If you’ve visited canadianbucktlist.com before, you’ll probably notice some dramatic changes this month. The site has been fully re-designed, updated, and opened up so that you no longer require the Book Code to unlock all the experiences. Ravaged by the pandemic, Canadian tourism needs all the support it can get. Although I’m constantly updating information about each experience, the turmoil of the COVID-19 has been felt from the biggest bucket list attractions to the smallest tour operator. Unfortunately, not everyone has been able to weather the storm, and some Bucket List experiences may no longer be offered or in existence. Hopefully they’ll be able to restart and recharge, or someone else will come along and pick up the mantle. These are, after all, the most unique experiences Canada has to offer.
I’ve started writing a bi-weekly online column for Canadian Geographic Travel called Bucket Listed. If you’re unfamiliar with Can Geo Travel, you shouldn’t be. “Canadian Geographic Travel is your go-to source for inspiring your next journey, wherever it may be. With our superb storytelling, stunning photography and gorgeous maps, we’ll take you across Canada and around the world, helping you discover unforgettable travel experiences, from incredible boutique hotels and the finest food and drink to remote adventures and the best urban escapes.” It’s an illustrious publication with a storied history and incredible organization committed to Canada’s landscape, people, wildlife and culture.
You can read my inaugural column here; why your travel plans should include an Indigenous experience; my celebration of Canada from an immigrant’s perspective; and my latest column, which asks: Is it Safe to Travel Again? To accompany my column, Can Geo commissioned the fantastic illustrator Robert Carter to create my steely-eyed portrait. Gazing yonder in a snow storm, hands impervious to cold, I’m clearly taking notes of something new to add to the national Bucket List!
Eagle-eyed visitors will also notice there are now advertisements on the site, breaking with a tradition because someone has to pay for this fantastic re-design. Hopefully, our AI robot overseers will serve up ads that will be of value, as opposed to snake oil for erectile dysfunction. Speaking of which, I once visited a restaurant in Taiwan that served snake bile for that very purpose, but I digress. I’m also delighted to continue working with Great Canadian Trails, a wonderful agency based out of Ottawa committed to showing everyone that active outdoor adventure – biking, hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing etc – is a lot more accessible than you think. You don’t need to be a hardcore backcountry explorer to do this stuff, you just need a sense of adventure!
Although things are opening up and vaccinated Canadians can now travel around the country (soon to be joined by international travellers too) I’ve kept my summer plans local. Next month I’ll report back on a trip to Vancouver Island to discover a caving adventure. Having spelunked on four continents, a fun cave excursion has long been a big dark hole in my Canadian Bucket List. I’ll also be taking my dinosaur mad son fossil hunting in Courtney, and checking out the brand new Malahat Skywalk. Just as some experiences have unfortunately fallen away during the pandemic, others have arisen. Bucket Lists are like whack-a-mole: you tick one thing off the top, and three more pop up at the bottom.