Category Archives: Canada

Mountain to Village: First-Timer’s Tips for Visiting Whistler Mountain

Squamish valley

It’s easy to understand why a place like Whistler can intimidate someone seeing it for the first time. Even if you’re not a skier, there is plenty to enjoy and explore. The snowy mountain peaks, myriad of pedestrian walkways, and sheer number of shopping options will leave you as breathless as a cold vertical drop. Some prior research and planning will ensure that you make the best of your time (and money) while visiting this world-class tourist hot spot.

Seasonal Fun, Naturally 

No matter when you visit, there’s plenty to do and see in this corner of Canada’s Pacific Coast Mountain Range. Such special events abound in the winter and many are free of charge to anyone and everyone in the Village. The Fire and Ice Show is the most famous of these public events. Every Sunday evening, between the resort’s official opening day in November and the end of the season in April or May, you can enjoy dancing, music, spinning fire and some of Whistler’s most talented boarders and skiers strutting their stuff.

Come when the snow is off the ground to beat the crowds and see this vibrant and verdant ecosystem from another perspective. The ski trails are also used in the off-season for hiking, and the chair-lifts are still used for transport or sightseeing. The Peak 2 Peak gondola runs all year round for transportation and scenic viewing. Whistler Village also hosts a number of exciting and unique festivals throughout the year. Check the calendar for events in every season. In the summer, you can still practice your skiing or boarding with a trip, tour, or lesson at the nearby Horstman Glacier.View from Horstman Glacier

Special Events

For those content to take a break from skiing in the off-season, the calendar has plenty to keep everyone busy. The fall hosts Cornucopia. This event that celebrates both food and drink, from the garden to the plate, and features wine tasting and culinary presentations. There’s the vibrant Farmer’s Market from May to October, where you can find everything from local edibles to unique artistic creations. There’s also the annual summer photography contest held from May to October.

For winter diversions, there’s Nintendo Family Day in February and the Whistler Film Festival in December, great activities for the less outdoors-inclined or as an aprés slopes activity. When you get hungry, there are plenty of restaurants, booths and bars to choose from. Whistler Village is home to no less than 17 restaurants, plus two loges on the mountain that also serve food and drinks. This includes an eclectic collection of international offerings; everything from Korean to Italian to local West Coast specialties are represented.

Deals and Discounts

One of the most daunting aspects of winter ski resorts is the cost. Fear not, as Whistler is a diverse community that likes to be accessible to all income levels at any time of the year. The entire Whistler Village is built in a pedestrian friendly, close knit style that doesn’t require motorized transport, a huge money-saver right from the start. You can call the hill directly to get the latest updates on possible deals in any season, from the budget UBC Whistler Lodge to the upscale Pan Pacific Mountainside Hotel.

Many have invested in homes and property here with the intention of making their ski vacation dream home a permanent reality. There are many possibilities in Whistler for long term rentals as well as permanent purchases. Options include condominiums, homes of varying sizes and open lots in undeveloped areas. Due to the large seasonal fluctuation of visitors Whistler enjoys, there is often the option to try before you buy with time-share and group financing available.

When you first set your sights on the glorious peaks and sweeping vistas that make up Whistler Blackcomb, remember that there is something here for everyone in every season. Whistler Blackcomb is a place for skiers, boarders, foodies, film buffs, outdoor enthusiasts, and photographers, just to name a few, What a for these groups have in common, however, is their love of travel and an appreciation for the new and diverse.

Emilio Thompson is a Whistler regular and as a confirmed ski-enthusiast, he loves the chance to share his tips and insights with an online audience. He is a regular writer for several different websites.

 

 

 

6 Best Ways to Get Around Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver

Travel is all about being in motion and getting to and from different locations. Arriving in a new city with no idea what the preferred local transport methods are is a sure way to get yourself in trouble. It is highly important you know the best way to see a city before you arrive. Luckily, for those visiting Vancouver, British Columbia there are plenty of transportation options! Included here are a few of the best ways to get around Vancouver.

By Foot

According to FunLists, Vancouver is a relatively small city when considering all of the entertainment and culture it has to offer. Thanks to the densification of the downtown area and populus, getting around on foot is perfectly reasonable. Consider strolling from place to place and enjoy the scenic views, health benefits and efficiency of foot travel.Vancouver Bikes

By Bicycle

The ultimate in green-living, biking can be one of the fastest, most earth-friendly modes of transport within a city. While there are many bike rental businesses within Vancouver, the city has plans to create their own bike share program in the future. Depending on the location, you may receive a helmet, bike lock and map with the original fee.

