Selling Canada Winter 2021

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2021 | TRAINING FOR THE TRAVEL TRADE

CANADA'S INVITING

Open spaces Room to breathe on empty roads and crowd-free wilderness areas

NEW TRAINING

Sign up to the refreshed CSP and sell more of Canada in 2022

INDIGENOUS TOURISM

Authentic experiences that tap into cultures, traditions and landscapes

AWAKEN YOUR SENSES

How Canada's cities and wild places test, challenge and refresh

PLUS... CANADA'S ARCTIC . BUCKET LIST . PARKS . ISLANDS . LUXURY . WINTER FUN . WHITEHORSE . AND MORE....

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DO YOU HAVE CLIENTS WANTING TO EXPLORE THE ‘REAL’ CANADA BY TRAIN? VIA Rail runs the public passenger rail network in Canada, operating trains throughout the country over 12,500km of track.

VIA Rail gives your clients an authentic rail experience as part of their Canadian adventure. Travellers can travel coast to coast, visit the major cities in Eastern Canada, explore the Maritime Provinces, view the polar bears on the shores of Hudson Bay or travel through the Rockies and other mountain ranges in Western Canada. It’s the perfect way to explore Canada at a relaxed pace and to discover what makes this beautiful country so unique!

For more information visit www.viarail.ca or complete our training programme at www.viarail-ott.com. For further training, product development and marketing please contact info@viarail.co.uk.

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THIS PUBLICATION IS PRINTED ON REVIVE 100 MEDIA, RECYCLED PAPER GRADES THAT ARE FSC® RECYCLED CERTIFIED AND CARBON BALANCED.

NEWS 05 Destination Canada 06 News to Use 08 The new Canada

Specialist programme

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FEATURES 10 Canada 101: Essentials 13 18

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Sustainable Canada Top 10 Bucket List Awaken Your Senses Indigenous Experiences Canada's Islands Winter Activities Transport Options Canada's Arctic National Parks Luxury in the Gateway Cities

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New Brunswick Yukon Marsha Walden, CEO Destination Canada Ontario City Profile: Whitehorse Secondary Cities Saskatchewan Québec Alberta Atlantic Canada Your Canada Calm

FRONT COVER: KLUANE NATIONAL PARK, YUKON PUBLISHED BY BMI PUBLISHING LTD, 501 THE RESIDENCE, NO.1 ALEXANDRA TERRACE, GUILDFORD, GU1 3DA • T: 020 8649 7233; E: ENQUIRIES@ BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK • W: BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK PUBLISHER: SALLY PARKER; EDITORIAL DIRECTOR: STEVE HARTRIDGE; ASSISTANT EDITOR: JESSICA POOK; WRITERS: CHARLOTTE FLACH; DESIGNERS: CAITLAN FRANCIS & EMMA NORTON; PRODUCTION MANAGER: CLARE HUNTER; MANAGING DIRECTOR: MATT BONNER; CEO: MARTIN STEADY • WHILST EVERY EFFORT IS MADE TO ENSURE ACCURACY, BMI PUBLISHING CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS.

AGENT BOOKING INCENTIVE! OCT 2021 MARCH 2022

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TOP 8 AGENT BOOKERS WILL WIN A VIP TRIP TO CANADA The more points you score, the greater chance you have to win.

Explore Canada with VIA Rail. Book with First Class Holidays, VIA’s preferred partner in the UK and Irish market.

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Destination Canada: Welcome /

Hearts glow fonder for Canada in 2022

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DC update NEWS FROM DESTINATION CANADA

Virtual expo to ‘fast track’ expert agents IT’S great to be ‘back’ writing this column for Selling Canada! It has been a tough time for all concerned but we are delighted that Canada is now open for doublevaccinated Brits to travel to this fall and winter. Never has the phrase ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ seemed more appropriate and the past 20 months or so has certainly made my heart grow fonder for Canada. Be fully up to date with the latest requirements for entry via the official government site at travel.gc.ca/travel-covid/ travel-restrictions/exemptions. Our new all-singing alldancing Canada Specialist Programme (CSP) is now live at canadaspecialist.co.uk. We are delighted to bring this programme bang up to date to support agents selling Canada. Find out more about the CSP and its benefits on pages 6 and 7. I cannot wait to return with some FAM trips next year, and to get agents out to experience Canada’s open spaces and epic adventures. We’ve brought you a bumper issue of Selling Canada, together with all our industry partners, and hope the following pages will inspire you to ‘Think Canada’ and also help inspire your clients to book Canada in 2022! Adam Hanmer, Manager, Travel Trade, Destination Canada

DESTINATION Canada and its key industry partners, including airlines, destinations, trains, Parks Canada and Indigenous Tourism, will join forces on November 23 to host a virtual ‘fast track’ event for agents. Called Canada Specialist Virtual Xpo, the event will also see the launch of the tourism board’s refreshed Canada Specialist Program (CSP). Running from 14.00 to 19.00, the interactive format will offer agents the chance to win some great prizes. The flexible hours concept of the ‘on demand’ event is designed to allow

agents to fit it in around their working schedule – that is, they can drop in at any point over the five hours it will be running. “We hope that travel agents will take this opportunity to refresh or update their knowledge if they know Canada well, or feel inspired to sign up and learn more if they don’t,” said Adam Hanmer, Travel Trade Manager, Destination Canada UK. “Agents who join us on the day will be able to find answers to all their burning questions to help clinch that sale. Sign up at: canadaspecialistxpo.com

RVC+ live in Toronto in 2022 CANADA’S premier travel trade show, Rendez-Vous Canada, will be a hybrid live/virtual event when it takes place in Toronto next spring. Running from May 2327, RVC+ 2022, hosted by Destination Canada and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, will build on the successful virtual-only show in 2021. Toronto was also the host of the last live RVC, in 2019.

Said a spokesperson: “RVC+ 2022 will be an exciting opportunity to welcome international buyers back to Canada and showcase the beauty of this country, as well as the truly meaningful travel experiences on offer across each province and territory. “We will be encouraging all provinces and territories to host pre- and post-FAMs for our international buyers.”

Visitors need eTA for Canada AGENTS are reminded that all British visitors to Canada who arrive by air must be in possession of an Electronic Travel Authority (eTA) – which should be obtained before the purchase of air tickets. An eTa usually takes around three days to approve. Apply online at Canada.ca/ eTa. Any website charging more than C$7 is not an official government site.

eTa: what you need to know • An eTA costs C$7 (£4.15). • An eTA is valid for five years or until the passport expires, whichever is first. • With an eTA travellers can fly to Canada several times without reapplying as long as their eTA and passport remain valid. • The online application form requires a credit card and an email address. • Travellers can only apply for one person at a time. For example, for a family of three they would need to complete and submit the form three times.

Help desk KEY CONTACTS: Adam Hanmer 020 7389 9985 Hanmer.Adam@ destinationcanada.com TRAINING: canadaspecialist.co.uk; keepexploring.ca

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6 / News to use

New in Jasper

New hotel: Métis Crossing

* PURSUIT is developing a new wildernessinspired hotel within Jasper National Park. Expected to open in June 2022, the hotel’s 88 guest rooms will feature kitchenettes and patios ‘that seamlessly bring the outdoors in’ pursuitcollection.com

New in Quebec

* IMPROVEMENTS at the base of the Montmorency Falls, close to Québec City, offer more ways to enjoy the waterfalls. A concrete path on the eastern side of the pool has been widened, while a new boardwalk allows visitors to cast a line or dip their feet in the water. quebec-cite.com

A NEW 40-room boutique lodge is due to open by the end of November 2021 at Indigenous visitor attraction Métis Crossing. Located in Smoky Lake, Alberta around 1.5 hours from Edmonton, it offers visitors an immersive hands-on cultural experience year-round to learn about Métis culture and history. Designed by Métis architect Tiffany Shaw-Collinge, each room in the hotel as been curated by a Métis artist and features traditional art and storytelling. The beds each have a hand sewn quilt made by women from the New Dawn

Métis Women’s Society, which guests can purchase at the end of their stay. Also new is the Visions, Hopes and Dreams at Métis Crossing Wildlife Park featuring the return of woods bison, plains bison, white bison, elk, white elk, and percheron horses to traditional Métis lands. Visitors can sign up for tours through the wildlife park that explain the historical significance of the animals in Métis culture. There are also evening ‘under the stars’ Indigenous storytelling. metiscrossing.com

Reconnect at Niagara Falls

New in Vancouver

* Greater Vancouver’s first new luxury boutique hotel in years, and the first hotel of its kind in the city of Richmond, opened this summer. The 100-room Versante is 20 minutes from Downtown Vancouver, and minutes from Vancouver International Airport. versantehotel.com

A NEW tour telling the ‘untold’ Indigenous story at Niagara Falls will launch in spring 2022. Niagara Living Museum Tours will feature animated encounters and engagements with Indigenous peoples, cultural interpreters, historians, food specialists, and artisans. The tour will reveal the intrinsic connection between the famous waterfalls and the livelihood and traditions

First Class support FIRST Class Holidays’ biggestever Canada campaign, which it is running with Destination Canada until March 22, offers agents a range of support material and the chance to win a trip to Canada. The six-month-long Love Canada initiative includes trade-marketing materials such as posters and videos as well as a booking incentive to win a trip to Canada. “We will have so much content for agents to use and interact with,” said Managing Director, Dan Gathercole. “We saw a surge of late bookings in October, with conversion double that of 2019 and average spend 20% up, which is very encouraging,” added Gathercole. “We are getting lots of Motorhome requests and selfdrives, but the ever-popular rail and cruise packages continue to sell really well. We are also doing a lot more VFR for October. “People tend to be looking at doing more family trips than they were before and staying for slightly longer and spending more money. “We believe that Canada will do extremely well in 2022 given its vast landscape and the type of holidays most people take,” he added. fcholidays.com

of the Haudenosaunee. It will also ‘shine a light on what’s not in history books’, such as the role of Indigenous people in the War of 1812, when 300 Mohawk fought with the British at the Battle of Beaver Dams, defeating 500 Americans. ”Guests will never think of Niagara Falls the same way after the tour,” said a spokesperson. niagarafallstourism.com

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News to use /

Riviera’s Rockies and Vancouver tour RIVIERA Travel’s Canada group tour holiday for 2023 will highlight the best of the Rocky Mountains. The nine-day option, titled ‘Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer’, includes two days on the Rocky Mountaineer train; trips to Lake Louise, Peyto Lake and the Athabasca Glacier; a ride on the Snocoach snow track; and a journey to Icefields Parkway to walk on the 300-metre-thick Athabasca glacier. Banff and Vancouver are also included. Twenty-one departures are available between May to September, with a lead-in price of £2999pp, including return flights, transfers and excursions. Will Sarson, Head of Strategy and Innovation at Riviera Travel, said: “The magnificent Rocky Mountains are a spectacular sight like no other. And Vancouver is one of the world’s most stunning panoramas.” Alaska add-ons to the tour are available. rivieratravel.co.uk

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Cape Breton trip to the top in 2022 THE new Ingonish Tree Walk, in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, is scheduled to start welcoming visitors in 2022 . Blending in with the landscape it will offer ‘education, entertainment and adventure’. Access will be by trail or a new eight-person gondola – the first in Atlantic Canada – which will take riders from the bottom of Cape Smokey 320 vertical meters to the top in four minutes. Visitors will be able to explore Cape Breton nature, learn about the history of the Mi’kmaq people, and enjoy views of the Atlantic Ocean and Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The project was due to open n June 2021 but was delayed by the pandemic. atlanticcanadaholiday.co.uk

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8 / Canada Specialist Programme

Become a special

AGENT FOR CANADA Do clients ask for white-water rafting, a city foodie tour or an indigenous cultural experience? Destination Canada’s new agent training programme has all the answers, says Charlotte Flach

W

hether you’re looking to sell Northern Lights experiences, iconic train journeys or where to walk amongst flora and fauna, Destination Canada’s new Canada Specialist Agent (CSP) training programme will put you head and shoulders above your competitors. The refreshed training platform, which will go live in November, features modules built completely from scratch with content designed to enlighten agents and help them cash in on the wave of interest in Canadian holidays following the travel lull caused by the pandemic. “We are thrilled to be bringing a new approach to training UK travel agents in selling Canada,” says Adam Hanmer, Travel Trade Manager, Destination Canada UK. “We hope even those who have engaged in previous training modules will participate and refresh their knowledge. We know Canada is in demand and we want to make sure the industry is equipped and has the right tools to convert the enquiries into meaningful bookings with happy clients.” Canada is on or near the top of those destinations Brits want to travel to post-

pandemic, and the CSP allows agents to capitalize on that by showcasing their expertise to clinch sales. “We have built up a loyal group of Canada Specialists who consistently deliver high-value bookings to Canada. Agents who get to grips with selling Canada coast to coast and across four seasons will enjoy healthy commissions and happy clients,” adds Hanmer. The destination’s Elite programme is also still very much in operation and will be expanded, he confirms. “We are always looking to identify top selling agents to join our Elite programme, and will support them with bespoke training and exclusive FAM trips.”

What is it? Over 40 modules will eventually go live, providing agents with an interactive learning experience to learn in-depth about Canada. Key elements will be audio visual components, interactive questions, shareable content and the chance to

move up special tiers as agents progress. Agents can learn directly from experts – and, importantly at this time of new working arrangements – at their own pace, with 24/7 access to the platform on tablets, phones or through a browser. The ‘Retain’ section condenses product knowledge from training into a resource which can be accessed whenever needed – for example an impromptu sales presentation with clients. Once the modules have been completed, a downloadble certificate illustrates the agent’s qualification.

Share the Experience More experienced agents can move into modules that include Food and Drink, Wildlife Watching, Adventure and Activities, Winter Wonderland, Indigenous Tourism, Legendary Canada and Trip ideas. From indigenous food trucks to seafood fare, they will discover how visitors are spoilt for choice, with vintage wines and

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Canada Specialist Programme /

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Win! The first 50 agents to sign up and complete the four foundation roll-out modules by December 31 202, will receive a Maple cookery book designed to give them and their family members a taste of Canada at home

modern craft brews to wash it down with. There are tips on wildlife bucket list activities such as whale and bear watching, plus ideas for adventure activities in the different seasons. Canada doesn’t shirk away from winter, which is why an entire section will focus on skiing, winter sports and Northern Lights spotting. While a module on Indigenous tourism will detail the cultural heritage of Canada’s first inhabitants. Agents will also be equipped with detailed summaries of lodges, unique accommodation (such as castles of the north), and how to access remote locations in style by helicopter and float plane. To advise those selling to travellers who want to see as much of the country as they can on a single trip, agents can tap into a module for suggested regional, multi-province and cross country multidestination itineraries.

Provinces and Territories To really showcase their in-depth expertise, agents can drill down into specifics with an introduction to culture and history highlights, followed by Getting Here and Getting Around, City Sights, Urban Stays, Outdoor Adventures, Countryside Stays, Favourite Itineraries and Working With Us. Modules will break down time zones; air and other transport including regional city links; popular sightseeing and attractions, as well as neighborhoods travellers should have on their radars. There are suggestions for both urban and countryside retreats, with a look at popular outdoor activities and which companies they can be booked with, and suggested 24- and 48-hour itineraries to appeal to a variety of interests.

