Journey into the Wild

Canada offers unforgettable encounters with nature that will fire both your senses and imagination. Get so close to the mammoth blue whales of the St. Lawrence or the magnificent orcas off BC's Vancouver Island that you can taste their salty spray on your lips. Or feel the powerful current as you raft down the mighty Nahanni River, the world's first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Smell the wildflowers blooming along a high alpine trail in one of our renowned national parks.

Go nose to nose with a polar bear.
Canada is blessed to be a natural habitat of these titans of the forests and tundra — for centuries the centre of Aboriginal legends and myths. Reverently called “Nanuk” by the Inuit hunters of Canada’s far north, polar bears are perfectly suited to brave the harsh, arctic cold. Of the world’s estimated 25,000 polar bears, over two-thirds are found in Canada.

Sail with humpbacks off Newfoundland.
Salty breeze sweeping your cheeks, your eyes widen with the sight of a sleek black back skimming the shores. Suddenly, a spectacular spray shoots up and a 36-tonne (40-ton) majestic beast hurls into the air, his white belly teasing the sun before crashing into the cold waters below. This may be the coast of Newfoundland, but it feels like chapter one of Moby Dick.

Have a whale of a time on the St. Lawrence River.
Called the "Big Waterway" by the Mohawks, the river that drains the Great Lakes has a date with you and 13 species of whale. To the left, a tail darts out of the water. Could it be "Big Blue," the largest living creature on earth? To your right, a mammoth white belly rolls and leaps in the air. Must be a minke! Who knew you could have such a good time whale spotting from the deck of your boat?

Tail the orcas of Vancouver Island.
Succulent west coast salmon attracts you and your taste buds to Vancouver Island. Prepare to share the spoils with the killer whales (orcas) who rule these waters. Kayaking along the rugged coastline, you might find yourself sharing a meal and some quality time with the greatest hunters the sea has ever known.

Navigate Canada's wild east end.
Hike across sharp ridges and huge cliffs, where deep ocean crust and the rocks of the earth's mantle lie exposed. Beneath you stretch the freshwater fjords, coastal bogs, highland tundra, dramatic ocean inlets and lakes of Newfoundland and Labrador's Gros Morne National Park. Above you, seabirds sail toward Atlantic fishing grounds.

Go with the flow in Yoho.
As a full moon rises over Emerald Lake in BC's Yoho National Park, you spot a glacier-capped mountain, known as The President, glowing brightly in the summer moonlight. To the north, you can hear Takakkaw Falls, Canada's second-highest waterfall, tumbling more than 300 m (1,000 ft) over the rock face. To the south, the Kicking Horse River roars over Wapta Falls. Yoho! said the Cree - their word for awe and wonder.

Touch the spirits of Haida Gwaii.
Exchange a smile with the silent Haida Gwaii Watchman presiding over mystical SGang Gwaay World Heritage Site in Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), where totem poles tower above you like sentinels from the past. Then slip back into your kayak and resume paddling along the coast, watching for grey, orca and humpback whales. Complete your experience with a dip into the restorative natural mineral waters of Gandla K'in Island.

Reach the heart of a world biosphere reserve.
You know you're in a special place as you hike along the 25-m-high (82-ft) dolostone cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve on the shores of Ontario's Georgian Bay. Scrambling over rock beaches, exploring sinkholes, ancient coral reefs and sea caves, you feel totally in tune with your environment. Ahead stretches 800 km (500 mi) of majestic shoreline lined with hidden coves and sandy beaches, tiny villages hugging limestone cliffs, quiet wooded trails and quaint, bustling towns.

Raft the mighty Nahanni.
Negotiate the white, frenzied waters of the South Nahanni River in the Northwest Territories, one of the most spectacular wild rivers in North America. Thousand-metre-deep canyons stretch ahead of you as you paddle through glacial gorges. By the time you reach Virginia Falls - where the river plunges over 90 m (300 ft) in a dramatic and thunderous plume - you've gained new respect for the beauty and power of nature.

Learn to speak "moose."
As you penetrate deep into the heart of La Réserve faunique de Matane in Quebec, your heart is racing in anticipation. Will you spot her in the next clearing, tending to her newborn calf? Or will you come upon the whole herd in its forest sanctuary? You're in the perfect habitat for more than 6,000 moose - go on and explore the mud flats, moose yards, lakes and peat bogs that form the natural habitat of one of Canada's icons.

Content provided by the Canadian Tourism Commission