Canada Overview

Image Gallery

Canada is the worlds second largest country taking up the northern portion of North America and being bordered by the USA along with the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean and the Arctic Ocean. With some of the friendliest people in the world and a diverse multicultural population Canada is a land of tolerance, great beer, spectacular natural beauty and ice hockey. With the majority of the population living within a few hundred kilometres of the United States border there are vast areas of the country ready to explore. Canada has a few distinct regions spread across its roughly 9 million square kilometres of land, the Maritime provinces on the Atlantic coast, French Canada in the province of Quebec, the most populous province and political headquarters of Ontario, the Prairie provinces, the Northern Territories, and Western Canada with British Columbia and Alberta. With such an enormous area and so much diversity on offer trips to Canada require targeting specific areas to enjoy and explore. Good trip options include the Westcoast cities of Vancouver and Victoria in British Columbia, road trips through the Rocky Mountains taking in Banff and Jasper in Alberta, sampling a European feel in Quebec with its french flavour and enjoying lobster in the small communities of Prince Edward island and Nova Scotia. Canada can have some pretty inhospitable weather throughout the majority of the country for a large portion of the year so keep in mind where and when your going to maximize the good times this country can provide.

Banff
Cap Scott
Columbia Glacier
Icefields Parkway
Jasper
Lake Louise
Quebec City and Montreal
Tofino
Vancouver
Vancouver Island Flight
Victoria
2010 Winter Olympics

Image Gallery

Photography by Eric Starling and Footside

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Victoria
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Calgary
Wild Pacific Trail, near Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada
Wild Pacific Trail, near Ucluelet
Experiment Bight Beach, Cape Scott Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada
Experiment Bight Beach, Cape Scott
Cascade Mountain and Banff Town, Alberta, Canada
Cascade Mountain and Banff Town
Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Icefields Parkway
Royal BC Museum, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Royal BC Museum, Victoria
Downtown Vancouver Skyline, British Columbia, Canada
Downtown Vancouver Skyline
Nels Bight Sunset, Cape Scott Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada
Nels Bight Sunset, Cape Scott
Lake Louise frozen waterfall, Alberta, Canada
Lake Louise frozen waterfall
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Montreal
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Quebec City
Kennedy Lake, British Columbia, Canada
Kennedy Lake
Inner Harbour and Empress Hotel, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Inner Harbour and Empress Hotel, Victoria
Peyto Lake seen from Bow Summit, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Peyto Lake seen from Bow Summit, Banff National Park
Skyline of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Skyline of Calgary
View of the Athabasca Glacier, part of the Columbia Icefield, Alberta, Canada
View of the Athabasca Glacier, part of the Columbia Icefield
Vancouver Skyline from Stanley Park, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver Skyline from Stanley Park
Granville Harbour and Burrard St Bridge, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Granville Harbour and Burrard St Bridge, Vancouver
Castle Mountain, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Castle Mountain, Icefields Parkway
Long Beach, near Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Long Beach, near Tofino
Totem Pole, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Totem Pole, Victoria
Athabasca Falls, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Athabasca Falls, Icefields Parkway
San Joseph Beach, Cape Scott Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada
San Joseph Beach, Cape Scott
Big Horned Sheep, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Big Horned Sheep, near Jasper
Black Bear, Cape Scott Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada
Black Bear, Cape Scott
Elk, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Elk, near Jasper
Athabasca Falls, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Athabasca Falls, Icefields Parkway
Downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Downtown Vancouver
Wild Pacific Trail, near Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada
Wild Pacific Trail, near Ucluelet
Finlayson Arm Inlet, near Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Finlayson Arm Inlet, near Victoria
Lake Louise and Victoria Glacier, Alberta, Canada
Lake Louise and Victoria Glacier
Parliament Buildings, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Parliament Buildings, Victoria
Nels Bight Sunset, Cape Scott Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada
Nels Bight Sunset, Cape Scott Provincial Park
Granville Harbour, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Granville Harbour, Vancouver
View of Banff and surrounding mountains from Sulphur Mountain, Alberta, Canada
View of Banff and surrounding mountains from Sulphur Mountain
Downtown Victoria with Parliament Buildings and the Olympic Mountains in the background, British Columbia, Canada
Downtown Victoria with Parliament Buildings and the Olympic Mountains in the background
Montreal Skyline from Mount Royal Park, Quebec, Canada
Montreal Skyline from Mount Royal Park
San Joseph Beach, Cape Scott Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada
San Joseph Beach, Cape Scott Provincial Park
View of Athabasca River from Icefields Parkway, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada
View of Athabasca River from Icefields Parkway, Jasper National Park
Sunrise over Beg Islands, near Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada
Sunrise over Beg Islands, near Ucluelet
Olympic Rings in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Olympic Rings in Vancouver
Pyramid Mountain, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Pyramid Mountain, near Jasper
Athabasca Glacier Backflip, Alberta, Canada
Athabasca Glacier Backflip
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Banff, Alberta, Canada
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Banff
Esquimalt Lagoon, near Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Esquimalt Lagoon, near Victoria
Opitsaht Native Village from Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Opitsaht Native Village from Tofino
Totem Pole, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Totem Pole, Victoria
Hwy 19, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Hwy 19, Vancouver Island
Ducks, Beacon Hill Park, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Ducks, Beacon Hill Park, Victoria
Tiger Seal, Cape Scott Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada
Tiger Seal, Cape Scott
Racoon, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Racoon, Victoria
View from Cloverpoint, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
View from Cloverpoint, Victoria
Cape Scott Trail, British Columbia, Canada
Cape Scott Trail
Downtown Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Downtown Victoria
View across Lake Louise at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel and Mountains, Alberta, Canada
View across Lake Louise at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel and Mountains
Empress Hotel and Inner Harbour pedestrian causeway with the Parliament Buildings on the far right, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Empress Hotel and Inner Harbour pedestrian causeway with the Parliament Buildings on the far right, Victoria
View of the Continental Divide from Sunshine Ski Resort, near Banff, Alberta, Canada
View of the Continental Divide from Sunshine Ski Resort, near Banff
Vancouver Skyline with view down to Stanley Park, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver Skyline with view down to Stanley Park
Nels Bight Beach, Cape Scott Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada
Nels Bight Beach, Cape Scott Provincial Park
Skyline of Calgary with the Bow River in the foreground, Alberta, Canada
Skyline of Calgary with the Bow River in the foreground
Icefields Parkway and Athabasca River, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada
Icefields Parkway and Athabasca River, Jasper National Park

Vancouver

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling

View of Vancouver from Cambie St, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
View of Vancouver from Cambie St
Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Granville Harbour and Burrard St Bridge, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Granville Harbour and Burrard St Bridge
View of Canada Place from Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
View of Canada Place from Stanley Park
Stanley Park and the Lions Gate Bridge, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Stanley Park and the Lions Gate Bridge
Skyline of Vancouver from Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Skyline of Vancouver from Stanley Park

Vancouver is the third largest city in Canada and one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse cities in North America with an estimated 50% of the population stating English is not their first language. Vancouver is Canada's largest seaport and has expanded exponentially from the small, sawmill town that first sprung up in the 1860's around a mill and tavern in what is now Gastown, located in the downtown area. Vancouver is frequently ranked as one of the world's most livable cities and its international reputation has continued to increase after having successfully hosted the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. With such a large and diverse population, the Greater Vancouver area is renowned for its culinary possibilities, whether you want Chinese, Vietnamese, Laos, Italian, Greek, Canadian, Thai; you name it, you can find it and usually for a good price. Tourism is one of the most important features of the local economy in Vancouver and over a million people visit the city per year from cruise ships alone. The stunning location of the city backed by towering mountains with numerous beaches, parks, professional sports teams and sites make it easy to spend a few days in this unique metropolis. Although the weather in Vancouver can be blighted by rain, when the sun comes out the city is arguably one of the most spectacular settings in the world. Days or weeks can be spent exploring just the city of Vancouver and its surrounding outdoor activities. Make sure you give this city the time it deserves and you won't be disappointed.

Downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Downtown Vancouver
False Creek Harbour and Buildings, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
False Creek Harbour and Buildings
Downtown Vancouver Skyline, British Columbia, Canada
Downtown Vancouver Skyline
Science World and False Creek, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Science World and False Creek
Olympic Rings and Canada Place, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Olympic Rings and Canada Place
Vancouver Rowing Club, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver Rowing Club
Downtown Vancouver Skyline, British Columbia, Canada
Downtown Vancouver Skyline
Harbour Centre Tower, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Harbour Centre Tower
Church and Skyscraper, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Church and Skyscraper
Granville Harbour with Burrard St Bridge in the background, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Granville Harbour with Burrard St Bridge in the background
Vancouver Skyline with view down to Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver Skyline with view down to Stanley Park
Vancouver Skyline from Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver Skyline from Stanley Park
View of False Creek with Science World on the left and Rogers Arena on the right, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
View of False Creek with Science World on the left and Rogers Arena on the right
Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Kitsilano Beach
View of the North Shore from Canada Place, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
View of the North Shore from Canada Place
Fraser River, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Fraser River
Vancouver Harbour view from Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver Harbour view from Stanley Park
Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Stanley Park
Burrard St Bridge, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Burrard St Bridge
Vancouver Whitecaps Game, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver Whitecaps Game
Granville Island Backfliip, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Granville Island Backfliip
Vancouver Canucks Game, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver Canucks Game
Residential Buildings near Science World, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Residential Buildings near Science World
SkyTrain Station, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
SkyTrain Station
Downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Downtown Vancouver
Granville Harbour, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Granville Harbour
False Creek and Buildings, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
False Creek and Buildings
Granville Harbour and Burrard St Bridge, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Granville Harbour and Burrard St Bridge
Downtown Vancouver Skyline, British Columbia, Canada
Downtown Vancouver Skyline
False Creek and Vancouver Skyline, British Columbia, Canada
False Creek and Vancouver Skyline
View of the North Shore of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
View of the North Shore of Vancouver
View of False Creek, Science World and the Olympic Village on the right, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
View of False Creek, Science World and the Olympic Village on the right
Vancouver Skyline looking towards the North Shore, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver Skyline looking towards the North Shore
Olympic Rings and Mt Baker, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Olympic Rings and Mt Baker
Rainy North Shore, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Rainy North Shore
Inlet and Lions Gate Bridge, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Inlet and Lions Gate Bridge
View over to North Shore, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
View over to North Shore
SkyTrain in front of the Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
SkyTrain in front of the Arena
Active Pass, ferry ride near Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Active Pass, ferry ride near Vancouver
Burrard St Bridge, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Burrard St Bridge
Ferry ride near Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Ferry ride near Vancouver
Vancouver Seawall, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver Seawall
Vancouver Skyline, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver Skyline
Downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Downtown Vancouver
View of Granville Island and Granville Harbour, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
View of Granville Island and Granville Harbour
View of Vancouver Skyline from Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
View of Vancouver Skyline from Stanley Park
View of False Creek with Science World on the left and Rogers Arena on the right, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
View of False Creek with Science World on the left and Rogers Arena on the right
Vancouver Canucks Hockey Game, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver Canucks Hockey Game
View of the Rainy North Shore of Vancouver from Canada Place, British Columbia, Canada
View of the Rainy North Shore of Vancouver from Canada Place
View towards North Shore, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
View towards North Shore
English Bay Backflip, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
English Bay Backflip
View towards North Shore, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
View towards North Shore
Cruise Ship at Canada Place, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Cruise Ship at Canada Place
English Bay Sunset, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
English Bay Sunset
Granville Harbour, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Granville Harbour
Vancouver Harbour at Night, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver Harbour at Night
View from Jericho Beach, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
View from Jericho Beach
Canada Place and Olympic Rings at Night, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Canada Place and Olympic Rings at Night
Granville Island, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Granville Island
Olympic Flame, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Olympic Flame
Granville Island, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Granville Island
Cypress Mountain Ski Resort, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Cypress Mountain Ski Resort
View from Jericho Beach, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
View from Jericho Beach
Downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Downtown Vancouver

Cessna Flight over Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Mike Minckler, Eric Starling and Footside
Video by Mike Minckler and Eric Starling
Special Mention to our pilot Sean Brenton

Downtown Victoria and Inner Harbour, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Downtown Victoria and Inner Harbour
Broken Islands, near Ucluelet, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Broken Islands, near Ucluelet
Victoria city and inner harbour, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Victoria city and inner harbour
Near the Alberni Inlet, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Near the Alberni Inlet
Hedge Maze in Saanich, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Hedge Maze in Saanich
Esquimalt Lagoon, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Esquimalt Lagoon

In mid-September of 2013 our team had the priviledge of being taken up in a small, four seater Cessna airplane over the southern half of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Vancouver Island is a diverse landscape in the Pacific Northwest of North America and boasts spectacular scenery with mountains, rainforest, raw pacific coastline, lakes, rivers and inlets. Catching this flight on a beautiful day with clear skies, we took off from Victoria International Airport flying up the Cowichan Valley, over the Nanaimo Lakes and across the middle of the island past Mt. Arrowsmith. Once we hit the coast on the Pacific Ocean we headed south, just beyond Ucluelet and the Broken Islands near Bamfield, running parallel with the west side of Vancouver Island. The wilderness and jagged coastline of the island turns into a large green urban area as you near Victoria. Flying over the shipyards, inner harbour and Parliament Buildings of Downtown Victoria is an impressive sight and viewed from above, it really is a spectacular city. One of the best parts of the entire flight was seeing the snow capped peak of Mt. Baker located in Washington State across the water. The giant stratavolcano is a major feature of the landscape in this area and punctuates the skyline. A special thank you goes out to our pilot, Sean Brenton, who got a us a good deal on the flight and kept the plane steady for those of us with touchy stomachs.

