Image From ..bonjourquebec.com
Justin Mastine-Frost, a well-respected
travel journalist based in Vancouver, recently put together a list of his top 9
road trips to take in Canada… With the end of summer almost upon us, we think
you’ll find the perfect reason to pack and go!
Here is his comprehensive East-to-West guide to the great Canadian road trips. Now, in
theory, you could daisy-chain each of these segments together and turn it into
an all-encompassing “see all of Canada in one fell swoop” mega-adventure, but
we wouldn’t hold it against you if you just stuck with the more manageable
Of course, you’ll want to be smart and save
on gas. Start your travel plans here:
(For your convenience, we’ve included the current average price of gas in
each destination below!)
(Cape Breton Island, (Nova Scotia 133.9)
looking to see some of the Canadian East Coast’s most picturesque scenery and
possibly enjoy some great seafood along the way, Nova Scotia’s Cabot Trail has
got you covered. The Cabot Trail completes a seaside loop of Cape Breton
Island, passing through many small communities along the way.
For those looking for a more rustic experience there are campgrounds scattered
through the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, or for a particularly unique
experience pop in to the Glenora Inn and Distillery, which is the home of
Canada’s only single malt whiskey.
Praries (Manitoba 126.6)
As mundane as parts of the journey can be,
there is something to be said for experiencing the prairies first-hand at least
once in your lifetime. Farming communities, countless grain silos, and amazing
sunsets dot the way as you cross from eastern Manitoba through to the foothills
of the Rocky Mountains that start just outside of Calgary.
If there’s one gem to drop in on, it’s the Tunnels of Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan
where you’ll be given an interesting lesson on our history during the
prohibition years, and the city’s ties to Chicago and the notorious Al Capone.
Cowboy Trail (Alberta, 119.8)
It wouldn’t be a stop in Alberta if we
didn’t drive through the country somewhere along the way. The Cowboy Trail runs
north from south of Lethbridge to the outskirts of Edmonton, avoiding major
highways and passing through some breathtaking ranch country along the way.
The route is quite remote, but it offers an interesting glimpse into the
Canadian history of the Wild West. Stop for a horseback riding excursion in
Waterton Glacier National Park, or for a real step back in time, check out
Marv’s Classic Soda Shop and Diner in the town of Black Diamond.
Jasper (Alberta, 119.8)
There’s no way that a list of great
Canadian road trips could be compiled without a section dedicated the Rocky
Mountains. Any one born and raised east of Alberta will remember that first
encounter with the majestic mountain range, and even for those more familiar
with the area they are still a sight worth seeing.
This route pushes you through the heart of the Rockies in Banff National Park
and through to Jasper, the home of some incredible glaciers and the newly
opened Glacier Skywalk. The Skywalk opened at the beginning of May and allows
visitors to walk 30 metres out over the cliff side to a glass-bottomed lookout
suspended 280 metres above the Sunwapta River.
Osoyoos (British Columbia, 136.2)
For those less concerned with nature and
history, the Okanagan Valley is the perfect destination for some good R&R
and of course, some of the best wine in the country. Hundreds of wineries are
scattered throughout the valley, and each town and sub-region has enough going
on to tie you up for at least a day.
Word to the wise, don’t start buying wine at the first winery if you plan on
covering the whole region, as you’ll be destined to run out of trunk space
before you run out of road.
Montreal (Quebec, 136.1)
This one thousand kilometre road trip
starts at the southeastern tip of Quebec, and the home one of the province’s
most unique geological landmarks: Percé Rock. From there, the highway rolls
northward and tracks its way down the mouth of the Saint Laurence River,
following in the footsteps of our country’s early settlers.
A day or two in Quebec City will provide ample time for another Canadian
history lesson before moving on to Montreal for a proper dose of modern
Quebecois culture. If you plan your trip for the first weekend of July you’ll
be able to catch both Montreal and Quebec City in festival mode, as both the
Montreal International Jazz Festival and the Festival D’été du Québec are on at
Niagara Falls (Ontario
Out of this list, this trip is far more
about the many pit stops than it is about the road itself. Aside from the end
destination at what’s likely one of Canada’s most recognizable landmarks, the
interesting detour here is all about Ontario’s blossoming wine country.
The region has received some serious recognition in recent years and even a few
of the big BC wineries have set up shop in the region. If a break from the
urban grind is on the agenda there are over 22 Bed and Breakfasts to choose
from in St-Catharines, which keeps you right in the heart of Ontario’s wine
Coast (British Columbia, 136.2)
Even with the now-ridiculous costs
associated with ferry travel in British Columbia, the Sunshine Coast still has
plenty to offer travellers of all sorts. Adventure seekers will love the many
local diving sites, kayak rentals and other excursions on hand, and those
looking for a slower pace can hop from town to town and explore the region’s
diverse artistic community. If you’re looking to really unwind, The Rockwater
Resort and Spa is half way up the coast and is the perfect place to relax after
a day of exploring.
Island (Vancouver, BC 139.8
From its southern tip to its western
shores, Vancouver Island is another excellent destination for a proper dose of
west coast Canadiana. The province’s capital of Victoria is worth a visit if
you’re feeling “touristy”, but the trek out to Tofino is one that cannot be
There’s something quite special about driving through hours of lush rainforest
before breaking through to the coastline. If you wander off and start
daydreaming it doesn’t take long to feel like you’re walking through a scene
from Jurassic Park. Once in Tofino, you are in BC’s surf paradise, and of
course the famed Wickaninnish Inn and the new Way Point Resort are nearby to
take care of your premium dining and accommodation needs.