By Bus

The Saltwater City has a thriving bus system run by the Coast Mountain Bus Company’s Translink. You can easily find the well-marked bus stops throughout the city or plan ahead on their easy-to-use online day planner. This service runs throughout the day and offers express and local modes, as well as direct shuttles to certain communities.Vancouver Transport

By SkyTrain

For exceedingly quick transportation throughout the city and to surrounding suburbs, consider riding Vancouver’s own SkyTrain. This transportation method is linked closely with bus routes so you can coordinate public transport easily. If you are waiting at one of the stops, you can expect a new train to arrive within 2-5 minutes, so you can get going quickly! As with the bus line, you can login online to utilize their day planner.

By SeaBus

What better way to view Vancouver than from the water? Utilize the SeaBus for a connection from Vancouver’s Waterfront Station to the North Shore’s Lonsdale Quay. This is a 12-minute ride, passenger-only ferry that doubles as a scenic tour boat. You will also be able to get an unrivaled view of the city and ocean while transporting yourself to a new area of the city.Vancouver Aquabus

By AquaBus

You may be beginning to believe there are too many public transport busses in Vancouver, but you would be mistaken! Another great waterway utilizer, the Aquabus makes multiple stops on False Creek in the center of Vancouver. This transport runs every 20 minutes all day and serves Granville Island as well as multiple Seawall shops, theaters and restaurants.

Camper’s Paradise, Quebec: Under the Stars of Parc National de la Jacques-Cartier

Cartier National Park

Less than a half-hour’s drive from the grand monuments and bustling streets of Quebec City, you can enfold yourself in the rich forests, soaring views, and whitewater of the Laurentian Mountains, on full display in Jacques-Cartier National Park (Parc National de la Jacques-Cartier).

This 670-square-kilometer preserve doesn’t just offer basic wilderness breathing-room for urban Quebecers. There’s a remarkable diversity of attractions here to appeal to every visitor, whether you’re an outdoor adventurer, an amateur naturalist, or a history buff.

A Laurentian Wonderland

In Jacques-Cartier, the ancient crystalline rock of the Laurentian massif forms a high, rolling plateau cleft by glacier-sculpted gorges. The most impressive of these defiles is the Jacques-Cartier Valley (Vallee de le Jacques-Cartier), which plunges better than 550 meters to the majestic flow of its namesake river.

English: North view of Jacques-Cartier River o...

Ecologically, this corner of the Laurentians is a fascinating and bio-diverse meeting ground, an interwoven blend of boreal and southern hardwood ecosystems. You can drop from the dark spruce-fir woods of the highlands into the sunnier maple-birch forests of the valley bottoms–an elevational journey akin to trekking a few hundred kilometers north to south. Here white-tailed deer mingle with moose and caribou, while black bears, gray wolves, and Canada lynx prowl the backwoods.

Paddle the Jacques-Cartier and you might hear the slap of a beaver’s tail, see the fin-swirl of an Atlantic salmon or speckled trout, flush a great blue heron from the shoreline shallows, or hear the shrill call of a high-flying osprey.

And everywhere you go in the park you’re tracing human stories. The rugged Laurentians were the homeland of the Montagnais and Huron peoples; the Hurons guided the Jesuits along age-old trails over the highlands between Quebec City and Lac Saint-Jean. And the forests here sustained a long-running logging industry that kicked off in the mid-1800s and continued into the early 1980s, with the Jacques-Cartier River rafting the logs to the St. Lawrence.

While people were recreationally fishing, hiking, and camping in the area by the early 20th century, park status for Jacques-Cartier didn’t come until 1981. Today it’s one of southern Quebec’s most beloved outdoor playgrounds, not least because of how remarkably accessible it is from the St. Lawrence Valley.

English: Scenic view of Jacques-Cartier River ...

English: Scenic view of Jacques-Cartier River valley from Andante montain, Jacques-Cartier National Park, Quebec, Canada Français : Vue panoramique de la vallée de la Rivière Jacques-Cartier du sommet du Mont Andante, Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier, Québec, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Outdoor Activities

Though that easy accessibility makes day-tripping in Jacques-Cartier National Park perfectly reasonable, you’ll appreciate the place all the more by spending a few nights under those Laurentian stars. You’ve got a wide variety of accommodations here, including cabins, yurts, rustic shelters, and “ready-to-camp” Huttopia tents. A pair of campgrounds, Alluvions and Betulaie, are reachable by cars and have full services–the perfect destination for a Jeep or 4×4–while a slew of more primitive campsites service backpackers, canoers, and cyclists.

