To help travellers who are planning their summer excursions, the regional editors of Where magazine have selected the top ten new attractions in Canada for 2010. 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, Calgary and Halifax to many exciting outdoor adventures on the west coast. Together, they are the must-see events, exhibits, facilities and sites of relevance this season for anyone considering travel within Canada.
WildPlay West Shore Victoria
Victoria, British Columbia
WildPlay Nanaimo has been thrilling Vancouver Islanders for several years now, but this past year, in addition to several other locations, they’ve also expanded their reach to Victoria. Located behind the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre, WildPlay West Shore Victoria features an elevated Monkido Aerial Adventure obstacle course set in a beautiful West Coast forest. Securely suspended in the trees at varying heights, elements include a Tarzan swing, zip lines, scramble nets and swinging logs. Perfect for kids, families, adventure seekers and more, WildPlay offers an exciting, safe way to challenge yourself, be active and have fun – West Coast adventure at its finest!
WildPlay West Shore Victoria is open Monday through Sunday from 8 a.m. For more information, visit wildplay.com or call 1-888-856-7275. WildPlay West Shore Victoria, 1767 Island Highway, Bldg #15, Victoria, BC, V9B 1J1
Vancouver, British Columbia
A year-round playground for outdoor enthusiasts, Grouse Mountain offers paragliding, zip lines, helicopter tours and hiking in summer, and skiing, snowshoeing, sleigh rides and ice-skating in winter. The Skyride aerial tram takes visitors on a breathtaking ride high above the city. Grey wolves, retired from the movie industry, and a pair of grizzly bears, rescued as orphans, call Grouse’s Wildlife Refuge home. The newest – and most environmentally friendly – attraction is the Eye of the Wind, a 20-story wind turbine; see this wind generator up close from the glass-enclosed viewPOD, which boasts spectacular 360-degree views of the city, mountains and ocean.
Grouse Mountain is open Monday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, visit, grousemountain.com or call 604-980-9311. Grouse Mountain, 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver, BC, V7R 4K9
Whistler, British Columbia
Families and outdoor adventurers can experience an adrenaline rush this summer at WildPlay Element Parks in Whistler. The ZOOM zip lines allow visitors to zip through an old-growth forest, up to 120 m (400 ft) above the ground, attaining a top speed of 100 km/h (60 mph). The Monkido Aerial Adventure tree-to-tree courses include increasingly challenging tree elements such as zip lines, suspended bridges, scramble nets and swinging logs, all set in a picturesque Douglas Fir forest. Everything is planned with the environment in mind; activities at WildPlay do not harm the forest.
WildPlay Element Parks is open Monday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit wildplay.com/whistler or call 604-932-4086. WildPlay Element Parks, Cougar Mountain, 16 Mile Creek FSR, Whistler, BC, V0N 1B8
Kananaskis Heli Tours
Sightseeing by helicopter in Canada’s Rocky Mountains is arguably more dramatic than even the Grand Canyon since participants “climb up” rather than “fly over” the stunning scenery. Kananaskis Heli Tours tempts visitors to experience “The Most Powerful Experience in the Rockies” from their heliport on the TransCanada Highway between Calgary and Banff by offering mountain-top tours from $65. Climbing from prairie to rugged 10,000-foot summits inevitably evokes a strong emotional response. For those thinking marriage proposal, the private Romance Package with high-alpine wilderness stop, champagne and chocolates is a must!
Kananaskis Heli Tours is open Monday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with departures every 30 minutes. For more information, visit kheli.com or call 1.877.591.0222. Kananaskis Heli Tours, Stoney Nakoda Resort and Casino at the junction of the Kananaskis Trail (Hwy 40) & TransCanada Highway (Hwy 1) between Calgary and Banff, Box 8164, Canmore, AB, T1W 2T9
ENMAX Conservatory, Calgary Zoo
After over a year of extensive renovation, the Calgary Zoo’s new ENMAX Conservatory has opened its doors. Built to meet the requirements for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification, it is one of the most energy-efficient greenhouses in the world, using alternative energy sources like solar and wind power. Inside, visitors will find botanical galleries showcasing 500 species of plants: one that plays host to seasonal floral and fauna displays, and another filled with almost 1,400 plants including hundreds of orchids and epiphytes. Visitors will especially love the butterflies fluttering about from spring through fall–there are an average of 12,000 over the season.
