B.U.T. As in, I’d love to, but. I’ve always wanted to do that but. It’s my dream but. Many a grand adventure has been sunk by the power of but. It has butted its ugly head into the most well meaning of excursions. There’s so many incredible things to do and see in this country:
BUT I DON’T HAVE THE TIME
Don’t have a week or two to explore the High Arctic or drive the Trans-Labrador Highway? Spend an afternoon visiting the Diefenbunker outside of Ottawa. The former nuclear war shelter is now a bone-rattling underground cold war museum. Aboveground, take an afternoon hike or gondola up the mountains in BC’s Squamish, a scenic bike ride around St-Andrews-on-the-Sea, or the mysterious Hermetic Code tour in Winnipeg’s Legislature. A few hours are all it takes to see the world in a different way.
BUT I DON’T DO SCARY THINGS
Thrillseekers, adventurer and daredevils can skip this one. The rest of us can drink wine and gaze out the window on Rocky Mountaineer’s smooth passage between Vancouver and Banff. Give a standing ovation at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival , stroll around the colourful clapboard houses of Nova Scotia’s Lunenburg, or lose yourself in Toronto and Ottawa’s finest museums. Easy does it.
BUT IT’S TOO EXPENSIVE
There’s definitely some pricey items on the Canadian bucket list, but plenty of cheap ones too. It’s free-as-air to walk around Vancouver’s Stanley Park Seawall, or float in Saskatchewan’s own Dead Sea, Little Manitou Lake. Many of the performances in Montreal’s great festivals are free, and if you’re up north, sit back and enjoy the no-charge Northern Lights (assuming they come out to play). Many of Canada’s best experiences are found in our beautiful, and affordable, national and provincial parks.
BUT I DON’T HAVE ANY EXPERIENCE
Having travelled over 100 countries, I get to try everything, but don’t get very good at anything. Without training or skill, I still managed to cross-country ski to Alberta’s rustic Skoki Lodge, catch and release giant catfish or northern pike on the Winnipeg River, zipline over a waterfall in Grand Falls, and snorkel with hundreds of thousands of salmon off Vancouver Island. We’ve all got the beginner’s touch.
BUT IT ALL LOOKS THE SAME
Looking for a different sort of hotel? Watch Atlantic storms batter the Quirpon Island lighthouse hotel in Newfoundland’s, or spend a night in a remote teepee surrounded by wild bison in Prince Albert National Park. Lock yourself into a former prison cell in Ottawa’s spooky jail hostel, or bundle up to survive a night in Quebec City’s sparkling Ice Hotel. Turn down service not available.
BUT I’M TOO TIRED
Tick off these Bucket List experiences on your back. Count satellites in one of Canada’s Dark Sky Preserves, or spend a warm afternoon floating down the Penticton River Channel in a rubber tube. Spread out a blanket for Winnipeg’s annual Ballet in the Park and Folk Festival. The views change every second from your bunk aboard VIA Rail’s 4-day Canadian journey between Vancouver and Toronto. You’re going to have to get up eventually, but the dining car is just steps away.
BUT IT’S TOO BORING
Don’t think too hard about surviving three minutes in a -110C cold sauna, walking headfirst off a cliff, drinking a cocktail with a severed human toe, swallowing fried prairie oysters or surrounding yourself with hundreds of thousands of snakes. Just some of the quirkier items on the Canadian Bucket List you’ll be talking about for decades.
BUT I’M HUNGRY
Please sir, can I have some more? Relish Canada’s world-class wining and dining in BC’s Okanagan or Ontario’s Niagara. Find the best-smoked meat sandwich in Montreal (tip: there are no losers), or drown in the ducky decadence of Au Pied de Cochon’s fois gras poutine. There’s always room for another oyster or mussel in Prince Edward Island, and succulent lobster tails with your name on it in Nova Scotia. Go ahead, you deserve it.
Click on some of the links above to get started, or you can contact Great Canadian Trails who offer bucket list itineraries to many of the greatest outdoor wonders of Canada. No more excuses!