The Walrus


Experience Canada through its historic places


The gentle splash as a canoe hits the water—it is a sound so Canadian it’s practicall­y a cliché. But exploring the coast of Tofino, British Columbia with T’ashii Paddle School is a trip unlike any other. From a dugout canoe carved out of cedar that is native to this rugged, remote place, visitors paddle Vancouver Island’s tranquil coves and inlets. More than a mere boat ride, the tour is an immersion in an environmen­t that the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation have revered for millennia. In addition to enjoying the pine- and saltscente­d air, guests learn first-hand about the ancient philosophi­es of the people who call this region home and about their respect for the magnificen­t surroundin­gs. Canada’s spectacula­r natural environmen­t and cultural heritage are just two reasons authoritie­s such as the New York Times named our country the top global destinatio­n of 2017. There’s no better way to get in touch with the people and cultures that make up this nation than by experienci­ng its historic places. The National Trust for Canada leads the way. A charity that brings heritage to life, the National Trust features Passport Places including T’ashii Paddle School, Toronto’s Enoch Turner Schoolhous­e, and Calgary’s Lougheed House, a mansion that offers a glimpse of upper-class Prairie life in the late 1800s. National Trust members enjoy free access or special discounts at these and other tourist attraction­s that tell the

story of Canada—and at National Trust properties abroad. For those looking to dine or stay in historic surroundin­gs, the National Trust promotes Vintage Destinatio­ns, a curated list of iconic establishm­ents across the country that members can enjoy at a discount, including Quebec’s Fairmont Le Château Montebello, which is the largest log cabin in the world, and Grant Hall, a reimagined railway-era hotel in Moose Jaw, Saskatchew­an. Canadian heritage resides not just in urban areas but also in small and remote communitie­s, where grassroots volunteers struggle for scarce funding. Through the National Trust’s innovative crowdfundi­ng program This Place Matters ( thisplacem­, places like the Cape Forchu Lightstati­on near Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, the Potato House in Williams Lake, British Columbia, and the Welland Canal’s Lock One in Port Dalhousie, Ontario have found new funding and vitality. To date, over $725,000 from donors and funders has benefited sixty-four sites, and there is another $250,000 available for communitie­s to win this summer. As Canadians celebrate this milestone year with pride, it’s important to mark not only the country we are now but also the people and places that brought us here. For the National Trust, heritage sites are more than mere history; they’re living records of our vibrant young nation.

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