Why Canada Is The Place To Visit in 2017

“…a world unto itself, with cosmopolitan cities, natural wonders, and everything in between”.

Canada extends from the Pacific Ocean westwards towards the Atlantic. The scenery is some of the most stunning on earth.

The Glacier Skywalk experience begins with a five-minute scenic transfer by coach from the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre (Jasper National Park). © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Glacier Skywalk experience begins with a five-minute scenic transfer by coach from the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre (Jasper National Park). © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Pacific west coastline of Canada is breathtaking. From Vancouver you can take a ship northwards through the Inside Passage, a small-island chain of glaciers and fjords. As you travel inland, the wilderness takes over and is as diverse as you can imagine. Snowy mountain peaks, lush green forests, roaring waterfalls, winding rivers, and an array of wildlife and fishing, not to mention adventure sports are there to challenge even the most daring devil.

Quebec in the east of Canada is French speaking. The area is rich in culture and French-inspired atmosphere. In the far north you can experience the Midnight Sun and the Aurora Borealis.

One thing you absolutely have to do is check out a hockey game, the national pastime for most Canadians. Just don’t cheer for the Canucks outside of Vancouver! While on the road, join the ranks of world travelers and create your own Canada travel blog to share your stories on your trip and inspire others.

Rocky Mountain peaks, turquoise glacial lakes, a picture-perfect mountain town and village, abundant wildlife and scenic drives come together in Banff National Park - Canada’s first national park and the flagship of the nation’s park system. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Rocky Mountain peaks, turquoise glacial lakes, a picture-perfect mountain town and village, abundant wildlife and scenic drives come together in Banff National Park – Canada’s first national park and the flagship of the nation’s park system. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The New York Times picked Canada as its top travel destination for 2017 signaling just how attractive the country has become to international travelers.

More tourists are now flocking to Canada. Early 2014 marked a low point for Canadian tourism: visits from the U.S. hit their lowest level in nearly two decades. The tourism industry’s struggles had a few clear causes: More Americans stayed home in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and then as a result of the 2008-2009 financial crisis and strong Canadian dollar.

The steep drop in the Canadian dollar that followed the plunge in oil prices in 2014 provided a boost to the travel sector.

Take a step back in time at the Fort Assiniboine, the second oldest fort in Alberta. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Take a step back in time at the Fort Assiniboine, the second oldest fort in Alberta. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Traveling to Canada this year is like attending a birthday party only to discover you’re the one getting the presents. That’s because a big part of Canada’s nationwide sesquicentennial celebration (that’s the country’s 150th birthday party) is the decision to make admission to the 47 national parks and 171 national historic sites and national marine conservation areas operated by Parks Canada free for everyone who enters with a Parks Canada Discovery Pass, available online.

Once visitors have a Discovery Pass, they can just hang it on in a RV/car’s rearview mirror to get free admission to the park for everybody in the vehicle. However guests staying in parks overnight still must pay camping fees and any add-ons, like tours, will cost an additional fee.

Since camping spots fill up early, reservations are strongly recommended.

Wildlife is abundant in Canada's Rocky Mountain Parks including black and grizzly bear, deer, elk (wapiti), moose, bighorn sheep, and Rocky Mountain goats (pictured above). © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Wildlife is abundant in Canada’s Rocky Mountain Parks including black and grizzly bear, deer, elk (wapiti), moose, bighorn sheep, and Rocky Mountain goats (pictured above). © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Discover Pass will expire on December 31—which means visitors only have seven months to visit the best that Canada has to offer.

To take full advantage of the pass, make sure to stop at Banff National Park. It’s perhaps the most well-known (and most-visited) in the Canadian national park system, as well as the oldest. The park spreads over 2,500 square miles in the Rocky Mountains. It features lakes, waterfalls, hot springs and trails and roads for hiking or driving.

Other top Canadian national parks include Pacific Rim National Park—which actually includes three separate geographic areas, an archipelago of 100 islands, 10 miles of sandy beach, and 50 miles of backpacking routes—and Jasper National Park, which is described as the “gentle giant of the Rockies.”

Part of the world’s first international park, the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, Waterton Lakes National Park in the southwest corner of Alberta abuts Montana’s much larger Glacier National Park.

Mt. Rundle, the prominent wedge-shaped immediately south of the town of Banff, is one of the most popular climcs in the Canadian Rockies. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Mt. Rundle, the prominent wedge-shaped immediately south of the town of Banff, is one of the most popular climcs in the Canadian Rockies. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Located on its namesake bay, Fundy National Park features the world’s highest tides. You can paddle on waters that rise up to 40 feet at high tide, and then walk the sea floor at low tide, exploring unique rock formations.

Feel the salt wind and marvel at the sculpted red sand dunes, while lounging on one of the seven beaches that make up Prince Edward Island National Park. The park is about half an hour’s drive from the province’s historic capital, Charlottetown, where Canada’s Confederation was born 150 years ago.

Enjoy your summer. Play safe. Don’t text and drive.

Worth Pondering…

Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners. And necessity has made us allies. Those whom nature hath so joined together, let no man put asunder.”
―John F. Kennedy

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