Article Was Originally seen in Spring 2017 Harrowsmith Magazine, most dates updated for 2018
For Canada’s sesquicentennial, we’ve curated 150 ideas for you to celebrate our country’s seasons, landscape, bounty and talent. In no particular order, here’s the best way to experience Canada from coast to coast. From Nanaimo bar milkshakes to building a bat house, to growing your own popcorn, this list is steeped in Canadiana. You don’t have to travel farther than your own backyard—we’ve got that covered, too, from garlic festivals to butter tart trails to a sail-in cinema on Lake Ontario.
1. SESQUI is a revolutionary 360-degree cinematic experience. Featuring virtual-reality storytelling and multi-platform film innovation, the mobile dome village will be erected for five days at a time in cities across Canada. The visual spectacle promises to introduce you to the people, landscape and freedoms that make Canada home. sesqui.ca
2. Register for the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure! Cycle from Point Pelee to Rouge National Urban Park from August 6 to 12, 2018. Check off two Great Lakes, 24 communities, two national parks, 530 km (329 miles) and a few pounds of trail mix. waterfronttrail.org
3. Set your sights high at the 30th Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival at La Baie Park in Gatineau, Quebec, from August 31 to September 4, 2017. montgolfieresgatineau.com/en
4. Add your old sneakers to the legendary shoe tree on Lake Ridge Road, south of Beaverton, Ontario.
5. Visit Tom Thomson’s grave (though there is controversy whether he truly is buried there) at Leith Church near Owen Sound, Ontario. The local Tom Thomson Art Gallery pays tribute to the iconic landscape painter and his mysterious “drowning” in Algonquin Park’s Canoe Lake.
6. Read Roy MacGregor’s Northern Light: The Enduring Mystery of Tom Thomson and the Woman Who Loved Him.
7. Forget the pup tent and soggy sleeping bags. Sleep in superb style in a camping pod at Long Point Eco-Adventures. Marshmallows not included. lpfun.ca
8. Take a selfie beside the Tragically Hip Way road sign in Kingston, Ontario. The one-block segment of Barrack Street in front of the K Rock Centre entertainment venue (between the intersection of King and Ontario) was renamed in 2012.
9. Download Gord Downie’s fifth solo album, The Secret Path. The concept album is about Chanie Wenjack, a First Nations boy who escaped from a Canadian residential school in 1966 and died while attempting to make the 600 km (373 mile) walk back to his home. The album accompanies a graphic novel of the same name, written by Downie and illustrated by Jeff Lemire. An animated film version also aired on CBC.
10. Visit renowned Canadian author Farley Mowat’s monument in Port Hope, Ontario. The boat-roofed house, built by drystone waller John Shaw-Rimmington, pays tribute to the environmentalist’s legacy of 43 books in 26 languages.
11. Read one of Farley Mowat’s books! You’ll be forever changed. Suggestion: A Whale for the Killing.
12. After a soupy trail run, lather up in the shower with Fennel & Charcoal soap by Canmore, Alberta’s Rocky Mountain Soap Co. The company has bars for every scent profile: Pumpkin, Evergreen, Juicy Orange, Raspberry Rooiboos and Cinnamon. Like cheese, the natural soap bars are cured for eight weeks and cut by hand. Toxin-free and with sensory appeal! rockymountainsoap.com
13. Earn your true Canadian badge by braving the killer wind chill on Ottawa’s Rideau Canal. The largest naturally frozen skating rink in the world is 7.8 km (five miles) long, extending from the downtown core to Dows Lake. Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, the canal is free and the most authentic place to eat a BeaverTail. The beaver-tail-shaped pastry is deep-fried and doused in cinnamon and sugar. Indulge in a Tail and skate off the calories! ottawatourism.ca/ottawa-insider/rideau-canal-skateway
14. Send a postcard from your hometown to someone outside of Canada. We have so many bragging rights. Sign it “Wish you were here” and tell them why!
15. Going to the gym has its merits, but why not crush the calories en plein air? North Vancouver’s 2.9 km (1.8 mile) Grouse Grind trail, nicknamed Mother Nature’s Stairmaster, is what quads were made for. Diehards can obtain a Grind Timer Card with a radio frequency chip to track training progress and show off. In 2010, Sebastian Salas set the official course record, clocking in at 25:01. grousemountain.com
16. Challenge the entire family by revisiting the Girl Guides or Boy Scouts handbook. Choose five badges that every member must achieve. Whether it’s beekeeping, dairy farming, calligraphy, archery, rock climbing or becoming a boatswain, get outside and learn something extraordinary, together. scouts.ca, girlguides.ca
17. Shinrin-yoku is a Japanese term that means “forest bathing.” The prescription? Go to a forest, breathe, absorb and be in the verdant moment! As John Muir wrote, “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home. Wilderness is a necessity.” Forest therapy is simply a walk in the park. shinrin-yoku.org/shinrin-yoku.html
18. The motto of the Bison Restaurant & Terrace in Banff, Alberta, is “Regional. Seasonal. Canadian.” This is farm to table at its finest. Try the Bison Breakfast Sandwich (bison sausage, fried egg, foie gras butter, oka, lettuce, tomatoes, house biscuit and roasted potatoes) or Gnocchi Poutine (24-hour braised elk, oka, curds, truffled gravy and fresh herbs). Whether you arrive in high heels or hiking boots, you’re welcome. thebison.ca
19. Drink up! The only craft distillery in the world that sources “glacier-to-glass water” is Park Distillery Restaurant + Bar in Banff. Go-to cocktails include the Bird’s Eye Chili, or Espresso Vodka elixirs made with glacier water and 100 percent sustainably farmed Alberta grain. The small-batch Alpine Dry Gin is a blend of nine botanicals, including locally foraged spruce tips from the park. parkdistillery.com
20. Get back to our roots! Founded in 1973 by Michael Budman and Don Green, Roots Canada is the official merchandise partner of our nation’s capital. The Ottawa 2017 gear line will keep you red-carpet ready for the 150th anniversary of Confederation. But don’t be late to the party! A portion of the sales will help finance the birthday bash in Ottawa. roots.com
21. Gather the gang for a round of Trivial Pursuit. Did you know this? In 1979, Chris Haney and Scott Abbott were playing an innocent game of Scrabble (apparently missing pieces) and decided to invent their own game. Haney was a photo editor at the Montreal Gazette, and Abbott was a sports journalist for The Canadian Press.
