Canada is an immense country. Covering six time zones, it would take 75 hours of driving – plus almost nine hours on two different ferries – to drive the 7,500km from the western-most provincial capital along the Pacific coast (Victoria, British Columbia) to the easternmost (St. John’s, Newfoundland). But which region wins the ‘best of‘ contest? Canadian writer Johanna Read shares the cultural, foodie and wild highlights of both.
Occasionally deer or even bear wander into some Canadian cities, especially in the west, but you’ll need to get out into the wilderness for a chance to see Canada’s most iconic animals. Vancouver ups the ante for ‘wild’ cities – the downtown area is surrounded on three sides by water, so there’s a chance a whale or a seal might swim by. Calgary also has many animals to see in the city, especially during the annual Calgary Stampede in July. This summer rodeo festival features bull riding, steer wrestling, wild pony racing, and bucking broncos. Plus, on a day trip to the Badlands, you can even see dinosaurs. True, they’re no longer very lively, but Drumheller is the dinosaur capital of the world…
Small animals such as raccoons and rabbits live in many city neighbourhoods, but for a chance to see larger beasts in the wild you’ll need to add a hire car to your booking and drive into rural Quebec. Head to the lake chalets in the Laurentian Mountains or Mont Tremblant, where you might spot bear, moose or deer. Or take a day trip from Montreal to Quebec City for the chance to see beluga whales and seals on a cruise along the Saguenay–St Lawrence Marine Park.