If given the task of designing a country from scratch, it would be impossible to come up with anything more perfect for animal lovers than Canada. The sheer variety and majesty of every element of wildlife in the Great North defies belief and freezes adventurers in their tracks.
Whether you seek huge bears, delicate birds, playful squirrels, cunning wolves or anything in between, Canada is the best place to experience breathtaking wildlife thriving amongst stunning habitats. The list is almost never-ending, but here are ten of the most perfect places to get that once in a lifetime sighting.
10 Icefields Parkway, Alberta
Some stretches of road do so much more than connect one destination with another. The Icefields Parkway in Western Canada traverses some of the most remarkable scenery on the planet and along the way, it gives travelers a front-row seat to a wildlife show unlike any other.
Reaching from Lake Louise to Jasper National Park, it is possible to see grizzlies and black bears along the journey as well as caribou, moose, big horn sheep, elk, lynx and so much more. Add that to conservative estimates of 300 different bird species and this slice of Canada is unparalleled when it comes to access to animals.
9 Narcisse Snake Pits, Manitoba
This one really tests just how strong the love for animals really is. Snakes are not the most popular of creatures but the experience of seeing them at the Narcisse Pits is often the birth of a new level of respect for the slithery sliders.
The largest gathering of snakes in one place worldwide, tens of thousands of red-sided garter snakes exit their dens around early May and a pulsating ball of snakes seeking mates is the visually arresting result. You won’t be able to tear your eyes away from this utterly gripping display of nature.
8 Wapusk National Park, Manitoba
Something everyone wants to see when jaunting through Canada is a polar bear. From a safe distance of course. The old adage when it comes to bears of: if it’s brown lie down, if it’s black fight back and if it’s white then goodnight is oft-repeated due to its simple truth. Polar bears are very dangerous and travelers need to be careful when seeking to sight one.
Wapusk National Park is one of the best places to try due to the huge population of the majestic creatures. Local tour guides will happily take visitors on a trek to safely and humanely experience one of the most rewarding adventures possible in North America.
7 The Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia
A lot more than just pure size earns this rainforest its moniker of great, but the 6.4 million acres that make it up certainly goes a long way to gifting it the title. Teeming with bears, cougars, wolves, salmon and countless other wildlife wonders, the Great Bear Rainforest is a must-visit destination for both nature and animal lovers.
Parts of the forest are made up of 1,000-year-old western red cedar trees and staggeringly tall Sitka spruce that are protected through dedicated conservation efforts, work that must be done to preserve this magical place.
6 George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, British Columbia
When it comes to birdwatching, the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary is the beginning and end of the discussion in British Columbia. Take in over 300 species of birds across the 850 acres of wetlands and marshes within the borders of this sanctuary that has been a local institution for more than 50 years.
A fully charged camera just won’t cut it here, visitors will need to bring a portable charger as well because every inch of the land and sky here begs to be photographed.
5 Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec
Migrating caribou provide viewers with an absolutely stunning show as they cover the distance between the Labrador Sea and James Bay. Witness thousands of the majestic creatures as they travel to calving grounds or in search of food for the colder months and feel a deep sense of awe at the complexities of nature and the truly stunning world we share with the wildlife around us.
Moose are much more rarely spotted in Canada but Quebec is somewhere that it is most certainly possible. Most travelers are not quite prepared for just how huge they are, so rest assured, you are unlikely to miss one should it be in the vicinity.
4 Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
Everyone needs to see a puffin in the wild at least once in their lives. It may not be what you expected, but you are guaranteed to have an extremely enjoyable time thanks to the comedic timing and peaceful temperaments of the sea birds.
Make your way to Cape Breton between May and August and the odds of seeing a group of puffins taking to the skies is stacked well in your favor. While there, keep an eye out for seals, turtles, dolphins, minke and even whales. A true haven for animals and those that love them.
3 Churchill, Manitoba
Often heard before they are seen, white beluga whales gather in the thousands in Churchill between June and August. Their cheery chirps, charming clicks, and soothing squeaks fill the sea air with joy as the curious creatures investigate the charter boats that come to say hello.
A perfect place to visit as the temperatures begin to rise and the ice melts, polar bears can also be spotted here by keen viewers. Book a tour before arrival to avoid missing out because the secret is out, this is one of the most enthrallingly exciting experiences throughout Canada and tourists are coming to sing with the whales in huge numbers.
2 Campbell River, Vancouver Island
Taking to the water with migrating salmon is perhaps not the most common item on travelers' bucket lists, but those that have done it would argue that it should be. From late July to October, it is possible to slide into the icy cold water of Campbell River and allow the current to push you along while surrounded by some of the largest salmon in the world as they head for their spawning grounds.
A tour group is the best way to go here as they can ensure you are kitted out in all the right gear, but you can also go it alone if some salmon serenity is what you are chasing.
1 Northwest Passage, Nunavut
Home to the Arctic Big 5, the Northwest Passage is a name well-known around the world but until travelers actually visit, it is impossible to understand just how truly remarkable it actually is.
Bring a pencil to check off sightings of polar bears, musk ox’s, walrus’, narwhals and beluga whales as you take a guided tour through this iconic waterway. Be sure to leave plenty of room in the suitcase for a thick jacket, temperatures here can often reach 30 below.