Where Canada Editors Select Canada’s Top Ten New and Exciting Destinations for the Summer Travel Season
To help travellers who are getting ready for summer holidays, the regional editors of Where magazine today announced their annual picks of the Top Ten New Attractions for Canadian summer travel in 2009. Many of these attractions and destinations are brand new, others completely renovated or celebrating significant milestones. They are as diverse as Canada itself, ranging from new additions to cultural institutions in Toronto and Ottawa to natural and marine beauty in Victoria, Vancouver and Halifax. Together, they are the must-see events, exhibits, facilities and sites of relevance this season for anyone considering travel within Canada.
The Top Ten New Attractions for Summer 2009 (in geographical order) are:
Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre – Victoria, British Columbia
The brand new aquarium and environmental education centre explores the wonders of the Salish Sea.
The ocean has always been vital to Vancouver Islanders, and now, Victorians and visitors alike can learn more at the brand new Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre. The aquarium and environmental education centre explores the wonders of the Salish Sea, the name given to the inside waters off Vancouver Island. On the Sidney waterfront, just north of Victoria, the centre offers direct access to the ocean ecosystem. Designed with broad appeal to all ages, it’s a place where children, families and adults can chat with knowledgeable Oceaneers about the wonders of the ocean and enjoy “hands on/hands wet” experiences, surrounded by massive aquarium habitats showcasing hundreds of fish, invertebrates and marine plants. The Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.oceandiscovery.ca or call 1-250-665-7511. Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre, 9811 Seaport Place, Sidney, BC V8L 4X3.
Greenheart Canopy Walkway – Vancouver, British Columbia
This aerial walkway at UBC Botanical Gardens is a unique eco-attraction for nature enthusiasts and visitors alike.
Walking the nine aerial bridges of the Greenheart Canopy Walkway at UBC Botanical Garden is a unique experience. From high in the forest canopy, it’s possible to see unusual insects and birds. Vancouver’s rainforest climate provides exceptional opportunities to view moss, lichen and other plants. You don’t have to be a daredevil to enjoy this eco-attraction, which opened last year, but you can’t fear heights: the 308m (1,010ft) walkway tops out at more than 17.5m (57ft) off the ground. The Greenheart Conservation Company constructed the walkway using “Treehugger” technology, a system of interlaced steel cables that keeps the trees unharmed; neither nails nor bolts are used to attach spans and platforms. For more information, visit www.greenheartcanopywalkway.com or call 1-888-755-3227. Greenheart Canopy Walkway, 6804 Southwest Marine Drive, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4.
Peak 2 Peak Gondola – Whistler, British Columbia
Boasting the world’s longest unsupported lift span, this impressive gondola offers a spectacular view to all on-board.
Whistler and Blackcomb mountains are already world-famous for their spectacular skiing and snowboarding. Now they have added a new feather to their cap: the $52-million Peak 2 Peak Gondola, which opened last year. It boasts the world’s longest unsupported lift span. State-of-the-art 28-person cabins travel a 4.4km (2.7mi), 11-minute journey between the two mountains, affording a spectacular view to all on-board. For the truly adventurous, two cabins offer clear glass floors; guaranteeing an unblocked view. For more information, visit www.peak2peakgondola.com or call 1-800-766-0449. Whistler Blackcomb Mountains, 4545 Blackcomb Way, Whistler BC V0N 1B4.
Stoney Nakoda Resort – Morley, East of Canmore, Alberta
A Vegas-style casino and an indoor waterpark are only two of the many attractions to this inviting resort.
Nestled on the eastern edge of the Canadian Rockies, Stoney Nakoda Resort is both an inviting respite for folks driving between Calgary and Banff, and a travel destination in itself. Here, the Alberta Rockies’ only casino offers Vegas-style gaming while the 111-room hotel boasts an indoor waterpark and meeting facilities. Dining options include The Ridge Buffet (try a prime rib dinner or gourmet Sunday brunch), Peaks Café and Sidelines Lounge with sports on a huge drop-down screen and five plasmas. Watch for live entertainment and dinner shows at the Chill Showroom and take a Kananaskis Helicopter Tour over impressive 2800m (9200ft) mountains that rise from prairie flats. Nearby are outdoor adventures that draw travellers from around the world such as golfing, rafting, hiking, biking, horseback riding and skiing. For more information, visit www.stoneynakodaresort.com or call 1-888-8-NAKODA. Stoney Nakoda Resort, 888 Nakoda Way, Morley, East of Canmore, AB T0L 1N0.
Gasoline Alley Museum at Heritage Park Historical Village – Calgary, Alberta
An exquisite collection of vintage cars, gas pumps and paraphernalia, the museum is one of five new attractions at Heritage Park Historical Village.
In the last year, Heritage Park Historical Village has undergone a renaissance. They’ve expanded their size from 66 acres to 127 acres, and added five new attractions: the Haskayne Mercantile Block, Big Rock Interpretive Brewery, Selkirk Grille, the Bissett Wetlands, the 1893 Canadian Pacific Railway Station and Gasoline Alley Museum. The museum was made possible by Calgarian Ron Carey, who donated a collection of vintage cars, gas pumps and paraphernalia that he has been collecting since 1974. In all, the collection is worth $5 million, and includes 25 restored vehicles, 77 gas pumps, 193 signs, one 1959 camper and a replicated 1930s service station. For more information, see www.heritagepark.ca or call 1-403-268-8500. Gasoline Alley Museum at Heritage Park Historical Village, 1900 Heritage Drive Southwest, Calgary, AB T2V 2X3.
