Relaxation in Canada

Guest post by Allison Gamble

Crazy busy! That’s how life can get. So, if you need a rat race remedy, why not visit Canada where the opportunity for a little R & R lies around every corner? Canada is a huge country with a diverse topography and no shortage of tranquil, peaceful destinations. Here, you’ll find the top picks for those who need to unwind, regroup, and get a fresh perspective on life.

Tofino, British Columbia

Tofino sunset. Photo by Allison Gamble. Used by permission.
Tofino sunset. Photo by Allison Gamble. Used by permission.

Nothing says relaxation like a few days of lounging on the beach. True, Canada isn’t normally thought of as a major beach destination, but visitors to Tofino can spend their days unwinding on warm sandy beaches where the rhythm of crashing waves is sure to ease away their stress. Pass the days combing the beach, surfing the waves, kayaking, or hiking miles of coastal trails. For a little more adventure, visit the rainforest on Clayoquot Sound or nearby botanical gardens. While in Tofino, rent a beach front villa or stay at the secluded Wickaninnish Inn where guests enjoy the best in de-stress treatments at The Ancient Cedars Spa.

Prince Edward Island

Located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence off the coast of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island is most noted for its striking beauty. Green, rolling hills contrast with distinct red-soil cliffs, rocky coastal inlets, and red-sand beaches, making Prince Edward Island a nature lover’s paradise. You can commune with nature on the island’s expansive trail system, or simply lounge on the beach with a good book at Cedar Dunes Provincial Park. Add to the laid-back atmosphere of Prince Edward Island by staying at the West Point Lighthouse in O’Leary. Here, guests may enjoy the unique experience of spending the night in a light keeper’s room.

Churchill, Manitoba

This small town, located on the shores of the Hudson Bay, is famous for its polar bear and beluga whale sightings. Spend the day taking a tour to catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures, or hike through the nearby Boreal Forest to observe one of the world’s largest natural bird habitats. Reconnect with mother nature and let the rustic charm of this secluded northern town soothe away the tension of your hectic daily schedule. As darkness falls in Churchill, sit back and watch in wonder as the Aurora Borealis displays its magical show in the sky.

Quebec City, Quebec

If you want to escape to a faraway place, but just don’t have the time to travel far, Quebec City is the place for you. In all of Canada, there isn’t a city more culturally unique. In fact, a trip to Quebec City is like traveling to Europe without ever leaving North America. Visitors can lose their worries in this city’s abundance of European charm. Sip coffee at sidewalk cafes, enjoy world-class museums, or partake in one of the city’s many festivals. While in Quebec City, visit the famous Chateau Frontenac, resting on cliffs overlooking the beautiful St. Lawrence River. No matter what activity you choose, a visit to Quebec City will make you feel like you’re worlds away from home.

Banff National Park, Alberta

Banff National Park, Alberta
Banff National Park, Alberta

There’s nothing that soothes away stress more than losing yourself in the wild beauty of Banff National Park. The enchanting scenery of the area attracts visitors from around the world who travel to enjoy this area’s boundless natural attractions. Whether visiting in the summer or winter, enjoy an endless array of activities or just simply sit back and drink in the beauty of the area. Spend the day on the Lake Louise and let the majestic power of the towering mountains diminish your worries. After a day packed full of fresh air activities, get a good night’s rest in the areas world-class accommodations such as the Banff Springs Hotel or Chateau Lake Louise.

Taking time out from the stress of our daily lives is important for our overall health and well-being. So when it comes to taking care of yourself, spend a little down-time in the many tranquil locals that Canada has to offer. No matter what your preferred style of rest and relaxation, its a sure bet that Canada has the destination for you.

Allison Gamble has been a curious student of psychology since high school. She brings her understanding of the mind to work in the weird world of internet marketing with

Studying in Canada: A Guide for Non-Canadians

Studying in Canada
Canada is emerging as an increasingly popular destination for UK citizens studying overseas.

Guest post by James Cave

With the introduction of compulsory course fees at English and Welsh universities, many potential UK undergraduates are seriously considering studying overseas for the first time. The thinking goes that if you’re going to be paying thousands each year to expand your mind at university, why not enhance the experience by submerging yourself in the culture of a different country at the same time?