22. Participate in the ultimate scavenger hunt: Find the person who has all 370-plus episodes of The Beachcombers on VHS. The Canadian series ran from 1972 to 1990, making it the third longest-running English-language Canadian television dramatic series. Based on the trials of a lumber salvager and his motley crew of friends in Gibsons, British Columbia, the show had a glimmer of a comeback in 2002. The New Beachcombers was a nostalgic revisit to the condemned Molly’s Reach and Nick’s old salvage business.
23. Hint: Surreptitiously post decadent Instagram and Facebook posts of your summer barbecue repertoire, whatever it may be. Pull out all the big hitters: root beer pulled pork, Asian pickled slaw, devilled eggs and guacamole. Whatever it takes. Post them in the hopes that you’ll get a cottage invite!
24. Canada’s craft beer scene is overflowing. Host an “arts and crafts” party, where guests bring an art project (a painting, needlepoint, hand-knitting) and a six-pack of the latest “crafts” (beer).
25. Plan a road trip near or far. Create a playlist of all-Canadian singers and bands. Suggestions? Great Lake Swimmers. Chilliwack. Blue Rodeo. The Sheepdogs. Jann Arden. Madison Violet. The Rural Alberta Advantage. Tegan and Sara. Wild Strawberries.
26. Visit the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough, Ontario. With over 100 canoes and kayaks on display, the museum also offers float-and-flow yoga classes and carve-your-own-paddle workshops. canoemuseum.ca
27. North of Duncan on Vancouver Island, Westholme Tea Farm is cultivating biodynamic estate-grown teas like Tree Frog Green and Maple Quail’s Nest. The self-proclaimed “small and humble” operation is free of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Sample more than 100 different teas in their tasting room and find your kryptonite. teafarm.ca
28. On October 7, 2017, celebrate Cranberry Day at Fort Langley National Historic Site (enjoy free entry in celebration of Canada’s 150th). Experience the cranberry stomp (don’t wear white!), play interactive farm games and visit the cranberry-themed market in the darling village. hellobc.com/servicefelisting/4557567/fort-langley-cranberry-festival.aspx
29. Get an enviable bird’s-eye view of bald eagles in Squamish, British Columbia. Home to one of North America’s largest congregations of wintering bald eagles, Brackendale Eagles Provincial Park runs an Interpreter’s Program that allows birders to interact with volunteers and learn about the delicate eagle and chum salmon relationship. From mid-November to February, Sunwolf Rafting operates eagle-viewing floats from the best vantage point: the river! exploresquamish.com/business/sunwolf-rafting
30. Not Her Father’s Cider Bar + Kitchen in Toronto’s historic Harbord Village has a selection of over 75 ciders from Ontario and the world. With names like West Avenue’s Legend of the Fall Funky Farmhouse and Twin Pines Hammer Bent Scrumpy, it’s worthy of date night with the apple of your eye. herfathers.ca
31. Hang ten from September 29 to October 1, 2017, in Tofino, British Columbia, at the Queen of the Peak women’s surf championship. Between all the longboards and shortboards, you won’t be bored. There are free child-care and dog-sitting services, to boot! queenofthepeak.com
32. Oompah-pah! From October 6 to 14, 2017, the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest, billed as Canada’s greatest Bavarian festival, has a Stein & Dine night, a notorious parade, a vintage car show, kilts galore, bagpipes, and beer on every corner. oktoberfest.ca/events
33. Hit the beach from July 14 to August 20, 2017, and take in the Quality Foods Canadian Open Sandsculpting Competition and Exhibition in Parksville, British Columbia. The world-class event attracts professional sculptors from around the globe. Competitors have 30 hours over four days to work magic with sand and water. parksvillebeachfest.ca
34. Pack your peppermints for Perth, Ontario’s Garlic Festival from August 11 to 12, 2018. With over 75 vendors and artisans, it offers more than garlic bread and braiding! perthgarlicfestival.com
35. Take in the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market in Edmonton. Whether you’re looking to graze or actively stock up for a gathering, the market (located in the “old bus barns”), near Whyte Avenue, has everything you need, from sunflowers to Menno’s Sausage Inc. chicken pepperoni to barnboard birdhouses made by a retired dairy farmer. Open Saturdays, year-round. osfm.ca
36. Choose from two sweet options: Either pick your own strawberries, or cheat a little and attend a strawberry social.
37. Run on the bottom of the Bay of Fundy while the tide is out. No pressure! The Not Since Moses Run on August 12, 2017, offers 5K and 10K routes. The 5K race starts and ends in Sand Point on Five Island, Nova Scotia, while the 10K starts in Soley Cove and ends in Sand Point. Run proceeds (after costs) are donated to local charities. Expect an equal amount of mud, fog and fun. notsincemoses.com
38. Do you have a few hours to extend to rescue donkeys? The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada in Guelph, Ontario, is a 100-acre haven for over 70 donkeys, hinnies and mules that have been neglected or abused. The refuge opened in 1992 and relies heavily on its team of volunteers for maintenance, grooming and public programming. thedonkeysanctuary.ca
39. Clean up some trails. You don’t have to travel far: your local trails association is always happy for extra brawn in spring cleanup efforts after damaging winter storms.
