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guided tours

Banff & Jasper Wildlife Tours

By Afton Aikens & John Strugnell

This summer, check spotting wildlife in the Canadian Rockies off your bucket list on these guided tours. (If you’re wildlife watching on your own, just make sure it’s from a safe distance!)

Photo: Courtesy of Discover Banff Tours

Photo: Courtesy of Discover Banff Tours

Wildlife Safari

Grab your camera and join Discover Banff Tours’ Evening Wildlife Safari—their most popular excursion. This two-hour small group experience visits multiple Banff National Park locations; over 95% of trips spot wildlife. You’ll learn lots too, like how bighorn sheep horns are formed. (Spoiler alert: tiny hairs grow tightly together).

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Hot Attraction: One of the Top 10 Spookiest Buildings in the World

Who goes there? The Ottawa Jail Hostel is both a place to rent a room, and a former jail.

If you visit Ottawa on a budget, you just might find yourself spending a night in jail — by choice. The Ottawa Jail Hostel was once a working jail (and is a good choice for those who want a cheaper stay and an experience to write home about). Guests have their choice of a solitary or double jail cell, and Haunted Walks holds a one-hour “Crime and Punishment” tour for the public that includes the old death row. No wonder travel experts at Lonely Planet named this spot one of the top 10 spookiest buildings in the world.

13 Ostentatious, Decidedly Touristy Attractions Worth Visiting

By SHANNON KELLY

West Edmonton Mall (Photo: courtesy West Edmonton Mall)

You know the ones: they have lines around the block, tacky souvenirs for sale, overpriced everything and/or locals warning you to stay away because they’re tourist traps. We beg to differ. These attractions and events may be big, bold, brassy and firmly marked on every tourist map, but they’re also unique experiences not to be missed. Plus, they’re just plain fun, if you don’t let a too-cool-for-school attitude get in the way. (more…)

Hot Attraction: Exploring the Stately Parliament Hill

The Hall of Honour is just one of the historic sites you'll see in guided tours of Parliament Hill. Photo credit: Copyright Library of Parliament / Mone Cheng.

Still got visitors in town? Take them to Parliament Hill for an inside look at this Canadian landmark (and iconic Ottawa site). Enjoy free guided tours of Centre Block, which is home to the Hall of Honour (featured), the Senate, the House of Commons, and the Library of Parliament. Explore the role of the country’s national legislature, as well as its rich history and architecture, and be sure sure to check out “The Games: A Moment of Pride” in the Library of Parliament. This  Olympic display showcases a pair of torches and two sets of medals that were gifted to the Canadian people to commemorate the success of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. See website for holiday schedule.

Hot Attraction: Soundwalk Offers Guided Tour to Music

The Ottawa Convention Centre is one of more than 10 buildings included on the Polytectures walk. Photo credit: © Ottawa Convention Centre/Centre des congrès d'Ottawa.

Experience a city like never before with Polytectures, a unique “soundwalk” that is part of the Electric Fields festival taking place this weekend. Here’s how it works: Starting this past Wednesday, you can download the 45-minute audio guide to your phone/mp3 player from a mobile Internet site (temporary rentals of mp3 players are also available at the Bytown Museum). The audio will guide you to capital landmarks with voice-over narration and specially commissioned music pairings from Canadian bands and musicians. Buildings on the tour include the Ottawa Convention Centre (featured), the National Arts Centre, and the Government Conference Centre, while featured artists include Tribe Called Red, Crush Buildings, Math Rosen, and more.