September is just a couple weeks away now. Don’t let summer pass you by without experiencing some nature-medicine beyond just your weekend park-hang routine. Pack your papers and favourite strain for lulling you into a peaceful state and take off to some real-deal Canadian nature. Here are are few of the country’s best options for soaking in our distinctive scenery, for nature-lovers of all budgets and lifestyles.
Torngat Mountains National Park, Newfoundland
Rock climbers: you may not be able to take on Everest in this lifetime, but the mountains here are untouched playgrounds, made of some of the oldest rock in the world. Torngat Mountains Park covers 9,700 square kms of pure wilderness stretching from the northern tip of Labrador to the Atlantic coast of Québec, where Inuit have hunted and fished for thousands of years. Get views of glacier-studded waters and starry night skies you could only get at the northern tip of our country. You’ll want to be high for this.
This homey af maritime city is the birthplace of confederation, and the sense of community here is still totally palpable. On one hand you will not find better homespun comfort food or hospitality anywhere, but, you may be drawn to spend all your time here outside exploring. The red sandy beaches here cover 800 km of shoreline, and everywhere else is basically rolling hills and farmland. Rent bikes and feel the sea-breeze in your hair, or rent a canoe and traverse along the rugged coast.
Quebec’s Eastern Townships
Whether you want to spa and wine on a boat or lay on the grass with a joint and gaze at the stars, Quebec’s Eastern townships offer a sumptuous old-world adventure. There are 4 national parks to camp at, or, you could AirBNB and bring your bike and take on the 443 km of bike trails in the heart of Quebec’s countryside. Make a pit stop at the next cannabis capital of the world, Weedon, if you can swing it.
Back in the day the ancient Algonquin tribe named the Mont Tremblant peak Manitonga Soutana, or ‘the mountain of the spirits.’ This hints at the reason this town in the heart of the Laurentian Mountains is magnetic as an all-season playground for people of Quebec. It’s a haven for rafting, kayaking, hiking, camping, and golf and, after all is said and done, chilling in the Swiss-like pedestrian village or small towns nearby. Best of both worlds, here.
Bon Echo, Ontario
Late summer is arguably the best time for camping in Ontario, and this province has maybe some of the best camping in the country. Bon Echo is a provincial park just south of Bancroft that’s known for it’s majestic 330 ft-high Mazinaw Rockface, which is decorated with 200+ pictographs spanning 65 cliff surfaces. These ochre etchings have been baking in for thousands of years – Bon Echo is known to be one of the oldest First Nations pictograph sites in the Canadian Shield region. Kayak around here and share your gratitude with our country’s first people.
Niagara Region, Ontario
Beyond it’s world-famous wineries, Ontario’s Niagara region is one of the best areas for hiking and biking in Ontario. Do a road trip and discover the trails and waterfalls (there’s over 50 in the area – including some of the most powerful in North America). The views along this peninsula will make you feel truly expansive. And you don’t have to travel far from Toronto to get it.
Here on the remote shores of Hudson Bay in Northern Manitoba you can see wild polar bears, moose, beluga whales, and hoards of migrating birds in all their natural glory! What a trip! No roads lead to Churchill, so, yes, you must be up for an adventure. BUT, if you want the quintessential Canadian camping experience, complete a next-level view of the northern lights, the option to swim with Belugas (apparently they’re friendly) and steep in your deep thoughts on the Arctic tundra, add this to your bucket list.
A hiking expedition around the Rocky Mountains is something all Canadians must experience at least once. Book a spot in Canmore, a small but v. vibrant town just south of Banff, so you’re in a prime location to choose from the hundreds of diverse trails that range from from walks ‘round the glacier-fed river to multi-day backpacking adventures. The distinct sense of community and culture here makes this spot a totally addictive west-coast second home to Canadians.
Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
The group of islands is nicknamed the ‘Galapagos of the north’ for its lush plant and animal life (it’s home to seals, whales, bald eagles and lots more), and, it’s also got 500 archeological sites, including centuries-old totem poles from the Coastal First Nations villages. Feel silence like never before in these moss-covered rainforests and untouched beaches.