The cool Trudeau ef­fect keeps flow­ing from the Rock­ies to the Mar­itimes

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - BEST OF CANADA 2018 - MA­RINA KAY

Canada is soon to fin­ish one big year-long party, the 150th cel­e­bra­tions of its con­fed­er­a­tion. “With its pris­tine wilder­ness and friendly peo­ple, Canada has al­ways been pop­u­lar, but the “Justin Trudeau ef­fect” has made Canada even cooler this year,” says Brett Mitchell, In­trepid Travel Asia Pa­cific re­gional di­rec­tor, re­fer­ring to the coun­try’s cool young prime min­is­ter.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t more around the corner next year in this coun­try full of nat­u­ral won­ders and ur­ban high­lights.


Cos­mopoli­tan Toronto turns 225 in 2018, cel­e­brat­ing with its light fes­ti­val in the Dis­tillery Historic District (Jan­uary 19 to March 11, toron­to­light­fest.com), The North By North­east mu­sic fes­ti­val (June 8-17, nxne.com) and the world’s largest pub­lic film fes­ti­val, Toronto In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val. From Septem­ber 7-16 (tiff.net).


Look­ing for a new place to stay? In Toronto, Kimp­ton Ho­tels & Restau­rants opens its first Cana­dian prop­erty, a four-star ho­tel, in the Bloor-Yorkville neigh­bour­hood mid-2018; St Regis ho­tel brings its five-star stan­dards to Bay St later in the year; and Nobu Hos­pi­tal­ity (founded by chef Nobu Mat­suhisa and ac­tor Robert DeNiro) be­gins con­struc­tion on Canada’s first Nobu-branded de­vel­op­ment – a two-tower ho­tel, restau­rant, re­tail space, and out­door Zen gar­den.


One of the largest Pride cel­e­bra­tions in the world, Pride Toronto at­tracts more than 1 mil­lion peo­ple. The June 22-24 event in­cludes a spe­cial Fam­ily Pride pro­gram, Trans Pride, the Dyke March and the fa­mous and fab­u­lous Pride Pa­rade. pridetoronto.com


Art Gallery of On­tario is the only Cana­dian stop for the Yayoi Kusama ex­hi­bi­tion. #In­finiteKusama marks the first North Amer­i­can tour in 20 years for the cel­e­brated Ja­panese artist. The ex­hi­bi­tion runs from March 3 to May 27, 2018. ago.ca


Fash­ion­istas: In cel­e­bra­tion of the House of Dior’s 70th an­niver­sary, Chris­tian Dior, 1947-1957 (Royal On­tario Mu­seum) ex­plores how the de­signer’s dra­matic cre­ations re­vived the Paris haute cou­ture in­dus­try after World War II. See the show un­til March 18. rom.on.ca


Le Boat, Europe’s largest op­er­a­tor of self-drive boat­ing va­ca­tions,

de­buts in North Amer­ica with an itin­er­ary along On­tario’s historic Rideau Canal – a UNESCO World Her­itage Site. Trav­ellers nav­i­gate a chain of beau­ti­ful lakes, rivers, and canals be­tween Ot­tawa and Kingston. leboat.com.au


The most pho­tographed ho­tel in the world, Fair­mont Le Chateau Fron­tenac, in Que­bec City, marks its 125th an­niver­sary. Check it out on In­sta­gram. fair­mont.com/fron­tenac-que­bec


For five-star mariners, Viking Cruises of­fers the “13-day East­ern Se­aboard Ex­plorer from Mon­treal to New York”. Part river, part ocean jour­ney, it stops in Que­bec City (you’ll eas­ily spot Chateau Fron­tenac from the deck), charm­ing Char­lot­te­town, Hal­i­fax, and Bos­ton. vikingcruises.com.au


The an­tic­i­pated Mon­treal en Lu­miere fes­ti­val once again brings mu­sic, cir­cus arts, theatre, and worl­drenowned gas­tron­omy to Quartier des Spec­ta­cles. This 11-day spec­ta­cle is one of the largest winter fes­ti­vals in the world. From Fe­bru­ary 22 to March 4. mon­trealen­lu­miere.com