A sales support section will offer trade events and resources for each province.

Module teasers The Foundation: The ‘building bricks’ and base knowledge of any agent’s Canada selling power, these modules will include sections that include Welcome to Canada, Vibrant Cities, Wide Open Spaces and Culture and History. Helpful overviews of the regions and cities, from Newfoundland and Labrador to Vancouver and Victoria, will explore all the key iconic sights and attractions to mention to clients. Canada’s abundance of vast and wild open spaces make it a top destination for visiting national parks and marine conservation areas. Agents will learn what unique attractions each one has to offer, such as sightings of rare birds, and how to advise clients to get there. Lastly, learn about some of the nation’s three groups of Indigenous peoples, each with their own distinct cultures, arts and sciences. Find out the best spots for your clients to relive history, including museums and UNESCO World Heritage sites. There is also a section detailing festivals and events celebrating both traditional life and modern interests. Register here: canadaspecialist.co.uk

Why would I benefit from becoming a Canada Specialist? Differentiate yourself and your agency from others by becoming a Canada expert Earn a qualification to add to your CV Increase your commission through learning how to upsell and suggest ‘add ons’ Receive priority access to Canada FAM trips, training incentives and both live and virtual events Engage with other agents who are Canada experts Gain confidence in how to sell the right trip to the right client

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e

10 / Canada essentials

CANADA 101

the essentials Canada is in demand and ready to meet the expectations of clients in 2022. Below are our essential starting pointers as to why Canada is perfectly positioned to fulfil that dream trip

Flight options There are non-stop, direct flights between the UK and Canada, with both scheduled flag carriers and lowcost airlines. These include Air Canada, British Airways, WestJet and Air Transat.

Time difference Canada is closer than many think! The flight time is between five and 10 hours, depending on whether you are flying to the east (St John) or west (Vancouver) coasts. The flying time to Montréal is around seven hours and 15 minutes. Time differences vary between five and eight hours behind GMT.

Languages Canada is both an English- and French-speaking destination – an interesting cultural mix for visitors. French is the mother tongue of 7.2 million Canadians (about 20% of the population), with most of these living in Québec.

Infrastructure Wherever your travels take you in Canada, there is (a) a modern health system and (b) a well-developed road, transport and tourism infrastructure – which makes travelling around the country both easy and a pleasure. Driving is relatively stress-free with most roads usually quieter than those in the UK.

UK/Canada ties Due to the historic close links between the UK and Canada, visitors have always been guaranteed a warm, friendly and genuine welcome – but this will be more evident than ever in 2022 after the many ‘missed’ months of tourists due to Covid.

Looks familiar Those shared historic links and Commonwealth ties between Canada and the UK provide a reassuring familiarity! After all, Queen Elizabeth II is the monarch of both countries!

Indigenous tourism A burgeoning Indigenous tourism industry makes for unique and authentic experiences. In every province and territory, festivals, events and immersive experiences showcase the culture and history of Canada’s First Peoples through a unique and authentic Indigenous lens (for more on these, see pages 26/27).

Unique culture However, Canada is still a unique country with its very own diverse history, traditions, sports – such as hockey, curling and lacrosse – and activities, culture, cuisine and, most importantly, people.

Typically Canadian These cultural traditions are also illustrated in major annual events. These include the Calgary Stampede, a celebration of the Canadian West and its pioneering spirit featuring rodeos, parades, concerts and more, and the

New France Festival in Québec City, which celebrates the arrival of the first Europeans and includes costumes artistic, and culinary events. Across the country, world-class museums feature arts and crafts that pay homage to Canada’s nature, sweeping landscapes and mosaic of cultures.

Fabulous food Lobsters, halibut, bison, wild foraged mushrooms, Alberta steak, French Canadian maple syrup, oysters, scallops, and berries all contribute to an exciting culinary scene being driven by internationally trained chefs. Then there is some of the best Chinese, Japanese, and Korean food outside of Asia. For something more homely, warm up with a hot chocolate and a beavertail (a type of donut) or tuck into a plate of poutine (cheese curd and gravy served over chips).

Room to move Canada offers space –

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Canada essentials /

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“As indigenous experiences are so often tied to the land, they’re inherently sustainable and healthy for the environment too” Keith Henry, President & CEO of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada

lots of it! It is the second-largest country in the world, with 10 provinces and three huge territories – many of them several times the size of an average European country – to explore, it is easy to get off the well-trodden tracks and take yourself far away from the crowds. The population density in Canada is as low as four people per km2 (the UK is around 275 per km2) (Source: Statista).

Bucket list Canada is a Bucket List Destination that features several ‘must do’ experiences such as the Northern Lights, Dark Sky reserves, icebergs, iconic train journeys, natural wonders (such as Niagara Falls and The Canadian Rockies) and more (see pages 18/19).

Go on safari Canada lays claim to some of the world’s greatest untamed lands and wilderness areas which provide a shelter

to a range of impressive animals. Think black, brown (or grizzly), and polar bears, and whales species including Orca, Humpback and Narwhal.

Great outdoors Within just an hour or less of most major cities and towns, Canada’s great outdoors awaits, with its abundance of fresh air, the scent of trees, lakes, rivers and oceans and pritine beaches. It’s a country where it is easy to enjoy all four seasons – whether the backdrop landscape is coastal, prairie, mountain or Arctic.

Adventures Canada is an adventurers’ outdoor playground. In summer, enjoy road and mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, white-river rafting, angling, golf, surfing and more. In winter indulge in world-class skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, husky dog rides – even ice fishing and ice climbing (see

pages 32/33/34 for winter suggestions). In autumn wonder at the riot of colours in Atlantic Canada, Ontario and Québec.

Cruise the country Several cruise companies operate itineraries that provide a great introduction to the country’s regions and highlights. Cruise the east coast, perhaps on a fall colours cruise, taking in Nova Scotia and Québec, or sail the waters off British Columbia up to Alaska’s Inside Passage.

Canada specialists Canada-specialist tour operators offer a wide range of packages and tailor-made holidays to suit the occasion or client – whether that’s a bucket list trip, milestone visit, solo adventure, romantic getaway or a celebratory family multigenerational trip.

Covid regulations Be fully up to date with the latest requirements for entry via Canada’s official

government site: travel.gc.ca/ travel-covid/travel-restrictions/ exemptions.

Entry rules British visitors to Canada must obtain an Electronic Travel Authority (eTA), which once obtained stays valid for multiple entries for five years. Apply online at Canada.ca/eTA. It is also mandatory for passengers to provide information before and after arrival into Canada via the ArriveCAN app or web-based platform canada.ca/ArriveCAN. The app simplifies the process of providing information and is available via the Apple Store and Google Play.

Become a specialist To become a Canada Specialist agent and qualify for benefits and possible fam trips, sign up to Destination Canada’s new CSP training platform is now live at canadaspecialist.co. uk. For more information on the CSP see pages 8/9.

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12 / Six of the best...

Making waves in

Bay of Fundy Home to the world’s highest tides, spectacular coastline, and notoriously charming communities, the Fundy Coast is a road tripper’s dream. Here’s some highlights along the way…

The Bay of Fundy attracts some of the world’s rarest whales, including the North Atlantic right whale. See these creatures up-close on a whalewatching trip from Saint Andrews. Spot a variety of seabirds, seals and porpoises or drift into the sea-weathered caves on a kayak exploration. Stay at the historic Algonquin Hotel also known as the Castle by the Sea to fully experience the charm of this seaside escape.

Fundy Isles Visit a collection of islands at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy, all of which are connected to the mainland and each other by ferry. Discover Campobello Island, home to Roosevelt international park and Roosevelt Cottage, the summer home for President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Pack a picnic and follow the Shadow Hiking Trail on Deer Island, or explore the fishing communities on Grand Manan Island, a must for fresh seafood.

The city of Saint John

Hopewell Rocks

Walk the narrow streets and marvel at the old buildings that now house galleries, museums, restaurants and bars in Canada’s oldest incorporated city. City Market sells local produce and crafts while Rockwood Park is one of North America’s largest urban parks. Don’t miss the Reversing Falls Rapids, where the changing tides of the Bay of Fundy force the water at the mouth of the Saint John River to reverse its flow.

Where else can you walk on the ocean floor at low tide to then see it submerged in 160 million tons of seawater just six hours later? At Hopewell Rocks, home of the world’s highest tides, clients can explore the coves at low tide and kayak around the top at high tide. Sprouting trees and eaten away by saltwater, the Hopewell Rocks themselves are unique, with quirky names such as Lovers Arch and Mother-in-Law.

St Martins The seaside community of St Martins is the gateway to The Fundy Trail Parkway. This scenic 30km coastal road showcases the natural beauty of the Bay of Fundy. Clients can explore 10km of pedestrian or bike trails or kayak on the bay or river, search for sea caves, photograph red cliffs and waterfalls or just relax on one of five sweeping beaches and watch the world’s highest tides at work.

Moncton

JESSICA EMIN

Saint Andrews

Between the Bay of Fundy and the Acadian Coast lies Moncton, the hub of the Maritimes. The Greater Moncton Area, which includes Moncton, Dieppe and Riverview, offers a fusion of English and French language, food and culture. If clients are looking to blow off some steam after visiting some of the quieter islands, Moncton won’t disappoint. There’s plenty to entertain from premier shopping outlets, fine dining and even a casino!

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Sustainable Canada /

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kayaking on the yukon riVer

TREADING

lightly Wonderful wilderness, eco-friendly resorts and exciting humanpowered adventures make Canada the perfect choice for a sustainable escape, says Lauren Jarvis

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y epic two-week journey down the Yukon River begins in the territory’s capital, Whitehorse, when five canoes launch into the wild, Jack London-style, and set off for Dawson City, 450 miles to the north. Paddling eight hours a day, we tread lightly – bubbling along with the current as silt fizzes against the bow, and powering our way across glassy Lake Laberge, leaving nothing but silver ripples in our wake. Each night, we will wild camp beside the river, where beavers build their dams and grizzly tracks mark the banks.

Collecting firewood, we will cook in the midnight sun and – wonderfully wifi-free – tell stories as the timeless waters roll by, before sleeping under canvas, answering calls of nature like bears in the woods. By the village of Carmacks, hands are blistered and muscles ache. Another week of paddling, wild camping and white water lies ahead, as the infamous Five Finger Rapids rumbles downriver. Running through town, The Klondike Highway offers a tempting escape: to civilisation, Starbucks and a comfortable bed and pillows. A crossroads. A choice. I pick up my

finding a Balace in canada’S great outdoorS

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14 / Sustainable Canada

Soaring aBoVe Sun peakS, BritiSh columBia

“The work of B.C.’s tourism industry is built on a foundation of sustainability and considers the benefits of tourism growth along with its environmental impact” Yvonne Chow, Marketing Coordinator for Europe at Destination British Columbia

cape Breton, noVa Scotia

wildlife aBoundS in the yukon

paddle, climb into the canoe and ride the mighty river to Dawson.

Eco-escapes With its stunning landscapes, epic mountain ranges and mighty rivers, Canada has always attracted adventurers, nature lovers and those seeking a deeper connection to earth’s wild places. Responsible stewardship and sustainability are in the country’s DNA, from the Indigenous peoples’ age-old respect for the land to the long-established national park service, which protects vast swathes of wilderness, wildlife and some of the most precious ecosystems on the planet. As more travellers seek to lighten their carbon footprint, Canada’s already ahead of the curve, with endless opportunities to hike, sail, ski, pedal and paddle, while resorts, suppliers and operators offer exciting options for an eco-friendly escape. As the aviation industry continues its search for a more planet-friendly way to fly, Canadian seaplane operator, Harbour Air (based in Vancouver), has been blazing

a cleaner trail since 2007, when it became North America’s first carbon-neutral airline, offsetting 100% of its emissions. Vancouver was also the birthplace of environmental organisation, Greenpeace. Now approaching its 50-year anniversary, the organization is celebrated in the Making Waves exhibition at the Vancouver Maritime Museum until 7 June. “Canada is a very environmentally aware destination,” says Julie Thompson, Product and Marketing Manager for Frontier Travel, which encourages customers to offset their flight emissions through Climate Care. “Many resorts and hotels have green programmes in place, such as Siwash Lake

Book it with... Canada as you like it Explore the Whistler Mountain Bike Trail and over 300 miles of cycling tracks for riders of all levels on this seven-night trip, which includes return international flights, accommodation for two nights in Vancouver, five nights in Whistler, car hire and two days mountain biking. 0208 742 8299; canadaasyoulikeit.com

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Sustainable Canada /

Wilderness Resort in British Columbia, which is showing an incredible commitment to sustainability with all accommodation sustained by solar power. Across the country, you’ll find fabulous, eco-friendly restaurants serving locally sourced ingredients, too.

Eco-trips Known for its world-class wineries, British Columbia’s Thompson Okanagan region has become one of the world’s most sustainable destinations, with plenty of opportunities for human-powered exploration amidst its mountains and lakes. Declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations, residents, businesses and visitors are encouraged to commit to the ‘Seven Affirmations for Seven Generations’ pledge, which honours the Indigenous idea that everything we do in our lifetime will have consequences for seven future generations. B.C.’s Sun Peaks Resort also offers low-impact activities including hiking,

Backcountry fun at tyax wilderneSS reSort,Bc

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horse riding and biking across its three mountains, which surround a pedestrianonly village. And all-inclusive safari-style Clayoquot Wilderness Resort on Vancouver Island invites guests to get involved with wildlife rehabilitation through its Coastal Ambassador Programme. “The work of B.C.’s tourism industry is built on a foundation of sustainability and considers the benefits of tourism growth along with its environmental impact,” explains Yvonne Chow, Marketing Coordinator for Europe at Destination British Columbia. “In addition, marketing efforts are focused on lesser-known attractions and destinations with capacity to disperse visitation around the province.”

Off-season travel ‘The Road Less Travelled’ will be a key focus for Travel Alberta in 2022, a tagline that hopes to encourage visitors to explore more of the province and experience its diverse landscapes and attractions. In summer, as an alternative to the popular Rocky Mountains, Alberta is pushing the cities of Calgary and Edmonton (both home to lots of green spaces and perfect for cycling), the Badlands, The Cowboy Trail, Crowsnest Pass and Elk Island National Park, the cornerstone of Canada’s bison conservation story. Atlantic Canada is also focussed on protecting its natural wonders. “We’re encouraging travellers to explore our many national parks and coastline on foot or by bicycle,” says Kelley Keefe, The Atlantic Canada Agreement on Tourism (ACAT) UK Program Manager. Walkers can ramble the rugged East

kayaking on the ottawa riVer

Coast Trail in Newfoundland, while cyclists can bike the historic Rum Runners Trail in Nova Scotia (WorldExpeditions.com offers guided tours for both). Eco-friendly lodgings include Newfoundland and Labrador’s Fogo Island Inn, glamping domes and cabins at Ridgeback Lodge in New Brunswick, ‘TreePODS’ at Prince Edward Island’s Treetop Haven and luxurious rooms at Trout Point Lodge in the UNESCO Southwest Nova Scotia Biosphere Reserve.