Calgary Zoo is open Monday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit calgaryzoo.org or call 1.800.588.9993. Calgary Zoo, 1300 Zoo Rd NE, Calgary, AB, T2E 7V6
The days of the dinosaurs roar to life again in Jurassic Forest, a 40-acre prehistoric preserve, just 15 minutes from Edmonton and 250 million years from the present. Gigantic, life-sized and startlingly realistic dinosaurs live and breathe here – and they’re waiting for you and your family. Massive and majestic vegetarians like Stegosaurus and Triceratops peacefully graze while deadly meat-eaters like Albertosaurus and the lethal Tyrannosaurus Rex hunt down their prey and battle each other for supremacy. Human visitors will enjoy guided safaris led by expert staff. Families, children and corporate guests can watch dinosaurs in action, dig for ancient remains and camp and picnic in a land populated with plants and animals of our ancient past.
Jurassic Forest is open Monday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, visit jurassicforest.com or call 780.470.2446. Jurassic Forest is located just north of Edmonton, off of Highway 28A and Township Road 564.
The Manitoba Museum’s Ancient Seas
A giant squid sizes up its prey, a beetle scavenges for food on the ocean floor – in a flash, dominance wins and the beetle is enveloped in tentacles. Meanwhile, a swarm of jellyfish pump through the water and a cluster of sea lilies dance in the currents. This is Ancient Seas, a digitally animated, 450 million-year-old underwater world brought to life on three jumbo-sized screens inside The Manitoba Museum. The five-minute-long film plays on a continuous loop projected on three screens spanning 7.5 metres and is the first of its kind in Canada. The tropical reef recreates life under the sea near a rocky shoreline of modern-day Churchill in northern Manitoba.
The Manitoba Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit manitobamuseum.ca or call 204.956.2830. The Manitoba Museum, 190 Rupert Avenue, Winnipeg, MB, R3B 0N2
The Royal Conservatory, TELUS Centre For Performance and Learning
Last September the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) unveiled a renovation of its 19th century heritage building as well as the addition of the TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning, which boasts the acoustically-pleasing 1,135-seat Koerner Hall concert space, practice and teaching studios, a rehearsal hall and a library. Designed by KPMB Architects, a skylit-pedestrian walkway links the historic brick building to the new, while a three-storey glass pavilion overlooks Philosopher’s Walk. Mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade, jazz singer Sophie Milman and banjo player Béla Fleck were among the performers of the RCM’s inaugural season.
The Royal Conservatory is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday’s from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. For more information, visit rcmusic.ca or call 416. 408.2824. The Royal Conservatory, 273 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON, M5S 1W2
Calypso Theme Waterpark
Spread over 100 acres, Calypso became Canada’s largest theme waterpark when it launched in June 2010. There’s no shortage of family fun with 35 state-of-the-art slides, a jungle-themed river run, a whitewater rafting experience, the country’s largest wave pool, and the Zoo Lagoon for tots. Visitors can relax without worrying about their cash getting wet because the park’s Money At My Fingertip system uses biometric technology so people can use their fingerprints to make purchases at sales points.
Calypso Theme Waterpark is open daily from 10 a.m. and is located 20 minutes from downtown Ottawa. For more information, visit calypsopark.com or call 1-877-443-9995. Calypso Theme Waterpark, 2015 Calypso St., Limoges, ON, K0A 2M0
Museum of Natural History
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Home to a live bee colony, a giant whale skeleton, an octogenarian tortoise and countless other wonders, the Museum of Natural History on Summer Street has long been one Halifax’s most popular visitor destinations. And now, recently reopened after extensive renovations, the museum is better than ever. The extensive upgrades have improved the museum’s exhibit space, allowing it to showcase exciting shows like this summer’s hit Venom, a daredevil look at the toxic power of nature, and Riding with Meteorites, about the mystery of space.
Museum of Natural History is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. For more information, visit nature.museum.gov.ns.ca or call 902.424.7353. Museum of Natural History, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS, B3H 3A6