Mount McDonald with Mount Finlayson in the distance, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Mount McDonald with Mount Finlayson in the distance
Parliament Buildings, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Parliament Buildings, Victoria
Raw West Coast, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Raw West Coast
Langford and surrounding mountains, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Langford and surrounding mountains
Cockpit Gauges, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Cockpit Gauges
Hatley Castle and Royal Roads University, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Hatley Castle and Royal Roads University
Broken Islands near Ucluelet, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Broken Islands near Ucluelet
Mount Arrowsmith, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Mount Arrowsmith
Travelling Backflip Team, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Travelling Backflip Team
Clover Point, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Clover Point, Victoria
Helicopter Rescue, West Coast Trail, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Helicopter Rescue, West Coast Trail
Gulf Islands and Mt Baker, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Gulf Islands and Mt Baker
View of the mountainous interior of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
View of the mountainous interior of Vancouver Island
Inlet near Bamfield, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Inlet near Bamfield
Downtown Victoria with Beacon Hill Park in the centre, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Downtown Victoria with Beacon Hill Park in the centre
Carmanah Lighthouse, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Carmanah Lighthouse
Nanaimo Lakes, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Nanaimo Lakes
Victoria Inner Harbour with Parliament Buildings, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Victoria Inner Harbour with Parliament Buildings
Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, Saanich, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, Saanich
Downtown Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Downtown Victoria
Pachena Bay, near Bamfield, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Pachena Bay, near Bamfield
Dock Yard and Ship Yard in Esquimalt, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Dock Yard and Ship Yard in Esquimalt
Cloudy Port Alberni, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Cloudy Port Alberni
Alberni Inlet, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Alberni Inlet
Mount Baker, viewed from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Mount Baker
Nitinat Narrows Inlet, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Nitinat Narrows Inlet
Mount Baker, viewed from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Mount Baker
Downtown Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Downtown Victoria

Banff, Alberta

Text and Photography by Eric Starling

Cascade Mountain and Banff Town, Alberta, Canada
Cascade Mountain and Banff Town
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Banff, Alberta, Canada
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
Cascade Mountain from Banff Town, Alberta, Canada
Cascade Mountain from Banff Town
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Banff, Alberta, Canada
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
View from Sulphur Mountain, Banff, Alberta, Canada
View from Sulphur Mountain
View of Banff from Sulphur Mountain, Alberta, Canada
View of Banff from Sulphur Mountain

Banff is often referred to as the "Grand Masterpiece" of the Canadian Rockies and its breathtaking location certainly lives up to the hype. Set in the heart of the Canadian Rockies in a beautiful valley surrounded by towering jagged peaks, Banff sits at an elevation of 1463 metres; one of Canada's highest elevated towns. The town was first settled in the early 1880s after the transcontinental railway was completed. The government at the time realized the potential of this beautiful location with its natural hot springs and by 1885 started marketing it as an international tourist destination. The surrounding Banff National Park is Canada's oldest national park and a spot that has been drawing visitors for well over one hundred years. Whether skiing and snowboarding in the winter, or hiking and biking in the summer, Banff offers great outdoor activities year round. Although pricey because of its popularity and location, Banff still has accommodation that can fit any budget, from the castle like Fairmont Banff Springs, to the party atmosphere youth hostels. Ensure you take the gondola up to the top of Sulphur mountain for spectacular views of the valley and surrounding mountains. Spend a few days to enjoy this beautiful mountain town and you won't want to leave.

View of Banff and surrounding mountains from Sulphur Mountain, Alberta, Canada
View of Banff and surrounding mountains from Sulphur Mountain
View of the Continental Divide from Sunshine Ski Resort, near Banff, Alberta, Canada
View of the Continental Divide from Sunshine Ski Resort, near Banff
View of Banff and surrounding mountains from Sulphur Mountain, Alberta, Canada
View of Banff and surrounding mountains from Sulphur Mountain
View of the Continental Divide from Sunshine Ski Resort, near Banff, Alberta, Canada
View of the Continental Divide from Sunshine Ski Resort, near Banff
Cascade Mountain and Banff Town, Alberta, Canada
Cascade Mountain and Banff Town
Sulphur Mountain Gondola, Banff, Alberta, Canada
Sulphur Mountain Gondola
Statue in Banff, Alberta, Canada
Statue in Banff
View from Sulphur Mountain, Banff, Alberta, Canada
View from Sulphur Mountain
Top of Sulphur Mountain, Banff, Alberta, Canada
Top of Sulphur Mountain
Cascade Mountain, Banff, Alberta, Canada
Cascade Mountain
Mount Rundle, near Banff, Alberta, Canada
Mount Rundle, near Banff
Banff Hot Springs, Banff, Alberta, Canada
Banff Hot Springs
View from Sulphur Mountain, Banff, Alberta, Canada
View from Sulphur Mountain
View from Sulphur Mountain, Banff, Alberta, Canada
View from Sulphur Mountain
Sunshine Ski Resort, near Banff, Alberta, Canada
Sunshine Ski Resort, near Banff
Backside view of Sulphur Mountain, Banff, Alberta, Canada
Backside view of Sulphur Mountain
Top of Sulphur Mountain, Banff, Alberta, Canada
Top of Sulphur Mountain
Sulphur Mountain Backflip, Banff, Alberta, Canada
Sulphur Mountain Backflip
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Banff, Alberta, Canada
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
Dont feed Goats, Banff, Alberta, Canada
Dont feed Goats
View from Sulphur Mountain, Banff, Alberta, Canada
View from Sulphur Mountain
Top of Sulphur Mountain, Banff, Alberta, Canada
Top of Sulphur Mountain

Victoria

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling

Empress Hotel, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Empress Hotel
Esquimalt Lagoon Beach, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Esquimalt Lagoon Beach
Parliament Buildings, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Parliament Buildings
Fishermans Wharf, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Fishermans Wharf
Goldstream Provincial Park, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Goldstream Provincial Park
Olympic Mountains, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Olympic Mountains

Victoria is the capital of the Canadian province of British Columbia. With its prime location on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, overlooking the Juan De Fuca strait and Olympic Mountain Range, it is arguably Canada's finest coastal city. Originally set up as a trading post in the early 1840's by the British, the area quickly became a key port and supply base for the Hudson's Bay Company and prospectors heading into the Fraser Canyon on the mainland searching for gold. The city was incorporated in 1862 and became the capital of the new colony by 1866. By this time, the local indigenous native population had been moved from the current Fort Victoria area due to the increase in population. Victoria was the key port for British North America until 1886 when the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed in Burrard inlet, in modern day Vancouver. From this point on, Victoria marketed itself as a prime destination for tourism which remains a key feature of the city to this day, offering a spectacular natural setting and laid back westcoast way of life. The downtown inner harbour area of Victoria is its crown jewel, with the impressive provincial Parliament Buildings, Empress Hotel and tiered pedestrian causeway where street performers ply their trade throughout the busy summer months. Just off the downtown core is Beacon Hill Park that boasts some amazing gardens, forests, views of the mountains and Strait and one of the tallest totem poles in Canada. The Greater Victoria area offers many hiking opportunities, park settings and numerous beaches enabling visitors to spend days or weeks enjoying all this city has to offer. A twenty to thirty minute drive out of town takes you to some challenging mountain hikes and the rainforest-rich Goldstream Provincial Park where you can view huge trees that are over 500 years old. If you make it out to the west coast of Canada, no trip is complete without visiting Victoria, British Columbia. The city has activities and entertainment for people of all ages and if you're a fan of stunning natural beauty, mountains, beaches, rainforests, rivers, lakes and the ocean, you may want to extend your visit.

