Like the San Juan Islands? Check Out the Strait of Georgia

Across the United States, regions that border Canada get a lot of money from tourist dollars. From Niagara Falls to the Upper Peninsula, Americans flock to border attractions every year. But most of these tourists don’t go across the Canadian border. And, as a result, they often lose out on some incredible experiences.

Among these popular tourist areas is the San Juan Islands, an archipelago in the Pacific Northwest that sits between Washington and Vancouver Island. The islands are an important tourist destination for the local economy, boasting incredible opportunities for whale-watching, sea kayaking, and hiking.

If you’ve visited the San Juan Islands and loved what you experienced, you might be interested in something just a few miles north: The Strait of Georgia, located in the northern part of the Salish Sea. Just a few miles north of the San Juan Islands, this strait sits between Vancouver Island and the mainland coast of British Columbia. It has a lot of what you might love about the San Juan Islands – all with a less touristy feel.

Whale Watching Opportunities

Whale watching is a big draw to folks who visit the San Juan Islands. Orca whale-watching is available by boat and air tours. Locals say the best killer whale sightings are off San Juan Island, and most companies say that more than 90 percent of their trips result in a whale sighting. But, just a few miles north, the whale watching is just as active. In fact, orcas are so plentiful in this part of the Salish Sea that some people can spot them from land. If whale watching is an essential part of your trip, the Strait of Georgia is an important place to visit.

Fresh Seafood Meals

Both the San Juan Islands and the Strait of Georgia are known for their bountiful seafood opportunities. The operation run by Lummi Island Wild in the San Juan Islands is a particular stand-out, known for their use of indigenous fishing techniques and dedication to sustainability. Similar companies exist in the Strait of Georgia, as do salmon charter operations for those looking to catch their own. The point is: If you go anywhere in the Salish Sea, you’re sure to get a good seafood meal. Check out the restaurants clustered around the Strait of Georgia to experience some of the freshest seafood available.

Proximity to City Life

We all love a good outdoor vacation, but proximity to a city is important to some travelers. Whether for an airport and accessibility or for travelers who want to shake up a week-long trip, mixing the urban with the outdoor is a great addition to a vacation plan. Seattle is the San Juan Islands’ nearest major urban center, and it’s around 100 miles away. By contrast, the islands in the Strait of Georgia are just a handful of miles off the coast of Vancouver, one of Canada’s most vibrant cities. If you want a break from the outdoors, hop on a ferry and go out for a delicious meal in the city.

Northwest Territories Facts & Tourist Attractions

The Northwest Territory is located East of the Yukon, and is the most Northern province in Canada. Together with Nunavut, the area covers one third of Canada’s landmass. The largest industry in the area is mining, and then oil and gas exploration, and tourism. Half of the residents are Aboriginal so you’ll have the opportunity to experience their unique culture! The province harbors the magnificent Mackenzie mountains, and the Nahanni National Park Reserve, so be sure to check them out. 

Northwest Territories Tourism 

The Northwest Territories offers a wide variety of tourist attraction, sights, experiences, and recreational activities! If you’re a nature enthusiast, or outdoor adventure fan this is the place for you! Take a boat cruise around Baffin Island, or visit the Diavik Diamond Mines in Yellowkinfe! Book a guided fishing tour and fish for Arctic char, trout, pike, pickerel, graying, and whitefish in the coastal rivers. Relax in one of the world-famous fishing lodges or cabins along a crystal-clear mountain lake. There are many outdoor outfitters in the Northwest Territories that cater to day tours, whitewater rafting, mountain hiking, cruises and even deep-diving. Try an Arctic Safari Eco Tour all around Yellowknife, or explore the region in a canoe or kayak! Visit the Wood Buffalo National Park where you’ll see Canada’s largest wild bison herd! Don’t forget to observe the magnificent Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) in the region. 

Northwest Territories Mountain Ranges 

The NWT contains two main mountain ranges: The Franklin Mountains, and the United States Range. The Franklin Mountains extend along the east bank of Mackenzie River to Hare Indian and Liard Rivers. The highest point in the range is Mount Clark near Fort Norman, which reaches to 4,733 feet. The United States Range is north if Ellesmere Island and reaches across the Grant Land region, and into the Lincoln Sea of the Arctic Ocean. The highest point in the United States Range is an amazing 11,000 feet! For advanced mountain climbers, The Cirque of the Unclimbables is the place to be! It is a small cluster of peaks and walls in the Northwest Territories close to the Yukon border. The Lotus Flower Tower is the most well-known climb in the area and attracts avid climbers year-round! 