Going green Canada’s cosmopolitan capital is also catering to green travellers. “Ottawa has a variety of eco-friendly options for visitors ” says Julia Thomson, Book it with... Frontier Canada A four-day package for two at the luxury Siwash Lake Wilderness Resort in British Columbia costs from £5,900pp, including food, drinks, horse riding and guided wilderness adventures. Pair with a stay in Vancouver or Whistler. 020 8776 8709; frontier-canada.co.uk

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Corporate Communications Specialist at Ottawa Tourism. “Skating along the incredible Rideau Canal Skateway, cycling on the 500-plus miles of bike paths, hiking in Gatineau Park and rafting along the Ottawa River are all sustainable ways to experience Canada’s capital and its surrounds. Our compact downtown allows visitors to walk to most major attractions.” The country’s breathtaking landscapes look spectacular through the panoramic windows of the Rocky Mountaineer, which runs through the Rockies, stopping at Whistler, Kamloops, Jasper and Banff. “Travelling by VIA Rail around the eastern provinces of Ontario and Québec is another easy and exciting way to explore,” adds Denise Hunn, Director Canada Tour Operations at Prestige Holidays.

Wild things When it comes to wildlife, you can’t beat getting out on foot to find it. Canada offers a genuine safari-type experience, and although the ‘big three’ are bears – grizzly, black and polar – there are multitude other ways to enjoy the country’s wildlife. For example, In south Saskatchewan, you’ll find Grasslands National Park, which is

best known for being the only place in the country that is home to the comical blacktailed prairie dog. In summer, around 50,000 beluga whales come to the western side of Hudson Bay, Manitoba, where the Churchill River empties into the Bay. The best time to see them is from the last two weeks of July to the first two weeks of August. Used by First Nations peoples for centuries, canoes are a clean and healthy way to spot the country’s wildlife.“Canada has so much to offer in terms of spectacular flora and fauna,” says Maggi Smit, Managing Director of specialist tour operator, Canada As You Like It. “Canoeing the winding waterways of the Yukon is a fantastic noninvasive way to get up close to animals.” “Nearly 80% of the territory remains pristine wilderness,” explains Denise Hunn, Director of Canada Tour Operations at Prestige Holidays. “The relatively sparse human population makes the Yukon a haven for species like caribou, wolves, grizzly bears, lynx, coyotes, foxes and millions of migratory birds.”

Living off the land Across the country, some 1,500 indigenousowned tourism operations invite visitors to discover more about Canada’s First Nations

“As indigenous experiences are so often tied to the land, they’re inherently sustainable and healthy for the environment too” Keith Henry, President & CEO of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada

people. From herbal medicine walks in Saskatchewan with a Cree/Métis guide to camping in teepees and celebrating the culture of the Anishnawbek people on Manitoulin Island in Ontario, authentic traditional experiences abound. “Supporting sustainable, Indigenous tourism means bringing benefits and employment to communities and keeping cultural traditions alive,” says Keith Henry, President & CEO of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada. And as indigenous experiences are so often tied to the land, they’re inherently sustainable and healthy for the environment too.”

experience authentic indigenous culture

Bison in the snow, Elk Island National Park

Seeing the northern lights is an emotional experience for many

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Top experiences for 2022 in

the yukon

Those looking for an adventure will find it in the Yukon. Rugged, unspoilt and 80% wilderness, this remote part of Canada will make lockdown feel like a distant memory

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The discovery of Klondike gold in 1896 began a stampede of more than 100,000 prospectors. There’s still gold here, but today it’s the captivating history that draws visitors to the historic Dawson City and surrounding Gold Rush area. Visitors will find many ways to experience the fascinating Klondike Gold Rush heritage, including panning for gold at Free Claim #6 and touring Dredge No. 4.

historic dawson city tells the story of the gold rush

Thrilling winter activities Winter is the longest season in the Yukon, spanning five months from November until the end a ur of March, and there’s ro ra yu plenty of adventures to be had both during the day and under the spell of the Northern Lights. New for 2022 are one-day and multi-day heli-skiing wil dli fe i packages, available n yu to book with Yukon Heli Ski. The company offers remote skiing locations combined with cosy, rustic accommodation options. Prices start from $1500 for a full day trip. yukonheliski.com n ko

Yukon Gold Rush

What’s more, in 2022 the Yukon is gearing up to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Yukon Gold Rush in 2023.

n ko

he Yukon has been patiently waiting to welcome British visitors back to the wilderness. The territory is one of North America’s most undiscovered destinations with 5,000-metre peaks, forested valleys, unspoiled waters and untamed wildlife. Roughly the size of Spain at just over 186,272 square miles, the Yukon is a wildlife-lovers dream with moose, outnumbering humans by two to one. Here’s how to make the most of a visit in 2022...

Sleep under the midnight sun The vastness of the Yukon means that naturally the accommodation options available are extremely remote too. RVing in

Soar above the mountain peaks

the summer under the Midnight Sun is far more than the standard road trip. Easy driving on uncrowded highways takes visitors to some of the most jaw-dropping scenery on the planet. Along the way are modest rest stops, full-service RV parks and welcoming communities.

Breathtaking landscapes Visitors to the Yukon can soar above Kluane National Park, the world’s largest non-polar iceields and home of Mt. Logan, Canada’s highest peak. With many flight paths to choose from, visitors will never see the same view twice. They can also take to the skies in the Klondike and capture the full scale of the goldfields and the region’s rich mining heritage before cruising over 2,200km squared of protected wilderness known as Tombstone Territorial Park.

Wellness in the wilderness People naturally visit the Yukon to reconnect with nature, but it’s also become a place for self-reflection and renewal. Workshops such as photography, painting and writing are becoming increasingly popular and retreats range from hot springs and mountain biking to yoga and meditation, with many combining wellness practices with outdoor recreation. travelyukon.com

An RV gives travellers the freedom to roam

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Bucket List Canada For clients starved of enriching bucket list travel experiences, here are 12 memorable options sure get their pulses racing, says karl Cushing

Rocky Mountaineer/The Canadian Rocky Mountaineer is a luxury rail experience that offers a combination of fine dining and a window on the passing wondrous scenery. The train’s glass-domed observation carriages provide a prime seat to view British Columbia and Alberta’s epic landscapes. Choose between Silver or Gold Leaf service and four memorable routes. Another classic rail journey sees Via Rail’s historic The Canadian travel from Toronto to Vancouver, a four-night/three-day adventure. rockymountaineer.com; viarail.ca/en Driving ambitions: Whether taming the all-season Dempster Highway linking Dawson City with Inuvik in the Arctic Circle or driving among Ontario’s Niagara wine country, Canada’s scenic highways are made for road trippers. British Columbia’s scenic ‘Sea to Sky’ highway from Vancouver to Whistler is classic drive while Alberta’s iconic ‘Icefields Parkway’, dissecting Banff

and Jasper National Parks, 232 km stretch of double-lane highway that winds through soaring rocky mountain peaks, icefields and vast sweeping valleys. Come autumn, vibrant colours provide the backdrop to drives in Atlantic Canada, such as the coastal Cabot Trail around Cape Breton Island. caen-keepexploring.canada.travel/things-todo/best-road-trips-in-canada. Make like a Voyageur: Grab an oar and follow the intrepid FrenchCanadian voyageur traders who crisscrossed Canada’s interior in their wooden canoes. Options range from quick lake paddles to multi-day excursions in replica multi-person canoes, as on British Columbia’s Fraser River or the Yukon’s Big Salmon and Yukon rivers. Resort options include BC’s Murtle and McGillivray lakes (the latter is an excursion offered by Sun Peaks resort), and Ontario’s Ottawa River. In Algonquin provincial park, enjoy wildlife

viewing, fireside cook-ups and storytelling. destinationontario.com; travelyukon.com Canada’s Galapagos’: Tours of British Columbia’s Haida Gwaii archipelago centre on Haanas National Park Reserve, with guided hikes, kayaking excursions and scenic seaplane over photogenic landscapes. visits to the unesco World Heritage Site of SGang Gwaay tell the story of the Haida Nation. At Skidegate, a Haida community, visit the Haida Heritage Centre and hike the Spirit Lake Trail. gohaidagwaii.ca Get high in the Canadian Rockies Drink in the majestic Canadian Rockies in British Columbia and Alberta, encompassing the National Parks of Banff, Jasper, Yoho, kootenay and Waterton. The peak summer months bring optimum hiking and rafting conditions, while winter sees snowsports lovers swell resorts in Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper. hellobc.com; travelalberta.com/ca

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Destination Canada

Jessica Burtnick

Northern Tales Travel Services Inc.

Sustainable Top canada ten /

Soar over Niagara Falls Experience Canada’s most famous natural wonder via a scenic helicopter flight. The 775-feet-high Skylon Tower also offers lofty views over the falls from its observation decks – or drink in the panoramic vistas from Queen Victoria Park. New since summer 2021, visitors can tour the historic Niagara Parks Power Station (there’s an immersive, illuminated night-time experience). niagarafallstourism.com Gaze at the Northern Lights Northern Canada’s dark skies showcase the Northern Lights (or Aurora Borealis). Viewable for much of the year, options range from two-hour excursions to multi-day packages. Top spots include Nunavut, Alberta, and, in the Northwest Territories, Great Slave Lake and Aurora Village near Yellowknife. At Takhini Hot Springs, Yukon, visitors can soak up the celestial light show in their swimwear.

travelyukon.com; spectacularnwt.com; travelmanitoba.com; destinationnunavut.ca Snap polar bears on safari Each October and/or November hundreds of polar bears gather close to the town of Churchill, Manitoba, accompanied by a secondary migration of snap-happy tourists who flock to capture this phenomenon from open-air viewing vehicles. The world’s polar bear capital offers accessible experiences, with specialists such as Churchill Wild ensuring visitors get close to the action. More exclusive packages are offered by remote, fly-in Manitoba lodges. travelmanitoba.com; churchillwild.com Whale watching - killer opportunity From zodiac boat excursions to kayaking tours, whale watching is available on both coasts. In British Columbia, humpbacks, orcas (killer whales), grays and minkies are the levitahan stars, with Victoria and Vancouver two of the biggest bases

for boat trips. In central Canada, operators such as Lazy Bear Expeditions showcase the massing of Beluga whales in Hudson Bay and the Churchill River each July and August. In the maritime reaches of Québec’s St. Lawrence river, up to 13 species of whale are often found between May and October. lazybearlodge.com; bonjourquebec.com Track wild animals - bear essentials Glimpse grizzly, black and brown bears in the wild: the animals begin to appear in the spring, as they emerge from hibernation. Between August and October, look for them foraging and hunting salmon. Popular viewing spots include Vancouver Island, Great Bear Rainforest and the Cariboo and Chilcotin Mountains in British Columbia, where the lodges are served by floatplanes. At Bear Cave Mountain, Yukon, the grizzlies become ‘ice bears’: the thermal waters and freezing conditions sees ice form in their fur. bearcavemountain.com; hellobc.com

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For the latest itineraries and options please contact your preferred trade partner or visit sunpeaksresort.com/travel-trade

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Interview /

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Talking Canada with

marsha walden CEO, Destination Canada You started your current role in August 2020, an interesting time to head an organisation promoting travel to a country that was effectively closed to foreign visitors. How did you manage to keep Canada ‘front of mind’? To ensure that Canada stayed front of mind during this time, we worked closely with our in-market teams globally to remain active in key markets, including the UK, our largest overseas market. We tried to support our global travel trade and travel media partners and to be ready for the travel rebound by building a deeper understanding of Canada – from our lively cities immersed in nature to our spectacular wilderness and coastlines to our unique mosaic of Indigenous and global cultures. Despite the obvious challenges of the past year and more, what would you point to as your key ‘achievements’? In my mind, there have been several big wins for Destination Canada over the past year. For starters, we’ve set a higher aspiration for the industry and redefined our yardstick for success. We are striving to enhance the quality of life of Canadians while enriching the lives of visitors. While economic measures remain important to gauge the vitality of our industry, we are shifting to holistically measure the net benefits that tourism brings to Canadian communities – socio-culturally, environmentally and economically. Why should Canada be on everyone’s “book now“ list for 2022? After such a long travel pause, people want to explore the world again. In Canada, they will discover a renewed sense of wellbeing. They can feel confident about their health and safety. They will want to explore our vibrant cities immersed in epic nature, our mosaic of global cultures and our unique Indigenous experiences. UK travellers can find both adventure and rejuvenation within a six- to nine-hour flight.

With its parks, vast landscapes, open roads and more is Canada ideally placed to tempt post-pandemic visitors? We certainly think so. People will be looking for deeper connections with the destinations they are visiting, perhaps staying longer, doing more and connecting more closely with locals – which makes Canada an attractive destination for travellers. Whether someone has resolved to eat fresher and better, to maintain their 10,000 steps a day or just to try something new, like wild swimming, Canada’s outdoors are great places to push oneself a bit further amid unrivalled beauty. Do you think the profile of the ‘types’ of visitors to Canada in 2022 and beyond will be different from previously? I do. Travel and travel values have changed in a material way. At Destination Canada the importance of improving the quality of life for all Canadians is underscored in our new strategy. As travel restarts, we are focusing on attracting high-value travellers who stay longer and seek to truly connect with people and places on their travels through our beautiful, natural, landscapes and cities. Tour operators are telling us that there is also a spike in travellers prioritizing Canada to achieve their bucket list experiences. Do you have a memorable Canadian travel experience you could share? There are too many extraordinary experiences to count! But a beloved travel experience for me is Québec City, for its important historical significance, warm Francophone lifestyle, and wonderful cuisine. It’s a charming, culture-rich experience and I love its amazing architecture, with some of the oldest buildings in Canada and strong references to European styles. Though English is widely spoken, my visits there have even encouraged me to try my French! I have an upcoming visit to Iqaluit and our partners at Travel Nunavut have asked the skies to put on a good show for my – I am hoping they will cooperate!

Marsha in Nova Scotia

“I believe that people now understand that travel is so much more than sightseeing, and that tourism is critical to supporting many of the community amenities that locals enjoy, too” Marsha Walden, CEO, Destination Canada

QuÈbec city

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Push those

boundaries Whether you want to learn a new skill, be at one with nature or leap from your comfort zone, Canada will test, challenge and refresh, writes Stuart Forster

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Awaken your senses /

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he inquisitve polar bear peers directly into my eyes, sniffs at my camera then exhales. To my surprise the billowing cloud of condensed breath is neither meaty nor fishy. The animal-loving side of me wants to reach out and touch her cuddly ears but the logical side prevails — she looks placid but there’s every chance I’ll be mauled. Viewing wildlife was on my wish list when I flew north to Churchill, the Manitoba town known as ‘the polar bear capital of the world’. Here at the Seal River Heritage Lodge, 60 kilometres further north,

I’ve seen bears every day since arriving. This morning I’d arrived in the lodge’s lounge both well before breakfast and the other guests, who were probably having a lie-in after viewing the Northern Lights last night. Terry, one of Churchill Wild’s bear experts, told me a lone female was approaching the building. I had my camera ready so stepped outside, gulping in the bitter cold air. As I opened the wooden door the bear hissed. Terry advised me to move away slowly. I squatted by the security fence, whose wire acted like a reverse zoo, and moments later the bear lumbered to check me out. Being this close to a wild polar bear was beyond my wildest expectations. Her paws were enormous. I was clicking photos and thrilled to be observing her. Destination Canada’s slogan is ‘For Glowing Hearts’ and, as I stared back at the bear, my heart was thumping hard and fast. I felt as alive as I ever have.

