RV to Eastern Canada: 3 Great Destinations

From sea to sea, Canada is a land filled with fascinating places and amazing destinations for the RV traveler.

But, where to travel? Here are three great RV destinations in Canada.

Bay of Fundy (New Brunswick)

Hopewell Rocks. Many visitors make plans to stay for the whole day. They walk the ocean floor, then stay to watch the shift between low and high tides. It’s fun to see how quickly the tide comes in, or conversely goes out. Make sure to check the tide schedules before you go
Hopewell Rocks. Many visitors make plans to stay for the whole day. They walk the ocean floor, then stay to watch the shift between low and high tides. It’s fun to see how quickly the tide comes in, or conversely goes out. Make sure to check the tide schedules before you go. (Source: roadstories.ca)

A world-famous natural wonder, the Bay of Fundy tides are the highest tides in the world—in some areas of the bay, tides reach more than 50 feet.

Best explored at Hopewell Rocks, where you can walk around the famous “flowerpot rocks” at low tide then watch them slowly disappear. At high tide, enormous rock formations that once towered over you are now barely peeking out above the surface.

The time span between low and high tide is 6 hours and 13 minutes, meaning you can experience both in one day. Many visitors make plans to stay for the whole day. They walk the ocean floor, then stay to watch the shift between low and high tides. It’s fun to see how quickly the tide comes in, or conversely goes out. Make sure to check the tide schedules before you go.

And that’s not all—there are numerous other ways to experience the wonder of Fundy. Bike along the Fundy Trail, rappel down craggy cliffs, set up camp at Fundy National Park, head out to sea on a whale-watching excursion, or experience a billion years of Earth’s history at Stonehammer Geopark.

Ottawa (Ontario)

Changing of the Guard on Parliament Hill
Changing of the Guard on Parliament Hill (Source: cvc.com)

The centerpiece of Ottawa’s downtown landscape, Parliament Hill is the political and cultural heart of the city. The Parliament Buildings sit atop the Hill, the gorgeous Gothic-style structures overlooking the Ottawa River. Free guided tours are available daily, including a chance to head up to the Peace Tower for an incredible view of the city.

The Rideau Canal has become a defining landmark in Ottawa. The 126-mile canal, which travels south to Lake Ontario, first opened in 1832. Its 47 locks and interconnectedness with lakes and rivers is a true engineering marvel, leading to its designation as a National Historic Site of Canada and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A city landmark, the Chateau Laurier is one of Canada’s grand railway hotels. Having retained much of its glory; it features the turrets and other architectural elements of a French château, a rich, Victorian interior, yet offers modern amenities.

Other local attractions include Rideau Hall, home to the Governor General of Canada; the National Gallery of Canada; and Canadian Museum of History. Located 50 miles south of Ottawa, Upper Canada Village depicts life in a rural English Canadian setting during the year 1866.

Halifax (Nova Scotia)

Enjoy a scenic drive along Nova Scotia’s beautifully rugged South Shore to the picturesque and quaint fishing village of Peggy’s Cove. Watch the waves as they crash on the rocks in front of the world’s most photographed lighthouse.
Enjoy a scenic drive along Nova Scotia’s beautifully rugged South Shore to the picturesque and quaint fishing village of Peggy’s Cove. Watch the waves as they crash on the rocks in front of the world’s most photographed lighthouse. (Source: shoretrips.com)

Walk the ocean’s edge along the historic Halifax waterfront. Start at Pier 21—the gateway into Canada for one million immigrants—and then explore eclectic shops, some of the city’s best restaurants, and ships including the last of the WWII convoy escort corvettes.

Discover the oldest continuously operating farmers’ market in North America, and exhibits at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic including displays on the city’s link to the Titanic disaster.

End at the timber-frame and stone warehouses of Historic Properties—originally built to safeguard booty captured by legalized pirates called privateers.  Historic Properties is the first restoration project of its kind in Canada featuring three city blocks of Canada’s oldest surviving group of waterfront warehouses and some of North America’s finest Victorian-Italianate façades dating back to the late 1700s and early 1800s. Visitors can experience one-of-a-kind specialty shops, great restaurants, unique events, and boardwalk along one of the world’s largest natural harbors.

Other local attractions include the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, a large, stone early 19th-century British fortification located atop Citadel Hill; Halifax Public Gardens, a formal Victorian garden. Enjoy a scenic drive along Nova Scotia’s beautifully rugged South Shore to the picturesque and quaint fishing village of Peggy’s Cove. Watch the waves as they crash on the rocks in front of the world’s most photographed lighthouse.

Worth Pondering…

Canada is a place of infinite promise. We like the people, and if one ever had to emigrate, this would be the destination, not the U.S.A. The hills, lakes and forests make it a place of peace and repose of the mind, such as one never finds in the U.S.A.
—John Maynard Keynes

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Happy Birthday Parks Canada!

