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Alberta

Cross-Country Skiing the Goat Creek Trail: Great For Beginners & Families

Feb. 12, 2016
By Morgan Kwan

Winter always seems to pass by faster when you’re busy with activities. Don’t let the season get you down; there are plenty of winter activities to warm up to in the Canadian Rockies. Cross-country skiing is a great low impact sport that the whole family can do. If you’re looking for something a little different, I highly recommend the Goat Creek Trail that runs from Canmore to Banff through the Spray Valley.

Goat-Creek-3

A popular summer mountain biking trail, Goat Creek also makes a fantastic cross-country ski trail, even for beginners. Track set for the full 18 km, you pop out at the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel where you can take advantage of the scrumptious Sunday brunch or go for a dip at the nearby Banff Upper Hot Springs before heading back to Canmore. (See my note about transportation at the end of this article). (more…)

Welcome to Canada’s Newest Dark Sky Preserve

Northern Lights

The northern lights (Photo: Larry Lamsa)

Say hello to the newest preservation zone in Canada. The recently declared dark sky preservation by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada is located in Wood Buffalo National Park. This dark sky preserve is the largest in Canada and stretches from the Northwest Territories to Alberta covering a magnificent range of 44,807 square kilometres (that’s larger than Switzerland). So, what is a dark sky preserve? In layman terms, it’s a form of natural preservation that restricts light pollution in a select area allowing the beautiful Northern Lights to shine through in all of their glory as well as protecting the surrounding natural habitats. You can check out the full story over at globalnews.ca

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19 of Canada’s Most Unusual Museums

by CARISSA BLUESTONE

Canada’s Most Unusual Museums: the world-famous Gopher Hole Museum (Photo: Colin Smith)

Did you know that Vancouver has an entire museum devoted to corkscrews, that diehard Anne Murray fans can devour every detail of her life and record a CD with her in Nova Scotia, or that a tiny town called Vulcan in the Alberta Prairies is home to a Star Trek–themed tourist “station”? From the über-Canadian to the downright kooky, these unusual, one-of-a-kind and just plain weird museums earn the moniker “cabinet of curiosities”.

Start the slideshow of Canada’s most unusual museums »

Alberta’s Dinosaurs: Your Guide to a Weekend in Canada’s Badlands

By Meghan J. Ward

Alberta's Dinosaurs—Royal Tyrrell Museum

Alberta’s dinosaurs on display at the Royal Tyrell Museum (Photo: Royal Tyrell Museum)

Alberta’s dinosaurs may be extinct, but they live on in the Canadian Badlands. The region, which takes up of the southeast corner of the province, has one of the richest dinosaur fossil deposits in the world and makes for an excellent getaway for visitors or locals. Using Calgary as a base, we offer this weekend trip that follows the path of Alberta’s dinosaurs from the region where most species were discovered in Dinosaur Provincial Park to the Royal Tyrrell Museum, where many of the fossils are now on display.

When to go: To get a snow-free experience, try from May through October.

What to bring: Water bottles, a hat, sunscreen, sturdy footwear, snacks, camera and, if you’re camping, food for dinner and your cooking gear.

 Get started on your tour of Alberta’s Dinosaurs »

(more…)

12 Best Places to See the Northern Lights

Labrador, on Canada’s east coast, is one of the best places to see the northern nights

We admit it, we’re a bit aurora borealis obsessed here at Where.ca. But can you blame us? Canada is one of the best places on Earth to see the northern lights in all their glory. Travellers interested in seeing the show should know that the phenomenon is most vibrant in winter, though they can be seen all year in certain spots. In this gorgeous slide show, we’ve singled out the best places to see the northern lights from coast to coast.

• Start the slide show for the best places to see the northern lights »
• See a map of all the best places to see the northern lights »

Hay Bales on the Prairies—Near Calgary, Alberta

Submit your photo to our Flickr Group to see your favourite travel shot as part of our Photo Friday feature on Where.ca! We’ll credit you and link to your photo.

