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Offbeat Adventures in Canada’s Frontiers


If you think there’s nowhere left to explore — you obviously haven’t been to Canada. Let me show you around a bit:

In This Canada Travel Article You Will Discover:

  • The Most Unique Yoga Site
  • How to Access The Far North
  • Icebergs, Dead Ahead!

With 9.9 million sq-km of land, Canada is the second-largest country in the world. For the traveller with a taste for frontier adventure, this translates into natural experiences like nowhere else on Earth. So pack light and dress warm — you’re about to see the True North Strong and Free.

Outdoor Yoga in Haida Gwaii, British Columbia

For more than 10,000 years, Haida First Nations have dubbed this archipelago Xhaaidlagha Gwaayaai — “Islands at the Boundary of the World” — and that’s exactly how it feels when you visit.

Nestled against British Columbia’s remote northern coast, the Haida Gwaii is a place of multi-millennia-old First Nations history, abundant wildlife and back-to-nature adventures of a lifetime.

For a sedate excursion, consider an all-inclusive rainforest yoga retreat, such as those offered by Vancouver, BC-based company, The Yoga Space (among others). Or, experienced outdoorsperson-yogis have even been known to disappear into Gwaii Haanas National Park, on the southern tip of the archipelago, for a self-guided kayak/yoga/camping adventure. Downward Dog in the land of the world’s largest black bears, among towering sitka spruce and near traditional Haida totems? Now that’s a Canadian experience.

Dempster Highway Road Trip, Yukon & Northwest Territories

Canada’s loneliest road, the 736-km-long Dempster Highway, is the only all-season highway in North America that crosses the Arctic Circle. Yes — you read that correctly —  a road trip north of 66 degrees!

Heading north from Klondike River Crossing, Yukon, Dempster drivers are treated to the tear-inducing beauty of the Tombstone Mountains, spiritual solitude of the open tundra, one-of-a-kind photo opportunities at the Arctic Circle Signpost and a delightful respite at the secluded terminus town of Inuvik, Northwest Territories.

Located just past 68 degrees north, Inuvik is best known for its annual Great Northern Arts Festival, where each July artists from the world’s northern regions gather to sell their wares, teach their craft and entertain travellers with music and dance.

If you want to fit a lot into a short trip, don’t worry — in the summer months, there’s 24 hours of sunlight, so you can explore the region all day and night.

Iceberg Viewing, Newfoundland & Labrador

Could there be an adventure more quintessentially Canadian than iceberg viewing? From the sinking of the Titanic 100 years ago to the modern-day adventures of ice climbers like Alberta’s Will Gadd (he and climbing partner Ben Firth made international news when they scaled floating icebergs in 2005), these giants of the north have long-captured the world’s attention.

And on the northeast coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, in what is dubbed “Iceberg Alley,” spotting a ‘berg each April and May is practically a sure thing.

As many as 800 icebergs survive their journey from Greenland to the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador — and there are more than a half-dozen communities that serve as points to view these 100,000-tonne monoliths (some of which offer boat and kayak tours during “iceberg season”). Furthermore, with 29,000 km of provincial coastline, trekking to a private viewpoint is easily done.

However, seeing a chunk of ice that’s more than 10,000 years old and the size of a 15-storey building is an experience best enjoyed with friends — otherwise people may not believe you when you return home with such a tall tale.

It’s true — offbeat frontier adventures are alive and well in Canada.

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About the author: David Webb is a Vancouver, BC-based travel writer, photographer and magazine editor.

1 comment… add one
  • Suze K. Aug 10, 2012 Link

    Haida Gwaii… isn’t it called the Queen Charlotte Islands?

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