Missing the Great White North? Now you’ll be able to get your Canada travel fix: Canada announced the reopening of its borders for discretionary travel to fully vaccinated travelers in two stages. As of August 9, fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents of the United States may enter Canada. Then, starting September 7, fully vaccinated citizens from other countries may enter Canada.
Here are some suggestions from Global Rescue experts and Safe Travel Partners for fall and winter activities in Canadian destinations to add to your travel wish list.
Take a Train Trip to See Fall Foliage
Via Rail Canada, Canada’s first national passenger rail company, offers a 1,350-kilometer (839-mile) journey between Montreal and Halifax. For 21 hours, you can enjoy fall colors on the Ocean, the oldest continuously operated named passenger train in North America. The best time to go is the second week in October, when the colors are at their peak, and the best place to see foliage is in the Park Car, a vintage, glass-domed car at the rear of the train providing views in all directions. Bonus: traveling by train is eco-friendly.
Enjoy Hut-style Ski Trips in British Columbia
Tom Wolfe, founder of Sawback Alpine Adventures, knows Canada. Not only did he grow up there, his Canmore, Alberta-based business offers lead ice climbing and ski adventures throughout the Canadian Rockies. When it comes to ski trips, he told Freeskiier.com “all of my hut trips are based in British Columbia…and that’s simply because it’s got the best snow and best terrain for skiing.”
“British Columbia is legendary for its backcountry ski lodges,” says Wolfe, a trained and internationally certified Mountain Guide, a member of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) and the International Federation of Mountain Guides (IFMGA) and a Global Rescue Safe Travel Partner.
“Burnie Glacier Chalet is one of my favorites for its incredible alpine scenery and amazing ski mountaineering objectives. Selkirk Lodge is widely recognized as one of the top two backcountry lodges for its amenities and superb ski touring terrain.”
See Polar Bears in Manitoba
According to Reader’s Digest Canada, Churchill, Manitoba “has earned international fame as the polar bear capital of the world, and is rightfully renowned as one of the best places to visit in Canada. So plentiful are the bears that the town actually has a polar bear jail, which holds wayward bears that wander into town until they can be released back into the wild.”
Safe Travel Partner Arctic Kingdom is an Arctic travel, logistics and professional services organization. They offer land-based Arctic travel and wildlife experiences, including year-round polar bear tours. You can get the opportunity to see polar bears in their natural habitat in October and November on a Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Photo Safari just south of Arviat, Nunavut.
Catch and Release in Northwest Territory
“Canada is the best place for fishing because we have so much fresh water, such a small population based on land mass, and the ability to get into these remote untouched waters,” said Kevin McNeil, who co-owns Aylmer Lake Lodge with wife Patti.
The lodge is located in the Aylmer Lake area, home to the last undeveloped Canadian fishery. Accessible only by float plane, “our lodge is located on remote, pristine, untouched vast amounts of water to fish,” said McNeil, who is also a Global Rescue Safe Travel Partner. “It’s authentic wilderness, it’s the last untamed wilderness in North American. The area of the water land mass that we fish is the size of California. We have hundreds of lakes and rivers that are unnamed. You can travel by motor boat to see land that has never been walked on by humans.”
It’s the perfect place to catch Arctic Grayling and Lake Trout. “You will catch and release fish all day long. It never stops,” said McNeil.
Explore the Boreal Forest in Alberta
You’ll find boreal forests in Alaska, Russia and Canada. They are the home to wildlife that has adapted to withstand freezing temperatures year-round: moose, snowshoe hare, beaver, black bear, shorebirds, songbirds and raptors. According to the Alberta Wilderness Association, the Boreal Forest also provides critical habitat for at-risk species such as woodland caribou and wood bison.
If you’re looking to view wildlife, Bluesky Outfitters in Alberta offers a variety of locations for your trip.
“Whether you come to bird watch, hunt or explore the Boreal Forest, we provide it all,” McNeil said. “We place ourselves minutes from the opportunity to enjoy what we have to offer. We have remote wild bison viewing, fly-in moose viewing, moose and whitetail viewing from our permanent lodge.” Remote lodges, for a camp experience, provide additional viewpoints.
The McNeils have been in business for 20-plus years and have produced 100-plus television shows about the wildlife in the Boreal Forest. “The Boreal Forest, the largest continuous forest in North America, transitions between wetlands, park lands and agricultural fields, and the cover of the deciduous and conifer trees produce tremendous viewing opportunities,” McNeil said. “We have clients come from all over the world. Research affirms we are on the X when it comes to animals that call the Boreal Forest home.”
Visit a National Park in Every Province
It’s hard to choose just one national park to visit in Canada. In fact, there’s one in every province and territory, courtesy of the National Parks Systems Plan. You could try the popular Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies or a lesser known park, such as the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve off the Quebec coast. Mingan is made up of hundreds of small islands with rocky beaches (six islands have campgrounds), massive limestone monoliths and strategically placed red Adirondack chairs to reconnect with nature. It’s a go-to spot for kayakers, canoers, motor boaters, scuba divers and Atlantic puffin fans.
Canada Travel Restrictions
Trip preparation is more than just booking a flight; there are mandatory requirements for discretionary travel to Canada. Canada COVID travel restrictions include:
- Receiving a full series of a vaccine authorized by the Government of Canada
- Checking the entry restrictions of provinces and territories, which may have their own restrictions in place
- Using the ArriveCAN app or web portal to provide COVID-19-related information electronically, including proof of vaccination prior to arrival in Canada
- Meeting the pre-entry testing requirements
- Being asymptomatic upon arrival
- Having a paper or digital copy of vaccination documentation in English or French (or certified translation) to show a government official on request
And although you don’t need to book a three-night government authorized hotel stay when you travel to Canada, you will need to provide a quarantine plan and be prepared to quarantine — just in case.
Bring Your Global Rescue Membership with You
Many tour operators, travel guides and lodges offer Global Rescue to clients. Why?
“Absolute peace of mind, because you are backed by a professional team whose absolute focus is managing extractions from remote locations,” McNeil said. “When you are 400 km (248 miles) from the nearest hospital, you need a rapid response team that can get into our remote location if there are people who are in need of health care. We have done our research, and we believe Global Rescue is a company that is a fit and important service needed for our team.”
Wolfe agrees. “I offer Global Rescue because I see it as the ‘gold standard’ for medical evacuation. Simple as that.”
If you’re planning a trip to the wilds of Canada, a Global Rescue membership card is the first item you should pack. You can call our travel advisory services at any time for a Canada travel restrictions update and we can let you know what you need to travel to Canada right now. You can also call us for a medical evacuation, field rescue or hospital transport.
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