Northwest Territories Fishing Charters 

Enjoy a wildlife adventure in the Northwest Territories by booking a guided fishing charter! Try Kasba Lake Lodge where you’ll take a direct charter flight from Winnipeg to the lakeside lodge in less than 2.5 hours. Fish in new 18 foot, fully equipped, custom-made fishing boats. In terms of fish, the tour focuses on Lake Trout, Northern Pike, and Arctic Grayling. Be sure to take an after-dinner cruise and tour around the lake in luxury. Relax in cozy lodge accommodations with a hot tub and conference room, or stay in one of the 14 modern, private guest cabins. Have a fishing charter experience full of great fish, service and memories! 

Blackcomb Mountain Ski Lessons at Whistler

Ski lessons anyone? You can get world-class ski lessons and instruction on Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains with Canada’s best ski pros. Based in Whistler, BC, Canada we help you explore the acclaimed Whistler resort – rated by critics in the know as North America’s premier ski destination.

We provide the ultimate ski adventure that skiers dreams of. Whistler ski lessons and instruction that allow you to ski stronger than ever before. Experience more comfort and control. Approach the mountain with purpose, strategy, spontaneity and confidence. Dream of the best ski experience of your life – from the perfect first run to the après ski in the hopping and rocking Whistler Village. You’ll discover how easy it can be to live this experience.

CSIA level IV ski instructors and their team of experienced ski teachers provide Whistler ski lessons and instruction that will have you calling for more… from more steeps, more bumps, more ski mileage to more confidence and control on runs that suit your skiing ability and temperament. And avoid lift lines with ski school lift lines privileges while in ski class!

This ski area provides clients with a customized program that takes advantage of changing weather and snow conditions. We tailor each adventure to your special needs and wants, whether you wish a private, semi-private or group lesson. Each day brings different ski conditions – we anticipate that and provide you with a complete mountain experience.

Yellowknife: Where the Money Is

Yellowknife is known for its cultural heritage, its mining history, the Northern Lights and much more! Yellowknife gets its name from the First Nations Dogrib tribe who called it ‘S’ombake’ or ‘money place’. The Dene tribe made knives from the cooper deposits in the lake – this tribe are also known as the Yellowknives. There are eleven official languages in the Northwest territories, six of which are spoken in Yellowknife: Dene Suline, Dogrib, South and North Slavey, English, and French. 

It is the capital and the largest city on the Northwest Territories (NWT). It has a population of 20,000. The city of Yellowknife is situated approximately 250 miles or 400 kilometers south of the Arctic Circle on the shore of Great Slave Lake. Nearby are the Yellowknife River and Yellowknife Bay. 

Yellowknife History 

Yellowknife was founded in 1935 when gold was found on the north shore of Slave Lake. A tent city sprung up and the first gold brick was poured in 1938. Gold mining was suspended during World War II and resumed after war was over in 1946. The site of the town became so overcrowded they had to move the town and a new city was under construction by 1947. 

Yellowknife Facts 

Today the Old Town site is a base for float planes flying and out of Yellowknife. 
The municipal government developed over the 1940’s until 1970 when Yellowknife officially became a city. The gold rush was over by the 1990’s. Fortunately diamonds and oil were both found shortly thereafter and quickly have become the new major industries. 

Today diamonds, minerals and gas are the biggest industries. Yellowknife offers opportunities for employment investment and tourism. Today, Yellowknife is the Diamond Capital of North America. Known for its friendly and relaxed residents and it also enjoys a healthy tourism industry. 

Yellowknife Tourist Attractions 

There are many things to do in Yellowknife: wildlife viewing, boating, fishing, camping, and the famous Caribou Festival, held every year! On the longest day of the year, June 21st, there is a festival that lasts all night- Raven Mad Daze is when Yellowknifers go mad and party all night long! There is an air show in the summer as well as golf tournaments and the Snow King Winter Festival. 

Yellowknife has very large and active arts community. Performances are on all the year at the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre. During the summer there are festivals like Folk on the Rocks and the NorthWords Writers Festival. The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre document the history of Yellowknife. Yellowknife is also home to a guild of crafts as well as many galleries showcasing local artists. 

Beaconsfield Historic House

Beaconsfield House was constructed in 1877 for a wealthy shipbuilder and merchant and his family. Beaconsfield House is an enduring example of Victorian architecture, design and elegance. The home has twenty-five rooms, eight fireplaces. Beaconsfield was one of Charlottetown’s finest homes in its day. The house is open to the public for tours. They also host special events in the carriage house. A bookstore is also on site. 

Beaconsfield Historic House History 

The original owner of Beaconsfield house was James Peake, who was from Prince Edward Island. Beaconsfield House is a reflection of his wealth. It is modern for the era in which it was built, with all the latest conveniences of the 19th century: central heating, gas lighting, and running water. The Peake family entertained extensively and even had royalty as guests: Princess Louise, the daughter of Queen Victoria attended a party there. The economy in the 1880’s was tenuous and unstable. The collapse of the shipbuilding industry meant that James Peake lost his fortune. He lived in the house for only five years. 
The next owner was the eccentric Henry Cundall. He never married and lived at Beaconsfield with his two sisters. When Henry died in 1926, he left the house to the city of Charlottetown as a refuge for “friendless young women”. It was renamed Cundall House. Cundall House operated as a homeless shelter for four years. In the early 1930’s Cundall House became a dormitory for student nurses. In the 1970’s it was turned into a museum and renamed Beaconsfield House. 

