40 / Canada’s comeback
Adventures Canada has long been a ‘bucket list’ destination for UK travellers who are now, post-pandemic, converting that interest into bookings and planning trips that reveal more of the country, says Jessica Pook
ur three-man kayak slides eﬀortlessly across a marblestill lake, the silence only occasionally broken by the odd chirp that is too irregular and distant to warrant being called birdsong. Yet we were not alone. Over on the grassy bank a moose is munching on the twigs and buds of an aspen tree. The male, immediately recognizable by its huge antlers, gives us a cursory glance before nuzzling its long face and the distinctive flap of skin that covers its throat back into a feast of aquatic vegetation. Of all of Algonquin Provincial Park’s wildlife, moose are one of the most sought after species to see on any canoe or camping trip and this majestic creature had strolled into view just an hour into our daylong adventure. Our guide, Roland, explains that the moose population in Algonquin is healthy and that spring is the best time to see them as they come out in force to feed on the new sprouting plants in the ditches and open areas. He tells us that moose antlers are the fastest type of growing bone known on the planet: a moose may grow a set of antlers
weighing up to 25 kilograms in just five months! Algonquin, the oldest provincial park in Ontario and the first provincial park in Canada, is home to 7,630 square kilometres of canoe tripping opportunities and with 2,000 kilometres of canoe routes the park is perfect for a quick sample trip or for building a larger adventure amongst its backcountry. Campsites are marked and maintained, motorboats are restricted to a few lakes and access into the park is limited to the Highway #60 “corridor”. As a result, most of Algonquin is only accessible by canoe. About 250 kilometres north of Toronto, and about 260 kilometres west of Ottawa, Algonquin makes for a perfect and gentle introduction to Canada’s vast wilderness areas and wildlife.
Country life Canada remains a big bucket list trip for Brits but with 70% of visitors arriving via four airports – Montréal, Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto – most only see
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