It is easy to love Canada. Apart from great cities like Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto or Quebec City, fantastic mountain towns like Whistler or Banff it is one of the world’s great wilderness areas. There are vast stretches of unspoilt coastline where wolves prowl and eagles hunt and huge temperate rainforests which provide sanctuary for some of the other spectacular Canadian wildlife.
The mountain landscapes of the Rockies, huge freshwater lakes, the many powerful white-water rivers and many coastal islands offer plenty of opportunities for adventure. Snowsports, hiking, canoeing or kayaking, mountain biking, snow-shoeing, mountaineering and even dog sledding are just some of the activities available. Adrenalin junkies are spoiled for choice in Canada.
A ride on the Rocky Mountaineer is one of the great train journeys and riding the tracks on this famous locomotive is an ambition for almost every rail enthusiast.
It is a perfect destination for getting close to nature, the wildlife is truly spectacular. It is possible to see breaching humpbacks just offshore, have pods of orca surround intrepid sea kayakers, take a bear safaris and wolves, otters, eagles, elk and moose are all visible to those that are patient, quiet and with luck on their side. I’ve been fortunate enough to spot a number of these creatures and on the last visit even achieved a lifetime ambition; seeing an elusive wolverine.
Some of the salmon fishing available is almost beyond belief, even complete novices can catch monster sized fish. If anglers have fantasies, fishing in Canada is definitely an achievable dream.
Visiting Vancouver is a bit special, a fantastic maritime city with an impressive high-rise skyline on the edge of a lovely harbour. Plenty of excellent bars and coffee shops to choose from in Gastown or Yaletown districts and some excellent street food vendors throughout the downtown area. The friendly nature of Canadians is legendary and this city is equally welcoming.
Walking or cycling along the seafront to Stanley Park is a great way to wile away a few hours, it provides outstanding views across the harbour and then back across towards the city.
Small towns are even more of an attraction for me, especially villages like Hartley Bay in the Great Bear Rainforest which First Nation people like the Gitga’at call home. Set in stunning surroundings, but also offering an opportunity to discover a little of the history and culture of the country.
It is for this reason I’ve chosen this image to represent this favourite destination. There were many other photographs contenders; high-flying mountain bikers on the bike park in Whistler, images of impressive wildlife or scenery, it was a tough decision.
It demonstrates the blend of traditional and modern culture, together with a stunning backdrop of the Great Bear Rainforest, this village scene in Hartley Bay brings back so many fond memories of an exciting destination. It is why it’s been used a few times on this site, it simply is Canada!