. Algonquin Park, Ontario

Magdalen Islands / Îles de la Madeleine

I’m sure there’s many more gems within Canada that should be added to the list, but those are just a few that have caught my eye over the years. The Magdalen Islands (Îles de la Madeleine) have been up there for me for a while, simply because I never knew they existed and stumbled upon them by accident. I love geography and looking at maps, so I was baffled as to how I never knew these beautiful islands were lying in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, surrounded by Newfoundland, Anticosti Island, Gaspe, New Brunswick, PEI and Cape Breton. If those islands could evade my knowledge of Canadian geography for so long, what else am I missing out on?

As much as international travel is exhilarating in its own right, I think it’s important that we as Canadians take pride in our national destinations and pay homage to the many varied landscapes that Canada has to offer. I know that due to the size of the country it could be difficult, or even too expensive to fly, but why not try a road trip? Or a short-haul flight to a neighbouring province? Or jump on the train? The VIA website usually has seat sales on their Express Deals page, offering up to 75% off select departures from Toronto all the way to Vancouver. Canadian travel can be affordable, as long as it’s done right.

After my trip this month I’ll be able to cross off a substantial amount of Canadian destinations to see, but the more I talk about travel with my friends the more my wish list of places to visit grows. I’m now determined to see more of Canada, just to prove that there are ways of doing it on a budget.

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