With only a short time in Canada, I wanted to make it count. Here are some of the highlights from what we were able to experience over our (US) Thanksgiving break.
Banff National Park is located in the Canadian Rockies with glaciers, lakes, streams, rivers, snow, etc. If you look close, you can see the different color or layers of the peaks from the years it took to form their greatness. The ruggedness of these mountains is not similar to many other mountain ranges. If you are visiting the area, make sure to drive along Highway 1 for great views and interesting terrain.
Ice-skating is a common outdoor activity in Canada, and I am pretty sure almost every Canadian knows how to skate. Growing up with a pond in Pennsylvania that froze over occasionally, I was able to enjoy outdoor ice skating. However, Andy never was exposed to it while he was younger, so I had to do some serious convincing over the years to get him to go. Finally, he caved and decided to go with me on this trip. I think this was the best part of the trip–outdoor ice skating with him on a perfectly smooth lake. If you are looking to go while you are in Alberta, Lake Louise is open for skating. We found Bow Lake by talking to a ranger and taking him up on his suggestion. Just ask the locals where the good ice is while visiting.
With many ski resorts in the Banff area, it is hard to pass up a downhill skiing or snowboarding opportunity. Remember the mountains I described? Well get higher views by heading to the top of some lifts to get snow capped tops as far as the visibility permits. Be sure to check out Sunshine Village, Lake Louise Ski Area, or Mt Norquay if interested in skiing or boarding.
Not comfortable hitting the downhill slopes? Then walk around some trails by attaching snowshoes onto your boots. Walk on frozen water and see different views of the area away from the highway. There are many cross country skiing trails around the area as well.
Being a hockey fan in the States has its drawbacks; competing other sports fans, such as football, basketball, baseball, and soccer, it is hard to get the game on television. In Canada, this is completely different. Andy and I were both able to watch the teams we support while being in Canada without having to ask the manager to change the channel from another sporting event.
I tried poutine for the first time. What is poutine? It is usually an appetizer of french fries covered in gravy and cheese curds. Depending on where you order it, there are many versions to try. Go ahead, after all the outdoor activities, you deserve the extra calories!
Try maple flavored ANYTHING! It will be an experience away from the thick store bought brands you are probably used to eating. We tried Granville Island Kitsilano Maple Cream Ale; the beer was delicious and something I have never tried before.
I am not much for ham, but I love bacon. However, Canadian bacon is too much like ham for my liking, so I did not eat it. Andy, on the other hand, enjoyed as much as he could get.
What are some Canadian experiences you partake in while visiting? I would love to hear your experiences in the comments section below.
More in this series:
- Banff Instagram Photo Essay
- Must See Banff Winter Attractions
- Johnston Canyon – Banff National Park
- Lake Louise Alpine Skiing World Cup
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