The Muttart Conservatory – Edmonton, Alberta
A botanist’s dream, these four glass pyramids are home to a spectacular display of flowers and vegetation.
Those four fine-looking glass pyramids in Edmonton’s lush river valley are The Muttart Conservatory, home to a spectacular display of flowers and vegetation, a botanist’s dream. Highlights include: the Tropical Pyramid (a rain forest of colourful plants and canopied fig trees); the Temperate Pyramid (a controlled seasonal environment where plants begin their springtime flush of growth in mid-winter); the Arid Pyramid (amazing desert plants from North America, the Mediterranean, Africa and Madagascar); the Show Pyramid (six complete changes a year create seasonal celebrations of living colour); and the Art Wall (exhibitions by emerging city artists). Newly expanded and renovated for 2009- with more educational program space as well as a gift shop and cozy cafeteria- it’s a memorable, top-drawer destination for all ages. For more information, see www.muttartconservatory.ca or call 1-780-442-5311. The Muttart Conservatory, 9626 96th Street Northwest, Edmonton, AB T6C 3Z2.
The West End BIZ Mural Tours – Winnipeg, Manitoba
Stunning outdoor mural galleries and walking tours introduce visitors to one of Winnipeg’s oldest neighbourhoods.
Where Winnipeg is pleased to announce The West End BIZ Mural Tours as the best improved attraction for 2009. Through its stunning outdoor mural galleries, the two walking tours tell visitors about the West End, one of Winnipeg’s oldest neighbourhoods. Stories about the area’s prominent people, culture and heritage are depicted, while tour guides share related facts and history. Around 12-17 murals are showcased on each tour, which take place along the bustling Sargent and Ellice Avenues. The murals have helped beautify this inner city area, deter graffiti and instill a sense of pride in the neighbourhood. For more information, see www.westendbiz.ca or call 204-954-7900. West End BIZ, 581 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3B 2G2.
Art Gallery of Ontario – Toronto, Ontario
A massive redesign by famed architect Frank Gehry finally gives the gallery’s wide-ranging artistic assemblage the world-class home it deserves.
During its near century in existence, the Art Gallery of Ontario has undergone numerous renovations and expansions. The most recent – a massive redesign by famed architect Frank Gehry completed in late 2008 – finally gives the gallery’s wide-ranging artistic assemblage the world-class home it deserves. An additional 97,000 square feet means striking visuals abound in both edifice and artwork: rooms devoted to the ambitious Thomson Collection – Canadian paintings, European objets d’art, First Nations works and much more – eventually open out to historic Walker Court and its grand staircase, which spirals upward to pleasantly understated spaces for contemporary art; sculptures sit stoically within the sweeping 600-foot-long Galleria Italia that forms the AGO’s north facade. And until August 30, the gallery brings together a unique selection of pieces by Salvador Dalí, René Magritte and others in Surreal Things, an exploration of the relationship between surrealist art and commercial industries. For more information, visit www.ago.net or call 1-877-225-4246. Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M5T 1G4.
Canada Aviation Museum – Ottawa, Ontario
With recent major renovations and plans for even more improvements, this world-class institution is soaring higher than ever before.
When the Canada Aviation Museum opened at Ottawa’s Uplands Airport in 1960, it contained a small collection of aircraft owned by the Canadian government. Nearly 50 years later, it has grown into a world-class institution, housing over 130 aircraft and artifacts celebrating aeronautical achievements. After some recent major renovations (and a move to its current location in 1988), the museum has emerged as one of the most esteemed institutions in Ottawa, and a major player on the world stage, even hosting the Genie Awards in April—proving that not only is it fit for aircraft, but celebrities, too. With a stellar international reputation and plans for even more improvements, the Canada Aviation Museum is soaring higher than ever before. For more information, visit www.aviation.technomuses.ca or call 1-800-463-2038. Canada Aviation Museum, 11 Aviation Parkway, Ottawa, ON K1K 4R3.
Murphy’s Cable Wharf – Halifax, Nova Scotia
2009 has seen dramatic renovations to this Halifax landmark including a catch-your-own lobster tank.
Although Murphy’s has been a landmark on the Halifax waterfront for years, 2009 saw dramatic changes, making it the city’s most improved summer attraction. The restaurant, store and tour operator is now known as Murphy’s Cable Wharf. The restaurant, perched above Halifax Harbour on its namesake wharf, has undergone dramatic renovations and is now open year-round. The $1.6-million facelift includes a catch-your-own lobster tank, an interpretive walkway along the wharf and a tank showcasing local marine life. In addition, Murphy’s tour business continues to grow, offering whale-watching trips, sailing cruises, dinner cruises and more. It all adds to a dramatic improvement in this business’s visitor offerings. For more information, see www.murphysonthewater.com or call 1-902-420-1015. Murphy’s Cable Wharf, 1751 Lower Water Street, Halifax, NS, B3J 3E4.