40. Observe Earth Hour on March 25, 2017, from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time, and creatively help combat climate change by candlelight! earthhour.org
41. Speaking of candlelight, why not just go outside? Look up. How many constellations can you name? Try identifying Orion, Leo, Canis Major, Aries and Scorpius. All visible to the naked eye, they’re some of our most famous standouts in the northern hemisphere.
42. Celebrate the Year of the Rooster. It is the only bird included in the Chinese Zodiac. Lucky flowers associated with this year are gladiola, impatiens and cockscomb.
43. Nanaimo bars are finally getting the attention they deserve beyond the holiday season. They originated in Nanaimo, British Columbia, where you can now embark on the Nanaimo Bar Trail. You’ll find temptations like bacon-topped Nanaimo bars, gluten-free varieties, and Nanaimo bar milkshakes, martinis and lattes. Wow! tourismnanaimo.com/nanaimo-bar-trail
44. Support your local bookstore! Every good Canadian should read at least one book by Margaret Atwood, Alistair MacLeod, Timothy Findley, Douglas Coupland and Alice Munro.
45. For the kid set, let two curious cats teach them all about the Rocky Mountains. Written and magically illustrated by Jocey Asnong, Nuptse and Lhotse Go to the Rockies is a fun romp through the western landscape of turquoise lakes, icefields and two lost twin grizzly cubs. rmbooks.com/book_details.php?isbn_upc=9781771600194
46. Canada’s celebration of gardens runs from June 9 to 18, 2017, with National Garden Day celebrated on June 16, 2017. Be sure to plant the Perennial Plant Association’s 2017 Plant of the Year: Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed).
47. Surprise your neighbour with your favourite tree or potted plant on Earth Day, which falls on April 22 each year. For more ideas about the largest environmental event in the world, check out earthday.ca.
48. Get moving with ParticipACTION 150. From picking fruit to playing sledge hockey, the organization has compiled a list of 150 ways to get active and earn digital badges for your efforts. Whether you’re chopping wood or playing hide-and-seek, it all counts! Keep track online and win prizes for building snow forts and hula hooping. participaction.com
49. Take in a classic end-of-summer fair. The Canadian National Exhibition is an 18-day event, from August 17 to September 3, 2018. There are ghost walks, air shows, stunt shows, food trucks, tilt-a-whirls, SuperDogs, corn dogs and deep-fried red velvet Oreos. theex.com
50. Host a backyard barbecue “game night.” Support your local butcher and try water buffalo, elk or venison on the grill.
51. At Oso Negro in Nelson, British Columbia, queue up with the locals who already know this café’s best-kept secret: Tote your reusable mug and try the 100 percent organic, fair-trade Chocolate Cake Dark Roast coffee or sumptuous dandelion latte. Whether you hike the nearby Selkirk Mountains or meander Baker Street shops, Oso Negro will keep you caffeinated. Don’t forget to grab an e-ball—a golf-ball-size treat of chocolate, peanut butter, nuts and seeds—to go. osonegrocoffee.com
52. Design your own custom trail mix. Up the ante with friends when you pull out a zip-top bag full of wasabi peas, pine nuts and goji berries. There are no rules! And midway through the West Coast Trail, no one is going to say no to a handful of cashews, Kraft caramels and peanut-butter-stuffed pretzels.
53. Visit your local pizza oven. They are popping up in parks across Canada. Many host garden party nights for the public to experience the wood-fired community ovens. Some allow you to book the oven for private parties and even offer the expertise of a volunteer familiar with the fire-starting clay pizza oven.
54. On the east shore of Kootenay Lake, north of Creston, British Columbia, David H. Brown built his fantasy castle using over 500,000 embalming fluid bottles. The Glass House has a wishing well, water wheel and several towers to explore. Enjoy repurposing at its best! kootenaylake.bc.ca/the-east-shore/services/directory/678/the-glass-house
55. Check out another glass wonder on the opposite coast, in Cap Egmont, Prince Edward Island, on the North Cape Coastal Drive. The Bottle Houses are just as marvellous and built with over 25,000 glass bottles in a variety of colours. There’s a tavern, chapel and six-gabled house, all constructed by Édouard Arsenault, a carpenter and boat builder. He was originally inspired back in 1979, after his daughter sent him a postcard of a glass castle, an attraction she had visited on Vancouver Island. bottlehouses.com
56. Go to a drive-in. Canada’s first drive-in, the Skyway Drive-In in Stoney Creek, Ontario, opened in 1946 and closed in 1975. The Port Hope Drive-In in Port Hope, Ontario, is the country’s oldest continuously operated drive-in. Located on Theatre Road, it has been there since 1952. It’s the quintessential thing to do on a soupy summer night!
