When most adventure-seeking travelers venture to Canada, they think about skiing the soaring mountains in British Columbia and Alberta, or paddling between the countless granite-encrusted lakes that can be found in the abundant wilderness of Ontario and Quebec.
Little thought goes into what lies east of the Quebec border, as the Maritime provinces of Canada often get ignored due to a lack of effective promotion. While a tourism industry is present here, it is less well-funded than its colleagues to the west, leaving the many treasures that lie along Canada’s Atlantic coast undiscovered by the adventurers of the world.
This summer, venture into this less trafficked region of the country and see what others have been missing, and save some room in your tummy for plenty of inexpensive lobster and some home made apple crisp: you’ll find plenty of both in the Canadian Maritimes.
New Brunswick: Jet boating/whitewater kayaking at Reversing Falls
One of the world’s greatest forces of nature rushes in and out of the Bay of Fundy twice a day, every day, without fail. They are the highest tides on Earth, and they have shaped the landscape and culture here in many ways. So great is the force of the ocean that it actually causes the Saint John River to reverse its flow for a short time when the flow of high tide is at its peak.
The mouth of this river can be found in the city of Saint John, where a tour company offer jetboat rides at the point where it meets the harbour. When the river begins to reverse, the water at the river mouth gets choppy like a rapid, as it tries in vain to resist the Bay of Fundy’s water from rushing upstream. Eventually the river wins, but in the process, a jet boat provides spills and thrills for patrons.
More daring types take their kayaks and play in the chaos that rages around them, but ensure that you have experience and the proper safety equipment before doing so!
Prince Edward Island: Bike tour the Confederation Trail
While Prince Edward Island’s tourism tends to focus on attracting people to lie on its beaches and to explore the mystique of the story of Anne of Green Gables, more active visitors can find a hyper local way to experience the true PEI. The Confederation Trail used to be the rail bed back in the days that CN rail had a line on the island, but when demand for freight and passenger services dried up, so did the tracks.
It was converted into a hiking and biking trail that spans 410 kilometres in two sections with various spurs, allowing bikers of all fitness levels to explore the island’s charming rural communities at a leisurely pace, as the terrain of the province is gently rolling to flat.
Nova Scotia: Sea kayaking in the Cape Breton Highlands
While Nova Scotia is Canada’s second smallest province by land area, it has a coast that spans nearly 7,000 kilometres, due to the endless indentations of its innumerable scenic harbours. Seasoned paddlers while find plenty of amazing places along the Eastern and South Shores, and along Nova Scotia’s Fundy Coast, but for guaranteed satisfaction, it is best to head to this province’s best natural attraction, the Cape Breton Highlands.
Here, paddling tours will take you around its massive promontories and coastal mountains, to isolated waterfalls not accessible by those driving through on the Cabot Trail, and put you into contact with local wildlife like bald eagles and maybe the occasional shy bull moose.