As an English speaking Commonwealth country, Canada is emerging as a top choice for many getaway students from the UK. This is understandable for the reason that Canada is different from home but not different enough to be scary or alienating.

However, here are many good reasons to consider studying in Canada. Firstly, it’s a big place, stretching from the Atlantic in the east to the Pacific in the west, and offers a huge variety of locations to choose from. From cutting-edge festival cities such as Montreal and Toronto which regularly poll as offering among the highest quality of life anywhere in the world to visually stunning and unique places such as Quebec, Alberta and Newfoundland, Canada has a university town to attract everyone. And, although it is a long plane journey away, there are plenty of companies that fly to Canada, especially to Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal.

On a practical level, tuition fees in Canada are generally competitive with those in the UK and other English speaking countries. Many educational institutions in Canada offer scholarships, grants or bursaries for international students. Each institution is different, though, so it’s best to research the institutions you’re considering applying to individually to find out what sort of financial support opportunities may be available. You can find contact information for each university at the Study in Canada website. You’ll also find information on the admission policies of each institution.

Crucially, the education you receive and the qualifications you gain from an accredited Canadian university, college or business school will be recognised throughout the world. You can check that a particular institution is fully accredited by visiting the website of the

8 Tips for Traveling to Old Quebec City, Canada

Quebec City
Avenue St-Denis, with Chateau Frontenac in the distance.

Guest post by Janelle Vadnais

Also known as Ville de Quebec, Quebec City is the capital of the Canadian province of Quebec and is the second largest city (by population) after Montreal. Founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain, Quebec City is a popular tourist destination as it is rich in history as well as extremely scenic.

Depending on where you are coming from as well as how long you are planning on staying, you may want to consider hiring an car transport company to ship your vehicle to Old Quebec City. Of course, there is nothing wrong with driving there yourself either. Regardless of how you decide to get there, the following are some points of advice if you do find yourself traveling to this historic area.

  1. Bring a passport. As a non-native, make sure that you have a valid passport as well as a form of photo identification ready to show once you approach the border by car or at customs by airplane.
  2. Bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes. Old Quebec City is a walking city with quaint shoppes and cobblestone streets. There is a lot of history within a short distance, so make sure that you bring some comfortable shoes to wear.
  3. Bring a light jacket.Depending on what time of year you travel to Quebec City, you’ll want to make sure that you dress accordingly. For instance, summers in Quebec City aren’t nearly as hot as they are in other parts of the world, with temperatures typically reaching no more than 78 degrees. Nights tend to be cool, so make sure you bring a light jacket if traveling there during the summer months.
  4. Know the foreign currency conversion before you leave. The foreign exchange rate changes all of the time. Make sure that you check it with your current currency before you leave. Depending on the current rates, you may want to exchange your monies prior to leaving.
  5. Notify your bank/credit card company of your travel itinerary. With some credit card companies, such as American Express, you do not need to notify them when you travel outside of your native country. However, for most other creditors, placing a simple phone call could save you a ton of frustration or financial problems when you find your accounts frozen due to suspicious activity. Letting them know when you are planning to travel as well as where will help to prevent any trouble.
  6. Plan to be stopped at the border. If you are traveling by car, make sure that you have all of the necessary paperwork for your vehicle with you as well as your passport and photo identification. Though your vehicle is not customarily searched, the border control officers will ask you a series of questions as to your business in that country as well as questions as to how you know the other passengers in your vehicle, etc.
  7. Bring a French/English dictionary, just in case. If you don’t know French, it may be a good idea to bring a French/English dictionary just in case as the official language of Quebec City is none other than French. And though most places will provide an English equivalent, street signs/names will be listed in French. Additionally, more than 80 percent of the population in Quebec City speaks French with the remaining population speaking English.
  8. Take advantage of free activities. Just because you are traveling to a foreign country doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to spend an exorbitant amount of money. When you arrive, grab a walking tour map and spend the first day exploring the city on your own. Once you get a feel for it, you can venture out more and choose certain activities to do.

About the Author: Janelle is an avid travel enthusiast and blog manager for one of the leading auto movers in the United States, National Transport, LLC. For more information about car shipping rates, you can contact National Transport, LLC at 1.800.665.5022.