Bearing up to the wild During October and November Churchill Wild (churchillwild.com) operates polar bear safaris near the shore of Hudson Bay. Aimed at keen photographers, they feature guided walks on the tundra and provideg opportunities to see creatures such as Arctic foxes and hares. The Tundra Buggy (frontiersnorth.com), an all-terrain vehicle specially adapted for viewing wildlife and Northern Lights, visits locations around Churchill. It makes polar bear viewing accessible during the peak autumn season and operates in July and August, when wildflowers bloom. Between May and October, grizzly bears can be observed from boats and hides operated by Great Bear Lodge (greatbeartours.com) near Port Hardy in British Columbia.

Having a whale of a time During July and August white beluga whales swim in the Hudson Bay’s shallows and you can paddle amongst them in a kayak. Alternatively, Sea North Tours (seanorthtours.com) operates tours led by experienced guides in whale-friendly boats. The Bay of Fundy attracts humpback, finback and minke whales. Whale-watching tours in high-speed Zodiac boats are offered by the likes of Fundy Tide Runners (fundytidetunners.com) in New Brunswick, and Ocean Explorations (oceanexplorations. ca) in Nova Scotia.

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close encounters of the polar bear kind

British Columbia’s whale-watching season runs from April to late-October. Vancouver Island is a particular hotspot for viewing orcas, also known as killer whales. Orca Spirit (orcaspirit.com) operates out of Victoria, and Prince of Whales (princeofwhales.com) leave from Vancouver.

Take an uphill challenge Canada’s vast wide open spaces and accessible mountains are ideal for hiking. In addition to exploring those remote wilderness areas, visitors can rack up their steps on tours of cities and towns. For example, set within an urban park, Mount Royal (lemontroyal.qc.ca/en) offers outstanding perspectives of Montréal. In Vancouver, the 2.9 km Grouse Grind on Grouse Mountain is nicknamed ‘Mother Nature’s Stairmaster’ and microchipped cards are available for those wishing to register their time. Rossland (tourismrossland.com), a former mining town in BC, is known as the Mountain Biking Capital of Canada. With more than 200km of trails, it offers something for bikers of all levels. Open from July into October, the 36km Seven Summits Trail is a challenging and remote route with spectacular views.

Reaching for new heights There are plenty of ways visitors can enjoy an adrenaline boost by taking themselves out of their comfort zone. In Toronto, they can lean over the city from a height of 1,168ft during a CN Tower EdgeWalk (cntower.ca). A rush, in its literal sense, is on hand at the Zipline to the Falls (niagaraparks.com) races to the base of the iconic Horseshoe

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dog sledding in quebec

Falls at Niagara Falls. Those with a head for heights will appreciate mountain scenery on the new Golden Skybridge (goldtourismgolden.com). The country’s highest suspension bridge is just a few minutes from the Trans-Canada Highway, and easily reached on a road trip. The Canadian Rockies are renowned for world-class ice climbing. Based in Canmore, Yamnuska Mountain Adventures (yamnuska. com) operates tours for experienced climbers and introduces the activity to beginners between December and March. The Sasquatch (whistler.com) in Whistler is the country’s longest zipline. And new in 2021 is Canada’s first ‘interprovince zip line’, Interzip Rogers (interzip.ca/en), which opened in Canada’s capital, crossing the Ottawa River between Quebéc and Ontario. For stunning yet more sedate views, take a ride on Whistler’s Peak 2 Peak Gondola and Squamish’s wheelchair-accessible Sea to Sky Gondola (seatoskygondola.com). Along with the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge, the latter offers giddying views of the Howe Sound. Over on Vancouver Island the Malahat SkyWalk (malahatskywalk.com) is another new attraction. The immersive nature experience presents coastal and forest views on a spiralling ramp.

step to the edge in toronto

take a tour to baffin island

Discover hidden gems The little-known Arctic Cordillera, a 1,900mile mountain range between northern Labrador and Nunavut, offers four national parks. Arctic Kingdom (arctickingdom.com) operates tours to more remote destinations, including Auyuittuq National Park on Baffin Island in Nunavut. At Alberta’s Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park (albertaparks.ca/parks/south/writingon-stone-pp/), interpretative programmes introduce the hieroglyphs carved into rocks in a park with backcountry hiking and camping in pre-erected tents. Neighbouring Saskatchewan’s Grasslands National Park is one of the quietest places on the planet and, for stargazers, its remoteness means the darkest of all the dark sky preserves in Canada. Near Saskatoon, Wanuskewin Heritage Park’s (wanuskewin.com) exhibitions and interpretive programme provide opportunities for visitors to delve into the heritage and lifestyles of the Northern Plains’ indigenous peoples. In the Yukon, the Long Ago Peoples Place (yukonfirstnationculture.com) is open yearround, allowing travellers to spend time with representatives of the Southern Tutchone nation to learn about hunting methods and traditional cooking. Lake Kelowna Book it with...Canadian Affair A six-night, seven-day option that includes bear watching at Knight Inlet Lodge starts from £2,432pp, based on two sharing. It includes Air Canada flights from Heathrow, internal flights, fullboard at Knight Inlet Lodge and a Grizzly Bear watching tour. 0207 616 9192; canadianaffair.com

“New in 2021 is Canada's first 'interprovince zip line', Interzip Rogers, which opened in Canada’s capital, crossing the Ottawa River between Quebéc and Ontario” (tourismkelowna.com) in the Okanagan Valley, a region known for wine production, is now established as one of Canada’s wild swimming locations.

Upskill in the kitchen Increasingly, Canada is evolving into a culinary destination where foodies can participate in cooking experiences and return home with new skills to use in the kitchen. Chef Brad Smoliak (kitchenbybrad.ca), whose long table dinners champion the Prairie Provinces farm-to-fork culture, plans to run three-hour cooking demonstrations in his Edmonton kitchen in 2022. In the Maritime provinces, the gourmet bent tends to be on seafood. TV’s Kilted Chef (kiltedchef.ca), Alain Bossé, offers a ‘Lobster 101’, providing insights into preparing and cooking the crustaceans. Attending Nova Scotia’s month-long South Shore Lobster Crawl (lobstercrawl.ca) – planned for February 2022 – is a great way to experience the province outside high season and take part in activities such as a trip on a fishing boat. Prince Edward Island’s International Shellfish Festival (peishellfish.com), held each September, introduces visitors to the practice of foraging for mussels, clams and oysters. The festival offers an opportunity to stretch your food choices and remove any doubts about consuming shellfish!

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Six of the best... /

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Festive fun

in ontario When the temperature drops and the white stuff starts to fall, Ontario transforms into a winter wonderland. From ski hills to ice wine tasting there’s an activity for everyone

Highland highlights A dusting of snow transforms the remote hillsides and woodland tunnels of Ontario’s Highlands into a winter playground. Zip around miles of groomed trails on a snowmobile, past frozen lakes and sparkling forests, or swap an engine for a pack of huskies for some mushing. Don snowshoes and hike trails to scenic lookouts or try ice fishing for a get-awayfrom-it-all experience.

Hit the slopes

Canadians embrace the colder months with the Winterlude festival in Ottawa a prime example of this enthusiasm. The three-week festival in February lights up the darker days with food, music, and an events schedule for the entire family. The Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, transforms into the world’s largest ice skating rink from January to early March, with 4.8 miles of icy terrain cutting through the heart of the buzzing capital.

Glass half full January is icewine season in Ontario. For three weekends the entire Niagara region celebrates by sampling the local produce – a rich dessert wine made of grapes that have frozen on the vine. Participate in the festivities by joining a tasting tour on a winery, or simply enjoy a crisp glass with the stunning Niagara Falls as a backdrop. There’s also gala dinners and outdoor bars and tables, carved entirely from ice!

Frozen Falls During the bitter winter months it appears as though the magnificent Niagara Falls actually freeze over. Low temperatures cause the mist and spray to ice over the top of the rushing water, leaving many to assume that the Falls have stopped falling. At night the illusion really takes hold, when the illuminations send colours dancing off the icy sculpture. And at this time it’s not uncommon to have the viewing platform to yourself.

Toronto lights Set under a string of twinkling lights, Toronto’s Christmas market is returning to the historic Distillery District this year. Festive treats will include life-sized gingerbread houses, mulled wine stands and a spectacular tree. January will see the opening of the annual light festival, when local and international artists dress the district in light and art instillations, transforming the neighbourhood into an interactive open-air gallery.

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With 42 runs, 30 of which are lit for night skiing, Blue Mountain ski resort is a great place to learn how to ski or snowboard. For non-skiers there’s plenty of alternative ways to get a rush. Try zipping at speeds up to 42 km/h on the Ridge Runner Mountain coaster, sliding in an inflatable snowtube, or glide along the 1.1km ice skating loop. After a day on the slopes visitors can relax in the bars and restaurants in the Blue Mountain Village.

Feeling festive

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Many of the 700 Indigenous communities in Canada now offer visitors the opportunity to connect with their traditions, cultures and landscapes. Lauren Jarvis suggests 10 authentic experiences to offer clients

Dine under the Northern Lights One of the world’s best places to see the Aurora Borealis, Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories sees the spectacular display dance across the sky on more than 200 nights every year. The Indigenous family-owned Aurora Village provides the perfect cosy spot to view the phenomena. Guests can dine in a traditional teepee before watching the cosmic show, and learning about the myths and legends linked to the Northern Lights. auroravillage.com Take a thrilling dog-sled ride Indigenous Peoples have been using dog sleds in Canada for hundreds of years, and today, there’s no more thrilling way for visitors to whiz through a winter wonderland than on a sled pulled by a team of huskies. Based in Churchill, Manitoba, family-run Wapusk Adventures offers dog sledding tours through the boreal forest, and cultural talks about the Métis People. wapuskadventures.com

Seek out a spirit bear British Columbia’s Great Bear Forest is home to grizzly and black bears, along with several hundred ghostly-white Kermode bears, which have shared the Kitasoo Xai’xais traditional territory for aeons. Believed to have magical powers, these cream-coloured animals have become known as ‘spirit bears’. At Indigenousowned Spirit Bear Lodge, you can join a guided safari to find them. spiritbear.com Go on an Arctic adventure Their deep connection to their traditional lands makes Indigenous Peoples fascinating guides. Inuit-owned Arctic Bay Adventures offers a memorable immersive Indigenous experience. Set within the Arctic Circle on the northwest corner of Nunavut’s Baffin Island, Arctic Bay is one of the world’s most northerly communities, and the gateway to glacial valleys, red rock cliffs and Admiralty Inlet, the longest fjord on Earth. arcticbayadventures.com

JESSICA BurTNICK

DESTINATION CANADA

Authentically Canadian

DESTINATION CANADA

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TESSA MACINTOSH

26 / Indigenous experiences Experiences

Watch out for whales Homalco Wildlife & Cultural Tours offer voyages in the Salish Sea, off British Columbia, in search of whales, dolphins, sea lions, otters and eagles, and interpretive explorations of Orford Bay, a winter gathering place for the Xwémalhkwu or Homalco of Bute Inlet, known as the ‘People of Fast running Waters’. Visitors learn about traditional plants, medicines, shelter and clothing from an Indigenous guide – and might spot grizzly bears feasting on salmon. homalcotours.com Explore indigenous traditions Wendake in Quebec offers an immersive journey into the culture of the Huron-Wendat People. The HotelMusée Premières Nations is home of the Huron-Wendat Museum, while the Huron Traditional Site, on the Huron-Wendat reservation, offers canoe rides, tours of a Yänonhchia’ (long house), dance displays and Indigenous cuisine. tourismewendake.ca/en/

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Destination Canada

Spirit Bear Lodge

Indigenous Sustainable Experiences experiences canada /

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Keith Henry President and CEO of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC),

Jessica Burtnick

Wanuskewin

How do Indigenous experiences deepen visitors’ understanding of Canada? They allow Canadians and tourists alike to experience the diversity and richness of Indigenous cultures from coast to coast. Visitors can connect with the Elders, cultural knowledge keepers, storytellers, artists, chefs and others. This encourages visitors to ask questions and deepen their understanding and appreciation of Indigenous culture.

Destination Canada

Tell us about are some of these diverse Indigenous experiences. There are so many! Such as dogsledding in Manitoba, watching the Aurora Borealis in the Northwest Territories, and searching for the elusive Spirit Bear in British Columbia. Indigenous-owned resorts include Klahoose Wilderness Resort near Desolation Sound in BC and Dakota Dunes Resort near Saskatoon.

Herd reindeer across the tundra Join Indigenous herders on an epic journey by snowmobile, guiding thousands of reindeer to their spring calving grounds, and enjoy Inuvialuit hospitality in Tuktoyaktuk on the edge of the Arctic Ocean. This authentic experience offers the option of building and sleeping in an igloo, dining in a teepee, and watching the Northern Lights. Guests can also visit an igloo church, go on a snowshoe hike, and enjoy local cuisine and cultural activities. tundranorthtours.com Uncover Indigenous treasures Known as ‘Canada’s longest-running archaeological dig’, Wanuskewin Heritage Park in Saskatchewan protects precious archaeological sites, some older than the Egyptian Pyramids. This modern cultural centre, which honours the 6,000-year history of the Northern Plains Indigenous Peoples, has a gallery showcasing Indigenous artists, an Indigenous restaurant – and a bison herd. wanuskewin.com

Escape to the islands Off the northern Pacific coast of Canada,Haida Gwaii is an archipelago with two main islands, Graham Island and Moresby Island, along with 400 other isles. Visitors can learn about the history and culture of the Haida People, who have lived in the region for 13,000 years, and experience their warm hospitality with a stay at Haida-owned accommodations, including the boutique beachfront Ocean House, or the lodges and cabins at Haida House. haidatourism.ca Join a Pow Wow These large ceremonial gatherings are a celebration of Indigenous heritage, preserving ancestral traditions and displaying the skills and crafts of Indigenous communities. The summer months sees First Nations Peoples from Yukon to Québec come together through dance, storytelling and food, and are ready to welcome nonIndigenous guests to join the party. canadianpowwows.ca

Q: How can visitors ensure they receive a truly authentic Indigenous experience? It’s important to support Indigenous businesses directly, and not folks that are appropriating Indigenous culture for profit. Buying authentic ensures that our culture is shared in a respectful manner and supports local Indigenous communities, which is why we launched The Original Original brand mark. The mark signals businesses that have been vetted by the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, and that they are Indigenous-owned and led. Q: Why is it important for Indigenous Peoples to shape the Canadian tourism experience? Indigenous Peoples in Canada are at a point of cultural reclamation and rejuvenation, using tourism to rediscover and share their culture with the world. It also provides a chance for them to be proud of who they are and share their history in their own voice.

