18 WAYS TO BE WILDLY POPULAR
The cool Trudeau effect keeps flowing from the Rockies to the Maritimes
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.