Visiting the Canadian Rockies

Guest post by Trevor Stuart

Many people have heard of the Rocky Mountains. Most people are under the impression that the Rockies are located exclusively in the United States – namely, in Colorado. However, this is untrue – it just happens to be that the part of the mountain range in Colorado is an incredibly beautiful and well known part that contains Mount Elbert, the highest peak in the entire range. A good chunk of the Rocky Mountains is located in British Columbia and Alberta in Canada. This section of the mountain range is known as the Canadian Rockies.

The Canadian Rockies extend all the way from the Interior Plains of Alberta to the Rocky Mountain Trench of British Columbia. In the south, the range borders Idaho and Montana while in the north it ends at the Liard River. Unlike the American Rockies, the Canadian Rockies are made out of shade and limestone. The following parks are located in the Canadian Rockies: Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, Kootenay National Park, Waterton Lakes National Park, Yoho National Park, Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park, Mount Robson Provincial Park, Northern Rocky Mountains Provincial Park, Kwadacha Wildnerness Provincial Park, Stone Mountain Provincial Park and Muncho Lake Provincial Park. Many of these parks, as a whole, have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Mount Robson Provincial Park

Mount Robson Provincial Park is an especially notable park due to it being the largest provincial park in the Canadian Rockies. This 2,249 kilometer park was created in 1913, making it the second oldest park in British Columbia. It is home to Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. There’s something for everyone in this park, from easily accessible trails trod upon by thousands to pristine untouched land. There are several different types of vegetation zones, over 182 species of birds, many different types of animals and some truly breathtaking landscapes to see. You can take a day trip into the park, or camp overnight in one of the three campgrounds.

Waterton Lakes National Park

Another popular park is the Waterton Lakes National Park located in Alberta. It borders the Glacier National Park across the border in Montana. Collectively, these two parks are known as the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. Waterton Lakes National Park is a World Biosphere reserve with all kinds of different habitats such as prairie grasslands, aspen grove forests, alpine tundras and coniferous forests. Historical and cultural memorials at the park include the Prince of Wales Hotel, the first oil well in Western Canada and the Bar U Ranch.

Yoho National Park

Yoho National Park is located in between two other national parks. It is home to Mount Burgess, a mountain that is so frequently climbed that for years it was featured on the Canadian ten dollar bill. Other mountains in this park include Mount Stephen, the President, the Vice President, Mount Goodsir and Mount Balfour. There are many lakes and waterfalls in the park, including Takakkaw Falls, Emerald Lake and Wapta Falls.

Provided by Trevor Stuart from the Toronto auto insurance website Another one of Trevor’s favourite spots in this area is Banff National Park.

5 Amazing Destinations in Toronto You Didn’t Know About

TorontoYou’ll find hundreds of Tourist Guides for the wonderful city of Toronto suggesting that you visit those obvious destinations like the unmissable CN Tower and the Eaton Centre, where you can shop all day long and encounter crowds of other tourists. But why not try a few destinations in Toronto that aren’t as mainstream but are, nonetheless, very unique? You should definitely visit these amazing locations if you want to experience a real taste of Toronto.

1. The Distillery District
The Distilery District is a National Historic Site tied with the Gooderham & Worts Distillery opened in 1832. It is just east of downtown and covers a large area of almost 13 acres. It was once the largest distillery in the British Empire and produced millions of gallons of whisky and spirits in the 1800’s. After closing in 1990, it became a popular filming location. Nowadays, it’s a pedestrian-only village dedicated to arts, culture and entertainment with its historical heritage still intact. It boasts a great mixture of restaurants and cafes and a unique shopping district — not to mention the many galleries, artists’ studios and performing arts venues. Forget about Starbucks and McDonald’s! The Distillery District offers the most interesting and original stores, featuring one-of-a-kind goods ranging from designer jewellery, award-wining purses, fabulous footwear, and world-class cosmetics to state-of-the-art home accessories and the world’s best mattress for $60,000!

2. The St. Lawrence Market
The St. Lawrence Market is the name of a whole neighbourhood in old-town downtown Toronto, known for its colourful architecture and its famous market, which has come to describe the area. If you stay in Toronto on a weekend, try to stroll through the market, viewing and sampling the local produce in the unique atmosphere of the thriving historical market that was developed in the early 1800’s. It is even ranked as one of the 25 best markets in the world, and is a popular destination for shoppers from all over the city. People delight in the market’s character. You’ll hear music and 120 specialty vendors calling out to the crowds inside one of the three buildings: St. Lawrence Hall, the South Market and the North Market. The South Market is also famous for its Market Gallery on the third floor, which was the original council chamber of Toronto’s City Hall until 1899.