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28 / Canada’s islands

Islands made for

EXPLORING Framed by Newfoundland in the east, Vancouver Island in the west and Baffin in the north, Canada is home to a diverse collection of islands, says Rupert Parker

I

start my journey on Prince Edward Island, which lies off the east coast of New Brunswick and wasn’t accessible by road until the eight-mile Confederation Bridge was completed in 1997. In its tiny capital, Charlottetown, I explore Victoria Row, a pedestrianised street whose red brick buildings house several bars and restaurants. Fresh seafood is on the menu as the waters around here are stacked with lobster, mussel, oysters and tuna. The island is picture-postcard beautiful and its lush green gentle hills are surrounded by some of the best beaches in the world. Author Lucy Maud Montgomery set her nowfamous 1908 children’s book Anne of Green Gables here and not much has changed since. You can still see her typewriter in the restored 19th century farmhouse Green Gables Heritage Place. I follow the East Coastal Drive, which is light on traffic, and stop at Greenwich National Park to see the largest sand dunes in PEI as well as rare plants and animals. I carry on to the beaches on the far side of the island. Red Point Provincial Park has the winning combination of red cliffs, emerald green forest and cobalt ocean. Nearby are

the ‘Singing Sands’, which squeak as you walk along the beach. My final stop is Victoria-by-the-Sea, once a busy port but now a sleepy fishing village with colourful clapboard houses. In the 1900s, steamers would bring trippers escaping the cities; the theatre built to entertain them is still going strong today. Here are some other Canadian ‘islands’ to recommend to clients

of untouched coastline, where the stars are often breaching whales and majestic icebergs. St John’s, the oldest city in Canada, has lively restaurants and bars echoing to folk music. From here, explore tiny fishing villages, some only accessible by boat, and try kayaking, camping, fishing, hunting, and hiking. Across the Strait of Belle Isle, Labrador has a strong sense of ancient Inuit and Innu traditions.

Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

Baffin Island, Nunavut

On Canada’s Atlantic coast, Cape Breton is crammed with meandering rivers, rolling hills, waterfalls and lakes. It’s the ancestral territory of the Mi’kmaq people and home to bald eagles and migrating whales. In the 19th century, Scottish migrants arrived with their Gaelic traditions and today Celtic music remains the island’s soundtrack. Don’t miss the 300-kilometre Cabot Trail, which winds and climbs around the northern coast.

The largest island in Canada, Baffin is the homeland of the Inuit – and all steep fjords, spectacular glaciers and high mountains. This vast Arctic wilderness is populated by snowy owls, caribou, narwhal, belugas and polar bears. Ski amid the peaks of Auyuittuq National Park or travel by dog sleds or snowmobile across ice floes into Qaummaarviit Territorial Historic Park. Baffin is also a renowned centre for Inuit art.

Newfoundland & Labrador

Thousand Islands, Ontario

Newfoundland is the most easterly point of North America, blocking the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River, creating the world’s largest estuary. The island has miles

More than 1,800 islands sit in the St. Lawrence River, stretching about 50 miles downstream from the mouth of Lake Ontario. In the late 19th century, the islands

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Canada’s islands /

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CAPE BRETON ISLAND

NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR

“Visitors should sample the quality food and wine in the verdant Cowichan Valley farm region of Vancouver Island” MANITOULIN ISLAND, ONTARIO

were the fashionable retreat for the rich and famous but today they are a playground for fishermen, hikers and outdoors enthusiasts. They are also home to two UNESCO designated sites: the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve and the Rideau Heritage Route, an historic canal running over 200 kilometres from Ottawa to Kingston.

Manitoulin Island, Ontario In Lake Huron, Manitoulin has over 100

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

inland lakes, some with their own islands. White quartzite and granite outcrops are split by spectacular waterfalls. Six different Indigenous groups account for 40% of the population of just 12,000 – and they are developing a range of experiences for visitors. Encourage clients to explore the Great Spirit Circle Trail with an indigenous guide. Options include a sunset canoe voyage, a torch or drum-making workshop and a tobacco or smudge ceremony.

Vancouver Island, BC Residing in the Pacific Ocean, the island is home to logging and fishing communities and divided by a range of snow-capped mountains, with wilderness to the west and sheltered lowlands to the east. Visitors are attracted by its parks and the chance to marvel at orcas and black bears. Hike the long-distance West Coast Trail, relax on a beach at Parksville Bay and Quailicum and explore BC’s capital, Victoria.

Quirpon Lighthouse Inn Newfoundland’s best wildlife and walking tours. 709.634.2285

Linkumtours.com

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30 / City profile

Whitehorse

call of the wild Established during the Gold Rush, Whitehorse is the gateway to Canada’s true north, says Stuart Forster

T

he territorial capital of the Yukon is more than just a staging post for self-drive holidays. Established as a provisioning hub for miners during the Klondike Gold Rush of the 1890s, its downtown district's frontier-ofcivilisation feel is a draw in itself. The pastel facades of stores on Main Street look much like those from the sets of Western movies. Refreshingly remote, Whitehorse has the best air quality of all Canada’s cities and it’s easy to explore the broad streets of its compact core on foot.

Star Struck A bust of Jack London, the author of The Call of the Wild - a tale that was told in the 2020 movie of the same name, starring Harrison Ford as John Thornton, who ventures north with his dog, Buck - stands at the corner of Main Street and Fourth Avenue. Similarly, a bronze statue of a gold rush prospector and his dog also resides in the heart of the city. Dog sledding and northern lights viewing count among winter activities popular in and around Whitehorse. Close to the city, the aurora glass chalets at the Northern Lights Resort and Spa still have availability during the 2021-22 winter season. Meanwhile, Yukon Heli Ski is taking bookings for day trips from the territorial capital for the 2022 season. Buses operate in Whitehorse but to explore

OLd Log Church

Paddle steamer S.S. Klondike

the wilderness beyond visitors will need to hire a vehicle – motorhomes are a good choice – or join a group tour. Nearby highlights include the country’s tallest mountain, Mount Logan, and the world’s largest non-polar icefield in Kluane National Park, two hours’ drive west along the Alaska Highway. The Carcross Desert, the smallest in the world, is less than an hour south of the city. Served by Air Canada and Air North, Whitehorse is a two-hour-and-20-minute flight from Vancouver.

Top Experiences Museums: Get the lowdown on the Klondike Gold Rush and First Nations’ stories in the MacBride Museum, which is built around a cabin-like telegraph office. The summer-only MacBride Copperbelt Mining Museum is a few miles out of town. The White Pass and Yukon Railway: The narrow-gauge system was built in 1898 to connect Whitehorse with Skagway in Alaska. Coaches now run to and from Fraser, in British Columbia, for the return trip over the White Pass Summit to Skagway. Winter fat biking: Terra Riders operate three-hour guided fat biking tours. Guests pause to appreciate the

landscape - and maybe the northern lights. The Robert Lowe Suspension Bridge: Just outside the city, this provides outstanding views of the steep basalt walls of the Miles Canyon. Drinking holes: Lovers of craft beers can mosey into the likes of the Dirty Northern Bastard pub, the Gold Pan Saloon and the Winterlong Brewing Co’s taproom. Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre: This modern riverside building showcases the arts, crafts and heritage of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation, hosting artists in residence, interpretive events and dance acts. SS Klondike: Goods and people once travelled between Whitehorse and Dawson City on this paddle steamer, now a National Historic Site on the Yukon River. Yukon Beringia Interpretative Centre: This attraction near the airport explores the human settlement of North America and the Ice Age wildlife that used the land bridge linking Asia. Book it with... Canadian Affair The 15-night Yukon's Klondike Kluane Loop costs from £1,996pp including international and domestic flights, 14 days’ motorhome rental plus two nights' accommodation.. 0203 424 9789 canadianaffair.com

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Second cities /

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Make time for Canada’s

Secondary cities Canada’s ‘lesser-known’ cities pack a punch with their array of attractions and should be recommended to second-time visitors, says Peter Ellegard

Halifax Steeped in maritime history, Nova Scotia’s provincial capital is dominated by the starshape, hilltop Citadel fort, one of Canada’s most popular national historic sites. Open

ice SKATING ON OTTAWA’S RIDEAU CANAL

year-round, the best time to visit is from May to October, when all exhibits are open and special events and activities are staged. The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Canada’s largest maritime museum and featuring a permanent Titanic exhibit, is located in the historic waterfront. Almost a million immigrants landed here from 1928 to 1971 and the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 highlights the story of d how the newcomers helped shape Canada. The Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market is adjacent. Suggest clients take a harbour cruise, visit Georges Island on a shuttle boat or by kayak, and take a day trip out to several nearby wineries. discoverhalifax.com

St. Johns The capital of Newfoundland and Labrador, St John’s belies its small size with its vibrant cultural scene, music, shops, galleries and its many seafood restaurants serving up fresh-from-the-boat catches. North America’s most easterly city has a history dating back 500 years – Its harbour was settled by the British in the 1600s –

Signal hill, st. johns

and its colourful heritage neighbourhoods, such as the brightly-painted clapboard houses of Jellybean Row in downtown, are eye-catching. Top sights include Signal Hill, where the first transatlantic wireless signal was received, and rugged Cape Spear, the most easterly point in North America. See the world’s largest concentration of humpback whales, Atlantic puffins and towering icebergs on guided boat tours from the heart of St John’s. destinationstjohns.com

Victoria British Columbia’s graceful capital is a blaze of floral colour in spring and summer, notably at the celebrated Butchart Gardens. By day, the city’s harbour buzzes with activity in front of BC’s Parliament Buildings, which are open for free tours. In the evening the Inner Harbour comes alive with its microbrew pubs, clubs and the waterfront restaurants of Fisherman’s Wharf. Enjoy afternoon tea in the Fairmont Empress Hotel and take to the water on a guided boat tour to see humpback, minke and orca whales. And explore the Royal BC Museum’s collections of natural and human history including BC’s indigenous heritage. Half an hour north of Victoria, the Malahat Skywalk opened in July 2021, offering stunning views over the Saanich Peninsula, Mt Baker and the Coast Mountains. tourismvictoria.com

ORCA WHALES OFF VICTORIA, BC

reuben krabbe

Canada’s capital city offers a wealth of great architecture and some of the country’s most important cultural institutions, including seven of the nation’s nine national museums. The ‘must-visits’ are the Canadian Museum of History, the Canadian War Museum and the glass-walled National Gallery of Canada. Among notable landmarks, the imposing Gothic-revival buildings of Parliament Hill are the seat of government: the daily ceremonial, Changing of the Guard will return in 2022. The Rideau Canal is full of pleasure craft in summer, while in winter it morphs into the world’s longest ice rink and is the setting for some of the Winterlude carnival activities. Other must-sees include foodie hub ByWard Market and the Canadian Tulip Festival, which will see its 70th running in May 2022. ottawatourism.ca

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Ottawa

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32 / Winter activities

WE DON'T HIBERNATE,

we celebrate! World-class skiing With ski resorts in Western Canada benefiting from usually reliable snowfall and world-class powder, it’s small wonder they are a magnet for British skiers and snowboarders. The village at Whistler in British Columbia sits next to the slopes and combined with Blackcomb offers an outstanding choice of runs as well as off-piste activities from bobsleighing to a lively nightlife. In the same province, Sun Peaks is Canada’s second-largest ski area (after Whistler). With terrain on three mountains there is a huge number of runs and space aplenty. The resort has a host of beginner and intermediate skiing, making it a great choice for families. In Alberta, Banff town, with its restaurants and shops, makes an excellent base

with regular buses taking skiers and snowboarders to the local slopes at the local Mt. Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise, which comprise SkiBig3. For a more laidback vibe, the town of Jasper is half the size of Banff and offers excellent skiing at Marmot Basin, which has received several upgrades in recent years. Enticing repeat UK visitors out east are Québec’s picture-perfect Laurentian Mountains, northwest of Montréal. Here, Mt. Tremblant’s Francophone character makes for an exciting world-class ski alternative to the resorts out west.

Snow much fun off the slopes Snowshoeing, dog sledding and snowmobile tours just some of the popular and easily accessible options that are alternatives to skiing and snowboarding.

Ice fishing trips, another signature Canadian experience, see visitors venture out onto frozen lakes to huddle around holes in the ice, possibly sheltered in a heated hut– this is as much about learning about local culture as hooking fish. Québec resorts such as Mont-SainteAnne, Stoneham, Bromont and Sutton offer excellent cross-country skiing trails while the province’s auberges are a good bet for off-piste multi-activity packages. Operators such as the Le Baluchon Eco Resort offer guests the use of electric fat bikes, which make light work of the snowy conditions, alongside timeless options such as horse-drawn sleigh rides. Wellness is also to the fore. In Québec options include the Nordic Spa-Nature in Chelsea, Mt. Tremblant’s Scandinave Spa and at Club Med's Mountain Resort in the

DESTINATION CANADA

Winter doesn’t stop play in Canada – if anything it gives it the green light! Karl Cushing offers seven compelling reasons why clients should keep it Canada for their winter holidays

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Winter activities /

winter fun in toRonto

‘Winter Lite’ for families Overnight options don’t come cooler than Québec’s ice hotel, or Hôtel de Glace. Bookable from January to March, operators featuring it include Magnetic North Travel (a three-night Winter City Break and Ice Hotel Holiday leads in at £890pp, excluding flights). Frontier Canada’s four-night Footsteps of the Pioneers promises a ‘Winter Log Cabin Adventure’ in Algonquin Park, Ontario, while yurt stays feature on multi-activity packages such as Snow Much Fun at Cabot Shores Wilderness Resort, Nova Scotia, fuelled by campfire hot chocolate and ‘s’mores’. Ice-skating is one family-friendly option readily enjoyed in Canada’s cities. Ottawa’s Rideau Canal transforms into the world’s largest rink from January to early March, while Toronto has its Evergreen Brickworks rink and themed skating nights draw crowds to Montréal’s Old Port area. And try to find your way out of the world’s largest snow maze, in St. Adolphe, just south of Winnipeg. It contains five special theme rooms made of snow.

For the more adventurous Serious seasonal swells draw the most intrepid winter surfers to Nova Scotia where Lawrencetown Beach is home to the East Coast Surf School. Out west, Tofino in British Columbia offers a different type of cool. From October through April the Pacific Ocean packs an extra-powerful punch – so

ICE fishing in SUN PEAKS

much so that storm watching is a celebrated attraction: enjoy it surfside or fireside from beachfront resorts like Pacific Sands in Cox Bay. It is quite a show. Research suggests that outdoor swimming in the winter offers a range of health benefits. This is available in many places in Canada where groups gather at sites such as Toronto’s Cherry Beach, Okanagan Lake in British Columbia, Halifax’s Chocolate Lake and even the Yukon, where hardy residents take a frigid dip through holes cut in the ice. Winter kayaking and SUP are available for those with a wetsuit but for a truly iconic Canadian pursuit watch or try ice canoeing along Québec’s St Lawrence River. In the Canadian Rockies winter conditions are ideal for ice climbing, with hundreds of challenging routes available. Trips are arranged out of bases such as Banff – and you needn’t be Bear Gryls either, with family options and taster days on offer.

