• eat
  • shop
  • see
  • go
  • stay
  • daytrip
  • map
  • calendar
  • transport
  • weather
  • currency
  • tofrom

outdoor activities

Canada’s 10 Best Island Holiday Destinations

By KAT TANCOCK

Cape Breton Island (Photo: Nova Scotia Tourism)

When we think of island vacations, the tropical always springs to mind: hot sun, sand, flip-flops and a fruity drink with an umbrella. But Canada has islands on offer, too, with a lot more to attract visitors than you might think. Here are 10 picks to consider for your next vacation.

Start the slideshow of top island destinations »

6 Places to Enjoy the Outdoors in Calgary

Enjoy Southern Alberta's big blue skies and warm weather this summer. Courtesy Blue Devil Golf Club.

Take in Alberta’s big blue skies and warm summer weather (Photo: courtesy Blue Devil Golf Club)

Alberta’s mountain parks are well known recreational destinations, but a wide variety of warm-weather outdoor fun can be had in and around Calgary. (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 »

Wildlife Viewing Tips in the Canadian Rockies

By Peter A. Dettling

Although archeologists have determined that First Nations used the Canadian Rockies regularly for 11,000 years, the idea that bears, cougars and other ‘predators’ were vermin to be eliminated was a European notion that arrived with the explorers in the late 1700s. As the non-Native presence in the Rockies grew, over hunting brought these large carnivores to the brink of extinction, and also depleted the ungulate population including elk and moose.

Thanks to the creation of protected areas, re-introduction efforts, hunting restrictions and changing attitudes towards large carnivores, we now find all pre-European settlement species in the Rockies, except free roaming bison. But don’t take a grizzly or wolf sighting for granted. Seeing large animals in their natural habitat is a privilege.

Since you are a visitor in their home, treat animals with respect by giving them space to decide what to do and where to go. When viewing wildlife from your car, pull off of the road, shut off the engine and silently enjoy the sighting. Stay in your vehicle, especially when watching wolves or bears. It will ensure a safe and pleasant experience for both you and the animal you’re observing.

Wildlife sightings in our mountain parks are frequent and widespread occurrences. Elk are common. In fall, visit Vermillion Lakes, Lake Minnewanka Loop or Golf Course Dr near the town of Banff, or Athabasca River flats near Jasper, to see bugling elk. Your best chance to see bears is in early summer north of Lake Louise on Icefields Parkway’s avalanche slopes and in roadside dandelion patches, or beside Jasper’s Maligne Lake Road (Map 5, 5P). Elusive wolves can sometimes be spotted early summer west or south of the Jasper townsite. Kananaskis Country often hosts moose, bears and wolves.

Try walking scenic mountain trails to feel truly connected with your surroundings and yourself. It is especially exhilarating to see animals on slopes and meadows away from the road.

Editor’s Note: Peter Dettling owns Canmore’s Terra Magica gallery and is the author and photographer of The Will of the Land. Visit TerraMagica.ca for details on his award-winning work.

Haliburton County: Ontario’s Little-Known Adventure Gem

By LIZ BRUCKNER

Photo: Theodore Smith

Contrary to popular belief, you need not board a plane to score your next adventure fix. Head two-and-a-half hours north of Toronto to the Haliburton Highlands for a hearty dose of the Ontario outdoors.
(more…)

10 Unusual Off-the-Grid Accommodations

By Waheeda Harris

Tired of the conventional beige box hotel room? Get off the beaten path with these unusual places to stay. (more…)

Hot Attraction: Skiing in Gatineau Park

Gatineau Park makes for a serene skiing destination. Photo credit: National Capital Commission.

Want to get outdoors, but don’t want to go far? Look no further than Gatineau Park. Located just 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa, this conservation park has more than 50 cross-country ski trails ranging in both length (7.9 km- 40 km) and level (beginner to advanced). There’s nothing like gliding over fresh snow on a winter morning. Marvel at the forests and open fields as you fly by, then warm up by a wood burning stove at one of the 10 shelters, which are outfitted with picnic tables so you can enjoy a snack from home.

The Newest Mobile, Interactive Bird-Watching Guides

BirdsEye app

Are you a bird nerd? Well, there’s never been a better time to be one.

Smartphone apps for bird-watchers are improving daily. One of our favourites is the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s BirdsEye, an app that allows users to upload recent sitings and pins them to a map, so you can see where particular birds have been spotted recently. You can also search for birds, see photos and descriptions and hear birdsongs and bird calls. It’s pricey ($19.99) but serious birders say it’s worth it. Plus it’s available for iPad, and in a “lite” version ($1.99), which has a fraction of the species of the full version. (more…)