3. “Time and a Clock” Installation in Riverside
If you happen to be near the Riverside neighbourhood in Toronto, be sure to check out the Queen & Broadview area, with the Queen Street East bridge over the Don River and the three-piece public art installation located in this area. Created by Eldon Garnet, a famous Toronto-based public sculptor, in 1996, the installation examines the essence of time, its substance and ambiguity. “Time and a Clock” is a sculpture located at three different places. The first part is the decoration of the historic Queen Street East bridge with a clock and an inscription above that reads: “This river I step in is not the river I stand in.” The second part is located at the intersection of Queen Street East and Broadview Avenue, where the author embedded a time-related phrase into the sidewalk. The third part consists of four slim poles with stainless-steel pennants on Queen Street beside the Jimmy Simpson Park. There are four descriptors of time on each of the pennants, creating a lyrical poem: “COURSING, DISAPPEARING, TREMBLING, RETURNING.”

4. High Park
The largest and most popular park in Toronto, High Park also lent its name to the neighbourhood surrounding it. The area that is now High Park was given to the city in 1873 by John Howard, a great benefactor who even donated his home, Colborne Lodge, to the city. This estate is a historical museum now. If you want to escape the city for a while, the largest green space in Toronto offers manicured ornamental gardens, picnic grounds, playgrounds, flower gardens, animal paddocks, quiet spots with native vegetation, a whimsical zoo, sport facilities and much more. It also naturally hosts a black oak savanna — a rare and endangered forest ecosystem.

5. Gerrard India Bazaar
The commercial centre of Toronto’s East-Indian community and the largest ethnic market of Indian goods in North America is located along Gerrard Street East between Greenwood Avenue and Coxwell Avenue. The India Bazaar, or “Little India,” as it is unofficially referred to, is a popular destination for all sorts of shoppers, especially those who want to add some unique pieces to their jewellery box. Earrings, necklaces, rings and bangles fashioned from 22-carat gold imported from all over the world or custom-made jewellery from talented goldsmiths and gemologists are among the many goods available at the bazaar. Shopping in the bazaar for wonderful silks, embroideries and ornately sequined pieces of cloth is a really amazing experience. The bazaar also gives you a chance to taste a wide variety of Subcontinental cuisines, which differ from chef to chef — so don’t miss this lovely Toronto spot!

Prepared by Toronto real estate professional Heather Hadden. For more information about areas in Toronto, check the Toronto neighbourhoods section!

Wildlife Preservation at Elk Island National Park

Guest post by Maria Rainier

If you think the only place to see plains animals in their natural habitat is at the zoo, you might want to put Alberta, Canada’s Elk Island at the top of your list of places to visit. You’ll never even think of going to another zoo once you’ve experienced this park’s natural wildlife firsthand. After the African Serengeti, Elk Island has the highest population density of grazing animals in the world, and uncommon species like bison are among the wildlife you’ll be able to watch when you visit.

Elk Island’s Role in Elk and Bison Survival

Elk Park was established in 1906 and was renamed Elk Island Park two years later, reflecting its original purpose: to protect one of the last remaining herds of elk in Canada. It was started by five local men who signed a $5,000 bond in order to open the park and pledge their devotion to protecting the herd. In 1907, Elk Island unwittingly began its role in bison preservation when 48 of these animals escaped en route to Buffalo National Park via train. Eluding capture, the bison found that Elk Island was the perfect environment in which to flourish and soon grew substantially in numbers. Over the next century, thousands of healthy bison were sent to other plains areas with struggling populations to help save the species from endangerment and potential extinction. The year 2007 designated a century of successful bison conservation, making Elk Island National Park the leading organization in the preservation of this species.

Other Conservation Roles

In 1987, the park began a trumpeter swan reintroduction program to help these birds recover from
low population numbers and disappearing habitats. As the largest waterfowl in North America, the
trumpeter swan is an important species to conserve – and Elk Island has helped not only to save this bird from endangerment, but also to help it thrive by reestablishing it in a pristine habitat. In addition to elk, bison, and trumpeter swans, the park conserves populations of moose, deer, coyotes, beavers, and over two hundred avian species. No matter which type of animal lover you might be, you’ll find a species to watch at Elk Island National Park.