Empress Hotel and Inner Harbour pedestrian causeway with the Parliament Buildings on the far right, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Empress Hotel and Inner Harbour pedestrian causeway with the Parliament Buildings on the far right
Inner Harbour and Parliament Buildings, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Inner Harbour and Parliament Buildings
Sooke PotHoles Regional Park, near Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Sooke PotHoles Regional Park, near Victoria
Fishermans Wharf area just off downtown Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Fishermans Wharf area just off downtown Victoria
Goldstream Provincial Park, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Goldstream Provincial Park
Inner Harbour and Buildings, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Inner Harbour and Buildings
View from Cloverpoint, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
View from Cloverpoint
Langford Lake and Cruise Ship, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Langford Lake and Cruise Ship
Cloverpoint Sunset, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Cloverpoint Sunset
Tall Ship, Inner Harbour, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Tall Ship, Inner Harbour
Totem Pole, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Totem Pole
Totem Pole, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Totem Pole
Totem Pole, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Totem Pole
Orca Whale Hedge, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Orca Whale Hedge
Inner Harbour, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Inner Harbour
Downtown Church and Buildings, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Downtown Church and Buildings
Goldstream Provincial Park, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Goldstream Provincial Park
Inner Harbour and Empress Hotel, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Inner Harbour and Empress Hotel
Goldstream Provincial Park, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Goldstream Provincial Park
View of Downtown Victoria from Mt Tolmie, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
View of Downtown Victoria from Mt Tolmie
Lighthouse and Dockyard, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Lighthouse and Dockyard
Parliament Buildings, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Parliament Buildings
Fishermans Wharf, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Fishermans Wharf
Beacon Hill Park, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Beacon Hill Park
Royal BC Museum, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Royal BC Museum
Beacon Hill Park, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Beacon Hill Park
Bard and Banker Pub, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Bard and Banker Pub
Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Christ Church Cathedral
Irish Times Pub and Bastion Square, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Irish Times Pub and Bastion Square
Sea Otter, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Sea Otter
Raccoon, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Raccoon
Ducks, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Ducks
Male Deer, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Male Deer
Johns Place Restaurant, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Johns Place Restaurant
Parliament Buildings and Totem Pole, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Parliament Buildings and Totem Pole
Goldstream Provincial Park, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Goldstream Provincial Park
Finlayson Arm Inlet, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Finlayson Arm Inlet
Goldstream Provincial Park, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Goldstream Provincial Park
Inner Harbour, Empress Hotel and Parliament Buildings from the Hotel Grand Pacific, Victoria, British Columbia
Inner Harbour, Empress Hotel and Parliament Buildings from the Hotel Grand Pacific
Shawnigan Lake, near Victoria, British Columbia
Shawnigan Lake, near Victoria
Finlayson Arm Inlet in Winter, Victoria, British Columbia
Finlayson Arm Inlet in Winter
Finlayson Arm Inlet in Spring, Victoria, British Columbia
Finlayson Arm Inlet in Spring
Wittys Lagoon Backflip, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Wittys Lagoon Backflip
East Sooke Park Backflip, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
East Sooke Park Backflip
Esquimalt Lagoon Backflip, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Esquimalt Lagoon Backflip
Freighter in the Juan de Fuca Strait, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Freighter in the Juan de Fuca Strait
Inner Harbour, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Inner Harbour
Gulf Islands, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Gulf Islands
Empress Hotel, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Empress Hotel
Statue and Parliament Buildings, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Statue and Parliament Buildings
Inner Harbour and Hotel Grand Pacific, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Inner Harbour and Hotel Grand Pacific
Goldstream Provincial Park, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Goldstream Provincial Park
View from Mt Finlayson, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
View from Mt Finlayson
Goldstream Provincial Park, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Goldstream Provincial Park
Breakwater Backflip, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Breakwater Backflip
Royal BC Museum, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Royal BC Museum
Statue and Parliament Buildings, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Statue and Parliament Buildings
Finlayson Arm Inlet, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Finlayson Arm Inlet
Shawnigan Lake, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Shawnigan Lake
Goldstream Provincial Park, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Goldstream Provincial Park

Jasper

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling

Elk near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Elk near Jasper
Frozen Waterfall, Maligne Canyon, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Frozen Waterfall, Maligne Canyon
Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Jasper
Pyramid Mountain, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Pyramid Mountain
Maligne Canyon, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Maligne Canyon
Athabasca River, Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Athabasca River

Jasper is located in the largest park in the Canadian Rockies, Jasper National Park. The town is a quiet, laid back place with a few restaurants and pubs to go along with the local herds of big horn sheep that frequently roll through. Jasper was originally a fur trade outpost that was established in 1813. The Jasper National Park was established in 1907 and by the early 1930s the town was linked to Edmonton by road, some 362 km away. When the Icefields Parkway opened in 1940 the town of Jasper received its lifeline to the popular tourist destination of Banff and has been providing visitors with its spectacular outdoor setting ever since. The surrounding area offers visitors some true wilderness experiences with the possibility of seeing big horned sheep, elk, moose, wolves, and bears. Along with the wildlife that flourishes in this protected park, there are some stunning waterfalls (Maligne Canyon), beautiful pristine mountain lakes (Pyramid Lake) and seemingly endless untouched forests. Jasper has more of a wilderness outpost feel to it and the surrounding trails, lakes and rivers offer visitors the opportunity to really experience nature in an untouched mountainous environment.

View from Jasper Townsite of the railroad tracks and surrounding mountains, Alberta, Canada
View from Jasper Townsite of the railroad tracks and surrounding mountains
Pyramid Mountain and Pyramid Lake, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Pyramid Mountain and Pyramid Lake, near Jasper
Female Elk, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Female Elk, near Jasper
Big Horned Sheep, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Big Horned Sheep, near Jasper
Male Elk, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Male Elk, near Jasper
Jasper National Park Visitor Centre, Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Jasper National Park Visitor Centre
Pyramid Lake Backflip, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Pyramid Lake Backflip
Athabasca River, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Athabasca River
Maligne Canyon, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Maligne Canyon
Maligne Canyon, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Maligne Canyon
Maligne Canyon, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Maligne Canyon
Maligne Canyon, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Maligne Canyon
Pyramid Mountain, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Pyramid Mountain
Pyramid Mountain, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Pyramid Mountain
View of the Athabasca River Valley from the parking lot of Maligne Canyon, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
View of the Athabasca River Valley from the parking lot of Maligne Canyon
View of the Athabasca River and surrounding Mountains not far from Jasper Townsite, Alberta, Canada
View of the Athabasca River and surrounding Mountains not far from Jasper Townsite
View of Pyramid Mountain from the Icefields Parkway heading towards Jasper, Alberta, Canada
View of Pyramid Mountain from the Icefields Parkway heading towards Jasper
Athabasca River and Jasper Townsite, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Athabasca River and Jasper Townsite
Big Horned Sheep, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Big Horned Sheep
Maligne Lake, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Maligne Lake
Maligne Canyon, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Maligne Canyon
Maligne Canyon, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Maligne Canyon
Maligne Canyon, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Maligne Canyon
Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Jasper
Pyramid Lake and Mountain, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Pyramid Lake and Mountain
Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Jasper
Maligne Canyon, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Maligne Canyon
Maligne Canyon, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Maligne Canyon
Maligne Canyon, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Maligne Canyon
Athabasca River, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Athabasca River, near Jasper
Pyramid Lake and surrounding mountains, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Pyramid Lake and surrounding mountains, near Jasper
Pyramid Mountain and Pyramid Lake, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Pyramid Mountain and Pyramid Lake, near Jasper
Maligne Canyon, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Maligne Canyon
Athabasca River, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Athabasca River
Maligne Canyon, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Maligne Canyon
Athabasca River, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Athabasca River
Pyramid Lake, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Pyramid Lake
Bald Eagle, near Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Bald Eagle, near Jasper

