As Canada celebrated its 150th birthday I tried to find some special way to celebrate the country that has given me so many opportunities. Then an opportunity came up that was more special than I could have imaged. An opportunity to move from Ontario to British Columbia came up this summer, and I figured it would be an incredible experience to drive across the country, experiencing parts of Canada I never dreamed of seeing.
As I started planning this trip I realized how guilty I was of always looking outside of Canada for the perfect vacation, not realizing everything that this amazing country has to offer right in my own backyard inside my own boarders.
I decided to take a full seven days so I wouldn’t have to rush this adventure and could really take my time experiencing all this country has to offer. The 4376 KM journey took me through 5 different provinces, and showed me the beauty that this country truly has to offer.
From the forest and lakes of Ontario, to the flat farm lands of the Prairies, to the mountains of the Canadian Rockies there was truly so much to see and do. Here are some of my highlights, recommendations, and experiences from each province I had a chance to visit
It took us three days to trek across Ontario stopping off in unique and quaint towns along the way. I have to say, this part of the trip was the most eye opening for me. I spent the majority of my life thus far living in Toronto and never really knew a life in Ontario outside of the big city. This was a huge and beautiful wake up call for me! Our three days in Ontario consisted of stops in Sudbury, Wawa, and Thunder Bay.
Things to do
- Visit the Giant Nickle: Sudbury is famous for its nickel production and to honour the production, the town has created a giant nickel. It is a must see stop on the road trip.
- Go on a Hike: Growing up near downtown Toronto, I had no idea of the beauty that was just to the north of my home. During the road trip I had the chance to stop at Pukaskwa National Park on Lake Superior. It was amazing to be so connected with nature. The tall trees, fresh air, and beautiful lake views really made this a must do.
- Visit the giant Goose: There seems to be a common theme here. Wawa is home to a giant Goose and you need to get a glimpse and a picture before you fly out of town.
- Terry Fox Monument: Thunder Bay was the last city Terry Fox made it to before his cancer returned. The Terry Fox Monument in Thunder Bay honours this Canadian hero and his amazing story. I had goosebumps just standing there and thinking of what Fox was able to accomplish. It is a must see.
- Have a bite in Kenora: Muskoka had always been my go to summer cottage spot, but I found out that Lake of the Woods is equally has gorgeous. I stopped for lunch at Boathouse, a restaurant right on the water. I spent an hour here watching the boats crossing. I finally gained enough courage for a quick jump into the water.
It was hard to cross the border and say good-bye to my old home. Yet it was amazing to see the drastic change of this country’s landscape. One minute I was driving through forests, the next I was surrounded by flat lands and farms. I had never really thought about visiting Manitoba before, but I have to say I was amazed at the unique culture and beauty particularly in Winnipeg.
Things to do
- Grab a craft beer at the Forks: The riverside attracting is in the heart of Winnipeg. It is a quaint market with a variety of restaurants to choose from. I highly recommend a craft beer and some poutine during the stop.
- Dinner on the waterfront: After a drink I made my way down to Cibo Waterfront Café. The restaurant is in a former warehouse and has a very rustic feel to it. The Mediterranean food was delicious and the views of the Red River were beautiful.
The drive through the Prairies continued through Saskatchewan. I didn’t know much about this area before the drive, but learned about the beautiful city during my 24 hour stay. Saskatchewan offers a beautiful waterfront town with canoeing and even fishing. Plus Saskatchewan offered some of the most clear and beautiful night skies.
Things to do
- A walk or a ride on the water: The South Saskatoon River is right in Saskatoon’s backyard. There are plenty of beautiful river trails and driving in September was the perfect time to see the leaves changing colours.
- Dine at the Cave Hotel: This family owned restaurant has become a landmark in the Saskatoon area and after experiencing the unique dining inside a real cave I can see why.
I had always dreamed of visiting the turquoise waters and endless mountain ranges of Banff and the Canadian Rockies yet seeing it in person was beyond my wildest dreams. It was like a painting brought to life. Yet what I realized was Alberta has so much more to offer. From the beautiful Badlands, to the unique museums. This province had so much to experience that two days was hardly enough
Things to do
- Visit the Badlands: I had never known the Canadian Badlands existed until I drove through Alberta and saw them with my own two eyes. I spent a few hours walking through the hoodoos. These Hoodoos have been around for millions of years and legend has it they used to be giants that would protect the area from intruders.
- Hunt for dinosaurs: Drumheller is known for its dinosaur discoveries and so I decided to take a stop to the Royal Tyrrell Museum to check out some of the amazing finds right in Canada.
- A hike in Banff: Banff is one of the most popular spots in Alberta and for good reason. The beautiful lakes of Moraine and Louise, the beautiful hikes, and the beautiful town it is a must see. To avoid the busy crowds, I headed out early and hiked up to the Lake Louise viewpoint to get a stunning view of the famous lake.
Finally, after seven days on the road I made it to my new home, British Columbia. I had visited before, but had never truly experienced the beautiful B.C. the tall mountains, endless, rivers, and ocean side beaches, B.C. has so much to offer, so much to explore, so much to discover. During my road trip I had a chance to experience just a few of B.C. offerings.
Alas the road trip came to an end and along the way I learned so much about this amazing country. I learned there is so much to experience within our own walls. I learned that Canada offers beauty unmatchable. I learned that even the Provinces that I never imagined visiting offers beauty beyond belief. It was a reinforcement of just how proud I am to be a Canadian and to call this magnificent world home.
Things to do
- Unwind at Sparking Hill Resort and Spa: After a long car ride, some rest and relaxation was just what the doctor ordered. Sparking Hill Resort is covered head to toe in Swarovski Crystals and it overlooks the beautiful Lake Okanagan. The resort offers unique saunas to help re-energize the body. I felt like a million bucks after my two-day stay.
- Taste the region: The Okanagan is known for its wine and so what trip would be complete without a wine tour and tasting. I made a trip to Gray Monk Winery to learn about their award winning Chardonnay and try some of their delicious foods.
- Visit Stanley Park: When I finally arrived in Vancouver, before even unpacking my bags, I made a trip out to Stanley Park. One of the more famous parks in all of Canada it offers everything from beaches, to forests walks, to local art. You can spend days on end exploring or relaxing in this stunning park.