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Whale watching season in the Pacific Northwest is in full swing! (Your best chance of seeing whales is from April to September.) If you find yourself in British Columbia this summer, keep an eye out for fins.
If you like luxury and remote wilderness, Sonora Resort in the Discovery Islands of British Columbia is an incredible pocket of the Pacific Northwest. Reached only via private helicopter, sea plane or water taxi, it takes some effort to get to this island of unspoiled natural beauty. It’s also expensive — in high season, room rates start at $895 per night — but includes a slew of amenities. Super fancy meals (from wickedly talented executive chef Terry Pichor and his staff), booze, Wi-Fi, international calling, mineral pools, a sauna and a 9-hole putting green are among the complimentary offerings.
Snack Travel / Duty-Free Shopping / Canada Travel / YYZ / Airports / Shopping Travel / Food Travel / → All Tags
International travel isn't just about seeing foreign lands and experiencing other cultures. It's also about sampling the very best snacks and candies that another country has to offer. (Everyone speaks the international language of "sweet tooth.") Duty-free airport shops are among the best places to score cool confections with flavors you'll want on your taste buds as soon as you've unpacked. In fact, our recent trip to Canada yielded some yummy treats worth bringing home for friends — with some extras saved for yourself, of course.
While at Toronto's Pearson International Airport, we were scanning the maple syrup-stocked shelves when we came across a series of boxes that were beautifully decorated with various Canadian landscapes and nature photographs. Aptly named Tastefully Canadian, this brand of treats incorporates tastes that reflect the world's fourth largest country from coast to coast — and yes, it definitely sneaks in some maple flavors here and there.
Here are a few specific boxed treats that we'd recommend stocking up on before you catch your flight home. With them in your suitcase — and later in your mouth — you'll be sure to leave with sweet memories of your time in Canada.
Need to give your credit card a workout? Street-level shops only scratch the surface of what you can find in Toronto, Canada's most populous city. Just below the sidewalk is PATH, an elaborate network of pedestrian tunnels that the Guinness Book of World Records considers the world's largest underground shopping complex. There are over 4 million-square feet boasting about 1200 retailers and services: everything from clothing shops to food courts, mall-like services to entertainment venues.
PATH links together dozens of office buildings, several subway stations (including Union Station), hotels and other points of entry. Once you head down into the maze-like sprawl, the corridors open up to shopping, food courts, services and entertainment totaling 18 miles of retail therapy. And from the Hockey Hall of Fame to the iconic CN Tower, PATH even paves the way to many of Toronto's best tourist attractions. Plus, since its hallways link downtown buildings in a weather-free and climate controlled environment, this subterranean shopping world is especially ideal when Mother Nature doesn't care to cooperate with the day-to-day lives of locals.
Naturally, being underground might make it more difficult to find your directional orientation. Fear not. Signs are color-coded and act as a compass. Blue for North, yellow for East, red for South and orange for West.
Your only challenge is choosing where to start.
[Photo: Rayme Gorniak/Jaunted]
Train Travel / Canada Travel / Rocky Mountaineer / Banff Travel / Banff National Park / Vancouver Travel / Jasper Travel / → All Tags
Last week, we took a ride across Western Canada from Vancouver to Banff on board one of Canada's few long-haul scenic train options, the Rocky Mountaineer. It was the first ride of the 2015 season, made even more special by the fact that the company is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Step inside with us for a breakdown of what Rocky Mountaineer has to offer as well as insight into what you can expect from the experience.
If you’ve spent any time north of the border, you know that Canada has no shortage of absolutely breathtaking parks. There’s Banff National Park in Alberta, Saguenay-St. Lawrence in Québec and Mount Revelstoke and Glacier in British Columbia – to name a few.
Parks Canada has stepped up the park-going experience for visitors with its Parks Canada’s Red Chair Experience. To encourage outdoor enthusiasts to get out and explore, they’ve placed bright red recycled Adirondack chairs in the best places throughout the country’s parks. (Made in Canada, of course.) Some are located in iconic standout spots; others are staff picks hidden in hard-to-find places. Think Lake Minnewanka in Banff and Takkakaw Falls in Yoho.
