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The Most Iconic Canadian Experiences

Story by Great Canadian Trails


2017 is Canada’s big year and no doubt there will be more curious travellers than ever. With so much going on, it might be hard to decide what to include in your trip. Should you head east or west, mountains or coast, desert or rainforest? We've compiled our picks for the most iconic Canadian experiences across the country to help you choose.

Whistler, British Columbia

Alpine hiking high above the Whistler Valley | Photo ©Tourism Whistler/Steve Rogers

1. The Mountains are Calling

If there is something everyone knows about Canada, it’s the majestic mountains. It's with good reason, too – it’s hard not to rave about the light blue alpine lakes, the towering peaks and the plethora of outdoor activities the region offers. From summertime hiking and mountain biking to wintery snowshoeing, there is something to do in the mountains no matter the season.

Tradition Voyageur Canoe

Paddling a traditional Voyageur Canoe | Photo ©OTMPC

2. Canoeing – Paddle your Worries Away

If you want to have a quintessential Canadian experience, then hop in a canoe. Canoeing in Canada is a perfect way to connect with nature and enjoy the peace and quiet. If manoeuvering a canoe feels too challenging (although it’s very simple, really) you can always try the modern version, kayaking. With tens of thousands of lakes, not to mention the Great Lakes, you don’t have to look very far to find somewhere to test your paddling skills. Think Lake Superior,Tofino's coast or the legendary Nahanni River. Be sure to pack the essentials; s'mores ingredients and a red and black plaid lumberjack shirt and you’re all set for the Canadian wilderness.

Cycling in Lac St. Jean, Quebec

Cycling through Pt.Taillon National Park along Lac St. Jean, Quebec

3. Sugary Goodness

Speaking of essentials, it’s hard to think of anything more essential than maple syrup. You can put it on almost anything, and we’d be surprised if you didn’t come across some maple candy, maple ice cream or maple lattes while in Canada. The province of Quebec is where most Canadian maple syrup comes from and as luck would have it, Quebec also produces wild blueberries. Blueberry pancakes with maple syrup, anyone? You can then burn off the calories by biking our Blueberry Bicycle Route circling the picturesque St-Jean lake. Or, if going around in a circle isn't your thing, try cycling the linear Petit Train du Nord instead.

East Coast Trail

'Peggy's Leg' pointing toward St. John's, Newfoundland

4. Wave to Whales on Iceberg Alley

How about spotting icebergs from your hiking trail? Talk about an iconic Canadian experience! Head to Newfoundland where you can hike along Canada's beautifully rugged east coast and watch icebergs of all shapes and sizes float by. If you hike our self guided East Coast Trail in May or early June, you’ll have the best chance of spotting some of these 10,000 year-old giants. And if that wasn't amazing enough, remember that the whales are migrating north in the late spring and early summer too, so you might just get lucky and see both icebergs and whales from your hiking trail.

Kettle Valley, British Columbia

Kettle Valley Winery and Okanagan Lake, British Columbia

5. Oh Look, it’s Wine O’Clock

If you like wine, Canada’s got you covered. The Okanagan Valley in British Columbia is known for having the best weather in Canada and what goes better with sunshine than a glass of Chardonnay? Here you can bike along the historic Kettle Valley Rail Trail through vineyards and enjoy the shoreside scenery of Okanagan Lake. For more lakes and more wine, you should head to Canada’s largest wine region, Niagara in Ontario, where you can explore some of Canada’s most renowned wineries and ice-wine estates by bike and of course visit the thundering Niagara Falls!

We hope you enjoyed our picks for the most iconic experiences across the country, but really this is only the beginning.