Cana­dian singer/song­writer/ poet Leonard Co­hen is cel­e­brated at The Musée d’art con­tem­po­rain de Mon­treal with Leonard Co­hen – A Crack in Ev­ery­thing, un­til April 1. macm.org/ en/ex­hi­bi­tions/leonard-co­hen/


Air Canada be­gins year-round di­rect flights from Mel­bourne to Van­cou­ver from June. The non-stop ser­vices on its Boe­ing 787-9 Dream­lin­ers will op­er­ate three times a week and starts with an ini­tial sea­sonal ser­vice run­ning from De­cem­ber to Fe­bru­ary. No other air­line cur­rently of­fers this route.


New for 2018 is In­trepid’s six-day High­lights of Van­cou­ver Is­land trip, com­bin­ing the Cana­dian Rock­ies and Vic­to­ria with Tofino, a mecca for surf­ing and whale watch­ing. “These new trips let trav­ellers ex­pe­ri­ence the magic of a North Amer­i­can winter like a lo­cal,” says Brett Mitchell, In­trepid Travel Asia Pa­cific re­gional di­rec­tor.

In­trepid of­fers new de­par­tures in the off sea­son – De­cem­ber and Jan­uary – for its Cana­dian Rock­ies & North­ern Lights tour that visit Peace River in North­ern Al­berta, a prime lo­ca­tion for Aurora view­ing. in­trepid­travel.com


Rocky Moun­taineer adds two new of­fer­ings to its ros­ter: Jour­ney Through the Clouds Out­door Ad­ven­tures – 10 days of ad­ven­tur­ing, in­clud­ing flight see­ing from he­li­copters, ca­noe­ing on Lake Louise, hik­ing in Jasper, and a Bow River raft float trip. First Pas­sage to the West Culi­nary Ex­plo­ration ap­peals to food­ies who en­joy culi­nary walk­ing tours and six-course meals with a side of wilder­ness. Both trips start in Van­cou­ver and end in Cal­gary, or vice versa, and in­clude two days on-board Rocky Moun­taineer in GoldLeaf or Sil­verLeaf Ser­vice. rock­y­moun­taineer.com


Along with some of the world’s tough­est cow­boys and cow­girls, Aussies flock to the Cal­gary Stam­pede each year. A prize pool of more than $2 mil­lion makes Cal­gary Stam­pede the world’s rich­est tour­na­ment-style rodeo. Visit from July 6-15. cal­gar­ys­tam­pede.com


Skiers, Whistler Black­comb boasts the new Peak Sus­pen­sion Bridge, the tallest in North Amer­ica, 2182 me­tres over Whistler Bowl. whistlerblack­comb.com


Whistler Pride and Ski Fes­ti­val is one of the big­gest pride ski weeks in the world. The fi­nal night draws in­ter­na­tional DJs and light shows. From Jan­uary 21-28. whistler.com/ events/win­ter­pride


The Four Sea­sons Re­sort Whistler re­designs apres-ski with its gourmet heli-din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Guests fly via he­li­copter to a glacier, where they’re met by the re­sort culi­nary team who pre­pare a gourmet meal to en­joy right there, on top of the glacier. foursea­sons.com


Vis­i­tors to Yukon Ter­ri­tory can view the North­ern Lights from 36,000 feet in the air, tak­ing off from White­horse with Aurora 360 – a pri­vate char­ter on Air North, Yukon’s air­line – in Novem­ber 2018. Bonus: Par­tic­i­pants re­ceive a cer­tifi­cate from the Royal As­tro­nom­i­cal So­ci­ety of Canada, stat­ing they’ve crossed the Arc­tic Cir­cle. This ex­pe­ri­ence is unique in North Amer­ica. fly­airnorth.com/Deal­sAndNews/ Aurora360.aspx


Whistler Black­comb is home to North Amer­ica’s tallest sus­pen­sion bridge of 2182m; and (right) Toronto cel­e­brates turn­ing 225 in 2018.

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