Icefields Parkway

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling

Athabasca Falls, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Athabasca Falls
Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Icefields Parkway
Near Athabasca Falls, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Near Athabasca Falls
Athabasca River, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Athabasca River
Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Icefields Parkway
Peyto Lake, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Peyto Lake

The Icefields Parkway, which runs from the town of Jasper to the village of Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies of Alberta, is arguably the most visually stunning drive in the world. The road runs through Jasper and Banff National Parks and offers towering mountains, massive alpine glaciers, pristine lakes and rivers, and if your lucky some spectacular wildlife. This route is part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site that was recognized by UNESCO in 1984. It runs parallel to the Continental Divide, the backbone of the Canadian Rockies and anyone with an appreciation for breathtaking mountain scenery and remote untouched wilderness will leave wanting more. Also known as Highway 93 North, the Icefields Parkway is 230 km long and was completed in 1940. Due to the route running through a national park, a permit is required to drive through. Stations are near Lake Louise and Jasper and be prepared for the fee to be pricey. The drive itself can take 3 hours with no stops, but there are excellent view points and many natural sites that can make this a whole-day adventure. You can also choose to stay in the many unique campsites along the way during the summer months but it would be smart to book ahead. Any trip to the Canadian Rockies would be incomplete without traversing this visually stunning drive and unlike the narrow sketchy roads of the Alps in Europe, the road is wide and easy to navigate.

Peyto Lake seen from Bow Summit, Banff National Park, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Peyto Lake seen from Bow Summit, Banff National Park
Icefields Parkway and Athabasca River, Jasper National Park, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Icefields Parkway and Athabasca River, Jasper National Park
View of Athabasca River, Jasper National Park, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
View of Athabasca River, Jasper National Park
Athabasca Falls, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Athabasca Falls
Athabasca Falls, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Athabasca Falls
Jasper National Park, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Jasper National Park
Castle Mountain, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Castle Mountain
Banff National Park, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Banff National Park
Near Athabasca Falls, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Near Athabasca Falls
Near Athabasca Falls, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Near Athabasca Falls
Icefields Parkway Backflip, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Icefields Parkway Backflip
Athabasca River, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Athabasca River
Pyramid Mountain as viewed from Icefields Parkway, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada
Pyramid Mountain as viewed from Icefields Parkway, Jasper National Park
Athabasca River, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada
Athabasca River, Jasper National Park
Athabasca River near Athabasca Falls, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada
Athabasca River near Athabasca Falls, Jasper National Park
Banff National Park, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Banff National Park
Banff National Park, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Banff National Park
Banff National Park, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Banff National Park
Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Icefields Parkway
Athabasca River, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Athabasca River
Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Icefields Parkway
View from Icefields Parkway, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
View from Icefields Parkway, Banff National Park
View from Icefields Parkway, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
View from Icefields Parkway, Banff National Park
Icefields Parkway, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada
Icefields Parkway, Jasper National Park
Icefields Parkway, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Icefields Parkway, Banff National Park
Banff National Park, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Banff National Park
Athabasca Falls, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Athabasca Falls
Jasper National Park, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Jasper National Park

Quebec City and Montreal

Text provided by Footside; Photography provided by Footside

Quebec City and the St Lawrence River, Quebec, Canada
Quebec City and the St Lawrence River
Montreal Skyline, Quebec, Canada
Montreal Skyline
St Lawrence River, Quebec, Canada
St Lawrence River
Château Frontenac, Quebec, Canada
Château Frontenac
Quebec City frozen waterfall, Quebec, Canada
Quebec City frozen waterfall
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Quebec City

In 2006, the Canadian House of Commons described Quebec as a 'nation within a united Canada',  and as a non-canadian, I reckon that is pretty spot on. The size of a large country itself, if taken alone, the province of Quebec would rank 20th in the world - sitting somewhere between Peru and Mongolia. Add French as the fiercely protected language of choice, a rich colonial history and you could be forgiven for thinking you were somewhere in Europe. If you like your cafe culture, fine wine and delicate foods, then you'll love Quebec. Just make sure if you come during winter, that you love the cold too! Much like the rest of the country, the Quebecois great outdoors is as fulfilling as it is big. Ski, hike or dog-sled this pristine wilderness and you'll be occupied for weeks on end. When you've had enough of that, get a feel for the provincial villages, nordic spas and ski towns before plunging into the historical headspin that is the undisputed cultural capital - Quebec City. More reminiscent of Scotland's Edinburgh, Quebec City is unlike any other city in all of Canada. Winding cobbled lanes, heavy cut stone buildings and a breadth of classical facades all lorded over by the fortress-like Chateau Frontenac. This is the Quebec and French Canadian heartland, and about as far as you can get from the standard fare of anglicized Canada. A mere three hours drive to the south and the big city of Montreal opens up like a parallel world. Attempt to persist with the lingua franca or put that french dictionary away, this city caters to both english and french. Whether it's American sports, Irish pubs, a French bakery or a Moroccan restaurant, you'll find it in Montreal. Quebec should certainly be on the radar of any person travelling Canada. Easily accessible from neighbouring provinces, come for the food, come for the history or just come for a change. It's well worth it.

Château Frontenac, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Château Frontenac
St Lawrence River, Quebec, Canada
St Lawrence River
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Quebec City
Mount Royal Park, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Mount Royal Park, Montreal
Château Frontenac, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Château Frontenac
Montreal Skyline, Quebec, Canada
Montreal Skyline
Montreal Skyline, Quebec, Canada
Montreal Skyline
Quebec City and the Château Frontenac looming over the St Lawrence River, Quebec, Canada
Quebec City and the Château Frontenac looming over the St Lawrence River
Bridge over the St Lawrence River to the Isle de Orleans, Quebec, Canada
Bridge over the St Lawrence River to the Isle de Orleans
St Lawrence River, Quebec, Canada
St Lawrence River
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Quebec City
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Quebec City
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Quebec City
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Quebec City
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Quebec City
Château Frontenac, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Château Frontenac, Quebec City
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Montreal
Château Frontenac, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Château Frontenac, Quebec City
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Montreal
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Quebec City
St Lawrence River, Quebec, Canada
St Lawrence River

Cape Scott Provincial Park

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling and Peter Dale

San Joseph Beach, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
San Joseph Beach
Boardwalk part of the trail, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Boardwalk part of the trail

Cape Scott Provincial Park is located on the Northwestern tip of Vancouver Island in the province of British Columbia, Canada. Established in 1973, the park is comprised of a set of hiking trails that access rugged coastal wilderness, dense forests and large marshy areas. These hiking trails access some of the finest and remote white sand beaches on Vancouver Island, the largest and most visually impressive being Nels Bight, which is 2.4 km long and at low tide is 210 meters wide.