The world may scratch its collective head when it comes to listing facts about Canada, but—at the very least—most know it’s a lot bigger than the spot they call home.

The Netherlands can easily fit into Lake Huron—with ample room to splash around.

Jasper National Park, Alberta. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There’s plenty to explore—Canada’s cities are new, dynamic, and evolving—but it’s the beauty of the massive forests, towering mountains, pristine lakes, and the land’s sheer breadth that enthralls many visitors.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Parks Canada and Alan Latourelle, chief executive officer of the Parks Canada Agency, is inviting visitors from around the world—to enjoy the nation’s 42 national parks, 167 national historic sites, including nine canals, and four national marine conservation areas that stretch from British Columbia on the West Coast to Newfoundland on the East.

“Canada! We have more square feet of awesomeness per person than any other nation on Earth,” the beer commercial shouted over and over during last year’s Vancouver Olympics Games, to a steady backdrop of national park scenes. And the locals all raised their glasses, for Canadians love their national parks.

Much of the development of Parks Canada has taken place during the past two decades, and the intent of the parks system has expanded to embrace more and more land in the name of conservation—not necessarily visitation.

Today, some of the parks are home to animals which have become very rare or endangered in most parts of their natural range. For example, Elk Island National Park in Alberta is home to a genetically pure herd of rare wood bison. In March 2011, 30 of these animals were shipped to Russia. And most of us know about the transfer of grey wolves from Jasper to Yellowstone National Park.

Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park, British Columbia (Credit: citypictures.org

Parks Canada has have restored bison and the black-footed ferret, thought to be extinct, into Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan.

The largest park is the Wood Buffalo National Park that stretches across Alberta and the Northwest Territories. At 17,000 square miles, it’s about the size of New Jersey, Delaware, and Connecticut, combined.

The smallest park is the 3.4-square-mile St. Lawrence Islands National Park in Ontario.

The most visited park in Canada in 2010, not surprisingly, was Banff, with a whopping 3,132,086 visitors—and over 3 million cameras. On the other hand, Quttinirpaaq on Ellesmere Island had just two visitors. That’s a lot of per-person space, as the park measures 14,585 square miles. And about a dozen visitors found their way to Tutktut Nogait National Park, which is about 105 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

As Parks Canada celebrates its centennial, it also faces challenges.

Eight out of 10 Canadians now live in urban centers, and a growing number have never visited a national park.

In the last 10 years, there has been a decline in attendance at the parks. In 2001, 22.4 million people visited the parks, compared with 20.7 million last year.

The agency has begun to address that decline with new advertising campaigns.

The organization has a lot planned to help celebrate the centennial including two days—July 1 and 16—that will offer free, one-day admission to all parks and historic sites.

A Famous Forts Weekend will be held from August 19 to 21 featuring festivities at many of the forts under the agency’s umbrella. The weekend will feature music, dancing, food, and—of course—the signature 100-gun salute.

Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. (Credit: Parks Canada)

My Parks Pass, a Canada-wide program, will provide all Grade 8 students free access (for one year) to any national park, national historic site, or national marine conservation area administered by Parks Canada.

Considered an international leader, the agency is celebrating successes at the same time as it works to attract a new generation of Canadians.

Some citizenship ceremonies take place in national parks and historic sites to introduce new Canadians to them.

“How can we continue to have our places be meaningful and really have Canadians connect to them?” asks Campbell, “That’s our biggest challenge.”

Parks Canada is working on nine new parks. The goal is to represent Canada’s 39 natural regions through the parks system; to capture a comprehensive representation of Canada’s flora, fauna and geology.

Happy Birthday Parks Canada!

Just the Facts

National Parks by province/territory

British Columbia: 7

Alberta: 4.5*

Ontario: 5

Northwest Territories: 3.5*

Nunavut: 4

Newfoundland and Labrador: 3

Quebec: 3

Yukon Territory: 3

Manitoba: 2

New Brunswick: 2

Nova Scotia: 2

Saskatchewan: 2

Prince Edward Island: 1

* Wood Buffalo National Park straddles the Alberta-Northwest Territories border

For more information visit parkscanada.

Worth Pondering…
Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…
— John Muir

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New Brunswick: Provincial Parks celebrate 75th anniversary

Back in the summer of 1935, New Brunswick’s first provincial park started out as a public rest stop and picnic area where families would gather. It was located about 35 kilometres west of Campbellton on a scenic piece of land between the Restigouche and Upsalquitch rivers, according to The Telegraph Journal.

In the 1950s, the province oversaw roughly 60 parks. Today, it owns and manages 10.

A host of provincial parks were closed because of government spending cuts. As a result, the private sector took over some of the parks; communities assumed ownership of others. A few parks have simply been turned over to the Department of Natural Resources, but remain unused as recreational areas.

To showcase some of these features, the province kicked off the 75th anniversary celebration at Murray Beach Provincial Park this past weekend (July 3-4). Admission to the park, located in Little Shemogue near the Confederation Bridge, was free.

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