Canada is a large country with ample wilderness to explore, ancient forests to survey, mammals to discover, and native peoples artifacts to appreciate. The country offers many opportunities both for self-discovery as well as quality family time.
Canadian ecotourism can be placed into two categories: natural ecotourism and ecotourism focusing on the arts and cultures of local indigenous peoples. Regardless of the time of year you visit though, there are many activities that fully take in the natural scenery of cliffs, mountains, and wildlife whether it be by bike, kayak, or on foot.
Some examples of eco-lodges that are built with sustainable materials and maintain a focus on providing a natural experience to visitors are Aurum Lodge in Alberta and Marten River Lodge in Northern Ontario. Some of Canada’s top natural attractions include:
- Canadian Rockies – this breathtaking mountain chain runs from the U.S. border to the northern end of British Columbia. Unlike the American Rocky Mountains, the Canadian Rockies are heavily glaciated and sharply pointed with wide, U-shaped valleys. One can take the train through the Rockies or drive through the Banff and Jasper National Parks. Some of the more notable lakes along the way are Lake Louise and Moraine Lake.
- Niagara Falls – one of the truly natural wonders of the world, Niagara Falls not only offers the requisite boating expeditions but plenty of biking, hiking, birding and fishing opportunities all in one compact area.
- Cabot Trail – this 120 mile trail through Nova Scotia is actually a scenic drive or bike trail carved into the side of the mountains to the plateau of Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Observe whales and bald eagles or for a different view, kayak your way through the coastline.
- Baffin Island – vast scenery with occasional Inuit villages, Canada’s largest island offers an abundance of wildlife including walrus, caribou, whale, polar bear, arctic fox, and seals. Try your hand at dog sledding or go on a camping tour the deep fjords and watch the Aurora Borealis.
- Bay of Fundy – stretching between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, this Bay has the highest tides in the world. As it rises and falls, watch for whales, dolphins, porpoises and seals. There are also bike and hiking trails and kayaking tours available.
Although bound by the willingness to promote quality attractions, Canada has a very disparate ecotourism industry as each individual province has its own trade association, sustainable business standards, traditions and challenges. Nonetheless, the Canadian government has set aside millions of land toward developing more national parks and wildlife areas. In addition, the government has been working with various Northern European countries to develop tools, resources, guidelines and best practices for developing a thriving and responsible ecotourism industry. However you choose to tackle this vast country, you will not be disappointed.
Check out our other eco-certified trips through North America!