Visitors to this vast area of untouched wilderness are very likely to see the wildlife that inhabits this area of Canada. Black bears, cougars and eagles can be seen in the park while, seals, whales and other marine life are often just offshore. It is extremely important while hiking and backpacking through this park that visitors keep in mind that you are in their territory now. Take precautions to avoid any incidents with wild animals. Storing food in the food caches provided, carrying bear spray and being vigilant at all times are a necessity when traversing the trails and beaches.

There are some designated campsites where a running water source is provided but carrying a water filter is necessary. Hiking Cape Scott can be a tough physical challenge. This is mainly because you are carrying all your camping gear plus food on your back, the lighter you can make your backpack the better. The trails are mainly flat with many boardwalks to traverse the muddy bogs and swamps that cover the area; there are no punishing hills or climbs.

Aside from the minor difficulty or inconvenience of carrying everything in and out of the park, there are a few hardships that you will go through: the drinking water near Nels Bight tastes like dirt and is the colour of urine even after filtering it, this is due to the cedar dye that is in the water, it is totally safe to drink but a bit nasty. There are pit toilets to use but they can be spread out quite a distance so going “Au Natural” in the bush should be planned on just in case. There are no showers or taps to get clean or wash up. For some, this can be a bit of a discomfort; others seem to enjoy not being able to wash. Mosquitos can be a small nuisance on the beach but are a major hassle inland or close to the tree line.

Cape Scott Provincial Park is a fantastic way to spend 3-4 days getting acquainted with a remote part of the Canadian wilderness. Be prepared for blisters on your feet, smelling less than fresh and a whole bunch of walking. The best beaches to camp on are San Joseph beach, which is only 3 km from the parking lot or Nels bight, which is about 18 km from the parking lot. This part of the country is raw and untouched so respect the environment and be ready for a workout.

San Joseph Beach, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
San Joseph Beach
Nels Bight Sunset, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Nels Bight Sunset
Experiment Bight Beach, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Experiment Bight Beach
Nels Bight Beach, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Nels Bight Beach
Nels Bight Point, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Nels Bight Point
Black Bear, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Black Bear
San Joseph Beach, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
San Joseph Beach
Meadow, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Meadow
Highway 19 Sunset, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Highway 19 Sunset
Meadow, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Meadow
Trail, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Trail
Nels Bight, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Nels Bight
Nels Bight Beach, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Nels Bight Beach
Eric Lake, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Eric Lake
Sunset from Nels Bight Beach, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Sunset from Nels Bight Beach
San Joseph Beach, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
San Joseph Beach
Cape Scott Trail about halfway to Nels Bight Beach, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Cape Scott Trail about halfway to Nels Bight Beach
Nels Bight, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Nels Bight
Filming, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Filming
Dinner at camp, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Dinner at camp
Trail, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Trail
Coastguard Ship, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Coastguard Ship
Tiger Seal, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Tiger Seal
Nels Bight Sunset, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Nels Bight Sunset
Surfers at San Joseph Beach, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Surfers at San Joseph Beach
Coastguard ship in Port Hardy, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Coastguard ship in Port Hardy
Eric Lake, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Eric Lake
Nels Bight Beach, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Nels Bight Beach
Nels Bight Sunset, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Nels Bight Sunset
Nels Bight Beach, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Nels Bight Beach
Trail, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Trail
Cape Scott Lighthouse, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Cape Scott Lighthouse
Black Bear, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Black Bear
Nels Bight Beach, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Nels Bight Beach
Nels Bight Sunset, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Nels Bight Sunset
Trail, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Trail
Trail, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Trail
Meadow, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Meadow
Fishermans River, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Fishermans River
Sand Dunes, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Sand Dunes
Camp, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Camp
San Joseph Beach, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
San Joseph Beach
Beach section of the Cape Scott Trail, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Beach section of the Cape Scott Trail
Nels Bight Beach, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Nels Bight Beach
Fields originally worked by early Dutch settlers, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Fields originally worked by early Dutch settlers
Boat moored in Guise Bay, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Boat moored in Guise Bay
San Joseph Beach, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
San Joseph Beach
Nels Bight Beach, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Nels Bight Beach
Highway 19 to Port Hardy, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Highway 19 to Port Hardy
Sunset on local lake near the town of Woss, Cape Scott Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Sunset on local lake near the town of Woss

Columbia Icefield

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling

Athabasca Glacier, Columbia Icefield, Alberta, Canada
Athabasca Glacier
Road to Athabasca Glacier, Columbia Icefield, Alberta, Canada
Road to Athabasca Glacier
View of the retreating Athabasca Glacier, Columbia Icefield, Alberta, Canada
View of the retreating Athabasca Glacier

The Columbia Icefield is an extremely important and visually stunning collection of glaciers that are uniquely referred to as a "hydrological apex", this is because the melt water of the Columbia Icefield feeds streams and rivers that eventually empty into the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific oceans. The Icefield covers an area of 325 square kilometers and has ice depths of up to 360 metres, making it one of the largest accumulations of snow and ice south of the Arctic circle. Eight major glaciers are fed from the Icefield, most of them are inaccessible, however, the Athabasca Glacier is situated beside the main highway. Here you can get a real look at a retreating glacier and experience how cold and inhospitable this landscape can be regardless of the time of year. This area provides a large chunk of Western North America with fresh water. Being in this environmentally sensitive area and seeing how this massive glacier has retreated so substantially in recent decades really hits home the importance of monitoring climate change and appreciating what will hopefully stay a pristine, natural wonder of nature.

View of the Athabasca Glacier, part of the Columbia Icefield, at one time the Glacier stretched to the road, Alberta, Canada
View of the Athabasca Glacier, part of the Columbia Icefield, at one time the Glacier stretched to the road
The Columbia Icefield near Athabasca Glacier, Alberta, Canada
The Columbia Icefield near Athabasca Glacier
Road near Athabasca Glacier, Columbia Icefield, Alberta, Canada
Road near Athabasca Glacier
Peak near Columbia Icefield, Alberta, Canada
Peak near Columbia Icefield
Athabasca Glacier, Columbia Icefield, Alberta, Canada
Athabasca Glacier
Peaks near Columbia Icefield, Alberta, Canada
Peaks near Columbia Icefield
Athabasca Glacier Backflip, Columbia Icefield, Alberta, Canada
Athabasca Glacier Backflip
Peaks near Columbia Icefield, Alberta, Canada
Peaks near Columbia Icefield
The Columbia Icefield near Athabasca Glacier, Alberta, Canada
The Columbia Icefield near Athabasca Glacier
Athabasca Glacier, the dirt areas are where the glacier has retreated, Columbia Icefield, Alberta, Canada
Athabasca Glacier, the dirt areas are where the glacier has retreated