Unforgettable events Canadians love their outdoor winter events and visitors will too, insulated by hearty local fayre such as hot chocolate, coffee from the local Tim Horton’s, a steaming plate of poutine or a hot apple cider. Calendar highlights include January’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Icewine Festival, which takes place over two weekends. The town’s heritage district sets the stage with Ice wine from local wineries, ice-wine-inspired cuisine and live music. Tastings are offered at the region’s award-winning wineries. Montréal’s musical Igloofest (currently scheduled for January 13 – February 5, 2022), draws thousands of electronic selling canada Winter/Spring 2021/22

elizabeth tran

Charlevoix region, where hot and cold treatments alternate to soothe and rest the body and an outdoor whirlpool bath offers views of the St Lawrence River.

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find your way out of the Snow maze near Winnipeg


Festive markets, winter lights

Other festive draws include Edmonton’s Silver Skate festival in February and Québec City where event mascot Bonhomme emerges from his ice palace each year to lead the magical Québec Winter Carnival (February 4-13, 2022), with parades, snow sculptures and ice canoe races. The nearby pretty and atmospheric Laurentian villages really get into the seasonal mood too, with their Christmas illuminations. Kids will love exploring the illuminated Niagara Falls during the Winter Festival of Lights (November 13, 2021 – February 21, 2022), and Yellowknife’s Snow castle, the centrepiece of the Snowking festival.

‘Tis the season for city breaks… Canada’s cities appear ever more enchanting in the colder months, such as Ottawa where spectacular illuminations, seasonal foods and festive entertainments add a seasonal lustre to a visit. Toronto’s shopping areas deck themselves in bells, holly and more, with Eaton Centre,

destination canada

Toronto gets in the festive mood early with a huge Santa Claus Parade (November 21, 2021) before embracing the season with its Cavalcade of Lights, Fair in the Square and Christmas Market. Vancouver's, whose big draws include the Bright Nights Christmas Train ride in an illuminated Stanley Park, also has a Germanthemed Christmas Market (November 13-December 24, 2021) with a carousel, music, arts and crafts. The Alpine Haus, a heated tent, has been extended for 2021 to ensure more distance between visitors. Ottawa, co-host of the Winterlude festival with neighbouring Gatineau (February 4-21, 2022), stages a spectacular switching on ceremony, Christmas Lights Across Canada (December 1, 2021–January 9, 2022).

fat tire biking near canmore, AlberTa

Winter comforts at chateau lake louise, alberta

family fun in Quebec’s Laurentian mountains comforts

destination canada

music fans to the Old Port of Montreal. Other winter events mark local culture, such as February’s Festival du Voyageur in Winnipeg, Manitoba, a 10-day affair with the tagline 'We don't hibernate, we celebrate!' Next scheduled for February 18–27, 2022, it pays homage to the first inhabitants of European origin (French) to settle at the forks of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, and the many Francophone voyageurs of the fur trade who followed them. The festival includes a live presentation on the life of the voyageurs, music, dance, a snow sculpture contest and a parade. In British Columbia, the Rossland Winter Carnival has roots stretching back to 1897. Signature events include a carnival parade with fire spinners, an ice palace, beer gardens and snow sculptures. For sheer irreverence March’s Griz Days in Fernie, BC is hard to beat, with lumberjack shows, leg wrestling and axe throwing.

destination canada

34 / Winter activities

“Festive draws include Edmonton’s Silver Skate festival in February and Québec City where event mascot Bonhomme emerges from his ice palace each year to lead the magical Québec Winter Carnival" Yorkville and Queen Street popular spots for some retail therapy. Ontario Place’s recent rejuvenation includes a winter light exhibition along with skating fire pits and food vendors. The city also has Theatre District, where Broadway performances at venues such as the Ed Mirvish theatre (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child arrives May 31 2022) and the Prince of Wales Theatre are cozy winter options. Montréal takes winter in its stride, with daily life going on seamlessly in its ‘underground city’. For a two-centre winter break, Montréal twins well with Québec City whose historic architecture and riverside setting are at their beguiling under a blanket of snow and ice. Vancouver’s trump cards include its mild west coast winter climate and activities backdropped by snow-covered mountain vistas. Operators such as Inghams ‘bolt-on’ Vancouver city breaks to BC ski holidays. The city also features in Newmarket Holidays’ 11-day Canadian Winter Wonderland, priced from £1,674pp. Calgary, host of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games, is another viable city stay option to add on to the start or end of a ski holiday.

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Six of the best... /

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Farm to table

IN SASKATCHEWAN Farm One Forty

TYLER CAVE

Farm One Forty is all about connecting people with real food, and owners Arlie and Brett LaRoche do that by hosting farmto-table dinners and farm tour lunches. Tours offer a glimpse into daily life on the 140-acre farm. Guests can stroll out to the pasture, mingle with the animals and explore the gardens where most of the dinner ingredients are grown and harvested. farmoneforty.ca

Petrofka Orchard Petrofka Orchard is a 19-hectare fruit orchard and vegetable farm located along the North Saskatchewan River. Its main fruit crops include apples, plums, sour cherries and haskaps, used in over 58 gourmet products for purchase at the onsite Country Store. Enjoy a meal on the deck of the Prairie Sensation Café, or explore 1.5 km of trails that lead to the riverfront beach or picnic spot. petrofkaorchard.com

Odla Odla – a unique, farm-direct restaurant and market – is the brainchild of Arlie and Brett LaRoche, who also own Farm One Forty. The holistically managed farm supplies the restaurant with its meat, grains, honey, fruits and vegetables, highlighting the bounty of the region whilst supporting local purveyors. Chef and co-owner Scott Dicks creates seasonal menus inspired by the fresh ingredients. odla.ca

SaskMade Marketplace SaskMade Marketplace partners with local farmers, processors and artisans to provide a wide range of gourmet ingredients, grocery items, souvenirs and gift baskets. The marketplace is the perfect destination for tourists and locals to experience (and eat) all that Saskatchewan has to offer – from Saskatoon berry jam to bison jerky - whilst promoting sustainable production. saskmade.ca

TOURISM SASKATCHEWAN/CHRIS HENDRICKSON PHOTOGRAPHY

Agri-tourism is booming in Saskatchewan. Take a day trip and meet the farmers and producers who are working to bring local produce to table and tap

Black Fox Farm & Distillery Black Fox Farm & Distillery was started with the intent of connecting people to agriculture. The Cotes grow 90% of their ingredients, including fresh fruit, flowers and grains, on the farm and attribute the boldness of flavour in its award-winning gin, whisky and liqueurs to the long sunny days, alongside the clean air and water that the province has in abundance. blackfoxfarmanddistillery.com

Crossmount Cider Company Established in 2016, Crossmount Cider Company has grown into the largest craft cider company on the Prairies, producing hard apple cider from 100% Canadian apples. Tour the 1,500-tree apple and 500tree pear orchard and taste five delicious flavours of cider. Future projects include the addition of pears for perry production, apple varieties for ice cider production, and a U-Pick area. crossmountcidercompany.ca

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36 / How to sell...

Getting a

move on Canada is a vast nation but there’s an array of transport options to discover it. Choosing how to get about plays an integral role in holidaymakers’ experiences, says Stuart Forster Flight paths Following a reduction in entry points and carriers in response to COVID-19, the frequency of air services and number of airports being served is now increasing. Air Canada (aircanada.com), Air Transat (airtransat.com), British Airways (britishairways.com) and WestJet (westjet. com) operate flights from the UK to Canada. Once in Canada, visitors can fly domestically with Air Canada and WestJet. Air Canada’s budget subsidiary, Air Canada Rouge (flyrouge.com), and Porter Airlines (flyporter.com) count among the options for travel within Canada. Air North (flyairnorth.com), Calm Air (calmair.com) and Canadian North (canadiannorth.com) serve destinations in the country’s north. Carbon neutral Harbour Air (harbourair. com), based in Vancouver, aims to be the world’s first commercial airline to operate only all-electric aircraft.

Cars and Rvs: On the road The experience: Excellent highways and country roads, usually with light traffic, make Canada ideal for road trips in a rental car or motorhome. Self-drive holidays provide a framework for travellers to explore independently, with motorhomes known as recreational vehicles in Canada, a term

travelling british colombia on the rocky mountaineer

A kayak excursion during an expedition cruise

commonly abbreviated to RV. They present holidaymakers with freedom to explore the country at leisure during road trips, negating the need to book hotels. With sleeping quarters for between two and seven people, RVs allow travellers to wake in the countryside or ready to explore cities. Typically, drivers aged from 21 years of age can get behind the wheel of an RV. Traffic is light in most of Canada, making driving a stress-free experience. Best for: Touring the Yukon (and neighbouring Alaska). Western Canada between Vancouver and Calgary. Exploring Québec, from its cities to the Laurentians. Driving between the small towns,parks and waterways of eastern Canada. When: RVs are ideal for summer travel (June until September in the Yukon; May until September in the west; May until October in eastern Canada). Key market: Couples; families; groups of friends; holidaymakers with time to explore. Key players: Cruise Canada (cruiseamerica. com), Canada Travel Specialists (canadatravelspecialists.com), Canadian

Affair (canadianaffair.com), Canadian Sky (canadiansky.co.uk), Frontier Canada (frontier-canada.co.uk) What it doesn’t offer: The security of a guided group and someone else taking the strain of doing the driving. Book It with... Canadian Affair The Best of Canada’s West Holiday, from £1,495pp, includes return flights to Vancouver, 15 days’ motorhome hire with a 2,000km allowance, a suggested itinerary encompassing the Okanagan Valley, Banff National Park and Jasper, plus one night in a Vancouver airport hotel. canadianaffair.com 0203 424 9797

Trains: Stay on track The experience: Travelling by rail enables holidaymakers to sit back, relax and enjoy the country’s wondrous landscapes and passing wildlife. In some regions the network covers ground not linked by roads, such as northern Manitoba between Winnipeg and Churchill. The Canadian, which connects Toronto and Vancouver in three-and-a-half

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How to sell... /

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take the ferry and bike across to totonto’s Islands

days, and the luxury Rocky Mountaineer are two of the world’s iconic rail journeys. Carriages offer unparalleled views of fast-flowing rivers, rugged scenery in the Canadian Rockies, wooded areas, arid plains and the central prairies and farmlands. Heritage railways, in some cases operating restored steam trains, are also popular. The South Simcoe Railway (southsimcoerailway. ca) and the White Pass and Yukon Route (wpyr.com) provide holidaymakers opportunities to take trips on scenic routes. Where: Several regions of Canada. When: VIA Rail operates services throughout the year. The Rocky Mountaineer runs from April until October Key markets: Environmentally aware travellers; Rail aficionados; 50+ travellers and those with time on their hands looking to explore the country beyond the main roads. Key players: Rocky Mountaineer (rockymountaineer.com), VIA Rail (viarail. ca/en) What it doesn’t offer: Timetabled departures limit spontaneity. Book it with... Prestige Holidays The Eastern Rail Explorer is a 10-day independent rail tour between Halifax and Toronto. Priced from £1,860pp it includes seven nights’ hotel accommodation and a night on VIA Rail’s The Ocean train, rail travel, city tours in Toronto, Montréal, Québec plus sightseeing tours at Peggy’s Cove and Niagara Falls. prestigeholidays.co.uk 01502 567222

Cruising The experience: With more coastline than any other country, Canada has destinations in the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans which are served by cruise ships. This is also a land of lakes and rivers that can often be experienced on sightseeing tours.

suggest clients see canada at their own pace by travelling in an RV

Expedition cruise ships journey along the Northwest Passage to remote locations such as Baffin Island. And cruising is a way for holidaymakers to call at some of Canada’s remote settlements with a unique heritage, such as Haida Gwaii, the British Columbian archipelago that is nicknamed ‘the Canadian Galapagos’ due to its diverse nature. Cruising is also a mainstream way of exploring Québec City and Montréal, which are both accessible along the Saint Lawrence River, and other coastal and riverfront cities. Self-drive boats (leboat.co.uk) offers even non-sailors a way of gently touring the UNESCO World Heritage Site Rideau Canal between Ottawa and Kingston. Where: Maritime Canada; Arctic Canada, Central Canada, Western Canada When: June to October Key market: Mature clients; adventurers; those looking to do a cruise ‘add on’. Key players: P&O Cruises (pocruises.com), Princess Cruises (princess.com), Viking Cruises (vikingcruises.co.uk) Crystal Cruises (crystalcruises.com) What it doesn’t offer: Opportunities to explore inland scenery, unless booked as part of a holiday itinerary. And don’t forget... Cycle hire is a means to exploring Canada’s cities and more rural areas - for example, by following the likes of

the Kettle Valley Rail Trail in the Okanagan Valley. Pull on a helmet and jump on an electric-scooter (eskoot.com) and tour vineyards and other attractions around Niagara-on-the-Lake. Winter transport opens include exploring the frozen countryside while sitting on a sled pulled by dogs or powering along groomed snowy trails on a snowmobile.

Book it with... Windows on the Wild Departing from May to August, the 10-night Queen Charlotte Islands – Haida Gwaii tour costs £4,595pp, including six-nights’ sharing a twin cabin, four nights in Vancouver and return flights from Vancouver to Sandspit. windowsonthewild.com 020 8742 1556

cruising offers a great introduction to canada

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38 / Luxury Québec

Luxury stays

in Québec Luxury in Québec comes in all shapes and sizes. These atmospheric stays can cater for all types of travellers from city slickers to nature lovers

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hether it’s a romantic break for couples or an all-inclusive family adventure holiday, Québec’s luxury hotel offering caters for all. Here’s what to recommend for clients looking for something a bit special.

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Described as a city within a building, Humaniti hotel is located in the heart of downtown Montréal. Clients who love a city break can take advantage of the nightlife, shopping and food nearby, or admire the cityscape from the rooftop pool. Within walking distance of the hotel is historic Old Montréal, with its cobbled streets and quaint boutiques. Dating back to the 17th century, the area is dotted with bustling plazas and charming landmarks including the Notre-Dame Basilica, and the Pointe-à-Callière museum with city archeological ruins. mtl.org

Humaniti Montreal Hotel

Humaniti hotel

Humaniti hotel provides an oasis in the city

Club Med, Charlevoix

Monastère des Augustines

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Restored and redesigned, guests can experience the novelty of staying in an authentic monastic cell at The Augustine Monastery. Built several centuries ago, the first hospital in North America has stayed true to its roots in health and wellbeing. The quiet, but central, retreat is ideal for travellers who want to prioritise wellness and relaxation with yoga sessions, spa treatments and meditation on the menu. History buffs will also appreciate the onsite Augustine museum with over 40,000 artefacts. quebec-cite.com

When to go Spring is maple syrup season, summer is best for hiking and biking, fall is ablaze with colour and winter brings festive cheer and snowy adventure. Autumnal hues surround Manoir Hovey

Set to open on December 3 is Canada’s first Club Med, situated in the Charlevoix region, just 90 minutes from Québec City. Nested in the mountains, the year-round resort offers a range of winter sports from skiing and dog sledding to ice-fishing and ice-canoeing. In summer, guests can try rafting, kayaking, and explore a plethora of mountain bike trails. The waterfront spa offers treatments inspired by Nordic therapies, which can be rounded off by a dip in the 23 metre heated pool. tourisme-charlevoix.com

Manoir Hovey, Eastern Townships The surrounding mountains, meadows and lakes add to the fairytale feel of Manoir Hovey, which lies hidden on the edge of a forest overlooking Lake Massawippi. The 19th century mansion fuses its traditional style with cuisine inspired by local produce and history. On-site activities take advantage of the surroundings, with ice skating, fly-fishing, paddle-boarding and lake cruises on offer. bonjourquebec.com

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40 / Canada’s Arctic

GREAT

Explorations

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nce the preserve of remote indigenous communities, whalers and only the most intrepid of explorers, the natural wonders of Canada’s vast Arctic region – which spans more than 40% of its landmass – are more accessible than ever before as they’re now served by airports such as Iqaluit and all manner of small ship expedition cruises. even the fabled Northwest Passage through the Arctic Ocean to the Pacific, which eluded explorers such as Sir John Franklin, now, lies open. Best tackled during August, 2022 sailings include Quark expeditions’ 17day Northwest Passage: epic High Arctic, aboard Ultramarine, departing Toronto on August 30, and Hurtigruten’s 26-day In the Wake of the Great explorers aboard MS Roald Amundsen, departing Vancouver on August 23.

