Canada and wildlife go hand in hand, and seeing animals in their natural habitat remains one of the most popular holiday requests. In Canada, it is not a case of going on safari, you can almost anywhere run in to – not literally, hopefully – bear, moose, deer, elk or an array of birdlife and marine animals. Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular and your best chances to see them.
It seems everyone wants to see bears in Canada and with different varieties in different areas, not to mention either staying at a specific bear lodge, or just hoping for a glimpse from your car on a fly-drive, bears are relatively easy to tick off your checklist. Black bears are common in parts of Quebec and in the Rockies, whereas grizzlies tend to be found in mountainous or forest areas, or close to water. Obviously, the best bet is definitely to visit a bear lodge during peak season (spring or autumn are the best times) but many a bear jam has been caused in the Rockies for example by bears crossing the smaller roads. The polar bear is synonymous with Canada but will only be seen in places such as Churchill, Manitoba at very specific times (summer viewing and October/November). The rare spirit bear, or kermode, has its home in the British Columbia rainforest.
Whale watching can be an exhilarating experience; ask anyone who has been lucky enough to see a whale breach behind their boat or close by the shore. The power of these incredible animals is amazing to see. Canada has gray whales that migrate in the spring on the west coast, pods of resident or visiting orca around Vancouver and Vancouver Island , humpback whales in Quebec and Atlantic Canada and minke, also to be found on the west coast or the beautiful white beluga, again in Quebec or Manitoba.
Images of a large brown animal with antlers striding along a deserted road are often how people think of wildlife in Canada and that is a very true picture as moose are very common in Canada, although not always the easiest to spot, despite their size. These animals can grow up to 10 feet long and males can weigh up to almost 900 pounds and with their antlers, they are a daunting animal, best left to their own devices. Secluded spots in large parks such as Algonquin Park in Ontario and Jasper National Park in Alberta are great for moose viewing, while the province of Newfoundland has the largest concentrated population of moose in the world, with other 120,000 inhabitants on this small island.
Canada has an abundance of wildlife synonymous with the destination; beaver, otter, puffins, bison, wolves and bighorn sheep for example. Wherever you explore in Canada, you will see animals in their natural habitat, and if you’re lucky enough, you can tick many off the viewing wishlist on each visit.