Canada offers opportunities aplenty to marvel at the wonder of Mother Nature; with dense forests, frozen tundra, and epic deserts all in one place. The wide open spaces and remote locations mean that some of the most breathtaking sights are underrated by the masses. However, this also means that there are fewer crowds. If you are heading to Canada on holiday, and looking for the top five hidden gems that Canada has to offer, read on for our quick guide to some of our favourites. The Canadian people are famed for being polite and helpful, too, of course – in his blog for 1Cover, Ben Groundwater says travellers are sure to find help if they’re ever caught staring at a map looking lost – so you’ll be sure to receive more secret tips from the locals once you’re there!
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Quittinirpaaq National Park is located in the north-east of Canada and is the country’s second largest national park. A truly remote location that’s home to wolves, lemmings, seals, polar bears, walrus and more, the name translates to ‘top of the world’. The area does have warden stations, but there are minimal facilities. Plus, this park is a challenge to get to – it’s definitely for the more adventurous of explorers! However, the views are certainly worth the effort. It’s a winter wonderland with rugged peaks, glaciers, tundra and fjords. When you consider that the park only received 17 visitors in 2016, this remote area of picturesque wilderness offers an extreme glimpse of the country’s beauty and it has to be one of the best kept secrets of Canada.
2) Kakabeka Falls, Ontario
Whilst these beautiful waterfalls do not quite match up to the dizzy heights of Niagara Falls, Kakabeka Falls at Thunder Bay are certainly worth a visit. The two viewing platforms also provide the perfect spot to snap an Insta-worthy selfie or to capture the water cascading over the rocks and into the canyon below. There are also excellent hiking trails nearby if you are feeling active.
The Kakabeka Falls are fairly easy to find and accessible by road, but they have not had the same commercial influence as the more popular waterfalls in the region. Check out the Natural Heritage Education Program located at the Visitor Centre to find out more about the history of the location.
3) Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia
Sky Hammock, located in Clayoquot Sound in British Columbia, is a secret like no other. Once the location for a huge protest known as the War of the Woods, this area is a magical place to relax and unwind. The series of treetop hammocks are an exhilarating place to enjoy panoramic vistas of the dense forest and ocean beyond. It’s definitely recommended that you consider booking a local guide, as it is so easy to miss the highlights of this remote wilderness. The nets have been designed to be kind to the environment, but the climb to the top is not for the faint-hearted. If you are looking for somewhere to stay in the area, the nearby Clayoquot Wilderness Resorts takes glamping to the next level.
4) Little Manitou Lake, Saskatchewan
Located around 120 km from Saskatoon in Saskatchewan, the Little Manitou Lake is known as the Dead Sea of Canada. With salt levels so high that it is impossible to sink, you can lay back and float across the beautifully scenic river. The nearby springs resort provides the perfect spot for an after-swim meal, and the local spa provides even more opportunities to pamper. The soothing waters of the lake are reported to have magical healing properties, with high levels of sodium, magnesium and potassium salts and natural minerals. This is also an excellent spot for stargazing for any budding astronomers out there.
In his blog for 1Cover, Ben Groundwater recommends going to Canada in the summer, and this is definitely the best time to visit this lake.
5) Athabasca Sand Dunes, Saskatchewan
Although we might associate hidden gems of Canada with an escape to the wilderness, the Athabasca Sand Dunes offer a whole new landscape. This unique geographical land feature is the most northerly active sand dune formation on the planet. Divided into three different zones in order to protect the environment, the park is open all year round, with guided tours available. The dunes are accessible by float plane from Uranium City, Stony Rapids and Fond du Lac, and it is important to note that they are only recommended for the more experienced of adventurers.
Opening photo by Bruno Soares on Unsplash