A Road Trip Through 5 Canadian Provinces

@bosica20

As Canada celebrated its 150th birthday I tried to find some special way to embrace the country that has given me so many opportunities. Then, something came up that was more special than I could have ever imaged. A move from Ontario to British Columbia was in my cards, and I figured it would be an incredible experience to drive across the country, experiencing parts of Canada I had never seen before.

As I started planning this trip I realized how guilty I was of always looking outside of Canada for the perfect vacation. I decided to take a full seven days, just so that I wouldn’t have to rush this adventure. The 4376 KM journey took me through five different provinces and truly showed me the beauty that this country has to offer.

From the forest and lakes of Ontario to the flat farmlands of the prairies and the Rocky Mountains, there was truly so much to see and do. Here are some of my highlights, recommendations and experiences.

Alberta

Ontario:

It took us three days to trek across Ontario stopping off in unique and quaint towns along the way. I have to say, this part of the trip was the most eye-opening for me. I spent the majority of my life thus far living in Toronto and never really knew a life in Ontario outside of the big city. This was a huge and beautiful wake-up call for me! Our three days in Ontario consisted of stops in Sudbury, Wawa and Thunder Bay.

Things to do:

  • Visit the Giant Nickle: Sudbury is famous for its nickel production and to honour the production, the town has created a giant nickel. It is a must-see stop on the road trip.
  • Go on a Hike: Growing up near downtown Toronto, I had no idea of the beauty that was just to the north of my home. During the road trip, I had the chance to stop at Pukaskwa National Park on Lake Superior. It was amazing to be so connected with nature. The tall trees, fresh air, and beautiful lake views really made this a must do.
  • Visit the giant Goose: There seems to be a common theme here. Wawa is home to a giant Goose and you need to get a glimpse and a picture before you fly out of town.
  • Terry Fox Monument: Thunder Bay was the last city Terry Fox made it to before his cancer returned. The Terry Fox Monument in Thunder Bay honours this Canadian hero and his amazing story. I had goosebumps just standing there and thinking of what Fox was able to accomplish. It’s a must-see.
  • Have a bite in Kenora: Muskoka had always been my go-to summer cottage spot, but I found out that Lake of the Woods is equally as gorgeous. I stopped for lunch at Boathouse, a restaurant right on the water. I spent an hour here watching the boats crossing. I finally gained enough courage for a quick jump into the water.

Manitoba:

It was hard to cross the border and say goodbye to my old home. Yet it was amazing to see the drastic change in the landscape. One minute I was driving through forests, the next I was surrounded by flat lands and farms. I had never really thought about visiting Manitoba before, but I have to say I was amazed at the unique culture and beauty particularly in Winnipeg.

Things to do:

  • Grab a craft beer at the Forks: The riverside attraction is in the heart of Winnipeg. It’s a quaint market with a variety of restaurants to choose from. I highly recommend a craft beer and some poutine during the stop.
  • Dinner on the waterfront: After a drink, I made my way down to Cibo Waterfront Café. The restaurant is in a former warehouse and has a very rustic feel to it. The Mediterranean food was delicious and the views of the Red River were beautiful.

Saskatchewan:

The drive through the Prairies continued through Saskatchewan. I didn’t know much about this area before the drive but learned about the beautiful city during my 24-hour stay. Saskatchewan offers a beautiful waterfront town with canoeing and fishing. Plus, Saskatchewan offered some of the clearest and beautiful night skies.

Things to do:

A walk or a ride on the water: The South Saskatoon River is right in Saskatoon’s backyard. There are plenty of beautiful river trails, and driving in September was the perfect time to see the leaves changing colours.

Dine at the Cave Hotel: This family owned restaurant has become a landmark in the Saskatoon area, and after experiencing the unique experience I can see why

Alberta:

I had always dreamed of visiting the turquoise waters and endless mountain ranges of Banff and the Canadian Rockies, yet seeing it in person was beyond my wildest dreams. It was like a painting brought to life. Yet, what I realized was that Alberta has so much more to offer. From the beautiful Badlands to the unique museums, this province had so much to experience that two days was hardly enough.

Things to do:

Visit the Badlands: I had never known the Canadian Badlands existed until I drove through Alberta and saw them with my own two eyes. I spent a few hours walking through the hoodoos. These Hoodoos have been around for millions of years and legend has it they used to be giants that would protect the area from intruders.

Hunt for dinosaurs: Drumheller is known for its dinosaur discoveries and so I decided to take a stop to the Royal Tyrrell Museum to check out some of the amazing finds right in Canada.

A hike in Banff: Banff is one of the most popular spots in Alberta and for good reason. The beautiful lakes of Moraine and Louise, the hiking trails and the town are a must see. To avoid the busy crowds, I headed out early and walked up to the Lake Louise viewpoint.

British Columbia: 

Finally, after seven days on the road, I made it to my new home, British Columbia. I had visited before but had never truly experienced the beautiful B.C. the tall mountains, endless, rivers, and ocean side beaches, B.C. has so much to offer, so much to explore, so much to discover. During my road trip, I had a chance to experience just a few of B.C. offerings.

Things to do:

Unwind at Sparkling Hill Resort and Spa: After a long car ride, some rest and relaxation were just what the doctor ordered. Sparkling Hill Resort is covered head to toe in Swarovski crystals and it overlooks the beautiful Lake Okanagan. The resort offers unique saunas to help re-energize the body, and I felt like a million bucks after my two-day stay.

Taste the region: The Okanagan is known for its wine and so what trip would be complete without a wine tour and tasting. I made a trip to Gray Monk Winery to learn about their award-winning Chardonnay and try some of their delicious foods.

Visit Stanley Park: When I finally arrived in Vancouver, before even unpacking my bags, I made a trip out to Stanley Park. One of the more famous parks in all of Canada it offers everything from beaches, to forests walks, to local art. You can spend days on end exploring or relaxing in this stunning park.