About Canadian experiences designated as unique once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences
How do you decide what to see and do when you travel? How do you find about the things most likely to appeal to you?
Canada is a large and diverse country with varied experiences across the country to delight both Canadian and international tourists. You can find things to do and places to eat on tourism sites, in travel guides, and on travel blogs, but if you want to find something truly special or unique consider one of the Canadian Signature Experiences. There are over 200 experiences across the country designated as once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences by Destination Canada. Destination Canada is a government agency with the mission to grow and promote Canada’s tourism industry internationally.
When I first learned about these experiences and started browsing through them on the web site, I was impressed by how cool they are. Multi-day Canadian experiences include an Arctic adventure snowmobiling alongside reindeer herders and a cowboy adventure performing ranch duties on horseback. The majority of experiences are not multi-day and require only a day or less of your time. Experiences such as whale watching, kayaking past sea otters, dog-sledding in the Rockies, visiting a world-famous garden, learning to cook seafood, glamping in the boreal forest, learning the secrets of ice wine, riding a horse to a remote tea house, or going on a bison safari.
I have been fortunate to experience and write about a few Canadian Signature Experiences, such as Heritage Park Historical Village in Calgary Alberta. In other cases I’ve experienced what is at the heart of the activity, but not the added twist that makes it truly unique. I’ve driven the scenic Sea to Sky Highway between Vancouver and Whistler in British Columbia. In the Canadian Signature Experience, you drive that highway in an exotic sportscar. I’ve visited (and highly recommend) the Royal BC Museum in British Columbia. The Canadian Signature Experience at that museum is a thirty-minute behind-the-scenes tour. The tours are on a first-come, first-served basis and are included in the price of admission. That is definitely something I plan to do on my next visit.
There are Canadian Signature Experiences in my home city of Winnipeg, Manitoba. I’ve taken the Hermetic Code Tour in which Dr. Frank Albo explores the mysteries and architectural wonders of the Manitoba Legislative Building. I’ve visited other places that are part of a Signature Experience, although I haven’t done the full experience. The experiences at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the Journey to Churchill exhibit at Assiniboine Park Zoo involve special tours. The Bison Safari I took at nature preserve FortWhyte Alive is part of a larger experience that also includes a voyageur canoe experience (cool as that sounds, you’re unlikely to ever get me in a canoe!) and wild tea and bannock over an open fire. Although I may not have had the “full” Signature Experience at these places, what I experienced was enough to make me know how special the Canadian Signature Experience would be.
How does something become a Canadian Signature Experience? Businesses apply through their provincial tourism marketing boards. There is no fee to apply. The provincial tourism boards evaluate applications and make recommendations to Destination Canada. Destination Canada ultimately decides if the recommendation qualifies as a one-of-a-kind travel experience.
What does this mean to you? When travelling to a Canadian destination, I encourage you to check the Canadian Signature Experiences website to see if there is an experience in the area you’re visiting that appeals to you. You may find something that really excites you and will make your trip particularly memorable. If you don’t, that’s fine. There are a lot of great experiences to be found across Canada that aren’t on this list. It is just one other tool to use in your travel planning.
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