New experiences encourage travellers to keep exploring coastal communities, culture, rugged scenery and wildlife.
Destination Canada (DC) is pleased to announce the addition of four new members to the Canadian Signature Experiences (CSE) collection, which allow visitors to explore some of Canada’s most rugged coastlines and experience the rich culture of Canada’s First Nations and coastal communities.
The Canadian Signature Experiences are a curated collection of innovative travel experiences designed to encourage visitors to keep exploring Canada. As diverse as Canada itself, these unique experiences are offered from coast to coast to coast and provide an introduction to the best Canada – and Canadians – has to offer, from urban gems to wilderness adventures.
“Canada’s tourism entrepreneurs are showcasing the many exciting travel and tourism opportunities that visitors from around the world can choose from,” says the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism. “The exhilarating and unique adventures from the Canadian Signature Experiences collection support middle-class jobs and the economy by attracting travellers to once-in-a-lifetime experiences.”
“The Canadian Signature Experiences highlight some of our industry’s most innovative products for our international visitors and makes Canada stand out as a compelling destination in the international tourism marketplace,” says David F. Goldstein, Destination Canada President and CEO. “We’ve worked with our provincial and territorial partners to offer unique and high-quality experiences that add diversity, rustic adventure and deep connection to Canada’s people, geography and culture for the world to explore.”
With over 200,000 kilometers (over 124,000 miles) of coastline, Canada boasts the longest coastline in the world. The four new Canadian Signature Experiences have been chosen for the exceptional ways they connect visitors to Canadians and Canada’s geography and rich cultural heritage, with an emphasis on coastal communities and marine adventures:
- Canada’s East Coast: Fins and Fiddles by One Ocean Expeditions explores Eastern Canada’s coastline over an 11-day expedition cruise, providing unrivalled access to remote communities, abundant wildlife and diverse cultural experiences representing Canada’s rich history. Guests set sail from historic Louisbourg, Nova Scotia and can enjoy excursions on and off the ship. These include exploratory trips aboard zodiacs, sea kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, on-shore hikes and bikes. A highlight for many will be encountering the fabled wild horses of Sable Island, Parks Canada’s newest Natural Reserve off the mainland of Nova Scotia. Exploration of the coastal shores and culturally rich communities in Gaspe, Gaspe Peninsula and Havre Aubert, Magdalena Islands in Quebec's Maritime region as well as a visit Canada’s birth place, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Newfoundland and Labrador’s southern and western coast will also be explored, including a guided tour and hiking excursion in Gros Morne National Park and the secluded settlement in Francois Bay, where guests are hosted by locals at a traditional kitchen party.
- Experience Life on the Edge: The West Coast Trail Ecosummer Expeditions leads small groups on an epic seven-day hike that traces the pristine Pacific coast of Vancouver Island, BC. This rugged coastline was known as the Graveyard of the Pacific, with unpredictable weather and sea conditions resulting in thousands of ship wrecks over the years, and whose survivors created the original trail. Today, this demanding 76-kilometer (47-mile) route passes through old-growth rainforest and along sandy and rocky ocean shoreline. Guides assist avid hikers in expertly navigating tidal flows, ascend multiple ladder climbs, and guests are encouraged to get hands on with daily camp life. A highlight is falling asleep to the sound of the wild west coast waves hitting the shoreline every night.
- Bones Bay Lodge offers Wildlife Eco-tours to a maximum of eight guests, who are flown in via seaplane to a floating lodge in Knight Inlet, off the coast of Vancouver Island. With abundant wildlife in the region, guests can view orcas, humpback whales, dolphins, porpoises, Stellar sea lions, seals, eagles, black bears and grizzlies. Each day, the guided itinerary provides guests with a very intimate wildlife viewing experience in the four-day/three nights, all inclusive excursion. Knight Inlet’s abundant grizzly and black bear population makes this a haven for wildlife photographers, as bears can be viewed during the spring feeding on tender new plant growth and in the fall gorging on salmon as they prepare for hibernation. For whale lovers, this area of Northern Vancouver Island is well known for its robust whale population and as a prime spot for whale watching and whale research.
- Sea Wolf Adventures’ Grizzly Bears of the Wild: A First Nations Wildlife Journey in the Great Bear Rainforest, immerses guests inboth Canadian west coast nature and First Nations culture. The journey begins by boat along the coast of Northern Vancouver Island into traditional territories occupied by First Nations communities for more than 15,000 years. Local rivers within the famous Great Bear Rainforest are the gathering places for grizzly bears where guests can view these 300-kilogram bruins as they feast on spawning sockeye salmon. A local Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw First Nations guide will ensure guests uncover the powerful bond between British Columbia’s natural realm and local First Nations culture.
Since the program’s inception, CSE has grown to 198 members and Destination Canada works in partnership with all 13 Canadian provincial and territorial marketing organizations to build and maintain CSE members. The program brings to the global stage Canadian experiences that are memorable and authentic—created to shift travellers’ perceptions about Canada as a destination to keep exploring.