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 email@example.com