Un­for­get­table des­ti­na­tions

The Compass - - SPORTS -

The weather may some­times dic­tate oth­er­wise, but it isn’t too early to start plan­ning your sum­mer va­ca­tion. A Cana­dian Press re­viewer refers to Cana­dian “sites and events that ap­peal to nat­u­ral­ists, an­i­mal watch­ers, food lovers, art lovers, his­tory buffs, mu­sic fans and ad­ven­ture seek­ers.”

Per­haps there is no bet­ter guide to such “sites and events” than the book, “Un­for­get­table Canada: 115 Des­ti­na­tions,” writ­ten by Ge­orge Fis­cher and Noel Hud­son. They write in the re­cently re­leased third edi­tion, “we be­lieve this list makes a great start­ing itin­er­ary for your jour­neys.” They “em­pathize the in­cred­i­ble ge­o­graphic di­ver­sity that Canada pos­sesses.” In­deed, “each prov­ince and ter­ri­tory has its own mem­o­rable sights.” They “hope you’ll al­low your­self to be ‘im­ported’ into Canada’s un­par­al­leled scenery, its mag­nif­i­cent parks and na­ture re­serves, his­toric cities and charm­ing vil­lages, colour­ful fes­ti­vals and uniquely Cana­dian ac­tiv­i­ties.”

Fis­cher and Hud­son be­gin their book with ice­berg-watch­ing in this prov­ince, stat­ing, “The eastern and north­ern coasts of New­found­land and Labrador are the best places in the north­ern hemi­sphere to ob­serve ice­bergs …

“In most cases mod­ern ships can spot ice­bergs in ship­ping lanes and make their way safely around them, but sta­tion­ary off­shore oil plat­forms oc­ca­sion­ally find them­selves po­si­tioned pre­car­i­ously in an ice­berg’s path. This has led to ad­vanced ice­berg-de­tec­tion meth­ods and an ice­berg-tow­ing in­dus­try. Imag­ine list­ing your oc­cu­pa­tion as ‘Ice­berg Mover’ on your tax forms.”

Cape Spear, North Amer­ica’s most east­erly point of land, holds pride of place as a des­ti­na­tion. “This,” the au­thors write, “was the ‘Land ho!’ for many early transat­lantic sea­men.”

Not sur­pris­ingly, L’Anse aux Mead­ows, one of North Amer­ica’s most sig­nif­i­cant arche­o­log­i­cal sites and a UNESCO World Her­itage Site, is on the list.

Ini­tially, I was sur­prised to see Jelly Bean Row fea­tured in the book, but not af­ter real­iz­ing the at­ten­tion this site gar­ners from tourists. “The idea of brightly painted houses is not new — es­pe­cially in the world’s port cities — but there is some­thing sin­gu­larly charm­ing about the sim­plic­ity of ar­chi­tec­ture and ex­trav­a­gance of colour found in down­town St. John’s, New­found­land.”

Wit­less Bay Eco­log­i­cal Re­serve deserves to be in­cluded on the list, for Gull, Green, Great and Pee Pee is­lands are, as the au­thors state, “the sum­mer home of North Amer­ica’s largest At­lantic puffin colony,” with an es­ti­mated 260,000 pairs nest­ing there dur­ing the late spring and sum­mer.

Cape St. Mary’s Eco­log­i­cal Re­serve is no less de­serv­ing of in­clu­sion. Fis­cher and Hud­son call it “one of the most ac­ces­si­ble and spec­tac­u­lar seabird rook­eries in the world.”

Cape Bon­av­ista has its own tourist as­sets, of­fer­ing “a wind- whipped, breath­tak­ing, wave-crash­ing view of the At­lantic, but most peo­ple come to see the light­house.”

Gros Morne National Park, an­other UNESCO World Her­itage Site, sports “spec­tac­u­lar nat­u­ral beauty (and) unique ge­ol­ogy … To make a long ge­o­log­i­cal story short, Gros Morne Park of­fers some of the world’s best ev­i­dence of con­ti­nen­tal drift.”

Sig­nal Hill National His­toric Site abounds in his­tory. “The first transat­lantic wire­less sig­nal was re­ceived at Sig­nal Hill by Guglielmo Mar­coni on De­cem­ber 12, 1901… Due to its strate­gic lo­ca­tion, Sig­nal Hill be­came the site of har­bour de­fences from the eigh­teenth cen­tury through the Sec­ond World War. The last bat­tle of the Seven Years’ War in North Amer­ica was fought here in 1762.”

If you’re plan­ning on tak­ing a va­ca­tion out­side of New­found­land and Labrador, then this book’s for you, as well, what with the more than 100 other Cana­dian des­ti­na­tions to choose from, in­clud­ing Demp­ster High­way, Yukon and North­west Ter­ri­to­ries; Parksville Beach Fes­ti­val, Bri­tish Columbia; Le Pays de la Sagouine, New Brunswick; North of Su­pe­rior, On­tario; Bal­anc­ing Rock Trail, Nova Sco­tia; Di­nosaur Provin­cial Park and Bad­lands, Al­berta; Old Que­bec City; Auyuit­tuq National Park, Nu­navut; Land of Liv­ing Skies, Saskatchewan; and Prince Ed­ward Is­land National Park.

As “CAA Mag­a­zine” puts it, “There’s some­thing (in this book) to suit ev­ery­one. The book is a mus­tread for any­one plan­ning a Cana­dian road trip this sum­mer!”

The chap­ters are dot­ted with strik­ing pho­tos de­signed to cap­ture the essence of in­di­vid­ual sites.

“Un­for­get­table Canada: 115 Des­ti­na­tions” is pub­lished by the Bos­ton Mills Press.

— Bur­ton K. Janes lives in Bay Roberts. His col­umn ap­pears in The Com­pass ev­ery week. He can be reached at bur­tonj@nfld.net

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