5 bucket-list worthy places to visit in Canada

by | Jun 10, 2024 | Travel and Leisure

While many of us jump at the chance to travel outside our borders, Canada remains a spectacular place to explore, with a diverse and far-reaching history. Here are five must-see destinations to add to your bucket list. How many have you visited?

  1. L’Anse aux Meadows

Visit this breathtaking World Heritage Site, which rests at the tip of Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula, to tour the archeological remains and experience a reconstruction of a thousand-year-old Norse encampment dating back to the Viking Age. You’ll be walking in a place immortalized in the Icelandic sagas five hundred years before the next Europeans arrived on this continent, all set against a rugged backdrop of icebergs, whales and moose. Enjoy archeological artifacts, expert tours, geocaching and even an escape room.

  1. Gwaii Haanas

Immerse yourself in Indigenous culture, surrounded by rich rainforests, and an ocean teeming with life in Gwaii Haanas on the beautiful islands of Haida Gwaii, the homeland of the Haida Nation. After you’ve made a reservation and obtained a trip permit, embrace your sense of wonder at the national park reserve and heritage site. The remote chain of islands is roughly 170 kilometres off the coast of northern British Columbia or 700 km north of Vancouver.

Get an intimate view of nature and wildlife from the seat of a kayak or take a guided tour to witness the power of ancient Haida village sites. Spot the carved poles lining the beach at SGang Gwaay and notice the remains of multi-tiered longhouses at T’aanuu and other historic communities. The Haida have called the 150-island archipelago home since time immemorial.

  1. Grosse Ile

For over a century, Grosse Ile was the gateway for millions of European immigrants on their way to new lives in North America. Walk in their footsteps at this historic quarantine island, just fifty kilometres downstream from Quebec City, where incoming ships – and people – were inspected in an effort to prevent the spread of diseases. Tour the island by bike or trolley, check out the medical quarantine station from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and pay your respects at the memorial for the thousands of Irish immigrants who died there.

  1. Louisbourg

Prepare to be wowed at the expansive 18th-century French fortress on the coast of Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island. Painstakingly reconstructed between the 1960s and the 1980s, the bustling town is brought raucously to life every summer by costumed Parks Canada interpreters who play music, bake fresh bread and showcase what life would have been like for many of the residents. While you’re sampling an 18th-century meal or exploring the town, you can also learn about the Mi’kmaq traditional territory it sits on. Recent research has revealed the lives of enslaved people who lived at the fortress, such as Guinea-born Marie Marguerite Rose, the first known Black businesswoman in Canada.

  1. Dawson City

    Once called “the Paris of the North,” this unique Yukon town was the heart of the Klondike Gold Rush in the late 1890s. Today, it’s home to five national historic sites. Hike the Discovery Trail, explore local engineering feats and admire historic buildings, including one that used to be a brothel. You’ll get to know the cultural and economic fabric of the time – and just have fun. With a vibrant arts and culture scene, lively tours of the town and plenty of nature adventures, there’s something here for everyone. In the summer you’ll bask in the midnight sun, and in winter, you might just catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.

You can learn more about these one-in-a-million destinations or prepare for your trip through Parks Canada’s history and archaeology podcast, ReCollections. You’ll find episodes with stories from each of these locations at parks.canada.ca/recollections, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Related Content

Pack it up: Safety essentials for safe travels

Pack it up: Safety essentials for safe travels

When it comes to packing for a holiday, making room in your luggage for a few essential safety items can make all the difference in the event of an emergency. Here are some necessities to prioritize on your packing list and help keep you and your family safe and...

read more
Plan the perfect summer getaway

Plan the perfect summer getaway

It can be exciting to plan how to spend your summer while there’s still a chill in the air. While many of us crave summer fun, the hot weather can pose a serious risk to our health. But the heat doesn’t have to ruin your summer break. Here are some planning tips to...

read more
4 things you might not know about Canada’s railways

4 things you might not know about Canada’s railways

At some point, most Canadians have taken a train trip somewhere. Maybe, it was to a different province to visit friends or family, or maybe it was sightseeing on a historic tourist train. Maybe it was simply heading downtown on a daily commute to work. Many of us may...

read more
3 tips for a smooth trip back to Canada

3 tips for a smooth trip back to Canada

Whether you’re returning from an international holiday or work-related travel, once you get to the airport or border crossing, you probably just want to get home. But, first, you need to pass through customs and immigration. Here are three tips to help you speed up...

read more
Teach your kids about artificial intelligence

Teach your kids about artificial intelligence

If you read or watch the news these days, it seems like every other story is about artificial intelligence, or AI for short. But AI has been around a lot longer than you think. In fact, you probably use it more than you suspect. This year, have a family discussion...

read more