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5 British Columbia and Alberta sights every Canadian should see

Posted on 2015/03/20 at 2:46 pm by Galit G

Canada doesn’t get the credit it rightly deserves as a tourist destination. Stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the country includes wetlands, plains, mountains and valleys. Scenic vistas crowd Western Canada in particular, with British Columbia and Alberta chock-full of sights that will make your jaw drop.

Even if you’re born and bred in Toronto, it’s worth your time to make the trek west to the breathtaking sightseeing opportunities that Western Canada features. As you cross the foothills of the Canadian Rockies of Alberta, the plains and coast of British Columbia open up as well. Spring is the perfect time to hop in the car and see the five best attractions Western Canada has to offer.

1. Banff National Park
Less than two decades after Canada gained its independence from Great Britain, a group of Canadian Pacific Railway workers happened upon a cave of hot springs in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. Banff National Park would grow from that small cave to today’s mark of more than 6,600 square kilometers in Southern Alberta.

Banff National Park is so massive that it’s best viewed in sections. One day, you might want to tackle the Iceroads Parkway, a scenic highway that follows the Great Continental Divide that gave rise to Rockies millions of years ago. There’s also the Upper Hot Springs, a spa resort with naturally heated outdoor pools that look over Mt. Rundle in the distance.

With all this and more, it’s no wonder that Banff National Park is the most visited tourist destination in Alberta. The question remains, though: Have you seen it yet?

2. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
At most national parks across the world, visitors see nature from ground level. While this can make mountains seem taller and lakes more expansive, the same perspective can get somewhat tiresome after a while. Fortunately, British Columbia’s Capilano Suspension Bridge Park offers a bird’s eye view of nature like you’ve never seen before.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is hard to describe. Essentially a series of cantilevered walking paths 100 feet above the ground that cut through forests, wind around cliffs and span great divides, this tourist destination offers a way to appreciate Canada’s natural beauty from a perspective you’ll likely never get elsewhere.

Fair warning, though – a park made entirely of suspension bridges is not a great idea for people afraid of heights.

3. The Kootenays
Tucked away in the southeast corner of British Columbia and the southwest of Alberta are the Kootenays, a river-fed and mountainous region. Kootenay National Park, designated a World Heritage Site, ranges in elevation from 918 meters to 3,424 meters at the peak of Deltaform Mountain.

But you’ve seen mountains and national parks before – why should you come to this one? The answer: for the zip -lining {for some reason, this gets a hyphen when used as a verb}. CMH Summer Adventures near Golden, SkyTrek Adventure Park near Revelstoke and Fernie Alpine Resort near Fernie all have the expertise you need to zip -line from treetop to treetop with unforgettable views along the way.

4. Athabasca Falls
Located in the heartland of Alberta’s Jasper National Park, Athabasca Falls isn’t the tallest or largest waterfall in Canada, but it is the most powerful. At only 23 meters high, Athabasca’s incredible volume of rushing water is the cause for the tremendous thundering noise it’s best known for. The water also falls directly onto a bed of quartzite, which amplifies the sound. In certain places, the rock has been punched through by millions of years of rushing water to create pothole-like divots.

You won’t find any ziplines or suspension bridges over these falls, but there are multiple observation decks not far from the falls that make for excellent photo opportunities.

5. The Beaver Boardwalk
There might be not be a more Canadian attraction than Alberta’s Beaver Boardwalk. A 3-kilometer wooden path that leads through the wetlands of Hinton, the boardwalk gets its name from the natural population of beavers that make their homes in the marshes and ponds around the area. Visitors walk along the edge of Maxwell Lake and several creeks where whole colonies of beavers can be observed from a distance of only a few feet.

The Beaver Boardwalk also features two observation decks where visitors can view a dedicated beaver feeding area – a must-see attraction for animal lovers. Be careful, though – at some points along the walking trail, you may even be close enough to touch one of the furry creatures. Just make sure to follow all park guidelines and keep any feeding to designated areas. That way Beaver Boardwalk and all the other natural landmarks will be around for generations to come.

Of course, there’s no use in visiting all these beautiful locations if you don’t have good enough eyesight to enjoy them. Consider laser vision correction as a form of travel insurance – even if you lose your glasses or contact lenses along the way, you’ll still be able to enjoy your vacation with perfect vision.

Do you have a question about LASIK? Ask one of our experts!

Also available in/Également disponible en : French

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