Beaconsfield Historic House Location, Hours and Tours 

Beaconsfield house is located in Charlottetown Harbor. It has beautiful views of the water. A live guide will give you a tour of the house for a nominal fee. Admission includes being able to wander in and out of the rooms at will, there is no need to take the guided tour. 
The Museum also offers a variety of children’s events, dancing lessons, lectures, parties and it is always looking for members if you live in Charlottetown and want to volunteer. 

Beaconsfield Historic House is open year-round for tours. Hours of operation are subject to change, so call 902-368-6603 to confirm. 

Central Museum of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery or the RCA Museum

The Central Museum of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery or RCA Museum tells the story of Canadian Gunners.  The story of the Gunners of Canada is also the story of Canada’s national heritage. The aim of the Museum is to gather the elements of the story together in one location that is accessible and educational. 

This origin of Canadian Artillery dates back to the arrival of the early European explorers.  Jacques Cartier fired the first cannon in Canada in 1534.  The first Artillery Company formed in Canada was founded in Quebec in 1750. The Canadian Artillery was part of the colonial forces of King Louis XV of France.  Since then, residents of Canada served as Gunners in the armies of France and Britain. Gunner traditions were passed to the new nation as it fought in many wars. 

The first actual Canadian Batteries (groups of gunners) were formed in the 1855 Militia Act. The act authorized 12 batteries of field and foot artillery.  The units became Canada’s first military force upon confederation in 1867.  Four of these original batteries have serve since then and are now part of the Army Reserve. 
Canadian Artillery is organized into units called Batteries. A battery by definition has all of the personnel and equipment necessary to allow the guns to fight in battle. 

Museum Hours of Operation: 
All year around:  Monday – Friday:  10 am – 5 pm 
To book a guided tour call: (204) 765-3000 ext. 3570 

 Location: Building:  N-118, Patricia Road, CFB Shilo, Manitoba 

Museum Facilities: 
– Outdoor picnic area 
– The Museum is Wheelchair accessible 
– The Gift shop: selling accouterments, books, clothing, jewelry, clothes, novelties, military prints and retirement gifts.  

They also do engraving, framing, medal and have court mounting services. 

Beluga Whales and Polar Bear Viewing in Churchill Manitoba

Contrary to popular opinion, Churchill Manitoba is a four-season tourist destination. Historically, the north is known for the fur trade, military posts, and fishing. There are many polar bears as well as a large population of beluga whales. 57,000 of them to be exact. Churchill tourism is often overshadowed by the polar bear, but this is the best place to see beluga whales in the world. 

Churchill was one of the first northern fortresses. In 1731-1741, the Prince of Wales Fort was erected.  In 1782 the fort was captured by the French. The Europeans and all the trade goods were taken to France and an unsuccessful attempt was made to demolish the fort. Today the fort still stands and is a popular tourist destination. 

Here are some tour companies that offer Beluga and polar bear viewing: 

Sea North Tours – In operation since 1977, this family run business offers a variety of tours and packages.  See Beluga whales, the Prince of Wales Fort, Polar bears, Sea diving, Charters, Snorkeling and Kayak Tours. Also offered are Floe Ice tours, Zodiac charters, the Churchill River Estuary Tours and Kayaking tours. 

Churchill Wild – Churchill Wild is two wilderness eco-lodges on the Hudson Bay Coast.  Each lodge is perfectly situated near a wide variety of wildlife. A unique polar bear, beluga whale and northern lights viewing luxury destination! 

Lazy Bear Lodge – The Lazy Bear Lodge offers the accommodations in log buildings and excellent service of a family-owned lodge. Kayak tours, polar bear viewing tours, and more. Located on Churchill’s main street. Offers: Dog sled tours, beluga whale tours, wilderness expeditions, kayaking snorkeling, and helicopter tours. 

Manitoba Mountain Ranges

The three dominant mountain ranges in Manitoba include Duck Mountain, the Pembina Mountains, and the Porcupine Mountains. The mountains of Manitoba encompass natural beauty, tourist attractions, resorts, provincial parks, and many recreational activities. This is an incredible place to visit if you’re in the area and love the outdoors. 

Duck Mountain Range
The Duck Mountain Range is located in Western Manitoba and stretches along the north-south Saskatchewan border. The highest point is Baldy Mountain near Dauphin, which reaches to 2,727 feet. Duck Mountain Provincial Park is located within the range and features beautiful scenery, tranquil Madge Lake, aspen forests, beaches, campgrounds, and fishing. 