MICHeLLe VALBeRG

MICHeLLe VALBeRG

MICHeLLe VALBeRG

From visits to Inuit villages and walking with polar bears to intrepid cruise and ice road journeys, there’s much to explore in Canada’s Arctic region, says Karl Cushing

ZodiAC boATS in buCHun gulF

Learn the ropes Arctic Kingdom’s website (arctickingdom. com/for-travel-agents) is a good starting point for agents looking to get to grips with available options. As well as showcasing its roster of trip options – including year-round polar bear viewing – it features all manner of handy advice and information to get agents up and selling. Highlights among the 36,000 islands of Canada’s Arctic region include Baffin, home to Auyuittuq National Park and wildlife from Arctic foxes to polar bears and caribou. The island stars on many tours, including Swoop Arctic’s (swoop-arctic.com) sevenday Narwhals, Bears & Ice, which spends five nights at Arctic Camp and one in Pond Inlet, and includes snowmobile safaris and kayaking. Prices start from £12,493pp, with departures in May and June. Baffin combines naturally with nearby islands such as Beechey, which houses

SEE THE CAnAdiAn ARCTiC by SnowmobilE

the graves of some of Franklin’s doomed expedition crew, plus tours of Greenland — as offered by the likes of Chimu Adventures. Other stand-outs include Prince Leopold, its cliffs alive with birdlife, while beluga whales and narwhal are among the prized sightings when sailing Lancaster Sound. Longer, more comprehensive voyages are in big demand, such as Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ sold out, 18-day ‘From Kangerlussuaq to Kangerlussuaq’ cruise aboard Hanseatic Nature, departing August 25, 2022 (hlcruises.com). Other Canadian Arctic explorations departing from Kangerlussuaq, Greenland include Ponant’s 13-night Baffin Bay Secrets, from £13,380pp, departing July 27, 2022, and 16-night expedition to the Thule Region, from £13,490pp, departing August 25, 2023 (uk.ponant.com). “It’s the combination of wildlife, culture and scenery [that sets such sailings apart],”

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Canada’s Arctic /

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“The Canadian Arctic offers everything you could wish for on an Arctic expedition: Inuit culture, rich history, breathaking scenery and amazing wildlife” Simon Evans, Tailor-Made Manager, Intrepid Group

says Stephen Winter, Ponant’s International Sales Director, whose highlights include the stellar wildlife watching opportunities and the interactions with local Inuit. “They will share with guest their millennial old techniques for surviving in this very harsh environment and bring home the reality that our actions can have a very direct effect on their lifestyle & livelihood, reinforcing that we are all connected,” Winter adds. Another operator leveraging the popularity of Canadian Arctic cruises is Intrepid Group (intrepidgroup.travel) whose polar and tailor-made manager Simon evans enthuses: “The Canadian Arctic offers everything you could wish for on an Arctic expedition: Inuit culture, rich history, breathtaking scenery and amazing wildlife” He adds: “Voyages along the Northwest Passage see clients following the footsteps of famous explorers such as Franklin and

Amundsen and encounter many of the islands and channels in the archipelago, and their splendours. With wildlife including walrus, beluga whales, polar bears, musk ox and the elusive narwhal for the really lucky ones, the High Arctic provides a complete Arctic experience.”

Hit the road Yukon’s Dawson City is the starting point for road trippers striking north on the Dempster Highway to Inuvik, in the Northwest Territories (NWT), which along with Nunavut province comprises the bulk of Canada’s Arctic. While it offers an all-season highway link to the region, most tackle the Dempster between May and September. Frontier Canada advises taking at least four or five days to make the return journey, exploring spots such as eagle Plains en route. Inuvik is a great place to learn about

Inuvialuit culture. Plus, from the Western Arctic Visitor Centre and photogenic igloo church to the golf course and year-round Boot Lake Trail there’s much to do, with calendar highlights including January’s Sunrise Festival. Those who don’t fancy the drive can fly in from destinations such as Dawson and Yellowknife. Once there, local operators such as Tundra North (tundranorthtours. com) offer everything from wintertime Dempster day drives to trips along the allseason highway to the Inuvialuit community of Tuktoyaktuk. A two-hour flight from Winnipeg, Book it with... Abercrombie & Kent Great Ice Bear Adventure, priced from £8,700pp, is a seven-night small group tour centred around Churchill, Manitoba. Eight sailings are scheduled between October 22 and November 10, 2022. abercrombiekent.co.uk

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See the light

FRANK BERGDOLL

During the long winter nights the region’s dark skies provide the perfect stage for the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights. Arctic areas offering accessible viewing include Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, from where clients can follow in the footsteps of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and fly into the high-end Blachford Lake Lodge, featured by operators that include Audley Travel and Frontier Canada (frontier-canada.co.uk). More pocket-friendly options include the Indigenous-owned Aurora Village (auroravillage.com). Offering a shuttle service from

near arctic bay, an Inuit hamleton Baffin Island, Nunavut

Yellowknife’s hotels, its Aurora viewing experiences are offered from midNovember to mid-April and feature comfortable heated teepees. Clients can upgrade to the ‘V.I. Teepee’ experience or add activities such as dogsledding and snowmobile tours in winter, or hikes and cruises on Great Slave Lake from mid-August to mid-October. With its photogenic floating houseboats the picturesque lake is one of Yellowknife’s big draws, while Slave River Rapids offer world class whitewater. Visit Yellowknife in March and you can join the locals as they celebrate the Snowking Festival — or alternatively experience the Katlodeeche First Nations’ K’amba Carnival in nearby Hay River. Great Slave Lake is also one of the North

West Territories’ premier angling spots, including ice fishing excursions in winter. Nunavut province is awash with prime, yearround fishing hotspots, with excellent fly fishing in the warmer months. But whether your clients go fishing or not, the chances are they will definitely be hooked on Canada’s Arctic region and the once-in-a-lifetime set of memories and photographs it will provide. Book it with...Swoop Arctic A 12-day Arctic Wildlife Safari: Northwest Passage is priced from £5,724pp for departures on August 02 or August 13, 2022, excluding international and charter flights (out of Ottawa and into Toronto). swoop-arctic.com

martina gebrovska

Manitoba’s provincial capital Churchill, may lie below the Arctic Circle but it’s still the world’s undisputed polar bear capital. Come October or November and a number of hungry polars head towards town by padding across the freshly frozen Hudson Bay – which offers visitors superlative photo-calls from their secure, open-air viewing vehicles. Local polar bear safari specialists include Churchill Wild (churchillwild.com), whose lodges are featured by several operators such as Steppes Travel. Another major draw are the beluga whales. These fascinating cetaceans mass in Hudson Bay every July and August to give birth. Close-up encounters with belugas are possible in the Churchill River on kayaking or ‘AquaGliding’ tours. Offered by Lazy Bear Expeditions (lazybearlodge.com) the kayaking experience involves donning a wet-suit, snorkel and mask and lying face down on floating mats, peering into the ocean, while being towed by zodiac boats. A three-hour trip costs $225pp plus tax.

michelle valberg

42 / Canada’s Arctic

“Inuit share with guests their millennial old techniques for surviving in this very harsh environment and bring home the reality that our actions can have a very direct effect on their lifestyle and livelihood” Stephen Winter, International

FRESH CATCH: ice fishing

Sales Manager, Ponant

best foot forward: snowshoeing

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Alberta /

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Spotlight on

winter festivals In Alberta, festival season is any season, but the most magical are in winter when the cities and towns light up, says Jessica Pook

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hroughout the darkest months, Alberta finds a way to shine bright with a festival season that runs until February. From ice carving to hot chocolate trails to spectacular light installations, these winter festivals turn a seasonal slump into a holiday highlight.

SnowDays, Banff From January 19 – 30 downtown Banff transforms into an open-air gallery, putting skilled snow sculptors to the test. Walk amongst giant beasts and intricately carved landscapes all the way from Banff Ave Square to Central Park, the Whyte Museum and finally to Bear Street. Feeling the chill? Indulge in Banff’s Hot Chocolate Trail and grab a steaming cup of hot chocolate (or two) for the road. Each year restaurants participate in creating a limited-time specialty hot chocolate for the event. Continue the SnowDays adventure with a dog-sled or horse drawn sleigh ride.

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Purple haze at Chinook Blast, Calgary

Ice on Whyte Edmonton

Jasper in January Tempting locals and tourists away from a cosy fire is Jasper in January, one of Jasper’s signature festivals, which runs from the middle to the end of the month. There’s plenty to banish the January blues with a street party, chilli cook off, brewery tours, food and wine festival, painting and photography workshops and live music. With discounted lift tickets and activities on and off the mountain, including ice climbing, snow shoeing, dog-sledding and canyon walking, it’s an ideal time to visit Jasper National Park.

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Lake Louise will host the annual Ice Magic International Ice Carving Competition from January 19 - 30, 2022, inviting sculptors from across the world to compete. Dog-sledding during Jasper in January

Celebrating all things ice, Ice on Whyte returns from January 27 to February 6, 2022 in Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Park. The main event is a spectacular ice carving competition. Visitors can expect some serious crafting skill with participants coming from across the globe. Leaving the serious stuff to the experts, novices young and old can try their hand at ice carving at L’il Chippers and Big Chippers workshops. Once the carving stops, relax with a chilled beverage in the ice bar

Chinook Blast and Calgary Glow After a successful debut last year, Chinook Blast is back in 2022 and it promises to be bigger and better with plans for a six-week festival in January and February. Showcasing the best of Calgary’s art, music, theatre, sport, and recreation, the festival lights up the city centre with light installations which are free to walk around. Adding to the occasion in the heart of downtown is Calgary Glow, which features light installations, an ice slide and axe throwing.

travelalberta.com

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44 / Park National life Parks

NOT JUST A

pretty picture From mountains and plains to boreal forests and tundra to lakes and glaciers, Canada's national parks protect natural landscapes – and they offer a host of experiences for visitors, says Stuart Forster

FUNDY NATIONAL PARK

On New Brunswick’s south shore, overlooking the Bay of Fundy, this park is open all year round. Kayaking and canoeing are available on water which boasts the world’s highest tides. A nine-hole golf course is open from May to October. Marked trails suitable for mountain biking – ride through native Acadian forests – and hiking vary from short easy loops to challenging stretches with backcountry camping. The Fundy Trail Parkway unveiled six new additional lookouts in 2021. Visitors can book yurts, cabins and pre-pitched tent-cabin crossovers known as oTENTiks. The park also hosts regular music performances. tourismnewbrunswick.ca

GROS MORNE NATIONAL PARK

Located just north of Rocky Harbour in Newfoundland and Labrador, Gros Morne National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s one of the rare places where the earth’s mantle is exposed, enabling visitors to see evidence of how tectonic plates shift. Even those uninterested in geology can appreciate the rugged beauty of a landscape also shaped by the movement of Ice Age glaciers. From mid-May to midOctober boats sail on Western Brook Pond, a freshwater fjord, providing views of its waterfalls and steep cliffs. Six challenging unmarked hiking routes cut through the Long Range Mountains’ spectacular terrain. newfoundlandlabrador.com

BEST OF THE REST Bruce Peninsula National Park National Park - Hike past ancient cedar trees to dramatic cliffs that rise from the turquoise waters of Georgian Bay.

Kejimkujik National Park - Sitting within Nova Scotia’s dark sky preserve , Keji is a National Historic Site due to its rock art.

Kootenay National Park - This British

Prince Edward Island National Park -

Columbia park features mountains topped by glaciers and mineral-rich hot springs.

Overlooking the Gulf of St Lawrence, nature lovers are drawn to its dunes and beaches.

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve -

Yoho National Park - Also in British

Sandy beaches, gigantic waves and First Nations cultural experiences draw people to this coastal reserve in British Columbia.

Columbia , this park has jaw-dropping scenery on the west side of the Rockies plus fossils to find in the Burgess Shale.

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For more on Canada’s national parks see pc.gc.ca

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KLUANE NATIONAL PARK AND RESERVE

In the Yukon's southwestern corner, Kluane spans an area larger than Israel. Along with adjacent parks, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The dramatic, diverse landscape takes in forest, alpine tundra and the world’s largest non-polar icefield. Sightseeing flights by operators, including Icefield Discovery, provide aerial views of the crevasse-pitted St Elias Ice Field and a mountain range with 17 of Canada’s 20 highest peaks, including its tallest, Mount Logan. Hiking, mountaineering and rafting the Alsek River allow visitors to see wildlife lime caribou, dall’s sheep and grizzly bears. Camping at Kathleen Lake in oTENTiks is available from mid-May to mid-September. travelyukon.com

LA MAURICIE NATIONAL PARK

In the Laurentian mountains, just over two hours’ drive west of Québec City, this national park turns 50 in 2020. Its forest is dotted with more than 150 lakes, where visitors can swim or hire stand up paddleboards, kayaks and canoes from the Lac Edouard, Wapizagonke and Shewenegan picnic areas. Cyclists can pedal the park’s 55 kilometre-network of trails, ranging from family-friendly circuits to 'intermediate', or stick to the parkway’s tarmac. During the summer, anglers can take advantage of daily fishing permits. In addition to camping and oTENTiks, there are dormitories in two historic lakeside cabins. quebecoriginal.com/en

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RIDING NATIONAL MOUNTAIN PARK

In southern Manitoba, three hours’ drive northwest of Winnipeg, Riding Mountain National Park is home to the Manitoba Escarpment’s hills. As its name hints, horse riding is a way of exploring, including along the Ochre River. And horse-drawn wagons, of the type once used by the prairies’ pioneers, is a way of experiencing the Strathclair Trail. Golfers can book a tee time at the 18-hole Clear Lake Golf Course. Visitors participating in geocaching will be guided to sites such as the twin towers of the park’s eastern gateway, the last remaining Parks Canada gate from the 1930s. travelmanitoba.com

ROUGE NATIONAL URBAN PARK

Less than 40 minutes’ drive northeast of downtown Toronto, this park has free entry and is accessible by public transport. Glen Rouge Campground is currently closed for renovation but other parts of this wilderness within Canada’s most populous city remain open. Woodland trails and wetland boardwalks attract walkers keen for some quietude, while bird-watchers have 225 species to spot, including killdeers and belted kingfishers. Visit the sandy beach of Lake Ontario. A downloadable app points visitors to other highlights including ancient sites of human settlement. ontariotravel.net

Experience the WOW Factor! 905.357.5672 | niagarahelicopters.com

Safety on the Ground and in the Air is our #1 Priority.

