When I say Canada, you say?
If your answer is Tim Horton’s, Niagara Falls, or maple syrup, you’re not wrong. But that’s not all to the country as you might think.
Aside from being known for their delicious maple syrup and chilly weather, Canada also has a wide range of natural landscapes that can seem a little unreal at times because of how beautiful they are.
And most of them are actually in their national parks. These locations are so pretty that even blockbusters like Twilight and Brokeback Mountain were filmed in some of them.
Because Canada prides themselves for their parks, they have given free admission to all their national parks all year long in celebration of the country’s 150th birthday.
So we looked through some of their most iconic ones and selected our favourite 8 out of the 40 for you to add into your travel itinerary there.
1) Banff National Park, Alberta
This park’s one to give you a real high. The Town of Banff has an elevation of 4,537 feet, making it the highest town in Canada. Something to take note of if heights aren’t really your thing.
Here is where you’ll find Banff National Park, which is actually Canada’s first National Park (and the third in the world) and was the birth of Canada’s vast national parks system.
It’s also where you can get one heck of a view of the northern lights.
The area has pretty low pollution levels and the complete darkness makes the park prime aurora-viewing territory. Some nights, you’ll be able to see the lights glow above the town area but for maximum viewing experience, there are more locations in the park that can give you a better seat.
Lake Minnewanka which is a ten minute drive out of the town center is one of the best places, aside from Castle Junction and Lake Louise on the Bow Valley Parkway. To give you a better taste on what you can expect, here’s a short timelapse.
2) Yoho National Park, British Columbia
If you’re looking to find some of the last wild, untouched landscapes in Canada, this area is your best bet.
British Columbia has a lot of jagged mountains, icy fjords, abundant wildlife, and stunning coastlines. Not to mention their towns that exude their own character each added with the natural sceneries the province is famous for.
It’s also home to a beautiful lake called Emerald Lake.
Emerald Lake is the largest one in the park and here, you’ll be able to see a lot of breathtaking things around such as the world-famous Burgess Shale fossil beds, the Michael glacier, and an avalanche slope carpeted by meadows where moose often graze.
If you stick around long enough, you can bump into some wildlife because animals are drawn to the important water source. Bald eagles, moose, and ospreys are a common sight, as are waterfowl such as loons and mergansers.
The one-hour hike to the lake will be strenuous but the reward that waits is rewarding.
3) Surrey Redwood Park, Surrey
Ever wondered what the tallest trees in the world look like? Here’s where you’ll find your answer.
Having been around for about 240 million years, Redwood trees are almost as old as dinosaurs and can grow a whopping height of about 300 feet tall.
Redword Park in Surrey is a large beautiful forested park which is a legacy left by one of Surrey’s early pioneers known as David Brown.
His twin sons spent most of their life travelling the world collecting the seeds and saplings of exotic tree species which they planted throughout the property, creating a diverse landscape.
So when you go for a 20 minute stroll in this hidden gem, you’ll find over 50 different species of trees, including European Beech, English Walnut, Chinese Chestnut and of course Redwood (Giant Sequoia), the largest tree species on earth.
Besides these trees, you can walk around this 45 hectares space to see some beautiful trails, and an old treehouse.
4) Nahanni National Park, Northwest Territories
Known as the most diverse park in Canada, this park exists within three local ecozones known as the Boreal Cordillera, the Taiga Plains, and the Taiga Cordillera.
And because of this, you can visit this park if you’re looking for that ultimate wilderness experience.
The huge park features a number of rushing waterfalls, hot springs, tufa mounds, outstanding geomorphology, and has the finest examples of canyons, explains why Nahanni National Park Reserve is one of the most geologically diverse national parks.
Many people actually fly from over the world to canoe and raft through the South Nahanni River found in this park and fair warning, it’s not for the casual tourist as these tours can take from 7 to 28 days on the river depending where you start.
Not having cell service and a proper place to camp and eat is a sacrifice some are willing to make because this river is the best way to see all four noteworthy canyons that reach over 1,000m in depth.
So picture yourself laying on your back and looking up at those natural giants. Definitely a memorable experience.
5) Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta
Yes, you read that right. Dinosaur. But this ain’t no Jurrasic Park.
This park is actually well-known for being one of the richest dinosaur fossil locales in the world. There has been over forty dinosaur species discovered and more than 500 specimens have been removed from this area and exhibited in museums around the globe.
Imagine finding bones that could date back some 75 million years.
The area also has some pretty strange land formations that rise up on all sides, sculpted by wind and water. It gives a haunting appeal set off by the hue of terra cotta mixed with bronze and amber.
Some of the activities you can expect to do here include guided hikes and tour trails along with dinosaur digs that let you try and find some fossils yourself.
6) Prince Edward Island National Park
Named after Prince Edward, this park is actually talked about because of the many beautiful beaches bordering it.
Can’t blame them when some of the beaches have something as cool as “singing sand”.
Aside from that, the park has a historical site known as the Green Gables Heritage Place. If you’re literature fans, you might find that a familiar name.
Famous Canadian novelist Lucy Maud Montgomery based one of her best-selling series, Anne of Green Gables, in this province and since then, many of her fans have been inspired by this magical setting.
Thanks to the novel, the island gained more attention and throughout the area (including the park), there are multiple Anne-related attractions for you to enjoy and relive the adventures of this red-haired girl.
Even if you’re not a fan, you can still enjoy the extremely picturesque locations around and learn a few things or two at “Anne’s house”.
7) Wapusk National Park, Manitoba
If there’s one thing besides nature that Canada’s quite known for, it’s their chilly weather and heavy amounts of snow.
Also, polar bears.
Yup, you can tick seeing polar bears in the wild off your bucket list because there’s probably no better place in Canada (or the world for that matter) to do it than here in this park.
Fitting to its name that means “white bear”, this park protects one of the world’s largest known polar bear maternity denning areas.
It’s said that late February to mid-March is ideal for spotting polar cubs, while late October to November is prime time for seeing hoards of adult bears.
So if you plan your trip well, you might be lucky and catch the cute sight of a polar bear family strutting through the -35°C weather.
8) Cape Breton Highlands National Park
One sentence to describe this enchanting place is “where the mountains meet the sea”.
Located on Cape Breton Island, this is where the forested highland hills meet steep cliffs rising from the ocean in this island gem.
This national park is one of the best to sit back in a car and just go on a scenic drive.
There are many trails for you to drive on but there’s a particular one called Cabot Trail where your chances are higher to see a Canadian majestic moose in the wild.
If you feel like walking a good seven kilometres, the skyline trail in this park is a good way to get that leg day exercise while breathing in fresh air tinged with sea salt and get a clear view of the beautiful seaside area.
You’re also never far from a steaming plate of local lobster fresh from the ocean around you.
Now Nature Calls!
So if you’re looking for that next thrilling adventure in the wilderness where nothing else but nature surrounds you, Canada’s a pretty good place to start.
It might be a bit of a drive to see all these national parks (seeing as how Canada’s the 2nd largest country in the world), but Toronto and Vancouver are good starting points for you to plan your journey.
And now China Eastern Airlines can fly you directly there.
Headquartered in Shanghai, China Eastern is the second biggest airline in China since 1957. The airline now owns 610 aircraft and as a member of Skyteam, they fly to over 1052 destination in 177 countries.
You can find out more information about the flights here or contact the China Eastern Airlines Kuala Lumpur Sales office at 03-21611666.
This article was brought to you by China Eastern Airlines.
Feature Image Credit: trueactivist.com