By Terri Mason
I was standing in line outside of the post office the other day, waiting to go in and check for mail. I overheard a friend telling his buddy that “if it weren’t for this lockdown, I’d have wintered in Mexico, then driven home via the West Coast, stopping in the Okanagan Valley along the way. I can’t do it this year,” he continued. “But I’m damn sure doing it next year.”
So in this time of upheaval and uncertainty, this is all we can do; make plans for the future and hope for the best.
The far-flung trips might not be happening anytime soon, but we can finally explore our own province without apology. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a bunch of sites that work hard to give you and your family a safe and peaceful vacation.
Life is fleeting; life is uncertain, so the best we can do is wash our hands, roll the dice — and get busy living.
Where Prairie Meets the Mountains
When it comes to natural sites, Alberta has it all. On the far West are the foothills and the famed Rocky Mountains. To the North are the boreal forests and the last herd of truly wild bison; the East features the vast open sky over the undulating prairie and thousands of dinosaur remains; the South hosts a bit of it all.
Alberta is called Wild Rose Country, named after the perennial rose bush whose delicate pink blooms grace the province each spring. It’s this hardiness that so aptly defines the province and her people. This place is also home to the most UNESCO sites known the world over and treasured spots known to only a few.
Take a trip off of the main highways and seek the roads less travelled. Find your treasured spot high in the mountains or somewhere under the immense Western sky. Welcome to Alberta, where the prairie meets the mountains.
Welcome to Alberta. Click here for points of interest and their websites
Ocean Sands to Mountain Peaks
Accurately billed as Beautiful British Columbia, visitors can travel from the shores of the Pacific Ocean to the highest mountain peak in this province and enjoy a million sites along the way.
This province is where Orca whales rise in the Pacific, wild salmon make their run to ancient breeding grounds, white Kermode spirit bears fish in the streams, an estuary is set aside just for grizzlies, and a mosaic of people ranging from the ancient First Nations cultures to old families of miners, loggers, and ranchers call this wild country home.
B.C. is high plains country filled with hidden lakes and glaciers and temperate to arid landscapes of an ecosystem that defies the imagination. This land is a traditional gathering place and one of great beauty.
Welcome to British Columbia. Click here for points of interest and their websites
Pure Prairie League
For those that don’t travel much, this will shock you; Saskatchewan is called the “province of 100,000 lakes.” This place is a treat for anyone with a love of canoeing, angling, and swimming, which can all be enjoyed on the numerous lakes — especially as the province is also Canada’s sunniest.
If you never leave the Trans Canada highway, the province looks flat, but head north, or head south, and that’s where the landscape swiftly changes to boreal forests or native grasses. Besides the stunning scenery, you will also find hills higher than Banff with unique flora and fauna surviving from before the last Ice Age.
This is the Land of the Living Skies, and beneath this endless canvas, you will be treated to northern lights in summer, rainbows in winter and a horizon as wide as your best friend’s grin. And with that, here’s a list of must-sees and oddities that are pure prairie league.
Welcome to Saskatchewan. Click here for points of interest and their websites
Where the West Begins
Manitoba is the only province whose motto, “Glorious and Free”, is in the Canadian national anthem, and it’s no wonder. This is a land of proud rebels with a cause, from savvy indigenous traders to hardy voyageurs to the famed and tragic Louis Riel, the leader of the Red River Rebellion.
The southern part of this storied province has been a meeting ground for centuries, and perhaps the most famous meeting site is The Forks, a historic place in Winnipeg where the rivers meet.
The northern area of Manitoba is a world unto itself. Here is where the northern lights live, glancing off the gleaming white fur of the polar bear and the slick hides of beluga whales.
This land is rich in geography, with more than 80 provincial parks and two national parks protecting its landscape of lakes and rivers, mountains, forests and prairies, and this is home to people who know what they’ve got.
Welcome to Manitoba. Click here for points of interest and their websites