57. Toronto’s largest outdoor theatre event, the Sail-In Cinema, happens on one Great Lake with one giant screen on a barge, and is the world’s first two-sided floating movie experience. Watch from your lawn chair on Sugar Beach (the city’s intelligent conversion from a parking lot into a sandy beach) or afloat on your boat in Lake Ontario. sailincinema.com
58. Plant your own jack-o’-lanterns for Halloween!
59. Go nuts! Did you know that peanut butter was invented in Quebec? Montreal pharmacist Marcellus Gilmore Edson created his nut-based treat as a solution for people who had difficulty chewing. Celebrate this fact with a slather of his invention on a just-baked loaf from your local bakery.
60. Canada is synonymous with Tim Hortons. Serious fans must make the pilgrimage to the first Tim Hortons location at 65 Ottawa St. N. in Hamilton. Professional hockey player Tim Horton opened it in 1964, before partnering with Ron Joyce, a former police officer and Tims’ first franchisee, in 1967. Grab a maple dip, a double-double and sit in history!
61. Pay tribute to urbanist Jane Jacobs from May 5 to 7, 2017. Citizen-led walks across Canada (and the world) honour Jacobs’ industrious efforts and desire to unite communities through pedestrian-friendly initiatives, shared stories and smart urban planning. janeswalk.org
62. Learn how to turn your broom closet into a microbrewery and raise rabbits in your condo, thanks to cookbook author Michelle Catherine Nelson, who proves in The Urban Homesteading Cookbook that you don’t need land to grow food. You don’t even need a balcony! With a PhD in conservation biology and sustainable agriculture, Nelson will teach you more than you’d expect—and you’ll learn how to make cupcakes with crickets, too.
63. Whether you’re a grandchild or a grandparent, David Suzuki’s Letters to My Grandchildren is an ageless, timeless and essential book about the world and our place in it. Read it!
64. Considering a tree-planting career? Charlotte Gill’s Eating Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber and Life with the Tree Planting Tribe is an insider’s look into a 20-year career spent planting trees in Canada. Even if you don’t fancy yourself slogging away, bent over in spring muck, dig into her book for an informative snapshot of the logging industry and the turbulent relationship between humans and trees.
65. No trip to Montreal is complete without a stop at Schwartz’s deli on Saint-Laurent. Order a smoked meat sandwich, sour pickle and black cherry soda and find out first-hand why these smoked meat purveyors have been successful for over 80 years. schwartzsdeli.com
66. From October 28 to November 5, 2017, the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival attracts an audience hungry for serious adrenalin. Mingle with filmmakers, photographers and writers from around the world, and eavesdrop on their journeys and jaw-dropping expeditions. banffcentre.ca/banff-mountain-film-and-book-festival
67. Pop a wheelie in Atlantic Canada’s only lift-service mountain: Sugarloaf Bike Park in Atholville, New Brunswick. The black diamond serpentine trails are packed with burms, tabletops, drops, step-ups and wooden features. parcsugarloafpark.ca/bikepark
68. Who says you have to stop climbing trees? TreeGO Moncton in New Brunswick offers aerial adventure courses that allow you to zip through the canopies like a sugar glider. Or your eight-year-old, skinned-knee self. tourismnewbrunswick.ca/
69. Don’t know your rough blazing star from your cut-leaved toothwort? Let Lorraine Johnson, past president of the North American Native Plant Society and author of several books on gardening and environmental issues, help you out. Her guide 100 Easy-to-Grow Native Plants for Canadian Gardens is back in print with a revised introduction, updated sections and new info on how to support native pollinators.
70. Try a North American first, in Vernon, British Columbia: the Cold Sauna at Sparkling Hills’ KurSpa. It’s a cryo-treatment (or ice treatment) that involves spending three brave minutes in a –110°C (–166°F) room. The dramatic drop in your skin temperature (5°C/41°F) gives your nervous and circulatory systems a huge boost. sparklinghill.com
71. Gen-Xers and baby boomers, unite! Remember the ultimate childhood challenge, conkers? Before Xbox and Candy Crush, horse chestnuts were a game waiting to happen. Thread a length of strong string about 25 cm (10 inches) long through a hole in the centre of the chestnut, and mind your knuckles! projectbritain.com/conkers.html
72. Has it been a while since you’ve gone to church? Why not go for heavenly fish and chips at Bare Bones in Port Alberni, British Columbia? The church conversion dishes out cod, salmon, halibut, prawns and slaw in a hip space. Amen to that.
73. Ever had a coffee in a henhouse? The Timeless Café & Bakery is located in the original henhouse of a century-old farm homestead in Waterloo, Ontario. Afterwards, poke around the Timeless Materials Co. barn and outdoor space for reclaimed treasures like church windows, hardware, corbels, claw-foot tubs and old Weston bread pans (perfect for herbs).
74. Plant herbs in a Weston bread pan! Be sure to nail holes in the bottom of the old baking trays for drainage.
75. Hamilton’s Around the Bay Road Race is the oldest on the continent. The first run was held in 1894, three years before the Boston Marathon. On March 25, 2018, runners on the typically bitter and soggy 30K (18.6 mile) route will see if March comes in like a lion or a lamb. bayrace.com
76. Bird nerds, congregate! From May 1 to May 22, 2017, Canada’s southernmost mainland is a hotbed for avian migration. The Festival of Birds at Point Pelee National Park includes birder breakfasts and the famed local “birdseed cookies.” Point Pelee is an integral part of the system of 44 national parks, 167 national historic sites and three marine conservation areas administered by Parks Canada. friendsofpointpelee.com
77. You did order your free Parks Canada Discovery Pass, right? To celebrate our 150th, admission to Canada’s national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas is free in 2017. commandesparcs-parksorders.ca
78. Here’s the scoop: The University of Guelph offers an ice cream technology course, the only one of its kind in Canada. Held since in 1914, the course involves a hands-on approach to dairy microbiology, manufacturing, quality assurance, and adding stabilizers and flavours. Time for higher learning? uoguelph.ca
79. Curious about chickens? Eager to make your own custom eggnog and omelettes? Check out your local bylaws and treat yourself to Signe Langford’s Happy Hens & Fresh Eggs: Keeping Chickens in the Kitchen Garden, a valuable resource for newbies in the coop and kitchen.