The Pembina Mountains
The Pembina Mountains are located in Southern Manitoba and extend to Assiniboine River and the North Dakota border. The highest point is 2,000 feet. 

The Porcupine Mountains
The Porcupine Mountain Range is located in Western and Central Manitoba extending along the Saskatchewan border. The highest point is Hart Mountain near Swan River which rises to 2,700 feet. This area includes divers’ habitats ranging from prairies to glacier valleys to plateaus, and is well known for its dense forests. 

West Edmonton Mall

West Edmonton Mall is the World’s largest entertainment and shopping complex! Visit the World Water Park which features a giant wave pool, and a Bungee Jumping venue (the only indoor bungee in the world!); Check out Galaxyland Amusement Park, which is a park full of exhilarating rides; Skate on the Ice Palace – an indoor skating rink at the center of the mall that is frequented by the Oilers National Hockey Team; Entertain the whole family at West Edmonton Mall’s Adventure Golf park; Go on a magical Deep Sea Adventure where you get to ride in real submarines; or interact with dolphins in a 20 minute dolphin show! There’s almost too much to do here, making it a wonderful option for indoor, bad-weather-friendly travel. 

West Edmonton Mall Stores, Theatres and Entertainment 

West Edmonton Mall features over 800 stores, restaurants and attractions, which will surpass all your shopping needs. The mall includes exclusive boutiques and shops, as well as a SilverCity Theatre, Playdium, and an IMAX 3D theatre. 

West Edmonton Mall Hotels 

After a fun-filled day of entertainment and shopping, stay at one of the 2 hotels within West Edmonton Mall. Stay at the 4-star Fantasyland Hotel and experience one of the 118 theme rooms including an African Safari! Relax at the West Edmonton Mall Inn, which features comfort and value. You may also want to check out the Argyll Plaza Hotel, which is a short drive from West Edmonton Mall, and is centrally located. 
This is definitely a tourist attraction not to miss! It’s a perfect stop during a family vacation, couples, or even locals – it’s one of the city’s top tourism spots! Visit the nearby restaurants, hotels and accommodations suitable for all tastes and group sizes. For evening entertainment visit one of the city’s nightclubs, pubs or lounge destinations. For more listings and tourist information check out the Yellow Pages. It may be helpful to find a map to West Edmonton Mall, in addition to a map of the actual mall, so that you don’t get lost in the city! 

The Calgary Stampede: Western Values

The Calgary Stampede is an integral part of the history of tourism in Canada. It dates back to 1886 when the first Calgary Exhibition took place. At that time Calgary was a small town and home to 500 people. The exhibition was sponsored by the Calgary and District Agricultural Society and official land was purchased in 1888 from The Dominion of Canada. The original site was 94 acres and located in Southeast Calgary and was christened Victoria Park in 1889. A racetrack, cattle sheds were added as agricultural events became more popular. 

Events at The Calgary Stampede 

There are many events to take in during the ten-day Stampede. The Stampede Casino offers dining as well as games and there is a small theatre that hosts live entertainment, corporate events, and parties. The Stampede Agriculture exhibition features everything from the Annual Bull Sale and Horseshoe Competition to the Dairy Exhibition, farm tours, metal art and light horse presentations. The Stampede Agriculture events are integral in connecting urban and rural communities. 

The Grandstand Show is the highlight of the Stampede and sells out, so be sure and buy tickets early. There are value events for families, many free events and be sure and head downtown to start your day with a big breakfast at Rope Square! 

Calgary Stampede History 

The Calgary Stampede as a separate outdoor event featuring rodeo events was inaugurated in 1912. Back then it was called, “Frontier Days and Cowboy Championship Contest”. Guy Weadick, an American trick roper, gathered four investors with the intention of putting on a world class rodeo event. Indeed, the first Stampede was a roaring success with over 100,000 spectators and over $20,000 in prize money. In 1923 both events were combined. Guy moved to Calgary so that he could work on the Stampede year-round. 

In 1954, 15 additional acres were purchased from the city to make the site 114 acres. The grounds have added another racetrack, a larger exhibition hall, and a curling rink. With the 1988 Olympic Games coming to Calgary, the Saddledome and The Roundup Centre were added to the site. In the last decade more land has been added as well as a fifteen-year $550 million dollar package of projects to increase and expand the Stampede. 

Today, the Stampede is world famous and has over $1,000,000 of prize money and approximately 1.2 million spectators during its 10-day run every July.  The parade alone has 350,000 spectators and starts the Stampede every year. The Stampede is unique in that is a volunteer based, not for profit local organization dedicated to promoting western heritage and values. There are year-round facilities and events with all revenue invested back into the organization.