Enjoying the Park

There are two main species of bison at the park: wood and plains. It’s easy to tell them apart based on a variety of characteristics, but the easiest is probably to spot the pointed “beard” and horns on the wood bison. This species also has a longer tail and a hump that is squarer in shape, whereas plains bison have short tails and rounded humps.

Because the park is located in bison country, park rangers advise you to be careful when using your own vehicle on the scenic drives. Close encounters with bison can be breathtaking, but it’s important to be cautious in order to avoid agitating the animals. It’s recommended that you remain in the vehicle and silently wait for the bison to pass – honking your horn could result in danger. If you’re walking or hiking the trails, make noise to let the bison know you’re close by and avoid approaching any of these animals head-on. This will keep you and the incredible species of Elk Island National Park safe and free to enjoy the natural environment.

Maria RanierMaria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she’s been researching the lowest paying degrees as well as the highest paying jobs. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

Exploring Canada by Car

Guest post by Ryan Embly

Interested in taking a road trip and seeing Canada by car? Instead of randomly zigzagging through the country with no real plan in mind, check out the Trans-Canada Highway Route. This 4,860 mile long
highway, which stretches between Victoria, British Columbia and St. John’s, Newfoundland, is the
world’s longest national highway. There are two routes that make up the Trans-Canada Highway the
main Trans-Canada route and the Yellowhead Highway. Both highways run along the southern part of
Canada, linking together the ten provinces of Canada.

Since the Trans-Canada Highway passes through so many cities and locations, it is the perfect route
for anyone taking a road trip through the country. Some of the cities near the highway are Victoria,
Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, St. John’s, Quebec City, Ottawa and Winnipeg. The highway also
passes by several landmarks and sites that are the epitome of the Canadian experience. Road tripping
down this route is a great way to experience the breathtaking Canadian landscape while on the way to a
great destination. Here are three wonderful road trip destinations in Canada accessible from the Trans-
Canada Highway.

Gros Morne National Park

Located in Newfoundland, this national park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. World renowned for
its geological wonders and fjords, activities in the park include camping, hiking, photography, skiing,
boating, and snowshoeing. With beautiful waterfalls, sea stacks, beaches, marine inlets and little fishing
villages to check out, there are plenty of lovely sights to see.

Fortress of Louisbourg

This reconstructed 18th century French fortified town is located east of Sydney, Nova Scotia, on Cape
Breton. Kids and adults alike will enjoy the experience of life in another century. Guides will happily
explain the history of the fortress and how people lived in those days. There are lots of buildings and
exhibits to see, and fun activities to do.

Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology

This fascinating museum in Drumheller, Alberta, has the world’s largest exhibit of complete dinosaur
skeletons. Learn about the history of our planet through numerous exhibits, displays, computer
simulations and fossils. There’s also a lovely prehistoric garden and opportunities to watch museum
technicians preparing fossils for display.

Ryan Embly is the writer of this post. He writes for the website Car Rental Express, which features
information about discount car rentals and other travel tips.

Three Amazing Canadian Ski Resorts You May Not Know About

Guest post by Eric Rea

Looking for some great Canadian ski resorts? Here are three gems that you may not know about.

Living in Alberta, there is access to some of the best snow in the world. Aside from Whistler, Alberta hosts all of the big name Ski Resorts that you see on the cover of Ski Canada Magazine. Lake Louise and Sunshine Village should ring a few bells.

While these resorts have beautiful amenities and fantastic terrain, they are some of the busiest and most expensive places to ski in the country. Most go skiing to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and to enjoy an almost magical experience with just you, nature, and your skis or snowboard. Whether you are riding the newest skate banana, or a vintage pair of atomics, skiing can feel like an out of body experience. When you arrive at one of the mega resorts, you will soon realize that you are going to have a tough time doing either. On the other hand, there are a few lesser-known resorts that can provide an amazing getaway with the complete terrain and amenities most are looking for.