80. There’s no need to be inside to visit a gallery. At Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park in Alberta, the writing is on the wall! Walk through the mystical hoodoos and badlands while a Blackfoot interpreter shares the ancient stories behind the rock art galleries.
81. Book a site at Bon Echo Provincial Park, and you can stare at the 100 metre (328 foot) high Mazinaw Rock—jutting up from the deep and dark waters of Mazinaw Lake—from your campsite across the way. Coined the Gibraltar of Ontario, Mazinaw Rock is the celeb of Bon Echo. The 1.5 km (one mile) long cliff is sacred: 260 pictographs create a dramatic aboriginal canvas.
82. Spend a night at Fogo Island Inn in Joe Batt’s Arm, Newfoundland. The suites are a blend of contemporary and traditional outport design. Take in stellar North Atlantic sea views, heated toilet seats, caribou sausages, pickled quail eggs and berry-studded breakfast scones. fogoislandinn.ca
83. Will Ferguson’s Beauty Tips From Moosejaw: Excursions in the Great White North is probably the best road-trip bible. The memoir is equal parts travel, quirkiness, nostalgia and comical roadside-attraction reviews. Retrace Ferguson’s cross-country venture, write in the margins and pass the book along.
84. Smoke’s Poutinerie is a Canadian nationwide poutine franchise founded by entrepreneur Ryan Smolkin. Quebec cheese curds, a secret signature gravy and fresh-cut skin-on fries are just the beginning. Load up your order with the likes of perogies, pulled pork, or chicken fajita fixings with salsa. Thank you, Ryan, for bringing Quebec’s finest to the rest of Canada! smokespoutinerie.com
85. Remember pressing leaves with an iron and waxed paper? Channel your inner Martha Stewart and create a colourful and natural table setting unique to your backyard.
86. Visit Mile 0 in Victoria. The start of the 8,000-plus km (4,070-plus mile) Trans-Canada Highway is adjacent to Beacon Hill Park and is home to a monument to Terry Fox, who began his journey in Newfoundland, with the intention of running across Canada to raise money for cancer research. Mile 0 was his goal.
87. Participate in the annual Terry Fox Run on September 17, 2017. The fundraising event takes place in more than 9,000 communities across Canada, and you can run, blade or walk 1K, 5K, 10K or 50K routes. terryfox.org
88. Cabin Coffee in downtown Halifax is known for its Halifamous cinnamon buns and breakfast buns. Try both and join the sleepy weekend crowd in the coolest urban cabin, complete with Muskoka chairs.
89. At the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax, you can poke your head inside folk artist Maud Lewis’s (1903–70) tiny cottage. It was rescued by concerned citizens in Digby, Nova Scotia, who raised funds to have the marvellous house moved and restored. Lewis’s whimsical paintings and Christmas cards brought her solace, as she spent most of her childhood alone (she was short in stature and born with almost no chin). artgalleryofnovascotia.ca
90. Who wouldn’t want to visit these places in Saskatchewan and snap selfies in front of the signs? We’re talking about Old Wives Lake, Chicken, Hoosier, Uranium City, Poor Man and Big Beaver!
91. Take a road trip to Newfoundland, notorious for places with zany names! Plot a route, pack lots of Twizzlers and listen to tunes as you explore Jerrys Nose, Heart’s Content, Heart’s Desire, Blow Me Down, Come By Chance, Deadman’s Cove, Cape Onion and Tickle Cove.
92. Robert Service is best known for his poem “The Cremation of Sam McGee.” In Dawson City, Yukon, you can visit the rustic cabin where he lived from 1909 to 1912. The former bank teller also lived in France, where he worked as a journalist and ambulance driver. Pay tribute to the Bard of the Yukon and memorize his poem. Or write your own by oil lamp! ehcanadatravel.com/1-yukon/klondike/dawson-city/parks-places/5600-robert-service-cabin.html
93. Donate to a huge cause. The Royal Ontario Museum’s Make a Splash campaign will fund the resurrection of the blue whale that was beached in Trout River, Newfoundland, and then salvaged and transported to Toronto by the museum. The whale’s skeleton will be part of the blockbuster exhibit Out of the Depths: The Blue Whale Story. rom.on.ca
94. If you can’t be near a campfire, treat yourself to the next best thing: the toasted marshmallow ice cream at Greg’s Ice Cream is like a frozen campfire. A local institution (with two locations in Toronto), Greg’s is three decades strong.
95. If you can be near a campfire, ramp up the traditional s’more. Challenge your friends to a taste test and pull out all the heavy hitters. Try smothering a toasted marshmallow between candied bacon and grahams. Or get crazier with Elvis S’mores (chocolate-covered potato chips, peanut butter and banana) and melted KitKats. Game on! sharedappetite.com/recipes/15-creative-smores-recipes
96. Build a fire, inside. Then steep a pot of tea and do nothing but listen to the darling of Fort Macleod, Alberta: Joni Mitchell.