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46 / Park National life Parks

BANFF NATIONAL PARK

TORNGAT MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK Among the jagged peaks and vast glacial valleys of Newfoundland and Labrador, polar bears and caribou roam. This is the homeland of Inuit, who today welcome visitors to experience a dramatic landscape where nature and culture meet. There are no roads, trails, or signs in the park but there are unmarked hiking routes and traditional Inuit travel routes. Visitors can explore on guided/ unguided day hikes and interpretive walks, overnight camping trips, multi-day backpacking treks, and technical rock-climbing excursions. Parks Canada offers a range of day trips and overnight hiking opportunities tailored for different skill and fitness levels. newfoundlandlabrador.com CANADA PARKS

Founded in 1885, Banff is Canada’s first national park and a flagship attraction that will be on most wish lists. With its soaring peaks, emerald lakes, roaming wildlife and picture-perfect town and village, this Rocky Mountain park attracts millions of visitors every year. Activities on offer including hiking, biking, skiing and camping. Take your pick of over 1,600 kilometres (1,000 miles) of maintained trails, with many of the park’s most famous hikes easily accessible from the town of Banff and the village of Lake Louise. The Lake Louise and Icefields area of the park, where walkers can 'feel the breath of glaciers' has the moniker of the “hiking capital of Canada”. travelalberta.com

Canada’s

Discover historic and natural wonders! The Parks Canada Discovery Pass is your clients’ gateway to Canada’s history, nature and adventure in over 80 Parks Canada administered places. • Faster entry • Greater convenience • Adult, senior, and family/group options • Net rates available

Order today! tourism.tourisme@pc.gc.ca parkscanada.gc.ca/traveltrade-discovery

Découvrez les merveilles historiques et naturelles du

Canada!

La carte d’entrée Découverte de Parcs Canada est la porte d’accès de vos clients à l’histoire, à la nature et à l’aventure dans plus de 80 endroits administrés par Parcs Canada. • Entrée plus rapide • Plus grande commodité • Options pour adultes, aînés et familles/groupes • Tarifs nets disponibles

Commandez dès aujourd’hui! tourism.tourisme@pc.gc.ca parcscanada.gc.ca/voyagistes-decouverte

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Destination update /

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What’s new in

atlantic canada When it comes to stunning scenery and welcoming hospitality, Atlantic Canada just keeps on giving

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hilst the rest of the world may have pressed pause during the pandemic, Atlantic Canada has been busy creating fresh tourism appeal for both new and returning visitors. From sipping award-winning beer at the base of a mountain to taking a gondola ride over the roiling cliffs, here’s the top new developments across the region...

Prince Edward Island As ospreys circle overhead and cows graze peacefully, both seasoned and novice hikers can traverse the red-hued soil and fertile fields of The Island Walk. The trail loops around the outer perimeter of Prince Edward Island, with a mixture of inland and coastal scenery. Intertwining through Charlottetown and Summerside, the circular route also visits smaller communities plus both tips of the island: North Cape and East Point. Dedicated walking pilgrims can complete the epic 700km route in 32 days, or various sections can be tackled at a leisurely pace, with time to take in individual areas. theislandwalk.ca

Nova Scotia Resplendent during all four seasons, Cape Smokey is a year-round mountain playground. A new gondola ride offers a

cape smokey hugs the coastline in nova scotia

birds-eye view of the Atlantic Ocean and Cape Breton Highlands National Park. In winter, skiing, snowshoeing, sledding and snowmobile rides offer thrills across the snow capped peaks. Whether it’s snacks at the Summit Shack or a cosy dinner at The Nest at Cape Smokey’s base, local produce and menus are always on hand. From 2022, clients can sample award-winning Pilsner at the only brewery at the base of a mountain along the Cabot Trail and walk North America’s first Treewalk. novascotia.com

Newfoundland and Labrador Boutique hotel Hew & Draw, which opened in spring 2020, pays homage to its surroundings with local coffee, amenities, and wallpaper inspired by the province. The name relates to an old depiction of Canadians as hewers of wood and drawers of water – but now showcases pride in the area’s abundance of natural resources and wilderness. Collaborations with the community mean sustainability sits at the heart of its ethos, from its handmade natural soap to the paintings on the walls. Located in Corner Brook, it’s a 90-minute drive from the fjords, beaches, and bogs of Gros Morne National Park, with kayaking available in the nearby Bay of Islands. hewanddraw.ca

Fundy Trail Parkway, New Brunswick

East point on prince edward island

New Brunswick Carved out of one of the last remaining coastal wilderness areas between Florida and Labrador, check out the recently completed Fundy Trail Parkway. Hugging the southern corner of New Brunswick, 19 miles of dramatic cliffs, waterfalls and secluded beaches await. With stunning views of the world-renowned Bay of Fundy, the trail forms part of two UNESCO designated sites, the Fundy Biosphere Reserve and Stonehammer Global Geopark, and is the beginning of the Fundy Footpath, one of the top 50 hiking trails on the planet. fundytrailparkway.com

rockcut trail, newfoundland and Labrador

ATLANTICCANADAHOLIDAY.CO.UK

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48 / Luxury in gateway the gateway cities cities

HOW TO SELL

comfort zones After an extended unwanted hiatus not being able to travel to Canada, many travellers have cash to splash and are ready to ‘upgrade’ their next holiday, says Peter ellegard

C

anada’s leading gateway cities – Vancouver, Toronto, Montréal and Halifax – really know how to lay out the red carpet for visitors looking to enjoy themselves with the type of glamorous stay that would be fitting for rock stars or royalty. And with pent-up holiday money ready to be spent, now is the perfect time to upsell top-end accommodation and experiences. Carolyn Addison, Head of Product for luxury specialist Black Tomato, said the operator saw a 30% jump in spend for all its bookings from August to September, with Canada featuring prominently. “One of our top clients is the frequent traveller to Canada for the festive season, who this year is staying for longer and bringing a larger family group,” she said. “With the world opening up and optimism returning, we are seeing travellers seeking to catch up on the trips they passed up and plans they had to cancel and put on hold. “For many, that means ‘going big’ and booking a bucket list trip or experience, or planning something indulgent in a way they wouldn’t have considered before.”

Denise Hunn, Director for Canada tour operations for Prestige Holidays, agrees that clients are willing to spend more but warns that some of Canada’s top experiences will be in heavy demand in 2022. These include the popular bear viewing lodges, due mainly to the high number of deferred bookings from 2020 and 2021. “Clients may want to spend more on a 2022 holiday but we might struggle to get them what they want. Our advice is to book as early as possible and consider as many options as possible,” she says. But what is on offer for those looking to pimp their stay with the best money can buy?

Vancouver Fairmont Gold suites are the height of luxury for many, but at the Fairmont Pacific Rim guests can top that by staying in the property’s grand two-storey Chairman’s Suite, nicknamed the ‘Rock Star Suite’. Spread over 2,250 sq ft, it includes two living rooms, an eight-foot-long Swarovski crystal chandelier, kitchen, master bedroom featuring a fireplace and en-suite marble bathroom with hand-carved soaker tub,

plus an outdoor patio that includes a private gazebo, meditation pond and fire pit, and a rooftop tented terrace with a private lift. Clients can also be high-flyers on a backcountry helicopter and Fraser Valley wine and culinary adventure with BC Adventure Company. The experience will see them taking a private helicopter flight over mountains and lakes before landing for Champagne beside a river, followed by a chauffeured drive in a luxury vehicle through the Fraser Valley to visit two wineries. Or they can take off on a West Coast craft beer flight tour with Sky Helicopters, flying over the Coast Mountains to sample local craft beers in a forest clearing before returning to Vancouver. Other upscale Vancouver area experiences include breakfast with bears and a seaplane and whale watching tour excursion.

Toronto If size matters, Toronto’s Four Seasons Hotel weighs in with the Presidential Suite, with up to three bedrooms spanning over 3,300 sq ft, or the even larger Royal Suite, again offering up to three bedrooms and measuring 3,820

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Luxury Luxury in the in gateway cities /

sq ft. Both offer panoramic views over the city from their top-floor corner locations. For a cool C$16,000 per night, Royal Suite guests get fantasy granite bathrooms, a private office, private bar, dining area for eight people, multiple plasma HD TVs and 24/7 room and concierge services. The 2,900-sq-ft bi-level Penthouse Suite at the new Hotel X Toronto offers skyline city vistas and views of the CN Tower from every room, its guests enjoying exclusive access to the hotel’s Library Club Lounge. For an indulgent epicurean experience, the Cheese Cave in Toca restaurant at Toronto’s Ritz-Carlton reputedly has one of the world’s best cheese collections. Meanwhile, the iconic and very central Fairmont Royal York is marking its 90th anniversary by celebrating a major makeover imagined by the Rockwell Group. At the heart of the hotel’s metamorphosis is an elevated food experience. For example, its REIGN restaurant has private dining rooms where its traditional afternoon teas include a Royal Champagne experience.

Montreal Book clients who want a true rock star experience into the 17th floor John Lennon and Yoko Ono Suite at Montreal’s Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth. This is where The Beatles legend and his wife famously staged a week-long Bed-in for Peace in 1969, getting up only to record the now timeless (and festive) Give Peace a Chance with visiting celebrity friends. A 2017 renovation of the hotel included refurbishing the suite with a 1960s theme inspired by the couple’s life and their work promoting peace. Opened this summer, the Humaniti Montréal boutique hotel – a Marriott Autograph Collection property – is described as Montreal’s first-ever ‘Live-Well’ hotel, offering a tranquil sanctuary and ultimate

luxury and featuring the ultra-chic 1,200 sq ft Hero Suite. Ready to celebrate in style its 110th anniversary in 2022, the Ritz-Carlton is offering an exclusive Royal Experience stay from C$6,000 per night in its Royal Suite. The deal includes a C$2,000 food and beverage credit per night valid at its restaurants and for in-room dining. Would-be sailors can charter the Ohana yacht for a three-hour private sailing tuition experience in the heart of the city. Alternatively, take to the air with Helicraft for a private fly-over of Montréal before landing at the Trois Tilleuls restaurant for a three-course dinner. Or enjoy a Thermal Experience before arriving at the lake-side Balnea Spa for a four-hour spa session after an aerial city tour, returning to Montréal via flying over the Eastern Townships.

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the new Humaniti Hotel Montreal

Halifax Guests at the new opulent waterfront Muir, another Marriott Autograph Collection hotel opening in December 2021, can really push the boat out by sailing on the hotel’s 36-ft yacht, Little Wing, or getting an adrenalin rush on Reach, its 24-foot motorboat. Its chauffeur-driven hybrid Range Rover is also available for guests. The Watch, Muir’s top-end suite, features a private tasting room with ocean views.

luxury for Mind and body at the Muir, halifax

Book it with... Prestige Holidays A luxury package with Heathrow-Vancouver British Airways Club World flights, four nights in a Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel Fairmont Gold Corner Suite, private Vancouver sightseeing tour, helicopter flights to Sonora Resort with a five-night, fully-inclusive stay in the Presidential Suite and private transfers, start from £12,602pp (twin share), departing May 22, 2022. Upgrade to the Chairman’s Suite at the Fairmont Pacific Rim for £26,222pp.

fairmont gold lounge

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50 / My Canada Calm

Where I found.....

my Canada calm Anneka Desrosiers, Southern Cross Travel I found my Canada Calm after getting up super-early whilst staying at a beautiful chalet in Kenauk Nature Resort in Québec. I swam in the resort’s private lake, which had its own jetty. The mist was rising and it was so peaceful and quiet - the most perfect, calm moment immersed in nature. My heart felt happy and content – and I had no idea at the time that I was five weeks’ pregnant!

Catherine Denton, The Independent Traveller I found my Canada Calm in the small town of Elbow, Saskatchewan, where we watched an amazing sunset over Lake Dienfenbaker. Then, as we drove through the farmlands, we stopped in the middle of nowhere, just to look up to see the dark skies. I was blown away with the displays of the Milky Way, constellations and planets. I felt so wonderfully peaceful.

Chris Hedley, Canadian Affair Banff in Alberta is where I go for my Canada Calm. The bike loops that have been built around the town have a carefree feel to them – and one that you only get when you step away from the bustle of people, traffic, and Zoom calls! I like to take my mountain bike to Tunnel Mountain in the Bow River Valley of Banff National Park, where the trails are particularly special.

Georgie Jenkins, Audley Travel My Canada Calm moment was the peaceful afternoon I enjoyed strolling through the famous Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia. The gardens, which cover 55 acres, were full of lush greens and colourful blooms and the sheer romance of the impressive Rose Garden made it easy to slow down and appreciate the beauty around me.

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PRESENTING

UNRIVALLED CA NA DA

Rocky Mountaineer

25 OVER

YEARS OF EXPERTISE FOUNDED 1995

Rockies & Alaska Cruise Extravaganza Holiday

■ International Return Flights from the UK in ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

economy class Air Canada from London Heathrow 10 nights accommodation, 3-4 star hotel rating 2 days Rocky Mountaineer daylight service in SilverLeaf Service Breakfast and lunch on board the train each Transfer from Calgary to Banff Hotel Transfer from Banff Hotel to Lake Louise Hotel 7 nights, Full board on the Alaska cruise in a Inside Cabin

17 nights/18 days Departs 20th April 22 Deposit from £615* Per person from

*based on 2 adults sharing

£3,066

Bear Watching at Knight Inlet Lodge

■ International Return Flights from the UK in ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

economy class Air Canada from London Heathrow 6 nights accommodation, 3 star hotel rating Return internal flight from Vancouver to Campbell River Full board at Knight Inlet Lodge Scenic floatplane to/from Campbell River to Knight Inlet Lodge Grizzly Bear watching tour

6 nights/7 days Departs 20th May 22 Deposit from £488* Per person from

*based on 2 adults sharing

£2,432

Unlimited Adventures

■ International Return Flights from the UK in economy class

■ Air Canada from London Heathrow ■ 15 nights accommodation, 3-4 star hotel rating ■ 16 day Intermediate car hire with Fully Inclusive insurance

■ Day 11 – Ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo ■ Day 14 – Ferry from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen ■ A personalised Digital Canada Roadbook containing essential travel information and customised day-by-day routing maps

15 nights/16 days Departs 1st May 22 Deposit from £480* Per person from

*based on 2 adults sharing

£2,392

Rail • Cruise • Motorhome • Self-Drive • City Break • Escorted Tours Talk to our experts today

0207 616 9192

canadianaffair.com Prices are correct at the time of going to print, are subject to availability and can change at any time. Package prices do not include the cost of flights.. See full terms and conditions on our website. Call centre opening hours Mon – Fri 10.00 – 16.00.

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