Why We Chose It

Fall is here and that means (what else?) hay baling season is imminent. A shot of the wide open skies of the Prairies is always meditative, and this image of hay bales diminishing off into the horizon is particularly peaceful. The second “horizon line” that the photographer has cleverly worked into the foreground adds an extra bit of visual interest. And the slightly overcast sky, while not the typical brilliant blue of a Prairies postcard, is perfect for this time of year, suggesting a crisp autumn chill.

Photo: m.ann.n

Teepee Camping—Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta

Submit your photo to our Flickr Group to see your favourite travel shot as part of our Photo Friday feature on Where.ca! We’ll credit you and link to your photo.

Why We Chose It

Have you ever seen so many stars? Getting away from it all is the name of the game at southern Alberta’s Waterton Lakes National Park, the quieter little sis to Glacier National Park in the U.S. The colours captured in the night sky over the Rockies is absolutely gorgeous here—patience is key as you wait for that moment right when the sun slips behind the ridge. It’s also genius to mirrors the slopes of the mountains with the peak of the teepee.

Photo: bcarlier

Alberta Beef: Cowboy Country’s Most Famous Food

by WAHEEDA HARRIS

Alberta beef: the food, the legend (Photo: Tourism Calgary)

Alberta may mean cowboys and mountains to many, but for carnivores it’s the centre of all things meat. As a popular bumpersticker says, “If it ain’t Alberta, it ain’t beef.” (more…)

The Saskatoon Berry: the Prairie Provinces’ Perfect Fruit

By WAHEEDA HARRIS

Photo: Tourism Saskatchewan

A favourite summer taste in Canada’s Prairie provinces, the Saskatoon berry is in season during July and August. Similar to a blueberry in size and colour, the wee berry was gathered by aboriginal people for medicinal purposes—the name comes from the Cree word mis-sask-quah-toomina—and became a staple of the diet of the early farm pioneers.

Modern science has found this purple fruit is high in antioxidants as well as vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and potassium and that it has three times more iron than raisins. Once found only at farmers’ markets or in the wild, the berry it is now the second largest crop in the three Prairie provinces after strawberries, and can be found throughout the Prairies in jam, jelly, syrup and pies as well as in a wide variety of savoury recipes.

Where and how to try Saskatoon berries:

The Riverbend Plantation in Saskatoon offers an array of gourmet treats using Saskatoon berries from its farm—you can even order Saskatoon-berry-and-buffalo pemmican online and have it shipped. If you’re in the Prairies and want to pick your own, check with the Alberta Farm Fresh Producers Association (Alberta), BuyFromtheFarm.ca (Saskatchewan) or the Prairie Fruit Growers Association (Manitoba).

On Obscura Day, Celebrate Canada’s Weirdest Places

By WAHEEDA HARRIS

World's largest weathervane, Yukon (Photo: Arthur Chapman)

Finding the recently discovered or unknown can be tough for a traveller. But AtlasObscura.com, an online atlas devoted to the world’s wonders, curiosities and esoterica, is fixated on the strange. (more…)

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Southern Alberta

Every Friday we feature an inspirational travel photo of a Canadian destination taken by one of our readers.

Why we chose it: Skies in the Alberta Prairies need no embellishment, and this image of the UNESCO World Heritage site Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump (where Northern Plains people once rushed bison off a cliff in a form of subsistence hunting) captures perfectly the awesome vastness of plains and wild blue yonder in this part of Canada. The cluster of tipis add a layer of interest to the image and provides scale. Plus, they firmly anchor you in this part of the country, where native heritage is as much a part of the landscape as the “wild West” cowboy culture. (more…)

World’s Largest Pysanka—Vegreville, Alberta

Every Friday we feature an inspirational travel photo of a Canadian destination taken by one of our readers.

Why we chose it: To kick off Easter weekend we wanted to showcase one of the biggest (literally) decorative egg attractions anywhere, in Vegreville, Alberta, near Edmonton. This 5,000-pound Ukrainian pysanka is the world’s largest, measuring 7.8 metres (25.7 feet) long, 5.5 metres (18 feet) wide, and 9.4 metres (31 feet) high. (more…)