97. Follow Chris Hadfield on Twitter @cmdr_hadfield. Our beloved astronaut and Bowie fan from Sarnia, Ontario, is back on earth after living aboard the International Space Station as commander of Expedition 35. He’ll keep you grounded and wishing on falling stars at the same time.
98. Inspired by Chris Hadfield’s childhood, The Darkest Dark tackles a universal fear: being afraid of the dark. Illustrated by Terry and Eric Fan, Hadfield’s book revolves around a boy named Chris, who watches the groundbreaking moon landing on TV and realizes “that space is the darkest dark there is—and the dark is beautiful and exciting, especially when you have big dreams to keep you company.” Read this to your starry-eyed little ones.
99. Edmonton’s bronze Wayne Gretzky statue has been relocated from Rexall Place to 104 Avenue, near Rogers Place, the new home of the Edmonton Oilers. Sculpted by John Weaver, the statue was a gift from Molson Brewery to the Oilers and was originally installed in 1989. Gretzky fans can make the pilgrimage to the new site or clink glasses at home with the Great One’s latest game changer: No. 99 Red Cask Whisky.
100. Help out our little brown bats and build a bat house! The population is suffering from a devastating bout of white nose syndrome. Bat houses require few supplies to construct, and you’ll be happy to have the mosquito eaters zooming around your backyard in the summer.
101. Did you know we have a “pocket desert” in Canada? Check out the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre in Osoyoos, British Columbia, and explore the interpretive trails, which will introduce you to all the usual suspects: prickly pear cactus, scorpions and rattlesnakes.
102. While in Osoyoos, be sure to visit Nk’Mip Cellars, the first winery in North America that’s owned and operated by aboriginals. The Cellars is one of many business initiatives that have earned the Osoyoos Indian Band financial independence and high employment.
103. At nearby Burrowing Owl Estate Winery in Oliver, British Columbia, you can enjoy good karma and velvety Cabernet Franc knowing that 100 percent of the tasting fees are given to the Burrowing Owl Conservation Society of BC, for their captive release program, and to SORCO (South Okanagan Rehabilitation Centre for Owls). The wine shop alone raises close to $50,000 each year for these two organizations. Cheers to that!
104. For big bragging rights, book a night at Quebec’s Hôtel de Glace (Ice Hotel). The crystalline ice sculptures, ice chapel, frozen bar (enjoy a cocktail in an ice glass) and slippery slide make for the ultimate sub-zero sleeping experience. hoteldeglace-canada.com
105. Swap recipes with your Syrian neighbours! The best way to connect is by sharing a meal and comparing notes in the kitchen.
106. Check out the Vancouver Aquarium’s webcam—the balm for a drizzly day! From the convenience of your home or subway car, you can see what the spotted jellyfish, otters and penguins are up to.
107. Buy a box of Smarties! You can’t buy them in the United States. And you won’t find these sweets south of our border, either: Caramilk, Coffee Crisp, Wunderbar, Aero and Glosette. Which begs the question, When you eat your Smarties, do you eat the red ones last?
108. Go fly a kite after creating your own at the 13th annual SaskPower Windscape Kite Festival in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, on June 24 and 25, 2017. Or find a grassy patch and watch international kite flyers show off their stunts and fill the skies with kite trains and kites as big as houses. windscapekitefestival.ca
109. Winnipeg’s The Manito Ahbee Festival and the Indigenous Music and Arts Program are slated for May 17 to 21, 2017. Nations from across North America will gather to dance and share powerful drumming circles. Learn the difference between the Fancy Bustle and the Prairie Chicken dance. Don’t miss the jigging and square dance competition. travelmanitoba.com/event/manito-ahbee-festival/47886
110. The premier fest in the Canadian Arctic is the Toonik Tyme Festival in Iqaluit. The annual celebration of Inuit traditions and the return to spring is 51 years strong. From April 13 to 22, 2017, you can try everything from muktuk (whale skin), caribou stew, throat singing, skijoring (harness yourself to a sled dog), or kite skiing across Frobisher Bay. Learn this expression before you go: Ikkii (“It’s cold!” in Inuktitut).
111. Ever wondered where the best place to see frozen methane bubbles is? Abraham Lake, on the upper course of the North Saskatchewan River in western Alberta, will leave you spellbound: the frozen bubbles create a marine artwork phenomenon like no other. The lake is just 30 minutes west of the town of Nordegg.
112. Keep it local! Though we rely on avocados from Mexico for our guacamole fix, you can grow your own. Use three toothpicks to suspend the avocado seed in an inch of water. Keep it out of direct sunlight, and within two to six weeks you’ll see the sprouts of your very own avocado tree in the making.
113. Grow and pop your very own popcorn. There are several varieties of popcorn to choose from, and it’s just like growing sweet corn, with the exception that the ears stay on the stalk longer so they can mature into hard popping kernels.
114. Maple syrup isn’t just for pancakes—it marries well with popcorn, too! Maple cranberry popcorn balls are always a crowd favourite. The five-ingredient recipe (popcorn, maple syrup, brown sugar, dried cranberries and butter) makes it easy to throw together on a spontaneous Saturday night. For the recipe, go to oceanspray.com.