Tofino and Ucluelet

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling

Wild Pacific Trail, near Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada
Wild Pacific Trail, near Ucluelet
Sunrise over the Beg Islands, near Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada
Sunrise over the Beg Islands, near Ucluelet
Long Beach, near Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Long Beach, near Tofino
Opitsat Native Village, across from Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Opitsat Native Village, across from Tofino
Ucluelet Harbour, British Columbia, Canada
Ucluelet Harbour
Big Beach, Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada
Big Beach, Ucluelet

Tofino and Ucluelet are two small towns located on the raw west coast of Vancouver Island in the province of British Columbia. Both towns are situated at opposite ends of the Long Beach section of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Originally this area was home to the indigenous First Nations native population for around 4000 years before the Spanish ended up being the first Europeans to briefly record and map the coastline. By the 1800's the harbour in Ucluelet was a fur trading post and by 1900 the Canadian Pacific Railway had a small freight boat that would sail to and from Victoria 3 times a month to supply the area. The big increase in population to this remote part of the west coast happened when the road between Port Alberni and Tofino/Ukee was finally opened in 1959. From that point onwards both Tofino and Ucluelet have gradually made the change from a resource based economy to a tourism based economy. The surfing at Long Beach and the other beaches nearby is world renowned. Along with shredding some waves you can fish, kayak, camp, hike, storm watch, beach comb and go whale watching. The weather out on this part of Vancouver Island can be windy wet and stormy for large chunks of the year but the stunning natural beauty of the area can blow you away if your lucky enough to have the clouds clear. Although tourism is a major part of the economy it has not tainted the untouched wilderness feeling out in these remote little towns, bears are can be a common sight along with other wildlife. There is a distinctly laid back west coast way of life in both Tofino and Ucluelet that draws people back year after year, although the pace of life is a little slower out here you will find your the time just flies by.

View over Tofino looking towards Meares Island, British Columbia, Canada
View over Tofino looking towards Meares Island
Wild Pacific Trail, Lighthouse Loop, near Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada
Wild Pacific Trail, Lighthouse Loop, near Ucluelet
Opitsat Native Village on Meares Island, across from Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Opitsat Native Village on Meares Island, across from Tofino
Wild Pacific Trail, near Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada
Wild Pacific Trail, near Ucluelet
Big Beach, Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada
Big Beach, Ucluelet
Wild Pacific Trail, near Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada
Wild Pacific Trail, near Ucluelet
Kennedy Lake, British Columbia, Canada
Kennedy Lake
Chestermans Beach, near Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Chestermans Beach, near Tofino
Tofino and Meares Island, British Columbia, Canada
Tofino and Meares Island
Wild Pacific Trail, near Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada
Wild Pacific Trail, near Ucluelet
Big Beach, Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada
Big Beach, Ucluelet
Tofino and Opitsat Native Village, British Columbia, Canada
Tofino and Opitsat Native Village
Chestermans Beach, near Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Chestermans Beach, near Tofino
Amphitrite Lighthouse, Wild Pacific Trail, British Columbia, Canada
Amphitrite Lighthouse, Wild Pacific Trail
Incinerator Rock, Long Beach, British Columbia, Canada
Incinerator Rock, Long Beach
Wild Pacific Trail, near Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada
Wild Pacific Trail, near Ucluelet
View from Tofino looking towards Meares Island, British Columbia, Canada
View from Tofino looking towards Meares Island
View from Tofino of surrounding Vancouver Island Mountains, British Columbia, Canada
View from Tofino of surrounding Vancouver Island Mountains
Beg Islands, near Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada
Beg Islands, near Ucluelet
Sunrise over the Beg Islands, near Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada
Sunrise over the Beg Islands, near Ucluelet
Beg Islands, near Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada
Beg Islands, near Ucluelet
Wild Pacific Trail, near Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada
Wild Pacific Trail, near Ucluelet
Ucluelet Harbour, British Columbia, Canada
Ucluelet Harbour
Wild Pacific Trail, near Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada
Wild Pacific Trail, near Ucluelet
Chestermans Beach, near Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Chestermans Beach, near Tofino
Wild Pacific Trail, near Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada
Wild Pacific Trail, near Ucluelet
Chestermans Beach, near Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Chestermans Beach, near Tofino
Long Beach, near Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Long Beach, near Tofino
Surfing at Chestermans Beach, British Columbia, Canada
Surfing at Chestermans Beach
Surfing at Chestermans Beach, British Columbia, Canada
Surfing at Chestermans Beach
Wild Pacific Trail, near Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada
Wild Pacific Trail, near Ucluelet
Meares Island and Opitsat Native Village, British Columbia, Canada
Meares Island and Opitsat Native Village
Wild Pacific Trail, near Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada
Wild Pacific Trail, near Ucluelet
Long Beach, near Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Long Beach, near Tofino
Amphitrite Lighthouse, Wild Pacific Trail, British Columbia, Canada
Amphitrite Lighthouse, Wild Pacific Trail
Wild Pacific Trail, near Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada
Wild Pacific Trail, near Ucluelet
Wild Pacific Trail, near Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada
Wild Pacific Trail, near Ucluelet
Ucluelet Harbour, British Columbia, Canada
Ucluelet Harbour
Sunrise over the Beg Islands, near Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada
Sunrise over the Beg Islands, near Ucluelet
View from Tofino overlooking Meares Island and surrounding mountains, British Columbia, Canada
View from Tofino overlooking Meares Island and surrounding mountains
Wild Pacific Trail, Lighthouse Loop, near Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada
Wild Pacific Trail, Lighthouse Loop, near Ucluelet

Lake Louise

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling

Frozen Lake Louise and the Victoria Glacier, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Frozen Lake Louise and the Victoria Glacier
Chateau Lake Louise and frozen Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Chateau Lake Louise and frozen Lake Louise
Victoria Glacier in Winter, Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Victoria Glacier in Winter
Lake Louise in Summer, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Lake Louise in Summer
Victoria Glacier in Winter, Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Victoria Glacier in Winter
Victoria Glacier in Summer, Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Victoria Glacier in Summer

Lake Louise is one of Canada's most visited locations and lays claim to being one of the most photographed spots in the country. This beautiful location has gained international fame and people come from around the world to gaze upon its magnificence. With dramatic mountains surrounding Lake Louise and the Victoria Glacier clinging to a nearby cliff, you can see why. The Lake Louise area is split into two parts: the lower village, where most reasonable hotels and shops are located, and the upper lake, where the Chateau Lake Louise stands lake side. The Chateau Lake Louise, like the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in the town of Banff, was built in the late 1800's to lure wealthy travellers and wow them with the stunning natural beauty of Lake Louise and its surroundings. Originally only a working hotel in the summer months, the hotel opened year round in 1982 and is one of the finest hotels in all of Canada. The hiking trails in the area are excellent with many paths becoming cross country skiing tracks during the winter months. Ice skating is possible on the lake for much of the year and the world class Lake Louise ski resort is only a quick drive away. Bus loads of tourists are brought in daily throughout the year to see one of Canada's showpieces, but don't let this take away from the experience. Leaving the main viewing area and walking to the end of the lake and beyond takes you into a world of tranquil silence and unmatched natural beauty.

