Coca Cola has created a marketing genius out of the frosty white polar bears. Found in the colder climates of the North, you will find polar bears in Canada, Russia, Greenland and Norway mostly. A few can even be found in Alaska. While they appear white in color, it’s actually a reflection of their surroundings, as polar bear fur is actually more translucent, allowing them to blend in better. Polar bears, when all four paws are on the ground stand about 3.5 to 5 feet tall, however if you ever meet one while it’s standing up on its back legs – look out. That polar bear can stand as high as 10 feet or taller. Not quite as cozy and cuddly as Coca Cola makes them appear. In fact they are one of the deadliest bears in the world.
If your children have got you curious about Polar Bears, or you’re looking for an adventure in the North, then you won’t want to miss out. Churchill Manitoba is a great place to explore the open tundra from the back of a Tundra buggy in search of these majestic animals. Whether they are splashing in the water, walking across the icy landscape or fishing for lunch, you will witness these spectacular creatures up close, in the wild, free to roam in nature.
Photo credit goes to Lust for Life Photography
Looking for another wonder to explore? How about the Northern lights? When I first heard about these, I had to ask if they truly were real. I was assured that they were, but I’ve yet to see them in their glory. A friend of mine who lives in Canada has described them to me, and while my last visit failed to produce a viewing (I was a few weeks too early), she shared photos and stories. While most often you will see shades of greens and yellows to white lights dancing across the skies, on the truly vibrant nights you will even see blues, pinks, purples and reds. The lights can dance slowly where you need to watch closely to see them move all the way through to dancing with such intensity that they snap and crack like a flag in the wind. She tells me there is nothing like parking on an old country road, in the quiet of the countryside, and you can actually hear the northern lights dancing. You can actually hear the snap and crack. The lights can even fill the whole sky from one horizon to the next, or just a short window to the side. Either way it is right up at the top of my bucket list! I even discovered the most amazing trip in Northern Canada in the Northwest Territories where you can take a dog sled ride out to the middle of nowhere to watch the northern lights in the wide open sky. Not to worry – they have warm layers to keep you toasty warm. Everyone wants to know what causes Northern Lights, and while the real answer is, when gaseous particles in the atmosphere collide, their atoms react creating a spectacular light show, I like to think that it is just an amazing magic show the universe creates just for us.
The wonder that I’m probably most looking forward to this year coming up, is the Rocky Mountains. My family and I will be making our way to Alberta to explore the Canadian Rockies, in particular we are going to be exploring Lake Louise, Banff and Jasper. The crystal clear water of Lake Louise have been calling my name for years, I’m so excited to finally see it up close and in person. Hiking, exploring glaciers and watching for animals and so much more, is all on the agenda for our family. While this vacation is going to be filled with lots of activity and adventure for us, the Canadian Rockies is also a great destination for a couples escape. Imagine cozying up in front of a crackling fireplace while the snow gently and softly falls outside. I’m pretty sure this is where the heart of every hallmark movie is dreamt up. Spend your mornings out in the crisp fresh air hiking, followed by a gondola ride up the mountain for the afternoon, and an evening cuddled up by the fire, talk about an escape to reconnect with the one you love the most.
Want to experience some Canadian Culture? Then you will want to explore the events that they’ve become famous for. Grab your best western duds and favorite cowpoke for the Calgary Stampede. Get ready to witness the most spectacular coastline fireworks show at Vancouvers’ Celebration of Lights. You definitely won’t want to miss the star studded TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival). Toronto is also home to the biggest and best Caribbean Festival of Canada. Montreal is home to Just For Laughs, a 10 day long comedy festival featuring some of the best up and comers along side the most seasoned comedians, as well as Montreal Jazz Festival.
In the winter you can check out the Quebec Winter Carnival or the Winterlude in Ottawa. Winterlude even includes skating along the Rideau Canal, creating the worlds longest skating rink. For the truly brave, you may even want to consider the annual polar bear plunge. This is where brave (I have a different word, but I’ll stick with brave) Canadians and tourists alike, cut a hole into the ice, and plunge into the frigid waters in the middle of winter while only wearing a bathing suit. They say it’s absolutely invigorating, but it certainly isn’t for everyone. You’ll find Canadians doing this on New Years day mostly and for many it’s tied to a charity event.
If these wonders or events weren’t on your bucket list before, I think they should be now. Canada is a great destination for all ages, travel styles and adventure levels. This diverse country will leave you in awe, no matter where, when or how you choose to explore.
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