115. Help your local Humane Society. Purge your closets and donate old blankets and towels, a valuable resource at the shelters. Ask if they have any upcoming garage sales or used-clothing drives that you can contribute to. Better yet, ask if you can donate your Canadian Tire dollars or Pioneer Bonus Bucks, as the money can be used to buy necessary supplies.
116. Fill an insulated flask with hot cocoa, a teaspoon of vanilla and a pinch of grated nutmeg. The Canadian rite of passage includes a rosy-cheeked game of pond hockey.
117. Canadians made sure that hockey could be a year-round pursuit. Grab a few hockey sticks, a ball and a dead-end street for an impromptu game of street hockey.
118. Find some scrap wood and a jar of nails, and build a tree house. Stock it with childhood essentials like Archie comics, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. And root beer. Need inspiration? Check out popularmechanics.com/home/outdoor-projects/how-to/g187/awe-inspiring-treehouse-designs.
119. And after building that tree house and nursing a hammered thumb and skinned knee, reward yourself with Canada’s claim to fame. Or claim to clams: the Bloody Caesar. Don’t stop at the celery salt! Caesars are all about the horseradish, pickled asparagus, skewers of pearled onions and dill pickle spears. Make it fully authentic with Prince Edward Island Artisan Distillery’s Potato Vodka—Canada’s first and only vodka distilled from potatoes. princeedwarddistillery.com
120. Consider helping out Alberta’s High Plains Baseball Club Inc. and the Fort McMurray Oil Giants by becoming a host family for the Western Major Baseball League. Comprised of 27 college-age players from across North America, the club is seeking billets in the area. The season opener is June 6, 2017.
121. Those in the know will tell you that the best part about sporting events in Alberta is the “taco in a bag.” Make your own by adding shredded lettuce, salsa and sour cream to a bag of cheese Doritos. Or grab tickets to a Hurricanes game at the Enmax Centre in Lethbridge, Alberta. Get tickets pronto to Rick Mercer’s 150th Coast to Coast Tour on April 29, 2017, also at the Enmax Centre. enmaxcentre.ca
122. Look for the Red Couch Tour! Two artists will be carrying a red leather sofa from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to Victoria in an RV—to record the musings of Canadians while they lounge. They’ll be heading to the North, too, via plane and train in the spring. The pair are raising funds for a documentary about the project. redcouchtour.ca
123. Work on an icebreaker. The Students on Ice Foundation will pilot an icebreaker with a rotating crew of Canadians on a 150-day voyage from Toronto to Victoria via the Northwest Passage. A few lucky Canadians will be able to apply to join them for 10-day periods. studentsonice.com
124. Mary Walsh, the creator of CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes, is one of the organizers of the Canada 150 Comedy Show tour, which hopes to discover and spotlight our funniest folks. Is she looking for you? Leave your knock-knock jokes at home!
125. Support your local funny talent. From the Nakai Theatre in Whitehorse to the Yuk Yuk’s club in St. John’s, Newfoundland, we are hilarious. Plus, we can brag about Elvira Kurt, Ron James, Scott Thompson, Debra DiGiovanni, Maggie Cassella and Brent Butt belonging to us!
126. In 2011, Jasper, Alberta, was designated as a Dark Sky Preserve by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. At 11,000 square kilometres (4247 square miles), Jasper National Park is the world’s largest accessible Dark Sky Preserve. Thanks to near-zero light pollution, the Jasper Dark Sky Festival in October is a celebration of many things, especially wishing on falling stars.
127. Speaking of falling stars, find the darkest skies near you and lie down in the grass. The 2017 Perseids meteor shower will peak on the night of August 12 and the early morning hours of August 13. A waning gibbous moon, however, may hinder a good view of the meteor shower this year.
128. Join the legions of burger-loving Islanders in Prince Edward Island for the month of April. In 2016, PEI Burger Love’s 73 participating restaurants sold 163,170 burgers (that’s 71,821 pounds of Island beef!). The one-of-a-kind burgs are piled with chocolate-covered potato chips, haloumi, sriracha sweet potato cakes, baked kale chips and deep-fried pickles. Only one mighty burger can be the winner. Be sure to weigh in! peiburgerlove.ca
129. Join Neil Young on his Peace Trail. This is his 37th studio album, and his deep-rooted, dusty-road, pick-up-truck music continues to be the soundtrack of our country. neilyoung.com
130. Nothing is more heavenly than walking the streets of Vancouver in spring, under the pink confetti of the cherry blooms. The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, which takes place from March 30 to April 17, 2017, is full of sensory appeal, for all the senses. Enjoy a Cocktails & Canapes cherry blossom curated lunch and join the hanami (flower-viewing party). The petal picnics include cherry blossom shakes and sushi, plus gorgeous eye candy. vcbf.ca
131. Want to spend 90 minutes in jail? From May to October, you can wander the inner walls of Canada’s oldest and most notorious maximum-security prison, in Kingston, Ontario. In 2013, the Kingston Penitentiary closed to “guests” and opened its doors to the curious public. The National Historic Site of Canada predates Confederation! kingstonpentour.com
132. Visit the Cambridge Butterfly Observatory in Ontario from September 10 to 11, 2018, to witness the Monarch Tagging Weekend, which is jam-packed with educational activities, workshops and showings of the award-winning documentary Flight of the Butterflies. Visitors can sponsor a migratory monarch, and butterfly-tagging demonstrations will be held throughout the day. cambridgebutterfly.com
133. Make the time to stop at those roadside fruit and vegetable stands. We even condone a safe U-turn. Buy something out of the ordinary and Google a new recipe for eggplant or turnip. Or finally give your grandmother’s tried-and-true raspberry jam recipe a whirl.
