Canada’s iconic sites appear on many travellers’ wishlists. Ontario’s Niagara Falls, Quebec’s Chateau Frontenac (said to be the most photographed hotel in the world), Whistler BC (located on the wonderfully scenic “Sea to Sky Highway”) and Alberta’s Banff National Park are compelling places to visit, but with tailor-made adventures you have the ultimate freedom to go almost anywhere in the Great White North.
Just like an independent traveller, you charter your own route, with one major difference, all of your transfers and experiences, many of them hidden treasures already encountered by our team, ready and waiting, each activity curated especially for you. Like an invisible holiday planner we make the whole trip run seamlessly, so you can simply sit back and enjoy all that Canada has to offer.
If you’re hankering after a journey on the road less travelled get ready to explore five of our team’s favourite hidden treasures, each location all the more enticing because of its relative obscurity.
Sable Island, Nova Scotia: The Atlantic Graveyard
One of the farthest outlying islands in the country, the narrow, crescent-shaped sandbar of Nova Scotia’s Sable Island is dominated by breathtaking sand dunes, which are among the highest in Eastern Canada.
So remote is this part of the world that it is home to only five inhabitants (two people have been born on Sable Island since 1920) and roughly 500 wild horses that are descendants of animals introduced to the island in the 1700s.
A unique wilderness experience, the isolated island is located at the edge of the continental shelf in the Atlantic Ocean and is only accessible by air or by sea on day trips, with visits taking place from June to the end of October. Originally inhabited sporadically by sealers, shipwreck survivors (more than 350 shipwrecks have been recorded off its shores), and salvagers, the island has since been a rescue station, a weather station, and today it is a national park.
Dempster Highway: Crossing the Arctic Circle
Canada is home to some of the most breathtaking backdrops on earth, which makes it prime territory for self-drive holidays. One scene-stealer is the Dempster Highway, an epic 435-mile stretch that extends past the Arctic Circle. On this roadway, which takes you from the Yukon into the far reaches of the Northwest Territories, the journey is the destination.
Jagged peaks, crowds of caribou, welcoming Indigenous communities, the vast Mackenzie River, and the Tombstone Territorial Park line the route—the latter filled with wild hiking trails that invite you to take your foot off the gas and step and stare. Head on through to the land of the midnight sun and into the true polar zone, a rite of passage that few adventurers can lay claim to.
Your final destination is Tuktoyaktuk, the only community in Canada on the Arctic Ocean that’s connected to the rest of the country by public road, and the furthest north anyone can drive in Canada. We suggest getting behind the wheel in July and August, during the short Arctic summer.
Kananaskis Country: Alberta’s Mountain Playground
Extending from the foothills to the west of Calgary to the Continental Divide in the east, Kananaskis Country, or K-Country as the locals call it, is still on Canada’s list of best-kept secrets. Highway 40 is the main route through the area, and the roadway is one of the greatest and wildest drives in Canada.
Gigantic mountain peaks, stunning lakes, and a cluster of provincial parks are found in its 1,600 square miles, and the bonus is that it’s still relatively crowd-free in the high season. While it might have once been regarded as a gateway to Banff, now the region is viewed as a compelling stand-alone destination for hikers, kayakers, and rock climbers.
Bound to leave you nothing less than awestruck, wildlife abounds in this under-the-radar wilderness area, with everything from deer and moose to bighorn sheep, mountain goats, black bears, and grizzlies roaming across the landscape.
The Îles de la Madeleine – Secret Archipelago
A group of 12 wind-swept islands in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, Quebec’s Îles de la Madeleine (Magdalen Islands), are closer to the Maritime provinces and Newfoundland (they were once annexed to Newfoundland) than to the Gaspé Peninsula on the province’s mainland, a five-hour ferry crossing taking you to the archipelago.
For fans of the outdoors, there is cycling and walking—a long-distance trail running throughout the islands, including natural and groomed trails, as well as back roads and long stretches of beaches, punctuated with stops in local villages. You will find everything from microbreweries to cheese producers here, and there is the opportunity to sign up for hands-on experiences, for example, mastering the island’s ingredients and techniques in cooking classes with Chef Johanne Vigneau or learning about the art of mussel and oyster farming on the high seas.
There’s lots more adventure to had out on the open water; from kayaking through the coves and caves in the red sandstone cliffs to whale watching (this one of the best whale watching spots in Canada). And, even more inviting for nature lovers, what could be better than spending the summer paddleboarding or boating amongst seals?
Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Park: Canada’s Last Known Active Volcano
Whatever province or territory you find yourself in, Canada always delivers on spectacular landscapes, but Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Park, a provincial park in the Nass River valley, is rather special as it’s home to the last known active Canadian volcano.
Set in the lesser-known wilderness of northwestern British Columbia this is considered sacred territory, with the Nisga’a people, who make up four of the five communities that live on the park’s borders, bringing their native culture to bear on the experience.
A roughly two-mile moderate hike takes you through a scenic old-growth forest and past a variety of volcanic features to a viewpoint overlooking the crater. Hiking to the cone is an opportunity to understand the full force of Mother Earth; the last eruption took place an estimated 260 years ago. Legend has it that a group of children were disrespecting the life-giving salmon, and while the elders warned them repeatedly to stop, they did not listen. The resulting cataclysmic event destroyed two villages and 2,000 Nisga’a people perished.
Talk to our team of specialists and we will help you plan the Canada holiday of a lifetime, our collection including the chance to travel independently on a tailor-made itinerary or on an escorted tour.
For more information on the holidays we offer at Frontier Canada, and to book, call us on 020 8776 8709 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. ATOL PROTECTED No 5405 ABTA W3207.