Rediscovering Canada: Your next travel adventure | Powell’s Travels

by W. Andrew Powell

There is nowhere else like Canada. I feel lucky to have this beautiful county right outside my door; filled with stories, people, and adventures. There is so much to admire about our country, and this year, it’s the best travel destination I can imagine.

My love for Canada started as far back as I can remember, growing up in New Brunswick, and seeing everything from the Bay of Fundy to Deer Island and Bouctouche. To this day, it’s still home, at least in a way, and it’s a province I recommend for anyone looking to drive and explore.

Since then, I’ve been lucky to see a lot of the country; as far west as Vancouver, as northerly as Edmonton, as southerly as Windsor, and all the way to North America’s easternmost point, Cape Spear. I’ve seen mountains and wetlands, stepped on tiny islands, and big ones. I lived in Guelph and Toronto, too, and I’ve driven all the way up to Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. Every trip has been a new adventure.

As a kid, I took the ferry to Prince Edward Island, and when I went back a number of years ago, I drove across the Confederation Bridge.

Canada is huge and wonderful and diverse, and there is so much of it to love. That’s why it’s time to show our country some love this year. It’s probably never been more important.

Destination Toronto estimates that the pandemic has caused $8.35 billion in lost revenue for the city over the last year. Destination Canada calculated a $19 billion shortfall for the country’s tourism sector, and they note that one in every ten Canadians has a job that’s tied to tourism.

That may not even fully represent what a big deal tourism is to Canada, and that’s part of the reason we should all be booking trips in our own country.

Saint-André de Kamouraska lighthouse, Quebec
Saint-André de Kamouraska lighthouse, Quebec

Canadians are still facing a tough year ahead, but for those who can travel, there’s a lot of reasons to look at trips in the country when the time is right. The economic impact of travelling in Canada is huge. Road trips inject revenue into communities on so many levels, from restaurants and hotels, to activities, and even just filling up your car with gas.

Travelling in your own back yard is one small way of giving back to our country. It helps create work, and puts money into the pockets of other Canadians. After everything over the last year, that’s a big deal, and Canada won’t disappoint.

Depending on where you live, road trips and small trips or camping could be a possibility within a few weeks. For bigger trips outside your province, late summer or early fall may be a bit more realistic.

For now though, the Government of Canada is still advising us to avoid all non-essential travel outside Canada, and if nothing else, that’s the best advice we can all take until most people have been vaccinated.

When planning locally, take a look at city and provincial tourism websites for more details about what’s open, and what’s allowed. Destination Toronto has a very helpful guide on the current status of the city that’s frequently updated and includes details on attractions, and what’s open from shopping, to hotels.

For travellers looking to visit the east coast, right now most provinces are discouraging travel, but if restrictions are eased, New Brunswick did require visitors to quarantine for 14 days on arrival last year.

Regardless of when and where you travel in Canada this year, my biggest suggestion otherwise is to book with flexibility in mind.

My wife and I are planning a road trip to Agawa Canyon in the fall, and we’ve booked a hotel, as well as train tickets. All of those things can be cancelled within a few days prior to our travel dates. We definitely have our fingers crossed, but we’ll have to see what happens next.

The good news is that if you’re booking almost anything, from hotel rooms to experiences, most companies are offering fully refundable options, in case things get complicated again.

If you’re looking for travel ideas this year, search for some travel inspiration on YouTube, including some of my videos below, or tourism groups like the Indigenous Tourism Association that offer suggestions for packages you can enjoy across the country.

Across the country, Canada also has some of the best hotels in the world, not to mention legendary small destinations, like St. Andrews By-The-Sea.

Or visit Destination Canada for information on where you can travel, and great ideas for any type of traveller.

Every month, I’ll be rounding up travel thoughts, inspirations, and eventually, travel ideas in Powell’s Travels. I’d also love to hear about some of your favourite travel memories, so tell me all about them in the comments or on Twitter.

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