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British Columbia

Canada’s National Parks

Photo by ShutterRunner

Canada’s National Parks show the beautiful variety in our country’s topography—from British Columbia’s turquoise-tinged glaciers and Alberta’s jagged mountains to the coasts of Ontario’s lakes and seaside in the Maritimes. Among them are UNESCO World Heritage Sites recognized for their unique natural beauty, and while some are easy to access others are located in remote corners of our untamed nation. A full list of all 42 National Parks of Canada, which was the world’s first national park service, can be found at www.pc.gc.ca. This year also marks the 100th anniversary of Parks Canada, and to celebrate there are special events and celebrations—don’t think just because summer is over the fun is done, many parks are at there most stunning when the snow falls—check out a list of upcoming events here. (more…)

Quirky and Cute: Coombs, British Columbia

Tucked away on Vancouver Island, north of Nanaimo off the Island Highway is Coombs, a place that’s become known for its signature rooftop of grazing goats. Under that roof is The Old Country Market, a quirky grocery store that offers a huge selection of breads and sweets made in their bakery, a cheese shop and imported foods that run the gamut from English licorice to bacon-flavoured mayonnaise a.k.a. Baconnaise.

Before you head to the Market to shop, have lunch at Cuckoo in Coombs Trattoria & Pizzeria. The Italian restaurant offers pasta and wood-stove pizza in a large space with wooden tables and rustic tablecloths (which you can buy next door in Zolena). If the weather is nice, sit out back on the patio under the plum trees. Just outside the restaurant is the greenery area with large pots and Chinese statues, shrubbery and small cacti. Nestled in amongst the plants is Zolena, a shop with wool blankets from New Zealand, Chinese silk bags and bangles from India. (more…)

Canada’s Best New Attractions for Summer 2011

Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta

For travellers planning their summer trips in Canada this year, the regional editors of Where magazine have released their top picks for summer travel. The winners of Where Canada’s Best New Attractions for Summer 2011 represent the most exciting attractions – new, significantly improved, or celebrating major milestones this year. A diverse group of attractions from coast to coast, this year’s winners offer a wide range of activities and events suitable for any family, art lover, sports fanatic, nature lover or adventurer. Together, these attractions serve as the top must-see and must-dos for anyone travelling in Canada this summer. (more…)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner: Kamloops, British Columbia

Victoria Street, Kamloops. Photo by Spatial Mongrel

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is our series highlighting the best local restaurants across Canada. Today we are featuring top restaurant picks in Kamloops, British Columbia, situated in the dry Thompson Valley, a hub for golf and outdoorsy endeavors.

Have a tip for your city? Let us know on Twitter or on Facebook.

By Waheeda Harris

Breakfast

Make it a sweet start to the day with a cup of fair trade java and a cinnamon Danish roll from Romann’s Swiss Pastries and Chocolates. A mainstay of downtown, this Swiss bakery offers many delights, all made in house daily. And if you’re more of a savoury type, fresh from the oven bread will be another lure – the multigrain Sovital bread will help fuel up for a day of exploring.

Romann’s Swiss Pastries & Chocolates, 359 Victoria Street, Kamloops BC 250-372-2625

Lunch

Whether you’ve conquered the trails of Kenna Cartwright Park or the shopping areas of Columbia Street and Summit Drive, the tasty offerings from Taka Japanese will fit the bill. Plenty of locally-inspired options include freshly-made seaweed salad, BC roll with salmon skin or the Aurora roll (a California roll with salmon, tuna, shrimp or red snapper), or make life easy – order a combination bento box.

Taka Japanese Restaurant, #270-1210 Summit Drive, Kamloops BC 250-828-0806

Dinner

This contemporary boite will encourage switching from Mountain Co-op gear to a new outfit from one of the Victoria Street boutiques. With a nice little wine list and starters and entrees influenced by the cuisines of Spain, France and Italy, diners will have all their senses easily satisfied. Reward yourself with a post-meal stroll to see 400 rose varieties in the Peter Wing Rotary Rose Garden in nearby Riverside Park.

Felix on Fourth Street, 260 Fourth Avenue Kamloops, BC 250-434-4766

Road Trip: Calgary to Cranbrook on the Crowsnest Highway

A view of the Kootenays near Cranbook. Photo by That Angela

By Waheeda Harris

Modern day explorers still lust to explore the unknown – and for those wanting to point their car towards unchartered territories, the Crowsnest Highway from Alberta to British Columbia provides eye-catching views of the Rocky Mountains, historic places of interest and small town hospitality.

Modes of Transport

Highway 22 from Calgary is the way to get to the Crowsnest Highway via Turner Valley, which originates in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Although easily done by with four wheels, this old train route can be used by cyclists who will appreciate the wide highway shoulders through the mountains. Approximate driving time from Calgary to Cranbrook is four hours, 46 min and a distance of 379 km one way.

