Town & Country Travel Blog

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Oh Canada!

With the 2015 women’s soccer World Cup being hosted by Canada, and the games just getting underway, we figured it was a good time to spotlight our spectacular and diverse neighbor to the north by calling out a couple of our favorite cities and their surrounds.

Whether you’re preparing for a luxurious Canadian Rockies rail journey or unwinding after an exhilarating Alaska cruise, coastal Vancouver and active adventure-filled Alberta offer the ideal anchor where you can indulge in your favorite adventures and discover new pursuits along the way.

Rocky Mountaineer, Kicking Horse Pass

Rocky Mountaineer

Vancouver

HIGH–FLYING EXPLORER

See the city’s appeal from new heights as you soar above the clouds at Vancouver Lookout, perched on the top of the downtown Harbour Centre

View from the Harbour Centre

View from the Harbour Centre

complex. A glass elevator whisks you more than 500 feet up, affording a 360-degree perspective of the cityscape embraced by the Pacific Ocean and North Shore Mountains.

Capilano_bridge_vancouver

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Tucked at the foot of the majestic range lies the Capilano Suspension Bridge, towering 230 feet above the Capilano River. For another mid-air feat in the same park, cross the cantilevered Cliffwalk, jutting from granite escarpments. Portions of the walkway are supported by sturdy glass, providing a thrilling view of the canyon below. Delve deeper into the wilderness at Grouse Mountain, where the Skyride lofts you over fir-populated peaks for an aerial view of Vancouver en route to the mountaintop Observatory restaurant. Relax over a five-course tasting menu paired with wines as the sun sets and the city’s lights begin to shimmer.

Devote more time to the charms of British Columbia as you wind your way north along the scenic Sea to Sky Corridor to the neighboring town of Squamish, where you can satisfy your adventurous side on the Sea to Sky Gondola. Enclosed cabins soar 2,903 feet high, revealing sweeping views of the Howe Sound fjord enveloped by coastal forests and mountain peaks. At the top, stand above the treetops on the Pilot Suspension Bridge, a dramatic walkway suspended in the air, overlooking alpine ridges and the fjord thousands of feet below.

 

SEAFARING ADVENTURER

With waterways surrounding the city, sightseeing by sea is a perfect way to experience Vancouver’s gems. Tour Vancouver Harbour on a Zodiac-style cruise to catch highlights like Stanley Park, occupying over 1,000 acres on the border of downtown, and the eco-friendly Vancouver Convention Centre poised on the waterfront. Dock at Granville Island for lunch at the public market, offering everything from fish and chips and authentic Indian curry to warm donuts with raspberry jam.

False CreekAnother network through the heart of the city is False Creek, an ideal thoroughfare to explore by kayak. With an expert guide, float past the seaside homes and bay-inlet beaches clustered along the banks. Or devote a day to paddling out to Vancouver’s outlying lakes and sounds for a scenic tour of the lower mainland’s natural wonders.

Ask any water-obsessed local their preferred method of transport and they’ll point you to BC Ferries — climb on board for service across the Georgia Strait in just 95 minutes. You’ll arrive on Vancouver Island, where the capital city of Victoria punctuates the southern tip, making it a sublime spot for salmon fishing or a swim at Willow’s Beach.

 

DEVOTED LANDLUBBER

With its charming tree-lined streets and seawalls, Vancouver is well-suited for discovery on foot. ToursByLocals offers customized walking tours led by Vancouverites who reveal the city’s secret spots. Whether you want to taste traditional Italian coffee along Commercial Drive or peruse artists’ studios on Granville Island, your expert guide will lead you on a full- or half-day odyssey.

See Vancouver’s sophisticated side on a stroll through the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden, a sanctuary of ponds and foliage hidden in the hub of the Whistler Villagecity. Nearby, a classic interpretation of the arts is found at the Vancouver Art Gallery, displaying contemporary works as well as exhibitions of beloved masters.

Explore beyond the city limits and enjoy the unparalleled natural beauty of the area. Relax on a chartered road trip along the scenic Sea to Sky Highway, hugging the glittering shores of Howe Sound and winding up the peaks of Whistler; or get there in style with Scenic Rush and satisfy your hunger to drive a luxurious exotic car. Charting the same course — and equally breathtaking — is Rocky Mountaineer’s Sea to Sky Climb rail journey. Indulge in astonishing views of ever-changing landscapes transforming from ocean vistas to the 230-foot tumbling Brandywine falls, past an extinct volcano before arriving at the doorstep of Whistler Village.

 

HERE ARE A COUPLE OF THE MANY VANCOUVER VACATIONS WE OFFER:

To get more details for these vacations, offer ID’s can be entered at the top of any page on our website (www.countrytravel.com).

