A lifetime is not enough to cover the length and breadth of Canada. Still, a holiday in Canada should definitely be on your bucket list. With an area of 10 million square kilometres, Canada is the second largest country in the world. The country boasts of different landscapes including beautiful mountain ranges, vibrant cities, amazing national parks, picturesque beaches and lot more. While a quick search online will give you all the details of the places you must visit in Canada, not many know that the country has some unique places that are not very popular but worth the visit. Here, we bring to you 5 of Canada’s hidden gems that would surely take your breath away.
1.Athabasca Sand Dunes, Saskatchewan
When it is easy to imagine mountains and beaches in Canada, you would be surprised to know that the country is home to the largest sand dunes in North America. Located along the south shore of Lake Athabasca, the Athabasca Sand Dunes are the biggest active sand dunes in the North American continent, and one of the top things to do in Saskatchewan. Formed some 8000 years ago during the end of the last glacial period, the sand dunes of Athabasca is a one-of-a-kind ecosystem. As the place is home to a unique phenomenon, the government has taken extra care to protect it by declaring the areas as the Athabasca Sand Dunes Provincial Wilderness Park.
While the place is something you would never see anywhere in Canada, you must visit the place only if you are a hardcore adventurer and are interested in a thrilling experience. To begin with, you can only reach this place through float plane. It is best to travel in groups and if you are a lone traveller, you need to know about the potential dangers. While the sand dunes are the most interesting part of the visit, the place is also home to rare plants, species that are only found in this area. Hiking and camping at the Athabasca Sand Dunes would be an interesting part of your Canada tour. However, it is best to book a guided tour so that you can enjoy the place in a safe manner.
2.Nahanni National Park, Northwest Territories
Banff National Park is what most people go for during their trip to Canada. But if you want to enjoy the untouched beauty of nature without all the commercialization and crowd, the Nahanni National Park in the Northwest Territories is the place you need to visit. Resplendent with huge mountains, lakes, rivers, canoes and plateaus, this place is nothing less than a paradise. The best feature of the Nahanni National Park is definitely the Virginia Falls, which is double the size of Niagara Falls. The sight and the sound of the water are truly spellbinding.
Apart from the waterfalls, this 4700 sq.km national park is a haven for adventure enthusiasts. Right from fishing to canoeing, there are a number of things to do in this place. If water activities do not excite you, there are some great mountain peaks where you can go hiking and camping. While the place overflows with natural beauty, it is also home to more than 42 species of mammals including black bears, grizzly bears, trumpeter swans, mountain caribou, upland sandpipers. The place also has around 180 bird species. You can spend days at the Nahannii National Park without getting bored. While exploring the national park, one must definitely camp at the Fairie Meadow for its lush green, breathtaking beauty.There are so many impressive things to do here that you can spend days at the Nahannii National Park without getting bored.
3.Fairview Lawn Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia
The tragedy of Titanic is something that haunts the world even today, after more than 100 years. If you want to pay your respect to those who lost their lives in this accident, the Fairview Lawn Cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is a place you have to visit. This is where 121 victims of the tragedy were buried. Most graves have a small gray granite marker with the names and date of death inscribed in it. However, one-third of the graves are unidentified and the tombstones only mark a number and the date of death. Accidentally designed to resemble the hull of a ship, visiting the place can be a truly heartbreaking experience. One of the most disheartening is the grave of a toddler who lost his life during the tragedy. He was not identified till 2007 (it was later found to be the grave of 19 month old toddler who perished along with his entire family) and his tombstone was known as “The Unknown Child”. Although a visit to this graveyard is no walk in the park, it is a memory of one of the most poignant experience in history and hence worth a visit.
4.Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
An archipelago off the British Columbia Coast, the Haida Gwaii is endowed with gorgeous beaches, lush rainforests, national parks, endemic wildlife, and much more. While sightseeing, adventurous activities, water sports, festivals, etc. are some of the attractions of Haida Gwaii, the main highlight is definitely the culture of the place. The people of Haida Gwaii are said to have lived in the island for more than 13000 years and are believed to be the first inhabitants of Canada. With so many beautiful places to see and interesting things to do, a trip to this hidden gem of Canada would be nothing less than magical.
One of the major attractions of the place is the Gwaii Haanas National Park where you can see unique species of flora and fauna, due to which the island is known as Canada’s Galapagos. On Haida Gwaii, you would get to see large rain forests inhabited by bears, bald eagles, etc. while the marine species include whales, sea lions, orcas, right whales, sea otters, etc. There are several things to do here, some of which include camping, hiking, bear watching, fishing, bird watching, boating and sailing. There are art galleries, historic and heritage sites and museums to explore. Apart from this, the place also hosts some interesting festivals and events. With so much to see and do, a week long holiday in Haida Gwaii would be both interesting and exciting.
5.Crooked Bush, Saskatchewan
Another unique phenomenon located in Saskatchewan is that of the Crooked Bush. It is a three acre grove of aspen trees! What makes it different from the rest is that the trees have grown in a crooked way. This is something that cannot be seen anywhere else in the country. There have been lot of theories that believe the crookedness of the trees to paranormal activities. The reason that locals believe to be true is because cattle refuse to go near the place. However, scientific study attributes the phenomenon to a rare genetic mutation. As the trees are rare, several steps have been taken to preserve them. A wooden boardwalk has been installed through the grove to ensure that people do not touch or disturb the trees. Visitors should refrain from touching, climbing or engraving their names on the branches of these unique aspen trees. While the drive to the Crooked Bush in Saskatchewan may seem to be a waste of time, once you reach the place you would realise that the place is really worth the visit.
While exploring the hidden gems of Canada would definitely add more fervour to your holiday in Canada, it can be a little tiring too. However, you really need not worry as you would find some of the best spa resorts in Canada where you can relax and rejuvenate. After a day or days of exploring a national park or a unique place, a day at the spa would help to relax your body and mind. With Canada offering you so many amazing places to see, do not delay any more and get ready for a fabulous holiday in this remarkable country in the North American continent.