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 the Yukon and neighbouring Alaska—the Canadian territory and the U.S. state both marking historic anniversaries this year.
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. The Fundy Trail Parkway is one of the longest stretches of remaining coastal wilderness areas between Florida and Labrador, the hiking mecca now a major attraction in Atlantic Canada.
Straddling two UNESCO sites, including the Fundy Biosphere Reserve and Stonehammer Global Geopark (the first in North America), the parkway's 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, Fundy National Park, Hopewell Rocks and Cape Enrage - the World Class Signature Coastal Area named the Fundy Coastal Drive.
10-night Discover New Brunswick from from £2,190pp (two sharing) including all accommodation, car hire and return flights.
In 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 - with the Mamalilikulla First Nation assuming stewardship of their traditional territory. Situated on the coast of British Columbia, the area is home to a unique sponge and coral reef, estuaries and salmon-bearing streams. A vital ecosystem for more than 240 marine species, the site is also of high cultural significance for the Mamalililkulla people.
The all-day marine adventures at Knight Inlet Lodge visit the same location on their full-day Marine and Whale excursions, the property owned and operated by five First Nations, including the Mamalilikulla themselves. Having lived in harmony with nature over thousands of years, Indigenous conservation is seen as the key to reviving wildlife and marine life. By rebalancing the ecosystem, travellers are also able to enjoy richer experiences, and in viewing the destination through an indigenous lens make a deeper and more authentic connection with both people and place.
Grizzly cubs and juvenile Bears are best sighted from May through August, with small boats allowing you to observe them along the estuary shoreline. For peak bear viewing and spawning salmon season book from September through mid-October. The summer is the best time to view whales, Humpbacks and Orcas, along with pacific white-sided dolphins and seals.
Full-day Marine Tour available on longer stay packages (4, 5 and 6 nights). A conservation donation is included in the cost of the holiday.
Six-night Bears of Knight Inlet Lodge from £4,095pp (two sharing) including all accommodation activities and return flights.
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 (visible from the Alaska Highway), and on reaching Haines Junction, explore Kluane National Park and Reserve by air. Home to the world’s largest non-polar ice fields, the park's 2,000 plus glaciers converge and carve their way through many of the tallest peaks in Canada, including Mount Logan, the country's highest mountain. With its beautiful, clear lakes and forests, the national park is also a paradise for hikers and kayakers.
Stops in Dawson City and Whitehorse also feature on the 10-night Klondike Explorer 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 stunning 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, in fact, 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 aiming to reveal the identity of the Gaspereau Valley (which lies in the cradle of the larger Annapolis Valley) to the world through its collection. One of its recent signature wines is based on a collaboration 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 from £1,875pp (two sharing) including all accommodation, car hire and return flights.