British Columbia Combo: Vancouver and Whistler:  Enjoy legendary hospitality at Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver in the vibrant downtown area for the city’s best shopping and dining. Then head up the scenic Sea to Sky Highway to Fairmont Chateau Whistler to experience all the comforts in this international year-round village resort.  Four nights start at $479.  (Offer ID  1202509)

Canadian Rockies Getaway on the Rocky Mountaineer scenic train:  Keep a lookout for a range of wildlife on this spell-binding Circle Journey train ride, which includes a visit to Yoho National Park, a gondola ride with beautiful vistas and more.  The beauty is sure to take your breathe away – and no one has to drive!  (Offer ID 1173375)

 

Alberta

Photo Credit Lake Louise Tourism

Photo Credit Lake Louise Tourism

Canada’s quintessential Wild West, the province of Alberta serves as a sprawling natural playground for year-round excitement. Sharing its southern border with Montana, and nestled between the snowcapped Canadian Rockies and the dinosaur-trodden Canadian Badlands, Alberta inspires pursuits as dynamic as its landscape. Snowshoe, ski and drive a dogsled through winter’s pristine powder. Then, as snow gives way to warmer temperatures, set off on equestrian adventures across flower-dappled prairies and hike or bike along craggy mountain slopes. Five national parks scrupulously preserve the great outdoors while the bustling cities of Edmonton and Calgary widen the scope for urban leisure. We’ve hand-selected a few “park” attractions to showcase Alberta’s impressive range and give you a few ideas for endless fun.

The nation’s first and most popular nature reserve, Banff National Park bubbled up from the hot

kayaks on lake louise

Kayaks on Lake Louise,
Photo Credit Travel Alberta

springs found in the Cave & Basin National Historic Site, pooling at the foot of Sulphur Mountain. Enter the cave and onsite museum to see the original thermal pool that created a flood of interest among Aboriginals and settlers, and later inspired the government to start protecting its natural treasures. Today, you can luxuriate year-round in the healing waters of Banff Upper Hot Springs while staring out at scenery pulled straight from movie backdrops such as Brokeback Mountain. Or, peruse the eclectic shops, galleries and restaurants lining Banff Avenue in the town center before retreating to nearby acclaimed hotel The Fairmont Banff Springs, styled after a Scottish baronial castle. Paddle across the glistening waters of the park’s famous Lake Louise in a kayak, set out on a hike within a network of trails extending over 1,000 miles or be dropped into the mountain peaks from a helicopter to lay new tracks as you ski untouched terrain.

An exhilarating way to rise above it all is a visit to the brand-new Glacier Skywalk in Jasper National Park, adjacent to Banff. Stand on the outdoor

Glacial Skywalk

Glacial Skywalk, Photo Credit Brewster Travel Canada

glass platform and engineering phenomenon, suspended 918 feet above ice-carved Sunwapta Valley, and learn geological details about the surrounds from the six interpretative stations. For a more intimate encounter with the waterfalls and wildlife below, explore the park’s 4,200 square miles of alpine terrain from the saddle. Horse trails take you back through 150 years of equestrian influence on fur traders and early traders to today’s famous “Mounties,” the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Canada’s varied ecosystem thrives eastward, at Elk Island National Park. Your wildlife expert will introduce you to herds of endangered bison, elk and over 250 species of birds within the boundaries of this fenced sanctuary spanning 75 square miles. During the annual Bison Festival each August, celebrate the conservation and comeback of the plains’ majestic giant with food, live music and all-things-bison. No matter what time of year, there’s a festival bound to be happening an hour’s drive west in Alberta’s capital city of Edmonton, Canada’s “Festival City.” This city, revered for its abundant oil supply, is also home to the world’s largest indoor waterpark, housed within North America’s largest shopping and entertainment center, West Edmonton Mall. The countless attractions within the mall, including 17 waterslides and an enormous wave pools, are joined by Aquaventure, The Hurricane, where you can slip and slide within an

West Edmonton Mall

West Edmonton Mall

inflatable ball — the first of its kind in Canada.

Amusing escapades can also be found in Calgary, a place to enjoy natural beauty and the fascinating history of the Wild West by day and world class cuisine and entertainment by night. At WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park, the epicenter of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games, you can test your skills on the new Skyline Luge or launch yourself off a ski jump tower and experience the continent’s fastest zip line. Another popular attraction is Calgary’s Heritage Park Historical Village, which celebrated its 50-year golden anniversary in 2014. Interact with pioneers, ride an authentic steam train and peruse vintage vehicles to glean a better understanding of how Canada’s west was won.

 

HERE ARE A COUPLE OF THE MANY ALBERTA VACATIONS WE OFFER:

To get more details for these vacations, offer ID’s can be entered at the top of any page on our website (www.countrytravel.com).

 

Canadian Rockies Trail, a guided vacation with G Adventures:  Prepare for wildlife encounters in Western Canada with grizzly bears, moose and eagles as a river safari traverses through Grizzly Bear Valley. Cross the Rockies in Jasper National Park where the highest peak, Mount Robson, awaits. Considered one of the most scenic drives in the world, travel the Icefields Parkway to Peyto Lake with a stop at the Columbia Icefield. To top it all off, an expert guide will lead a glacier walk on the lower Athabasca Glacier to explore and understand the life of this active glacier. (OFFER ID 1130874)

 

Wonders of the Canadian Rockies, a guided vacation with Tauck: Let Banff & Jasper National Parks set the stage for wildlife viewing of elk, deer, moose, bear, bighorn sheep and mountain goats. A guided hike around emerald lakes, bicycling, canoeing, boating, swimming and more in Jasper National Park and whitewater rafting down an alpine river. Take an Ice Explorer ride to a prehistoric glacier — and a gondola ride to a mountain summit. Get your fill of guided adventurous exploration of the parks, from biking and hiking to whitewater rafting. VACATION INCLUDES: Deluxe accommodations; many meals; sightseeing and tours; Tauck Director, local guides and drivers; service charges, taxes and porterage. OFFER 1177129)

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This entry was posted on June 9, 2015 by in Uncategorized.

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