5 Things to Do in Canada That Will Surprise You

You may think you know a lot about the country that shares America’s longest land border. But if you’ve only been to iconic spots like Niagara Falls, the Rocky Mountains or the CN Tower, then you’re missing out. Visiting one of these lesser-known gems will expand your Great White North knowledge to include more than just ice hockey, maple syrup and back bacon. Make plans to discover a whole new Canada with one of these unique activities.

1. Howl With the Wolves

Howl With the Wolves
Cynthia Kidwell, Shutterstock.com

When to Go: August and September (special anniversary celebration on August 15, 2013)

The Reason: Let’s face it: Wolves get a bad wrap. Even Twilight movie fans who are Team Jacob wouldn’t be too happy bumping into a pack at night. Yet, in Canada, hundreds of people are packing into their cars and heading north to seek them out. This summer marks the 50th anniversary of the Wolf Howl in Algonquin Park. Each year, guests to the park watch park rangers call out to the area’s packs with their best howls. The packs answer back, and then everyone heads out in expert–led car caravans to try to catch a glimpse of the creatures up close. Expect as many as 1,000 people to join you on the weekly experience. While public howls are free, you can arrange for special group tours of 4 or more visitors at a minimum fee of $220 plus taxes.

2. Walk on the Ocean Floor

Walk on the Ocean Floor
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When to Go: May to October

The Reason: The Bay of Fundy is home to the world’s highest tides. At their peak, they can reach 54 feet in some areas. Join adventure lovers in a kayak for exploration at high tide or take it in from the craggy cliff shores. Return at low tide, after the 100 billion tons of seawater have receded for the unique experience of walking on the ocean floor. From the age-old fossils to the water-carved rock formations with names like “mother-in-law” and “the bear,” you’ll find plenty to marvel at. When the water starts to lap at your ankles, it’s probably time to find higher ground.

3. Uncover a Dinosaur

Uncover a Dinosaur
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When to Go: Year-round, but the most activity happens in the summer months

The Reason: There’s only one city in the world where you’ll find an 86-foot-tall, 151-foot-long dinosaur standing at its center. Welcome to Drumheller, the city situated in what has become affectionately known as Dinosaur Valley. The first dinosaurs were unearthed here in the 1800s, and they’ve been finding them ever since. Buy tickets in advance for tours at Dinosaur Provincial Park where you’re likely to find a paleontologist or two still digging. A visit to the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology is also a must. The town is usually buzzing in the summer with in-the-know families who’ve packed up the kids and are taking advantage of unique programs like dinosaur digs and campouts. Book early to join in the fun.

4. The American Eagle Vacations Here

The American Eagle Vacations Here
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When to Go: November to mid-February (best viewing is from mid-December to mid-January)

The Reason: It may be the symbol of American pride, but when a bald eagle wants a family reunion, it heads to Canada. The food is already waiting; salmon spawning in the glacial waters that run into the rivers here make for a smorgasbord the eagles can’t resist. The result is the largest annual gathering of bald eagles in North America. The outdoors enthusiasts at Sunwolf offer guided boat tours on the river so you can watch the majestic birds in action while getting the expert information and photo ops you’re after.

5. Walk With the Vikings

Walk With the Vikings
Jarmo Piironen, Shutterstock.com

When to Go: June to October

The Reason: You won’t end up in L’anse aux Meadows by accident. A visit to this National Historic site and one-time home to Eric the Red’s son Lief will take you to the northern tip of this Maritime province. But if you enjoy scenic routes, iceberg sightings and history come to life, it’s a must-see. Stop in at the Viking Interpretive Centre for a history lesson, and then head down to Norstead – a recreated Viking trade port – to try your hand at throwing an ax. Join a Viking for dinner inside a replica sod house down the road, and hear the stories about life in 1000 B.C. from a costumed interpreter. Good food and a great story to take home are guaranteed.

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