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10 places in Canada you need to visit

Suzanne Ellis | posted Thursday, Jul 3rd, 2014

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One of the things we’re proudest of in the days leading up to Canada Day is the sheer beauty of this country of ours. From soaring mountain peaks and imposing glaciers, to crystalline lakes and old growth forests, to fall foliage and stunning hiking trails, we’ve realized that we need to see more of our home and native land.

This was an extremely difficult list to put together, because there are countless places worthy of our time and attention. So, if we didn’t include your favourite Canadian spot, we want to know! Share your picks in the comments below.

Cathedral Grove, Vancouver Island, British Columbia: Enter this patch of old growth forest on Vancouver Island and you might just feel as though you’ve wandered into J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth. Located within MacMillan Provincial Park, the magical Cathedral Grove is home to ancient and massive Douglas firs, some of which are more than 800 years old. The largest tree in the grove measures more than 9 metres in circumference. It’s a peaceful, awe-inspiring place.

Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta: Surrounded by majestic mountains including Mount Fay, this glacier-fed lake is a striking shade of blue due to rock silt deposits. Part of Banff National Park, the hiking trails around the lake offer some absolutely breathtaking views. The can’t-miss one is from the top of the rockpile on Rockpile Trail – it’s one of the most photographed spots in the country and it’s easy to see why.

Nahanni National Park, Northwest Territories: There’s so much to see at Nahanni National Park: from the powerful Virginia Falls (more than twice the height of Niagara Falls), to the whitewater South Nahanni River, to the lovely vistas provided by four canyons lining the river. The park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978. If you’re considering a trip to the Northwest Territories, you should also investigate optimal ways to view the Aurora Borealis.

The Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia: Named for Italian explorer John Cabot, who landed in Atlantic Canada in 1497, the scenic highway stretches nearly 300 kilometres around the northern tip of Cape Breton Island. The coastline views are spectacular. While the road trip alone is phenomenal, it’s worth making stops along the way to the vibrant communities connected by the route.

Quebec City, Quebec: Looking for a taste of Europe? You needn’t cross the Atlantic. Instead, head to Quebec City, particularly at Carnaval time (the first two weeks of February each year). One of the oldest cities in North America, Quebec City is brimming with history and culture. The Old Quebec neighbourhood, in particular, is still surrounded by ramparts, and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.

Ottawa, Ontario: There’s much to see in our nation’s capital, from the Parliament buildings, to the Rideau Canal, to Byward Market. Consider visiting during the Winterlude festival, which takes place in the first few weeks of February, or on Canada Day!

Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland: Prepare to be wowed by the natural beauty of Gros Morne National Park – from waterfalls and sandy beaches to desert-like landscapes and Gros Morne itself (the second highest mountain peak in Newfoundland). As far as wildlife goes, don’t be surprised to see moose, caribou, black bears, foxes, and beavers.

Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick: The world’s highest tides await you at this bay located between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Go clam-digging or visit the unique Hopewell Rocks at low tide. To see it, visit Saint John, N.B., or one of the several New Brunswick or Nova Scotia towns that border the body of water.

Auyuittuq National Park, Nunavut: It’s quite a distance to get to Auyuittuq National Park, located on Baffin Island in Nunavut, but the scenery is well worth it. From the impressive Mount Thor and Mount Asgard, to the beautiful Pangnirtung Fjord, you’ll find no shortage of photo subjects in this part of the country. The name, for those who are curious, is Inuktitut for “the land that does not melt.”

Haida Gwaii, B.C.: The Haida Gwaii in B.C. offer more compelling proof that we live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, you’ll find sandy beaches, rainforests, and plenty of wildlife. You’ll also be immersed in the Haida culture, seeing totems, and plenty of galleries that display Haida artwork.

Photo credit: Nahanni National Park, C. Bucher/ Parks Canada (CNW Group/Parks Canada)

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