If you don’t like the thrill of a scavenger hunt, you can print out a map from the Parks Canada website or use the GPS coordinates listed on the site to help sleuth the red chairs.
Snapshots / Train Travel / Canada Travel / Rocky Mountaineer / Banff Travel / Vancouver Travel / Jasper Travel / → All Tags
The Gold Leaf observation car on the Rocky Mountaineer
Western Canada, specifically British Columbia and Alberta, is mostly comprised of wilderness and small, isolated mountain towns. The major bullet points like Kamloops, Revelstoke, Jasper, and Banff might be well known, but it's the scenery in between - typically tough to access for the general traveler - that does most of the talking.
As far as scenic passenger trains go, the Rocky Mountaineer is Canada’s most luxurious line. Contrary to the government-funded VIA Rail, which features sleeper cars and does a lot of its travel in the dark, the Rocky Mountaineer travels only during the day, stopping in "ports" along the way and putting its passengers up in hotels.
These Italian Ferradini heels were worn by Elton John in the early 70s
Men sporting high heels out on the town may not be a regular sighting today, but a new exhibit upcoming at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto wants to show the public that there was a time where men too stood a few inches taller.
Standing Tall: The Curious History of Men in Heels opens May 8th, and attempts "to challenge preconceived notions about who wears heels and why." The 1970s saw many fashionable men reintroducing heels into their wardrobes, and the museum says that men have been wearing high heels for the past 400 years, everyone "from privileged rulers to hyper-sexualized rock stars." Intended to be provocative, the exhibition takes you through the history of men in heels from the early 1600s to today and goes into the specific use and meaning of heeled footwear worn by men.
The last time an Amtrak train ran between Vermont and Montreal was in 1995. Now, 20 years later, the whistle is a step closer to sounding off once again. According to reports, "a significant hurdle" was cleared Monday "when the United States and Canada signed an agreement allowing the creation of a U.S. Customs facility in Montreal."
Now, the agreement isn't specifically one made for Amtrak and the aforementioned route. The new customs procedures will make transporting anything - whether it's people or goods - more streamlined when it comes to crossing the border. That said, it will no doubt have a large impact on train travel and the services provided between the two countries.
Lookalike Cities / Canada Travel / Calgary Travel / Banff National Park / Denver Travel / Colorado Travel / Alberta Travel / → All Tags
Calgary in Alberta, Canada
As your plane descends to land at Calgary International Airport, you will notice the city's modest skyline is backdropped by the Rocky Mountains. You can see that the downtown skyscraper area is quite small as compared to other metropolitan areas, and that the city seems to go out - not up - in all directions from the center.
At first glance, our initial thought was how much Calgary reminded us of our hometown of Denver. The Mile High City also sports a small downtown with sprawling suburbs and, of course, that same Rocky Mountain range hovering in the distance. Upon closer inspection, it turns out that these similiarities are not just on the surface. Calgary and Denver share a similar vibe, the feel of a mountain town that's quickly transitioning into a more traditional metropoliatain area.
Banff National Park / Ski Travel / Canada Travel / Adventure Travel / Ski Resorts / Banff Travel / → All Tags
View of North American chairlift at Norquay
Alberta's Banff National Park has three ski areas within its borders, all within a 45-minute drive of each other. We took a look at the views you can expect from each of them yesterday, but what else differentiates them? Below, we break down the Norquay, Sunshine, and Lake Louise ski areas:
Wish You Were Here / Banff National Park / Ski Travel / Canada Travel / Adventure Travel / → All Tags
View of the North American Chairlift at Mt. Norquay Ski Area
Last week, we wrote that now is a great time to travel to Canada thanks to a favorable exchange rate for Americans. Taking our own advice, we shot up north of the border to Banff National Park outside of Calgary in Alberta. The northern part of the Rocky Mountain chain is known for its dramatic, jagged, glacier-carved peaks that shoot straight up from the sprawling, pine-covered valley floor.
Summer is the primetime season to explore its infamous alpine lakes - such as Moraine - but it is also an underestimated and often overlooked ski destination. Banff has three ski areas inside its borders, all within a 45-minute drive of each other: Norquay, Sunshine, and Lake Louise.