And there’s a ridiculous wealth of outdoor fun to be had during the day. You’ve got more than 100 kilometers of trails to hoof it along, from easy, all-ages strolls such as La Tourbiere–which, over a mere 2.9-kilometer circuit, shows off several different vegetation communities, from peat bog to yellow-birch forest–to long, difficult treks like Le Scotora, which rewards with a grand mountaintop view. You can also hit the current of the Jacques-Cartier River, which includes some whitewater stretches, via canoe, kayak, raft, or inner tube; the park rents out the vessels. Mountain biking, snowshoeing, and telemark skiing are other popular activities depending on the season.

Don’t miss out on Jacques-Cartier National Park. Whether you want to wander in the footsteps of First Nations hunter-gatherers, scout for moose along a remote lakeshore, or cool off with summertime tubing down a magnificent river gorge, an unforgettable Laurentian odyssey awaits!

 

Ryan McNeal earns his living in camping supplies and equipment and spends his spare time in the great outdoors. He enjoys the chance to share his insights with an online audience through blogging.

The Road Less Traveled: Driving Along the Highways of Atlantic Canada

Acadian Coast

Atlantic Canada offers some of the most majestic views and scenic drives in the country. With amazing stops along the way, these drives offer you an incredible driving experience when you want to get away in your car and take a driving vacation. If you are planning a long weekend or a holiday getaway, be sure to keep these scenic drives in mind.

Acadian Coastal Drive 

New Brunswick features a myriad of scenic areas, but if you are looking for a gorgeous driving experience, be sure to take the Acadian Coastal Drive. This 440km stretch provides dazzling views of sandy beaches. You can stop off to explore fishing villages and picturesque coastal towns. Hovering along the eastern coast of New Brunswick, the drive connects Dalhousie to Aulac. Because the beaches are regarded as some of the best (and warmest) swimming in the country, you might want to set aside some time for beach combing and getting a few laps in.

Viking Trail

Newfoundland’s amazing past is the star of the Viking Trail, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Trail. This enchanting stretch includes two of Canada’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including North America’s one and only Viking site in L’Anse aux Meadows. Then, it’s only fitting to explore the natural wonders of Gros Morne National Park, which is home to revered sites like Bonne Bay, Western Brook Pond, and the Tablelands.

Wine RouteNova Scotia’s Wine Route

Located along Nova Scotia’s northern edge, the wine route is a romantic journey that is ideal for vacationers in search of vineyards, wineries, and even a bit of whale watching along the coast. The drive is situated near various wineries that can be visited for wine tastings. The 867km route is also home to a distillery that boasts the first-produced single malt whisky on the continent. Because the drive encompasses the Bay of Fundy, you’ll want to pull over to enjoy some views of the waves, known to be some of the highest in the world. As with any long drive, you want to make sure your car is in top shape. If you are not sure your car can make the trip, why not visit the Dodge Atlantic dealership and discuss a trade in.

Points East Coastal Drive 

Situated on charming Prince Edward Island, Points East Coastal Drive is a delightful route that includes as many as six lighthouses that can be toured during the summer. Be sure to set aside some time to spend at Greenwich Dunes to walk its “floating boardwalk.” There are some great bike trails located off the drive, so you might consider hauling your bike along for the journey.Anne of Green Gables

Central Coast Drive

The Central Coast Drive is one of the most popular in Eastern Canada for its association with the celebrated children’s book character Anne of Green Gables. Be sure to book a stay at a bed and breakfast or quaint in when you pass through Victoria-by-the-Sea. If you’re looking for more activity, exciting Charlottetown is also a fun place to hang your hat for a while when traveling this scenic route.

The Atlantic coast of Canada has many other great drives, but these are among its most celebrated. Be sure to chart your course and get out there while the weather is fair!

Lydia Smith is a youth worker and a part-time travel guide. She enjoys sharing her insights with an online audience. Her thoughts can be found on a number of travel blogs.

Winter Horseback Riding: Snow and Cold Weather on the Saddle

Winter Horse Back Riding

Horseback riding is often thought of as a fun summer activity. But did you know you can also go riding in the snow? If you are heading to a resort like Mont Tremblant this winter, riding in the snow is one of the activities you can enjoy. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your riding adventure.

Why Winter Horseback Riding?

If you love horses, riding in the snow is an activity that you simply have to try. And if you don’t have much experience of horses, you will find it a thrilling way to discover the beautiful winter landscape.

If you are heading to Mont Tremblant, a horseback adventure could take you into the Laurentian Mountains and through winter forests, and you will be able to see a lot more of the area than you could cover on foot.

If you stay at Chateau Beauvallon, you will be able to book a winter riding package through the hotel. On the tour, you will get to see a real cowboy ranch, and it is suitable for all levels.