  1. Fernie Alpine Resort – Fernie is nestled right in the historic town that it was named after. The town has other attractions to visit as well. After a day on the slopes, you can head over to the Fernie Brewing Company to unwind. Instead of hitting the slopes one day, take a scenic heritage tour.
  2. Fortress Mountain Resort – Located only one hour west of Calgary, Fortress is a great place to take the whole family, and a lot less than most of the nearby resorts. Fortress has terrain for every level of skier. Although there are not as many amenities as Fernie, this is still a great place for single day trips, and can be very suitable for skiers on a budget.
  3. Big White Ski Resort – Big White has gained quite a bit of attention over the last few years, and it is no wonder why. The terrain is some of the best in the Rockies, and the snow is pure bliss. It is on the pricey side, but the village provides excellent dining and accommodations. One great thing about Big White is that you can be there for a week and never have to get in your car to drive somewhere. That is one of the most relaxing benefits to a ski trip at Big White. If you have the money, and the time for an extended stay ski trip, Big White is the place to go.

Canada was blessed with amazing mountains, and as a result, has some of the best skiing in the world. Next time you are planning a ski trip, make sure to think of these three fantastic ski destinations.

Eric Rea is a university student who loves snowboarding. He runs, a reverse camber snowboard review site.

Three Romantic Getaways Showcase Canada’s Beauty and Diversity

Guest post by Neil Street

What makes the perfect romantic getaway? The answer will vary with each person you ask, but many would probably agree that the key ingredients include the opportunity for a little solitude, some beautiful surroundings, some activities to while away the hours, and the opportunity for a little bit of pampering for good measure.

Canada is blessed with numerous destinations that fit the bill. You are probably familiar with many of them. But destination spots that are off the beaten path add their own special romance to a trip, simply because they are so different. Here are three Canadian locations that offer a wonderful romantic getaway – and that may be a little different, as well.

St. John’s, Newfoundland

View of St. John's looking over the harbor (With permission, Wikimedia Commons)

Located on the easternmost tip of North America is the oldest city on the continent: St. John’s, Newfoundland. The capital of Newfoundland and Labrador, St. John’s has been settled more or less permanently since before 1620. With hilly terrain and maze-like, residential streets, this gem on the Atlantic has been compared to San Francisco in appearance and ambiance.

St. John’s enjoys a temperate climate year-round, with cool summers and mild winters. July and August are good months to visit. The downtown area, adjacent to St. John’s harbor, is home to brightly-colored, colonial buildings, restaurants, shops, boutiques, and galleries. For romantic accomodations, check out Balmoral House, a beautifully-restored, Victorian townhouse B & B located in downtown St. John’s, or the equally gorgeous and romantic Bluestone Inn, also in the heart of downtown.

By day, you and your partner can crisscross this fascinating city, enjoying the boutiques, restaurants, and galleries. For some quiet time, head to Pippy Park, one of Canada’s largest urban parks. The museum of Newfoundland and Labrador is also in St. John’s, and worth the visit. By night, check out the bars and restaurants along George Street, famous for its dynamic musical entertainment. If you’re visiting in August, you’ll find yourself at the famous George Street Festival. If it’s October, you’ll be caught up in Mardi Gras. Yes, Mardi Gras comes in October to St. John’s. Just another surprise from this most surprising of Canadian cities.

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta

Waterton Lake, Alberta, Looking south over Waterton Lake, towards Montana (Credit: Ken Thomas)

Swinging clear across Canada to Alberta, if you want to find a romantic spot that combines solitude with magnficent surroundings, and yet feel pampered for a couple of days, Waterton Lakes National Park fits the bill.

Just across the U.S. border from Glacier National Park, the less well-known Waterton Park is a remote getaway that provides the breathtaking scenery available in Banff or Jasper, minus the crowds. Waterton Lake sits at the intersection of prairie and mountain – an intersection that is abrupt and spectacular.

The town of Waterton is tiny, and so rural that bighorn sheep stroll down Main Street. The pampering comes courtesy of the Prince of Wales hotel, located on a bluff overlooking the lake. Boasting magnificent views, the 1920’s-era Prince of Wales has the feel of an alpine chalet, with rich dark woods, gables and balconies, deep, inviting furniture, and, improbably given the location, serves British tea every afternoon.

When you’re done soaking up the scenery for the day, try a guided horse-riding tour of the area, courtesy of the Alpine Stables in town. Or, do a little hiking on your own. Most visitors, however, find the lake a little too chilly for swimming! At the end of a relaxing day, return to your hotel for more pampering and relaxation.

