The New York Times was onto something when it named Canada – all 9.985 million square kilometres – as the top travel destination in 2017. In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, now is the perfect time to explore our home and native land. With so much to discover, narrowing down your travel destination can be as challenging as it is exciting. For those more remote locations that have seemed out of reach, air charter is the ideal way to experience some of Canada’s more hidden locales. Air charter affords Canadians with ease and convenience, opening a whole new world of travel possibilities, whether you’re set on exploring the enchanting north-west inlets of Haida Gwaii or the “Land at the Top of the World” on Ellesmere Island. Here are some of our favourite places to discover by air charter this year.
Viking Trail, Newfoundland
Travel back in time more than 150 years to the first known European settlement of the Americas, L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site along the Viking Trail is where a Norse expedition from Greenland set up a small encampment more than 1,000 years ago. The timber-and-sod buildings are part of the archaeological remains of the Viking encampment that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. Called one of Canada’s most scenic drives, the 489km route begins in Western Newfoundland and travels north-east to the historic site. Tranquil and serene in places and wild and alive with archeological activity in others, the Viking Trail is surely one of Canada’s best kept secrets.
Quttinirpaaq National Park, Nunavut
The high arctic could be considered Canada’s Everest. Remote, wild and beautiful, Quttinirpaaq National Park is about as far north as it gets. Inuktitut for “Land at the Top of the World” and located on Ellesmere Island, the park is 800kms north of Resolute, Nunavut. With Parks Canada’s free park access in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, what better time to channel your inner explorer and adventurer up north? This once-in-a-lifetime experience boasts spectacular landscapes of epic proportions on top of the world. In this untouched Arctic wilderness and ancient Inuit homeland, visitors can explore the vast polar desert which extends to the Polar Ice Cap, the edge of North America for a truly unforgettable adventure.
Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
Known as the Galapagos of the North, Haida Gwaii, formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands is on the radar of many adventure travellers and those who relish in the beauty and solitude of nature. The archipelago’s national Park, Gwaii Haanas has been ranked by National Geographic Traveler as the number one park destination in North America. The islands have a well-deserved global reputation as a unique evolutionary outpost. More than 15% of Canada’s Pacific coast seabird populations breed here and the world’s largest black bear is indigenous to the islands. All five of British Columbia’s salmon species migrate past this region’s fishing grounds, attracting anglers from around the world. The serenity, stunning landscapes and cultural richness of Haida Gwaii make it a one-of-a kind destination.
Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
Cape Breton Island, renowned for its celebrated Cabot Trail, is rich in history and culture, paying homage to North America’s early European settlers and the First Nations’ peoples they encountered after crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Visitors can now experience life as it was in the 18th century at Fortress Louisbourg and learn about the culture of the Mi’kmaq people at sites such as Membertou, and Goat Island. Guests can participate in traditional ceremonies and gain insight into the passion with which the Mi’kmaq value the authenticity of their practices. Mi’kmaq culture has persevered through millennia and impacted other aboriginal cultures around the world. History buffs will revel in Fortress Louisbourg, the largest reconstructed historic village in North America. Like other National Historic Sites, celebrations are planned for Canada’s 150th birthday, so prepare for a canon blast on July 1!
Affectionately known as Quebec Authentique and located on the north shore of the St. Lawrence, the Lanaudière-Mauricie region lies midway between Montreal and Quebec City and is the heart centre of the province. With the majestic Laurentian escarpment and abundant nature in its wild state, the region offers visitors a uniquely authentic Quebecois experience. Its landscape of lakes, rivers and forests, from the Lac Saint-Pierre Reserve Biosphere and La Mauricie National Park to the Mont-Tremblant National Park boast three wildlife sanctuaries and seven regional parks. Rich in tradition, Lanaudière-Mauricie is home to numerous sites that celebrate the province’s cultural history and heritage as New France, including the Chemin du Roy – the first overland route in Canada – and four National Historic Sites.