Get ready for adventure—we have six all-Canadian outdoorsy escapades to suit every skill level:
Whistler’s Via Ferrata
It’s the jungle gym you’ve dreamed of: a system of metal rungs, cables and ladders stretching skyward on a 300-metre cliff atop British Columbia’s scenic Whistler Mountain. After a short hike from the Roundhouse Lodge, your guide will get you clipped-in and climbing this via ferrata, or “iron road,” to the mountain summit—with safety paramount—even getting slightly inverted on an exposed cliff-face with terra firma hundreds of metres below. Revel in Coast Range vistas, learn about local glaciers in recession and conquer your acrophobia on this white-knuckle, mini-mountaineering escapade. (Plus, the chairlift-accessed hiking on both Whistler and Blackcomb is second-to-none.)
The Gentlest Ride
One of the loveliest cycle tours in the country is now even simpler. Let Monashee Adventures provide the bike, helmet, water, snacks and a drop-off on a plateau above Kelowna, BC. Get ready to pedal—you’ll spend the next eight hours cruising the Kettle Valley Rail Trail, a former rail-line turned multi-use path. The day’s ride is long but easy: flat for the first 35 kilometres and finishing with 40 kilometres of two per cent downhill grade. Pause at a winery on the Naramata Bench; it’s lakeside cycling at its finest. Your shuttle awaits near Penticton, ready to scoot you back to Kelowna for a well-needed snooze. (Or more wine.)
Alberta’s Red Deer River, from Stettler to Drumheller, offers an accessible four-day canoe trip that meanders through thousands of years of human history and millions of years of geology. View the site where explorer Anthony Henday first crossed the Red Deer River in 1754; uncover Cree history at Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park; gaze over the otherworldly badlands. In late July through September, water levels are low, random camping is allowed on all shorelines and the Southern Alberta climate is pleasantly warm and arid.
Lake Superior Lighthouse
Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior Inc. restored Porphyry Point Lightstation, east of Thunder Bay, Ontario, and opened it for overnight guests last summer. Access is by sail or powerboat, floatplane or kayak; rooms are nestled within the lightkeeper’s home, or tent onsite. The not-for-profit CLLS hopes to restore more stations along Lake Superior’s Lighthouse Trail, and, for 2016, will host an artist in residence at Porphyry.
Cost: Varies/By donation/membership
Quebec’s Crazy Sphairs
Camp in a transparent dome with an IMAX-worthy view of Baskatong Reservoir and the infinite starry sky. Set in Quebec’s lovely Laurentians, at Le Village Windigo, “la Sphairs” are clear-plastic bubbles crafted into fully equipped sleeping units that offer a unique way to crash under the constellations. Onsite daytime activities include cycling, hiking and laid-back beach time. The latter is popular, as you’ll be up late, cozy in a duvet and marvelling at the moonlight.
Cost: From $165
Grand Manan Kayak
One word sums up New Brunswick’s Grand Manan Island: authentic. Marking the mouth of the Bay of Fundy and long-known as a lobster-fishing mecca, Grand Manan is nowadays attracting ecotourism. Adventure High is the sole kayak tour-operator on the island, offering half-day, full-day and multi-day guided paddles. Cruise past historic Swallowtail Lighthouse, get up-close with sardine weirs in operation for generations and maybe spot a minke whale or two. The famous Fundy tides dramatically change the seascape every six hours, offering a new perspective with every paddle.
Cost: From $25