Cantons de L’Est, Quebec

Fall landscape, Abbaye de Saint-Benoît-du-Lac, Cantons-de-l'Est (Credit: Paul Hurteau, Creative Commons)

Located less than an hour’s drive east of Montreal, the Cantons de L’Est are the heart of Quebec’s wine country. It is a bucolic region, composed of a group of towns, or cantons, dotted across the rolling hills and valleys that make up this beautiful area.

The Cantons de L’Est region is home to about 20 wineries, and ahead of your visit you can plan out a winery tour via the established Wine Route. It will take you through small, charming towns, gorgeous countryside, and beautiful scenery, and of course, to one distinctive winery after another.

Anchored by the town of Sherbrooke, a thriving community at the confluence of the Magog and St. Francis rivers, the region is noted for small inns and hotels, and fine eateries. Accomodations include such luxuries as Le Spa des Chutes de Bolton, an enchanting villa at the foot of the falls of the Missiquoi River, featuring full service spa treatments as well as complete guest services. If a spa is not on your wish list, you may want to try the Manoir Hovey, a turn of the century, lakeside romantic inn, modeled after George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate.

From Brome-Missiquoi in the west to Granit in the east, the Quebec wine region is a varied and relaxing getaway with options for the most discerning traveler. The fact that it is only an hour from Montreal is icing on the cake.

Guest post by Neil Street, a freelance writer and publisher. He has recently covered private jet travel, among other topics.

Banff: An Underrated Vacation Destination

Guest post by Nacie Carson

When you think of the great vacation destinations in North America, what locales come to mind? Las Vegas? New York? The Grand Canyon? Montreal? While all of these destinations are worthy in their own right, they often overshadow one of the great gems of the Northern Hemisphere: The Banff region of Alberta, Canada. Located in the breathtakingly beautiful Canadian Rockies, the Banff region is home to some incredible vacation activities and destinations, not the least of which is Banff National Park, which spans almost three thousand miles of the most stunning natural scenery you can imagine. There are so many things to do in Banff, it makes you wonder why it is not one of the number one destinations on the continent!

Banff is such a special tourist destination because it offers such an interesting variety of diverse activities and unique attractions. The area was originally built up around the natural hot springs in the area; in the nineteenth century, the a stretch of the Canadian Pacific Railway was built to specifically serve the area, bringing visitors from around the world to the mineral-rich waters that abound in the region. The clear mountain air and pristine natural setting, combined with the therapeutic hot springs, soon became a favorite recuperation destination for patients in the Northern Hemisphere, and by the dawn of the twentieth century, Banff was a unique combination of bustling tourism and remote natural beauty.

While other, more sensationalist tourist destinations have sprung up around the continent since Banff’s boom years, the region maintains many of the same draws that it had a hundred years ago: the spring water is still world class, the mountain vistas are still incomparable, and the air is just as pure as ever.

In 1985, Banff National Park was been considered a World Heritage Site. However, in addition to all these over-looked wonders, Banff now boasts some incredible additional attractions, including the Banff Gondola. The Banff Gondola ascends nearly 2,300 feet to the summit of Sulphur Mountain, and offers incredible views of the six mountain ranges that surround Banff. Riding the gondola is one of the best ways to take in the real grandeur and splendor of the region’s mountains, and the summit is loaded with activities, learning opportunities, and fun to entertain a whole family or just a curious traveler for hours. There is truly no other gondola ride that is as heart-stopping or truly awe-inspiring as this one! Sure, the Banff region doesn’t have replicas of the Eifel Tower. There is no beach where starlets play and no massive skyscrapers that charge you an arm and a leg to enjoy. But what Banff has sadly very few other places in the world have: natural, unsullied beauty. Banff is a much-overlooked vacation destination not just for the variety of things to do but also for its most fundamental element: a deep connection with the natural world. In the Banff region, you can see in abundance things that are quickly disappearing from the rest of the world: glaciers, clean air, certain species of plants and animals. Cities, those concrete jungles, are the future of humankind; we are building them everywhere, and really, what makes one so special you have to see it? But the Banff region helps everyone who travels there remember our human past, one that was connected and integrated within the natural world, not on a quest to force it into submission and scarcity.

If you have an opportunity to travel this year, why not check out the Banff region? It holds more uniqueness, more specialness, and more opportunities to recharge your batteries than those other travel destinations you’ve been thinking about!