Canada is the world's second largest country by total area behind only Russia. The country spreads between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, with many lakes and rivers in between, a diverse combination of mountainous and flat lands and seasons both wintry and warm. These characteristics provide sightseers with many landscapes to discover and enjoy.
The Northern Lights
The Northern Lights, or aurora borealis, are shimmers and flashes of colored light in the arctic night sky. The Inuit believe the lights to be a team of dead souls playing soccer with a walrus head. The Japanese say a child conceived beneath these flashes of color will be lucky in life. Canada has many provinces that have spots to wait and watch for this natural phenomenon, including Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Saskatchewan and Yukon. However, Churchill, Manitoba, is centered under the northern "auroral oval," a region with the highest and most intense auroral activity.
Nahanni National Park Reserve of Canada
Nahanni National Park Reserve was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978. The park, located along the South Nahanni River, boasts deep canyons, huge waterfalls, spectacular terrain, cave systems and hot springs. There are many ways to enjoy the park, including multi-day whitewater rafting and kayak and canoe trips. People may also hike using route maps or explore nearby Virgin Falls from high above by air charter. If fishing is more your speed, it is permitted during all seasons in all waters of Nahanni National Park Reserve. However, people wishing to sport-fish must have a permit and follow fishing regulations, which the park office can provide.
Arctic Adventures in the Nunavut Territory
Nunavut means "our land" in Inuktitut, the Inuit language. The area is both the least populated and geographically largest of the provinces and territories of Canada, offering a personalized experience in a vast snowy landscape. Those seeking adventure may enjoy Nunavut's 28,000 miles of coastline, which offers one of the world's most diverse sea kayaking destinations. The area also offers a chance to see icebergs float through cold pristine waters off the east coast of Baffin Island. There are 24 national and regional parks to select from in the area, which receive an average of only 2,000 visitors a year. So, you may encounter glaciers, mountains, musk-ox, birds and polar bears before you run into a tourist. It is advised, however, that you hire a guide for safety in this pristine and wild environment.
Road Trip through the Yukon
If you wish to see dramatic countrysides and breathtaking views, pick a highway that goes through the Yukon. Tourism websites offer several route suggestions, including the Alaska Highway, Campbell/Canol Route, Dempster Highway, Golden Circle Route, Klondike/Kluane Loop, Silver Trail and Southern Lakes Circuit. Hikes, trails, lakes and rivers and small towns may be found dotted along all of these routes, offering ample opportunity to stop for an afternoon of fishing, trekking or enjoying friendly local atmosphere.
- Karl Weatherly/Photodisc/Getty Images