Roadside Attractions

It’s been 100 years since this rock slide happened, but the Frank Slide is still the main attraction of wee Frank, Alberta, located east of the Crowsnest Pass. When 82 million tonnes of limestone moved almost two kilometres in less than two minutes, the immense fields of rock are worth a stop to walk through the pathways (free admission).  For those wanting an up close and personal experience of the Rocky Mountains, Fernie, British Columbia offers several trails for hiking and mountain biking.  Adrenaline junkies will appreciate the wild ride of the Al Matador trail, (free access) which ascends 1200m in elevation as you navigate the single track. Make sure to point your camera lens at the Three Sisters, aka Mt. Trinity, a popular mountain of three peaks.

An hour west of Fernie, stop in historic Fort Steele, a former gold mining town that will transport you back to the 19th century. A ride on the steam train locomotive or a wagon ride will be a welcome late afternoon distraction from the road.  Once you reach Cranbrook, spend time at the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel, featuring antique rail cars, train memorabilia and the restored Royal Alexandra Hall from the Canadian Pacific Railway’s Royal Alexandra Hotel, which had been located in Winnipeg.

Eats

Start your roadtrip with a hearty breakfast at the The Chuckwagon Café on Highway 22, part of the Cowboy Trail and less than an hour from Calgary in the rolling hills of Turner Valley. Located in a barn, the café serves up traditional eggs and pancakes that will make you feel like you can take on a day on the range.  In Cranbrook, take advantage of the weekly Farmer’s Market held every Saturday morning for locally grown and made edibles and for a fine dining experience, make a reservation at Heidi’s, a favourite of the area. Their secret? The owners trained at the International Institute for Tourism and Management in Austria.

Sleep

If you’re lured to stay in the heart of the Rockies in Fernie, the Mt. Fernie Timberlodge ($385-449 per night) accommodates up to 10 travellers in an Alpine-style chalet. Weary from all that outdoor activity – guests can amble up a spiral staircase leading to the chalet’s treehouse with a hot tub with views of Mt. Fernie and Mt. Proctor.  For the final rest stop in Cranbrook, forget the highway motel strip and kick it up a notch with a stay at the luxe Prestige Rocky Mountain Resort. Ask for the John Huber Express ($599.95 per night), choosing from the Naughton or Newcastle staterooms, with décor and amenities inspired by luxury railway travel of the past.

Read

The perfect accompaniment for the Crowsnest Highway, which lies along a former Canadian train route, would be the classic writing of mystery maven Agatha Christie. Three novels feature a train theme, and can be easily found in paperback or audio book: Miss Marple in 4-50 From Paddington, and Hercule Poirot in The Mystery of the Blue Train and Murder on the Orient Express.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner: Pemberton, British Columbia

Photo by splityarn

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is our series highlighting the best local restaurants across Canada. Today we are featuring top restaurant picks in Pemberton, British Columbia, which is a half hour drive north of Whistler.

Have a tip for your city? Let us know on Twitter or on Facebook. (more…)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner: Campbell River, British Columbia

The beautiful view at Dick’s Fish & Chips

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is our series highlighting the best local restaurants across Canada. Today we are featuring top restaurant picks in Campbell River, British Columbia, which sits midway up the inland side of Vancouver Island.

Have a tip for your city? Let us know on Twitter or on Facebook.

BREAKFAST

Shot in the Dark is so named for a heart-speeding double espresso dropped into a cup of coffee—it’s a local favourite amongst those on their way to work. You won’t find anything too off the beaten breakfast path (menu options include eggs Benedict, omelets and two eggs), but the people watching will show you a slice of island life.

Shot in the Dark, 940 North Island Highway, Campbell River, B.C., 250-287-7414 (more…)

Facts About Faro

Interpretive plaques and a heavy hauler now mine only history in Faro. Photo courtesy Government of Yukon

In 1953 prospectors staked a claim near the Pelly River in the Tintina Trench, an ancient fault line that is an extension of the Rocky Mountain Trench in British Columbia. The discovery of this massive lead-zinc deposit sparked a boom the likes of which hadn’t been seen in the north since the feverish days of the Klondike Gold Rush. Almost overnight Faro sprang from the wilderness, a purpose-built company town. At its peak in the early 1980s, 3,000 people lived there and its namesake mine was briefly the largest open-pit lead and zinc operation in the world, accounting for a staggering 35 per cent of the Yukon’s entire economic output. The mine shut in 1998; Faro’s glory quickly faded, sharing the fate of many a boom-and-bust town. In May 2004, the town of Faro launched a sheep-and-crane viewing festival, in honour of both the Fannin’s, and the sandhill cranes that fill the skies above the Tintina Trench every fall with their southward migration.—Andrew Findlay