From celebratory slow travel on New Brunswick’s Fundy Trail Parkway to Indigenous projects that deepen our connection to the destination, there are genuine reasons to journey across the Great White North in 2023.
Tailor-made tour operator Frontier Canada has outlined five holidays to book, with the list including an opportunity to combine the Yukon and neighbouring Alaska—the Canadian province and the U.S. state both marking historic anniversaries this year. The Yukon will also take centre stage this week (Wednesday, March 29, at 9pm), as episode two of BBC1’s Race Across The World sees contestants make their way into the heart of the northern territory to reach Dawson City.
This August will mark 25 years since the first section of New Brunswick’s Fundy Trail Parkway was completed, its 19-mile stretch of road hugging the province’s southern coastline and the Bay of Fundy and winding its way through over 6,300 acres of woodland. Completed in 2020, the entire project is the brainchild of Dr. Mitchell Franklin. Containing part of the Fundy Footpath (rated as one of the Top 50 Hiking Trails in the World by Explore Magazine), the parkway is one of the longest stretches of remaining coastal wilderness areas between Florida and Labrador.
Straddling two UNESCO sites, including the Fundy Biosphere Reserve and Stonehammer Global Geopark (the first in North America), its stellar scenic views have been compared to Australia’s Great Ocean Road and the Cabot Trail in neighbouring Nova Scotia. Slow travel at its best, the route includes 21 lookouts, 14 observation decks, five tidal-swept beaches, 19 hiking trails, and four waterfalls. Officially opened in 2020, the new Walton Glen Gorge observation point saves you a once-strenuous hike and leaves you with what is probably the most spectacular view in the province. Created by a series of volcanic eruptions, the 550-million-year-old gorge is 1,000 feet across, 525 feet deep, and features a waterfall. Finished in 2021, the latest connector road, which runs all the way to the Fundy National Park, integrated four natural attractions, including the Fundy Trail Parkway, the Fundy National Park, Hopewell Rocks, and Cape Enrage—the world-class signature coastal area named the Fundy Coastal Drive. 10-night Discover New Brunswick fly-drive holiday from from £2,190pp (two sharing) including all accommodation, car hire and return flights.
n February 2023, Gwaxdlala/Nalaxdlala (or Lull Bay and Hoeya Sound) became the first designated marine refuge in the Northern Shelf Bioregion Marine Protected Area Network. Located in Mamalililkulla territory on the coast of British Columbia, the area is a vital ecosystem for more than 240 aquatic species and is home to a unique sponge and coral reef, estuaries, and salmon-bearing streams. The Mamalililkulla co-own Knight Inlet Lodge with four other First Nations, and their guides visit the same location on their full-day marine and whale excursions.
Having lived in harmony with nature for thousands of years, Indigenous conservation is seen as the key to the successful conservation of wildlife and marine life. By rebalancing the ecosystem, travellers are also able to enjoy richer experiences and, by viewing the destination through an indigenous lens, make a deeper and more authentic connection with both people and place. Knight Inlet Lodge’s main attractions are Grizzlies, with cubs and juvenile bears best sighted from May through August along the estuary shoreline. Peak bear viewing and spawning salmon season runs from September through mid-October. The summer is the best time to view whales, including humpbacks and Orcas, along with Pacific white-sided dolphins and seals.
The full-day marine tour is available on 4, 5 and 6 night packages. A donation to the lodges many conservation projects (for example, the ongoing Bear ID project), is included in the cost of the holiday. Six-night Bears of Knight Inlet Lodge wildlife viewing holiday from £4,095pp (two sharing) including all accommodation (including 3 nights at Knight Inlet Lodge – including full board and activities) and return Flights (including flights to Campbell river and return).
June will mark 125 years since the Yukon was incorporated into Canada, and a second 125th anniversary celebrating the discovery of gold in the territory has been extended through 2023. Dawson City will forever be known as the capital of the Klondike Gold Rush (1896–1899), with visits to the nearby Discovery Claim, where paydirt was first struck, and Dredge 4, the largest wooden-hulled dredge in North America, both worthy of a visit. The Yukon’s stark natural beauty is best seen at your own pace on a self-drive trip. Revel in the panoramic views off the aptly named Top of the World Highway, savour the raw beauty of Kluane Lake (once called the most beautiful lake in the world), gaze at the snow-capped mountains and glaciers of the St. Elias Mountains, and drive through the Kluane National Park and Preserve. Home to ice fields, clear lakes, forests, and 17 of Canada’s 20 tallest mountains, the national park is a paradise for hikers, kayakers, and paddle boarders. 10-night Klondike Explorer fly-drive holiday from £2,639pp (two sharing) including all accommodation, car hire and return flights to Whitehorse via Vancouver.
With neighbouring Alaska also celebrating 100 years since the founding of the Alaska Railroad, it is the perfect time to hit the tracks and holiday across America’s Last Frontier by train. Climb aboard the Alaska Rail Explorer and enjoy magnificent window music and wildlife sightings from your glass-domed carriage. Delve into Alaska’s Native heritage in Anchorage, go wildlife cruising in Kenai National Park, hike across trails and tundra in Denali National Park, and pan for pay dirt in Fairbanks—the once-gold boom town doubling as a spectacular Northern Lights viewing hotspot. Eight-night Alaska Rail Explorer from £4,035pp (two sharing) including all accommodation, train as per itinerary, some excursions and a flight from Fairbanks back to Anchorage, and return Flights to Anchorage via Seattle.
Many people come to Nova Scotia to sample its delicious maritime fare, and the province is home to two seafood-centric culinary trails: the Lobster Trail and the Chowder Trail. With its melting pot of cultural influences, including Acadian, Gaelic, African Nova Scotian, and First Nations people, you can also expect to find many culinary threads underpinning the dishes in Canada’s Ocean Playground. A province that is rapidly becoming known for its sparkling wine, the Benjamin Bridge Winery in the Annapolis Valley, is an example of how culture is influencing Nova Scotia’s offerings. The winery aims to reveal the identity of the Gaspereau Valley (which lies in the cradle of the larger Annapolis Valley) to the world through its collection, and one of its recent signature wines was created in partnership with the Glooscap Nation. Launched on National Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2022, the Glooscap First Nation ✗ Benjamin Bridge Rosé is described as a wine of peace and friendship. It also honours the fact that the winery is set on Mik’maq land, with half of the profits going back into the First Nation’s community.
In addition, Benjamin Bridge co-hosts its annual Beyond Terroir event with the Glooscap Nation every September. The occasion features food stations hosted by Mi’kmaq knowledge holders and guided tours through the vineyard, with guests being given the opportunity to sample food and drink pairings prepared with ingredients from the vineyard’s garden and local producers. Seven-night Glimpse of Nova Scotia fly-drive from £1,875pp (two sharing) including all accommodation, car hire and return flights.
Frontier Canada (020 8776 8709; [email protected]; Frontier-Canada.co.uk). ATOL PROTECTED No 5405 ABTA W3207.