View of Lake Louise in Winter with the Victoria Glacier at the end of the lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
View of Lake Louise in Winter with the Victoria Glacier at the end of the lake
View of Lake Louise in Winter with the Chateau Lake Louise and Ski Mountain at the end of the lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
View of Lake Louise in Winter with the Chateau Lake Louise and Ski Mountain at the end of the lake
Mountains surrounding Victoria Glacier (far right), Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Mountains surrounding Victoria Glacier (far right)
Frozen Waterfall next to Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Frozen Waterfall next to Lake Louise
Peak beyond Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Peak beyond Lake Louise
Frozen Waterfall next to Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Frozen Waterfall next to Lake Louise
Area beyond Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Area beyond Lake Louise
Victoria Glacier and Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Victoria Glacier and Lake Louise
Peak beyond Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Peak beyond Lake Louise
Chateau Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Chateau Lake Louise
Lake Louise and Mountains, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Lake Louise and Mountains
Lake Louise Trail Backflip, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Lake Louise Trail Backflip
Frozen Lake Louise in Winter, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Frozen Lake Louise in Winter, Banff National Park
Beyond Lake Louise on the trail to the Victoria Glacier, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Beyond Lake Louise on the trail to the Victoria Glacier, Banff National Park

It must be said right away that for those who made the effort and spent time in Vancouver, BC Canada during the XXI Winter Olympics Games you will never forget it and you will look back fondly at that once in a lifetime experience. When Canada was on the world stage and under scrutiny from the world media we came through with flying colours. The Vancouver Olympics may have opened with an uneasy and somber tone, but once the games had begun, the party and celebration in Vancouver never really stopped.

The level of comradery and unabashed patriotism for this country and the athletes that represented us was unbelievable. A city that wasn't sure what to expect at the onset of these Olympic Games, and maybe even showed some indifference and apprehension towards the Games, sure got on board with support for everyone involved. We all by now have heard about the “O Canada” national anthems that were spontaneously sung in the streets, at venues, on the trains or busses and in the pubs. It was the spectators and fans that carried these Games, supporting not only our own athletes but also all those who participated.

At the end of each major medal win or hockey game crowds poured out into the streets to celebrate with high-fives, hugging and back slapping –all among complete strangers. That kind of friendly open celebration will be one of the highlights for most people who were a part of it. People from all parts of the world became part of the Canadian culture during these games it seemed, with Americans, Aussies, British and more cheering on the home team along with their own teams. Canadians, for their part, cheered their lungs out for their athletes, but when Canadians were not part of the event they cheered on whomever else was performing with enthusiasm. My favourite example of this was at the Switzerland vs Belarus men’s ice hockey game and the chants of "Go Swiss!" would alternate back and forth with "Bel A Rous!" across the arena even though there was only a small contingent of fans for each of those countries. Despite fears that this laid-back country couldn't possibly follow Beijing’s spectacular 2008 Olympics, Canada managed to stage a solid and successful Games that showcased its stunning host city, its fantastic athletes, its strong national pride and the ability to have one heck of a party.

As the reality of regular life comes back and the Olympics and the spectacular sporting display and scenes of nationwide unity moves further and further into the past, I realize that this event will have a lasting legacy in this country and especially out on the West Coast. As the Olympics started, tragedy had struck the games with the untimely death of Nodar Kumaritashvili from Georgia on the day of the opening ceremony at the luge track in Whistler. Going into the opening ceremonies the luge event was in doubt of even going ahead and there was a very somber atmosphere. Then the mechanical failure of the Olympic cauldron arm not going up as the world watched brought all the Negative Nancies who had protested the games out in force to say the whole event would be a failure. As a small group of rioters smashed windows in protest on the first real day of sport for the games, it was hard not to feel embarrassed for Canada and to wonder what might happen next.

The world media immediately chimed in to point out the problems that had occurred, with the BBC on day 2 posing the question: "will this be the worst Winter Olympics ever?" Well that was day 2.  Now, over two weeks later, as the cheers echoed from Victoria BC to St. John's Newfoundland, after Canada's dramatic gold-medal win Sunday afternoon over the U.S. in men's hockey, it now seems ridiculous to look back at those negative first steps and think the games could have failed. Even when Canada was winning very little the first week of the Games, a contagious energy and pride was already present in Vancouver and Whistler with bars and restaurants packed from opening to close regardless of what sport was on TV.

People from Vancouver and Canadians in general united together to throw one monster party with some of the best displays of sport in history. Ironically, the BBC reporter who had been first to pose his negative questions and point fingers has changed his tune. He now has asked the question of "was this the best Winter Olympics ever?" My answer is YES, although it is pretty apparent that I am slightly biased. The Beijing Olympics were widely considered to be a great success by international television audiences, however those who experienced the games in person complained about the lack of atmosphere. Not so in Vancouver, as IOC president Jacques Rogge said, the people of Vancouver had "embraced the Olympic Games like no other city in the world before".

It was often said, prior to the start of the Games, that Canada’s lasting impression of these Olympics would be shaped largely by the success or failure of the men’s ice hockey team. That kind of arrogant and short sighted view seemed to fade into the background as the athletes from all countries started competition and wowed us with their performances. As medals started to be won for Canada many of them came in events such as skeleton and ice dancing, sports that Europeans long have dominated. The Americans successfully dominated the Alpine events as well which showed how important the Winter Olympics have become to North America.

One of the best things about these Olympics was that unlike many recent Games, Vancouver's included very little talk of performance-enhancing substances. Only two athletes, hockey players from Russia and Slovakia, were tainted, and their cases involved minor infractions. There had been seven violations each at the previous two Winter Games in Salt Lake City and Turin. Although testing for new substances that are undetectable will not finish until 2018 it was great to let athletic performances do the talking rather than cheats.

It’s one thing for someone as excited as I continue to be days after the Games have finished to proclaim how great they are, it’s another thing entirely when the numbers prove their immense popularity. The 2010 Winter Olympics delivered the five most-watched television events in Canadian history, topped by the 16.6 million Canadians who saw the entire Canada-U. S. men's gold medal hockey game. About 26.5 million Canadians watched at least part of that game and 22 million viewers, two-thirds of the Canadian population, were watching when Sidney Crosby scored in overtime to capture Canada's 14th gold medal of the Games. CTV-Rogers said 30.5 million Canadians, 91 per cent of the population, watched at least some part of the consortium's Games coverage on the final day of the Olympics. NBC reported that 27.6 million people watched the final hockey game, the most people to watch a hockey game in 30 years and more people than the same final at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.

With so much pressure from the host nation on the men’s ice hockey team it was a big relief and moment of pure joy for people of this country when Sidney Crosby scored in over time. That goal, now known as the Golden Goal, secured a record setting 14th Gold Medal for Canada and unleashed celebrations by nearly every citizen of this country on Sunday February 28th 2010.  Even with all the amazing accomplishments by all our athletes in these Games, that goal meant so much that it will be recalled as a “where were you when…” kind of event. The Winter Olympic Games staged in Vancouver are now officially over and officially a massive success. There were so many great performances by athletes from around this globe that will live on for a long time. A big thanks and mention to the army of volunteers that made this event possible is in order and finally to the Canadians and other spectators from around the world. There will be memories and moments that everyone will remember of these games that will hopefully live on forever.