134. The Kraay Family Farm in Lacombe, Alberta, is all about farmtastic fun. With a 15-acre corn maze and a pumpkin cannon, how could it not be? A mere 175 km (109 miles) from Calgary, there’s gemstone mining and pig races, plus a CORNcession stand, sugar shack, grain train and chicken show. kraayfamilyfarm.com
135. Become a citizen scientist! Join Project FeederWatch, a collaboration between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada. Once you obtain an ID number, start counting the birds at your feeder and enter the data online for research. birdscanada.org
136. Give the gift of inspiration to the nomad in your circle: The Great Canadian Bucket List. A travel writer and TV host, Robin Esrock compiled a list of the zaniest things to do in Canada, from a shore lunch on Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories to front-row seats to the great caribou migration in Nunavut. Follow Esrock’s blog of the same name for even more ideas. canadianbucketlist.com
137. Tune in! Hosted by Bob McDonald, Quirks and Quarks is an award-winning science program by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. For 40 years, the CBC radio show has fascinated listeners eager to learn about the galaxy, hummingbirds and driverless cars. cbc.ca
138. The legendary Bullocks Bistro in Yellowknife has been dishing out fish ’n’ chips (and attitude) for 25 years. Visitors will remember the sass, golden fries and kitsch. The restaurant was sold to new owners last year, but the positive news is that all will remain the same, except now it’s open year-round!
139. Or if you want to be more of a participant in your fish and chips order, drive a team of enthusiastic huskies through the powder of the Yukon’s Southern Lakes to a self-drilled ice hole, where you can catch a winter lake trout. The Jack London cabin at Tagish Lake Wilderness Lodge has solar cabins, wood stoves and exclusive showings of the aurora borealis (northern lights). tagishwildernesslodge.com
140. Without the pressure of winning the Olympic gold medal for Canada, you can jump in a bobsled at the Whistler Sliding Centre in Whistler, British Columbia, for pure fun. Or you can also choose to go head first on the skeleton and clock in speeds of up to 100 km (62 miles) an hour! whistlerblackcomb.com/events-and-activities/activities/bobsleigh-and-skeleton
141. Join the Ontario Turtle Tally and adopt a pond! Help collect and record location and species information on Ontario turtles, especially species at risk. Information that is collected in the database is submitted to the Natural Heritage Information Centre and will be used to learn more about turtle distributions in the province. torontozoo.com/adoptapond/turtletally.asp
142. Help track climate change trends by becoming a FrogWatcher. FrogWatch Canada, administered by Environment Canada, is looking for FrogWatchers to report sightings on a casual or routine schedule. Level 2 FrogWatchers are encouraged to report observations three times a week (whether frogs are present or absent) during the breeding season, which occurs late March to early August in Ontario. torontozoo.com/adoptapond/frogwatchontario.asp
143. World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) is the most intimate and rewarding way to visit a farm in Canada. For 45 years, in exchange for sweat equity, farm owners and growers give volunteers (or WWOOFers) food and accommodation. Opportunities include permaculture, beekeeping, cheese making, rabbit rearing and growing medicinal herbs. wwoof.ca
144. Hundreds of thousands of Greenland, hooded and harp seals arrive to give birth to their pups on the ice floes of the Magdalen Islands, Quebec. The Iles de la Madeleine are synonymous with whitecoats, the darling white seal pups. Helicopter excursions take visitors to the floes to witness the lunar landscape and singing seals.
145. If you loved Clint Eastwood’s and Meryl Streep’s Bridges of Madison County, you should make the romantic pilgrimage to West Montrose, in Ontario’s Waterloo Region. Straddling one of Canada’s mighty heritage rivers, the Grand, the village’s historic covered bridge was built in 1881. Covered bridges were known colloquially as “kissing bridges,” since couples would smooch as they passed through the bridge out of sight. (Be sure to buy some summer sausage from the local Mennonites while you’re in the area.)
146. Try something new (this is a wild card): Sea asparagus! Prairie oysters! Garlic scapes. Chokecherry syrup. Saskatoon berries. Icewine grape harvesting (or sampling). Axe throwing. Fat-tire biking. Broomballing. Shakespeare in the Park.
147. Follow a trail! Every province and territory has one. Whether it’s through the boreal or Carolinian forest, or a taste or an arts trail, they are worth following. Favourite trails have been mapped out for butter tarts, lilacs, lavender fields, “ale-ventures,” Pinot, food trucks and farmers’ markets.
148. Our bees are working hard pollinating our fields, trees and flowers. And they still have time to make honey. If you’re a teacher, check out the School Kits Project, part of the Canadian Honey Council’s Forging a New Direction initiative, funded in part by the Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Program. For info, go to honeycouncil.ca.
149. Become a practitioner of sustainable living. Every day, you can attempt to reduce your carbon footprint by altering your mode of transportation, energy consumption and diet.
150. Bake a cake for our immense and imposing country. Celebrate our 150th with a Maritime classic: blueberry buckle. Or how about an Alberta Whisky Cake? Butter tart cheesecake? Maple apple upside-down cake? The options are endless—like us!
Jules Torti’s work has been published in The Vancouver Sun, The Globe & Mail, travelife, Canadian Running and Coast Mountain Culture. With experiences as a canoe outtripper, outdoor educator, colouring book illustrator and freelancer, she is thrilled to be able to curate, write and read about the very best things in life.