Staff favourites in Western Canada
Bison golden hour
Fall in Elk Island National Park is really beautiful; the leaves are turning yellow and catching a sunrise or sunset is easier than in summer. Venturing through the bison loop is a nice addition to my day either first thing in the morning or on my way home, especially when the air is crisp and the light is making everything look golden on the open plain and surrounding trees.
5,000 vintage specimens
The Banff Park Museum National Historic Site is renowned for its 5,000 vintage natural history specimens. While most visitors are drawn to the bison, wolves, and other large animal exhibits, I’m fascinated with the diminutive items in the collection, including small birds, insects, and the teeny hummingbird eggs.
Each winter, I marvel at the sparkling blanket of frost at the Cave and Basin National Historic Site. These fragile ice crystals, formed by the area’s bubbling thermal waters, create a true winter fairy tail and a shimmering world like a million diamonds.
Memories await in Waterton Lakes
Learning about the Indigenous histories that are tied to all landscapes of Paahtómahksikimi is my favourite part of Waterton Lakes National Park. As a member of the Kainai Nation, it’s an incredible feeling to learn about how my ancestors lived and thrived in the place that I now call home.
A magical ski to Whirlpool River
The Moab Lake trail in Jasper National Park is a great cross-country ski trail for all abilities. I love going for a short ski (7km return) to the Whirlpool River that overlooks beautiful Mount Kerkeslin, and taking a break at the Red Chairs. I enjoy watching the American dippers as they fly in and out of the open water all winter long. I never forget to bring a picnic and enjoy the river view!
One of my favourite things to do at Rocky Mountain House is wake up in a Métis Trapper Tent, then go for a stroll amongst the Trembling Aspens. If you’re lucky, in the early morning light the mist rises off the North Saskatchewan River, and you can imagine the hearty souls from years past paddling upstream as part of the once thriving fur trade.
View from the Visitor Centre
Looking out the windows of the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site Visitor Centre towards the majestic Rocky Mountains over the slowly rolling porcupine hills was a moment I soaked in and forever revisit in my mind. I felt so at home, at peace and inspired.
A seat In the sky
The Parapets Viewpoint near the Fire Lookout in Mount Revelstoke National Park gives incredible views of the Columbia River. Driving up the Meadows in the Sky Parkway on a foggy day to end up above a sea of clouds is always a bonus.
Take your breath away
The Eva Lake Trail in Mount Revelstoke National Park winds through colourful wildflower meadows and across jagged slide paths of the Columbia Mountains. At the end of the hike, you dig deep to crest the hill – and the beauty of Eva Lake completely takes your breath away. Life is good here.
Keep on shining
Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site, the first lighthouse on Canada’s rugged west coast, shines every night since November 1860. Either touched by a morning mist, swathed by a daunting fog or brushed by a sunset’s golden hour, I am forever in awe. No wonder so many come to capture its beauty.
Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site saw generations of soldiers training to fight in the world wars or to stand guard protecting Canada’s west coast. During peacetime, families of soldiers camped inside the fort to be close to their loved ones. With the oTENTik overnight stay and the opportunity to step back in time, I am touched to know families continue to create lasting memories.
Cycle of life
I love spending time in Fort Langley National Historic Site’s heritage garden. Watching the garden’s transformation from season to season reminds me of life’s beauty and resilience. In spring, the plots are prepped for seedlings; in summer, blossoming buds sprout into lush crops; in autumn, crops are harvested; and in winter, the seeds go dormant for the cycle to begin again next spring!
Which door to unlock?
Seeing the antique skeleton key hanging in the Big House at Fort Langley National Historic Site creates mystery. Just showing it to adults and children alike turns them into wide-eyed, imaginative believers in magic. I usually let them try to lock and unlock one of the doors.
Slice of the fort
I love talking with visitors and hearing their different perspectives on Canada’s history. We find so many points of connection with the story of this place, and unique ways of looking at things. Quite literally – there is a spot in one of our bastion towers where you can look out and see this long, panoramic slice of Fort Langley – I love that!
The most memorable experience I’ve had in the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve was participating in the Sea Garden Restoration Project at Fulford Harbour on Salt Spring Island. It was an amazing experience learning about the history and cultural significance of the sea garden rock wall, as well as helping restore it for future generations.
Kootenay fossils revealed
The Burgess Shale guided hike in Kootenay National Park is a must-do for me! The hike has scenic views in all directions, but what I really go for are the fossils. I love sifting through the shale beds to reveal fossils older than dinosaurs! It’s incredible to hold history in the palm of your hand and know it has been here for over 500 million years!
Fishing front row
Having the chance to go out to our Parks Canada chairs at Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site and gaze at an active fishing dock is one of my favourite parts of this site. When we talk about our history it is sometimes easy to forget that this fishing industry is still alive and important today. Having the opportunity to see that industry in action makes this spot so special and I am so grateful to experience it every day!
360° views of glaciers, mountains and waterfalls
The Iceline Trail at Yoho National Park is an all-around favourite of mine. It takes you up high and really close to glaciers on one of the most scenic trails in Canada. It’s a hike to get up there, but once you’ve made the initial climb you can enjoy a long walk with mostly flat terrain and breathtaking vistas.
Bear Creek Falls
The rushing water at beautiful Bear Creek Falls in Glacier National Park reminds me of the transient quality of nature. The water there makes its way through the mountains via the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean.
I love Raspberry Cove in Houston Stewart Inlet at Gwaii Haanas. The beach is really nice and a bit rocky, and when I visited a few years back it was very serene. While we were there, I saw an octopus in the intertidal zone. At first I didn’t notice but then I saw his eye. It was thrilling and creepy all at once!
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