63-year old Bert ter Hart is trekking and paddling his canoe across Canada, from west to east, using only a sextant and compass. He’s following routes that Canada’s Indigenous people travelled for thousands of years; they later helped guide the fur traders and explorers like David Thompson. He’s also carrying a petition that seeks to recognize these Indigenous guides.
This is an epic adventure, 40 days in the northern reaches of Quebec, travelling with traditional tools including wood-canvas canoes and fire irons for cooking over an open fire. It is a trip filled with unknowns for me, but there is one thing of which I’m sure: the 11 young women I’m travelling with, nine of whom are teenagers, will not see each other at their best. They are bug-bitten, cold and boob-deep in muskeg bog and have to carry an incredibly heavy canoe on their heads.
At the heart of this story is a summer camp – but not the kind most people know. This one is called Keewaydin, the second-oldest operating summer camp in North America. Its vision hasn’t changed since it was established in 1893: “a program focused on wilderness canoe tripping, with minimum time spent in base camp”. In its first 105 years only boys got the chance to go tripping, but in the past two decades girls have joined the ranks. I’m interested in how something established more than a century ago to promote manliness and “roughing it in the woods” can be relevant for teenage girls today. I wonder what kind of teenage girl would want to forgo life’s luxuries to spend a summer in the wilderness – but also know that, as a teenager, I probably would have been one of them.
Quebec is the biggest province in Canada, and there’s a whole lot to see and do.
Destination Canada has put together seven wonderful road trip routes which will take you to some of this provinces’ most beautiful wonders and sought-after experiences.
Some of these trips are short, while others will take you quite a bit longer, and really embrace that road trip spirit.
1. The New France Route – 56 kilometres / 35 miles – Road trip highlights starting in Quebec City include Domaine de Maizerets, Maison Girardin, Montmorency Falls Park, Auberge Baker, Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area
2. The Fjord Route – 235 kilometres / 146 miles – Highlights include Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park, Musée de la Nature, the Musée du Fjord, Saguenay Fjord National Park
3. The King’s Road – 280 kilometres / 174 miles – Highlights include Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade church, the Quebec Folk Culture Museum, the Old Prison of Trois-Rivières, Lake Saint-Pierre
4. The Wine Route – 138 kilometres / 86 miles – Highlights include many vineyards, Brome Lake, Mont Sutton
5. The Navigators’ Route – 470 kilometres / 292 miles – Highlights include Centre de la Biodiversité du Québec in Bécancour, Îles du Pot à l’Eau-de-Vie archipelago and Île aux Lièvres, the Musée maritime du Québec, Bic Provincial Park, Pointe-au-Père Maritime Historic Site
6. The Whale Route – 880 kilometres / 546 miles – Highlights include Cap-de-Bon-Désir Interpretation and Observation Centre, Daniel Johnson Dam and Manic-5 Generating Station, Pointe-des-Monts Lighthouse, Vauréal Canyon
7. The Gaspesie Tour – 1,230 kilometres – 765 miles – Highlights include the Rimouski Wildlife Reserve, Reford Gardens, Exploramer, Bonaventure Island, and Gaspesie and Percé Rock provincial parks
On June 2nd, 2017, Melanie Vogel set out to solo thru-hike the longest recreational trail in the world. Melanie’s long-distance hike started in Cape Spear, Newfoundland the most easterly point of Canada, and will lead her trough all ten Canadian provinces and two of the three territories. She originally planed to hike to Victoria on Vancouver Island in two years, but somewhere along the way decided to include the Arctic Ocean in her hike.
When Melanie is finished, she will have solo hiked 18,000 km across Canada from the Atlantic Ocean, to the Arctic Ocean, and then to the Pacific Ocean, on The Great Trail, or as some know it, the Trans Canada Trail.
Her inspirational expedition takes her through maritime terrain, boreal forests, along the Great Lakes, the Canadian prairies, the Rocky Mountains and into the tundra and permafrost as she goes north to the Arctic.
With her choice of walking this huge country, the German born and raised adventurer is embracing Canada, to better connect to the land, its people, nature and herself.
As an ambassador for The Great Trail, Melanie wants to inspire people to get outside and discover trails in their backyard and by doing so find the connection back to nature.
Melanie Vogel is the recipient of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s Women’s Expedition Grant for 2019.
Update 2020.10.18 » Dan Davidson, of the Whitehorse Daily Star, writes that Melanie might spend the winter in Whitehorse as she is restricted from entering the Northwest Territories and reaching Tuktoyaktuk and the Arctic Ocean due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Canada’s national parks and historic sites hosted a staggering 24.7 million visitors last year. Not bad for a country with a population of only 36 million people. Which of it’s 39 national parks are the most popular? Here are the top ten:
Please tread lightly, pack out your trash, and treat every person and location with respect.
Please do not bury waste or wipes – even those that are biodegradable. Always pack out bags, sanitary wipes, and feminine hygiene products to minimize impact on the environment and the spread of disease.
If you find any errors, have any tips, or see anything that might need improving, please let me know.