Saddle up and ride to a century-old teahouse in the Rockies

10 Canadian Bucket List Experiences

By Craig Moy

Save a little money this summer with a homegrown getaway—and partake in these iconic Canadian bucket list experiences!

HORSEBACK RIDE AROUND GLACIERS IN BANFF
It’s not quite the “Wild” West any longer, but the Alberta Rockies still offer some unforgettable frontier experiences, including Brewster Adventures’ four-hour horse ride from Lake Louise to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House, a circa-1924 cabin built by Swiss mountaineers. The morning or afternoon expedition passes through mountains and sub-alpine forest—as well as the Victoria ice field and other breathtaking glaciers—as you ascend to the secluded cabin.

HANG TEN IN TOFINO
Malibu and Maui aren’t the only places to get your surf on. The sport is popular up and down the Pacific (and Atlantic) coast. Tofino, B.C.’s 35 kilometres of beach make it ideal for wave-riders, though you’ll want to wear a wetsuit. Chesterman Beach is good for beginner longboarders, while Cox Bay boasts the most consistent swells in summer.

CHEER ON THE BLUE JAYS IN TORONTO
It’s a fantastic time to be a baseball fan in this country. The Toronto Blue Jays reclaimed the mantle of “Canada’s Team” with last year’s thrilling playoff performance and they’ll hope to be even better in 2016. When the Rogers Centre is filled to capacity, it’s impossible not to get caught up in the excitement of a Jose Bautista homer or Marcus Stroman strikeout.

Top 10 Canadian Bucket List Yellowknife Northern Lights
The northern lights shimmer outside of Yellowknife (photo: Seanxu/iStock)

SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS NEAR YELLOWKNIFE
Few things in nature are more awe-inspiring than the aurora borealis of the Arctic circle. The shimmering curtains of colour are best seen away from the light pollution of the Northwest Territories’ capital. A number of operators offer tours—plus accommodations in a lodge, cabin or teepee, to ensure you have a room with a view.

PAN FOR GOLD IN DAWSON CITY
In 1896, the Klondike Gold Rush brought more than 100,000 prospectors to Dawson City. The boom is long over, but the Yukon town remains a destination for anyone with a taste for history and an eye for the shiny stuff: at least one working mine offers tours, demos and the chance to pan for gold. Or go it alone and try to sift and swirl your way to wealth along designated stretches of Bonanza Creek.

MORE TO READ
Discover even more bucket list experiences in Haida Gwaii, Quebec and Charlottetown

FLY FISH FOR SALMON ON CAPE BRETON ISLAND
Driving—or hiking, or biking—the Cabot Trail is a great way to see the whole of Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island, but there are many reasons to stop along the way. The Margaree River, which flows along the island’s northwest coast, is one. Protected for its natural, cultural and historical value, it’s an idyllic spot to spend a few hours casting for salmon and trout. In town, the Margaree Salmon Museum is also swimmingly popular.

CYCLE THE ÎLES DE LA MADELEINE
Administered by la belle province but actually much closer to Nova Scotia and P.E.I., the Magdalen Islands have a distinct Acadian flavour. Arguably the best way to discover their beauty and hospitality is by biking the Route Verte. The well-marked 100-kilometre circuit connects six of the seven islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence archipelago—as well as many of their restaurants, artist studios, heritage sites and beaches.

Top 10 Canadian Bucket List Gros Morne Newfoundland Viking Trail
Newfoundland’s Viking Trail passes through rugged Gros Morne National Park (photo: Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism)

DRIVE THE VIKING TRAIL FROM DEER LAKE TO ST. ANTHONY
The gorgeous vistas they show in those Newfoundland and Labrador tourism commercials? Many of them are found along the Viking Trail, a nearly 500-kilometre drive that takes you through Gros Morne National Park, charming villages and L’Anse aux Meadows—established more than 1,000 years ago, it’s the first European settlement in North America. Your final destination, St. Anthony, also boasts some memorable views: Massive icebergs float past the coastal town throughout the summer.

GREET POLAR BEARS IN CHURCHILL
Though their numbers are dwindling, polar bears still freely roam the tundra around this remote settlement on the Manitoban shores of Hudson Bay. Peak season is usually around mid-autumn as the bears move to their coastal hunting grounds, but summer offers a variety of opportunities to join a tour into the Churchill Wildlife Management Area, where bears—plus an abundance of other arctic fauna and flora—may still be spotted.

EXPLORE THE TUNNELS OF MOOSE JAW
Dig deep into prairie history by visiting the unique, notorious Tunnels of Moose Jaw. Two tours of the sprawling underground network detail its early 20th-century legacy—first as a haven for Chinese railway workers escaping racist hysteria, then as a hideout for Saskatchewan rum runners and Chicago mobsters during Prohibition.

BOOK WITH AMA
AMA Travel is your one-stop-shop for amazing adventures across Canada and abroad. And as Alberta’s largest travel agency, we also have the clout to secure the lowest rates for Canadian hotels. No matter where you’re headed, book online with us: We guarantee you’ll be getting the lowest available price.

WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED
Fill the gaps in health-care coverage when travelling across Canadian provincial borders. Always carry your Alberta Health Care card, and consider purchasing travel medical insurance to mitigate out-of-pocket expenses that could be incurred if you’re involved in an unforeseen accident.