Top Tips to Prepare Properly

One of the most important things to do is ensure you prepare properly for your riding day out. If you go on a tour with an experienced guide, you will be told all that you need to know to stay safe and have an enjoyable day out. Even so, it is worth keeping a few things in mind before you go.

Mont tremblantOne important tip to remember is to dress properly, which means wearing layers. You may get hotter or colder during the day, and wearing layers allows you to make adjustments to ensure you remain comfortable. The most important layer is the one against your skin, which should be able to wick away the build up of perspiration to keep you warmer. A good pair of gloves is also well worth wearing.

Good riding boots are also important. These come in a range of styles and sizes, so make sure you choose boots that are comfortable.

A helmet is essential when riding at any time of year, and even more so during the winter. If fleece helmet covers are available, these can help to keep you warm as well as safe. If you are a more experienced rider and you want to explore without a guide, you may want to consider buying one of these. Also make sure you choose one that is ATSM or SEI certified.

You should also keep close track of the weather, and always check the forecast before heading out in case it is not suitable for riding. Sun protection is also an issue, so wear sunglasses if the sun is going to shine, and make sure you apply sunscreen throughout the day.

Enjoy a Thrilling Ride this Winter

If you are heading to a winter resort for your vacation, find out about the possibilities of horseback riding in the snow. It really is one of the most exhilarating activities you can enjoy, so don’t miss out on a winter horseback adventure.

 

Gary Cummins has worked for many years in his role as a tour guide and enjoys being to share his experiences and ideas online. His insights can be found across a number of relevant websites.

From the Village to the Valley: The Five Poles of Mont-Tremblant

Paysage_lac_Monroe

Those familiar with Mont-Tremblant are aware of multiple reasons for heading toward the vacation destination. However, even those who have previously visited or are better acquainted may be unaware of information related to each of the “five poles” of Mont-Tremblant. From the village to the valley, get familiar with the following to take greater advantage of the family-vacation spot.

The Village Center

The ski center opened in 1939 and quickly gained world recognition. The winter season hosts a wonderland of adventures for amateur and advanced-level skiers, though all types of winter sports entertain locals and vast amounts of visitors. Not to be neglected in the summer, the area offers hiking trails, backpacking excursions, and advanced cardiovascular workouts. A very family-friendly place, the Village Center is great for a healthy walk amid fresh air or for testing your palate at the many restaurants. For those who like to balance sport with relaxation, Mont Tremblant accommodations are more than exceptional and reside near multiple bars and a casino.

view at mont tremblantNational Park

The National Park is coveted by nature lovers and all types of athletes around the world. Take your pick of snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, hiking, backpacking, swimming, canoeing, cycling, fishing, and surfing! See the surroundings for a few hours or days by accessing a chalet, yurt, or huttopia tent. If you’re only interested in short-term hiking, the Ski Resort is a short, 30-minute distance away.

Domaine St-Bernard

In the middle of Mont-Tremblant, Domaine St-Bernard is incredibly welcoming to families. Whether enjoying snacks at Lac Raynaud, star gazing at the Pavillon d’astronomie Velan, bird watching at the garden, or spotting deer along 40 km of trails, the site never inspires boredom. The Wheeler circuit attracts skiers and is a great spot to slap on your snow or walking shoes.

Downtown

At Mont-Tremblant, with exercise comes many choices to relax. The Downtown area, a short distance from stay accommodations, features ornate terraces, quaint pubs, and dishes that will tantalize any palate in town. If you’re looking forward to a pleasurable stroll, the town offers breathtaking architecture, an ancient church, antique shops, and trendy boutiques.

MtTremblant_Village_DuskThe Village

The Village is reminiscent of a former time, beholding a sense of authenticity. Featuring cottages, inns, small shops, gregarious cafes, and tasty dishes, it’s perfect for an idle walk, time with a loved one, or spending the day with the entire family. Surrounded by a cycling trail and minutes away from Lac Mercier beach, it’s a place for sun worshipers and exercise enthusiasts. If you’re in the mood for culture, head to the Place de la Gare for artistic stimulation.

The five poles feature numerous reasons to come to the Mont-Tremblant area. However, depending on your preferences and those in your party, you can focus on just one or all of the destinations. However, to fully appreciate what each site has to offer, consider coming out for at least a few days or you may find yourself wishing you had more time. Perhaps it’s best to plan ahead and make an itinerary by day to ensure you get to see and do all you wish.

Louise Harrison has been involved with the travel industry for most of her working life. She enjoys the chance to share her thoughts online and her insights can be found on a number of different websites.