Travel: Canada is calling
More Australians are booking their holiday in Canada than ever before – and to understand why, you can start with its inspiring leader, Sue Wallace reports.
1 The Justin Trudeau effect
The nation’s dashing, handsome Prime Minister is said to have put Canada more firmly on the tourist map since he was elected in a landslide in 2015. The charismatic Liberal Party leader has even created a series of memes online – by heading to the airport to give out coats to arriving Syrian refugees and even flirting with Queen Elizabeth online. Since he was elected, bookings are up from Sydney (35 per cent), London (30 per cent) and Paris (25 per cent).
2 Go on safari
Discover Manitoba’s Big Five – search for the black bear, bison, moose, beluga whale and polar bear in one trip. At least two-thirds of the world’s polar bears live in Canada and you can (carefully) tour Churchill, known as the polar bear capital of the world.
3 French touch
Brush up on your French in Québec City, the French-speaking UNESCO World Heritage-listed treasure. Step back in time as you stroll the historic Petit-Champlain district, with Parisian-style gabled stone houses lining the cobbled streets. Walk or bike beside the St Lawrence River in the Old Port area, where the streets have a trove of art galleries, antique stores and sidewalk cafes to explore. A must-see is Rue Saint-Jean, with its historic buildings, churches, boutiques and restaurants. In true French style, Québec City is a foodie’s paradise, whether your culinary choice is a casual cafe meal or fine dining.
4 True wilderness
Snuggle in a wilderness lodge deep in Canada’s pristine landscape, whether it’s inside a forest, high on a mountain or beside a raging river, to soak up epic scenery and watch wildlife. You can hike or ski in to Alberta’s Skoki Lodge, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stayed not long after they married in 2011.
5 Northern lights
The mysterious aurora borealis or northern lights are a major drawcard in Canada for Australians. Visit the Yukon between October and March for a chance of seeing the breathtaking lightshow. Whether viewed from a lodge, an outdoor hot tub, near a tee-pee at the Aurora Village in Yellowknife, or inside a glass igloo, this magical light show will have you transfixed. To find out more, visit canada.travel.
ABOVE: The majestic scenery of Banff National Park, in Alberta. BELOW, LEFT: A wild black bear. BELOW, RIGHT: The Place Royale in Québec City.