Canada, you are lovely.
I spent nearly six weeks driving across Canada. East to west. Beginning in Nova Scotia and driving to the Alberta/British Columbia border. An impending snowstorm sent me south, back into the United States.
Other than a few visits to Toronto and Montreal, years ago, this was my first road trip in and around Canada. During the first twenty days, I managed to drive close to 5,000 miles, landing me all of ten hours from where this leg of my trip began (Maryland).
If the weather cooperates, I plan to return to British Columbia in the near future and explore the southern areas of the province. Will have to wait until next year to reach northern British Columbia and the Yukon Territory. My sea sickness may prevent me from ever reaching Newfoundland and Labrador. And I have yet to research accessibility to the Northwest Territiories and Nunavut.
Alberta is my favorite province. That may all change when I reach Canada’s pacific northwest. Similar to my stops in America, my main focus was on national parks and provincial parks. A few highlights are below, from each province.
Nova Scotia. Cape Breton Highlands National Park was absolutely beautiful. The seaside cliffs, abundant hikes and scenic drive along the Cabot Trail occupied several of my days in this province. I can only begin to imagine how stunning this park may be during peak fall foliage.
Price Edward Island. Prince Edward Island National Park was quite reminiscent of Eastern Long Island, a place I called home for nearly two years in my late twenties. I also loved strolling around the property and town where Anne of Green Gables was inspired.
New Brunswick. Fundy National Park was relaxing, uncrowded and overlooked the amazing Bay of Fundy. This was the first park where I noticed the red chairs, found in each of Canada’s national parks. Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park, offering an opportunity to walk along the bay floor at low tide, was also a memorable stop.
Quebec. While researching national parks in Quebec, I realized there are three managed by Parks Canada and many more by Sépaq. Options for exploring the vast wilderness areas felt endless. Choosing only one park feels like a sin. If I must, La Mauricie National Park is the winner, for me. One lake and pond after another had me overwhelmingly excited for the possibility of seeing a moose. I did not see a moose.
Ontario. Point Pelee National Park was a clear favorite for me. The night before I arrived, over 4,000 monarch butterflies migrated to the shores. Naturally, they were gone by the time I reached the park. That said, the entire park was filled with excitement. People from all over were out hiking and hoping for a repeat. Even though only a few dozen butterflies graced us with their presence, sitting and chatting with new friends and looking at photos from the night prior made the evening quite special.
Manitoba and Saskatchewan. I am sad to say severe weather moving north from the Dakotas prevented me from properly exploring these two provinces. Aside from stopping at the midway roadside pullout (photographed above), and a few overnights in parking lots, Dandy and I cruised through, quickly. I will absolutely go back to better explore the prairie provinces.
Alberta. I have waited many, many years to visit Banff National Park. And the ten days I had on the north and south ends of the Icefields Parkway were, without question, the highlight of my time in Canada. The turquoise lakes and limitless hiking options had me smiling day after day. Even if it was cold and raining. No grizzly bear sightings, for better or worse.
Canada, you are lovely. And I have every intention to spend more time exploring all the goodness you have to offer.