Canada has plenty of options for second-time visitors, finds Katie McGonagle
Send a client to Canada and there’s one thing you can be sure of – they’re bound to go back for more.
It is a vast and varied land, full of everything from adventure sports and wildlife-spotting to city breaks and scenery, so there’s no way to see all it has to offer in just one trip – or even in one lifetime, some would argue.
Once you’ve whetted their appetite with a first foray into Canada, get a bit of inspiration for some of the best second-time trips so your clients can fall in love all over again.
IF THEY LOVED DRIVING THROUGH THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS... TRY QUEBEC
What? Amazing views with a sense of adventure.
Tell me more: The Rocky Mountains’ mix of spectacular scenery, laid-back tourist towns and outdoor adventure is hard to replicate, unless you’re in rural Quebec, of course. This French-speaking region is better known for its urban areas, Quebec City and Montreal, but it’s actually the largest of Canada’s provinces and home to rugged scenery, mountains and lakes, and 27 national parks.
Travellers who like the freedom of a self-drive holiday will feel at home here. After a few days exploring gateway city Montreal – don’t miss the grand Notre Dame Basilica, charming French Quarter and knockout cuisine – there are myriad driving routes to take.
Head northwest to the Laurentian Mountains through charming towns St Sauveur-des-Monts and St Agathe-des-Monts, until you reach Mont Tremblant.
This is Quebec’s answer to Whistler, with horse riding, rafting, golfing and spa treatments. Next, go south to Montebello, famed for having the largest log-built hotel in the world in Fairmont property Le Chateau Montebello, and for its wildlife-rich Parc Omega. From here, it’s easy to cross the border into Ontario for a tour of Canada’s capital, Ottawa.
Book it: Bridge & Wickers offers an eight-day Quintessential Quebec self-drive, which includes flights, car hire and accommodation in Fairmont hotels in Montreal, Mont Tremblant, Montebello and Ottawa, plus a three-hour bear observation tour in Montebello and admission to Ottawa’s Museum of Civilisation, from £1,565 before June 23.
020 3642 9252
Or try: For an escorted option, try Collette Worldwide’s The Best of Eastern Canada, a 10-day tour of scenic highlights in Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa, Niagara Falls and Toronto, with a Via Rail journey and Maid of the Mist excursion, from £2,199.
IF THEY LIKED BEAR-SPOTTING IN BRITISH COLUMBIA... TRY POLAR BEARS IN CHURCHILL
What? Wildlife-watching at its best.
Tell me more: The islets around Vancouver Island and coastal British Columbia are prime bear-spotting territory. Once visitors get a glimpse of a black bear catching salmon as they swim upstream, or a grizzly hiding among the trees, they’ll be hooked for life.
Suggest they ramp their bear obsession up a notch with a trip to the more remote reaches of Northern Canada, home of the polar bear. Most tours are concentrated in Churchill, northern Manitoba, and accessed via flights from Winnipeg, so it takes a bit of dedication to see these magnificent creatures, but it’s worth the extra effort.
Book it: Premier Holidays offers a four-night trip with Air Canada flights from Heathrow to Winnipeg then return flights to Churchill. Accommodation includes two nights in Churchill, bookended by a night each side at the Four Points by Sheraton Winnipeg Airport, plus bear-watching excursions and a guide. Prices start at £3,829 based on a November 15 departure.
0844 493 7444
Or try: If that’s a bit too intense for fair-weather wildlife fans, 1st Class Holidays has a 15-day Wildlife of Atlantic Canada self-drive that starts in lively Halifax then follows a rugged coastal route with excursions to go whale and seal-spotting, plus moose and bear-watching tours, from £1,708 including accommodation and car hire but excluding flights.
IF THEY LIKED CITY SIGHTS IN TORONTO... TRY MONTREAL
What? Culture, cuisine and cracking nightlife.
Tell me more: While Toronto gets more than its fair share of first-time visitors – attracted by its proximity to Niagara Falls – chic, stylish Montreal is waiting in the wings, ready to grab second-timers looking for something new.
There are many similarities: like the Ontario city, direct flights from the UK make Montreal an easy city break; it has stunning 18th and 19th-century architecture, just like the historic heart of Old Toronto; and while visitors might have passed the day in the Art Gallery of Ontario or Royal Ontario Museum, they can swap it for the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Archaeology and History at Pointe-à-Callière.
The latter offers a fabulous potted history of the area from the First Nations to the modern day. Don’t forget to make time for some superb shopping in vast department stores or fashionable little boutiques, plus sample great gastronomic delights and buzzing nightlife, not least during the Just for Laughs comedy festival in July.
Book it: Signature from Thomas Cook offers a three-night room-only stay at Delta Centre Ville from £755, including British Airways flights from Heathrow departing November 14.
0844 871 6640
Or try: Virgin Holidays suggests Vancouver as an alternative to Toronto. It’s well worth the extra couple of hours’ flying time to combine a cosmopolitan city break wandering through quaint Gastown or the quirky restaurants and art galleries of Granville Island, with the great outdoors.
IF THEY LIKED RELAXING ON THE RANCH... TRY A LAKESIDE LODGE
What? Kicking back in the peaceful Canadian countryside.
Tell me more: Alberta and British Columbia are full of ranch resorts offering the chance to escape the busy city and be at one with nature – but they’re not the only place to get back to your roots. Ontario and Quebec are home to acres of wide, open spaces and sublime national parks that will have clients ditching their mobiles for mountain bikes and hiking boots in no time at all.
A favourite for customers of 1st Class Holidays is Elmhirst’s Resort on the shores of Rice Lake in Ontario. The land was given to the owner’s grandfather by King George VI as a reward for his efforts in the Battle of Trafalgar.
Active types can go hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking and sailing, or try a quad bike safari, while those who like their holidays a little less fast-paced can opt for a barbecue on their own outdoor deck, or an evening in by a wood-burning fireplace.
Book it: 1st Class Holidays offers a week in a luxury cottage from £464 based on two sharing, but add on four nights in Toronto, a night at Niagara Falls, and car hire, and it costs £1,159. Flights are extra.
0845 644 3939
Or try: Sonora Resort is a luxury waterside lodge in British Columbia, remote enough for a real escape, but accessible by water taxi from Campbell River. It offers more activities than you can shake a stick at: salmon or salt-water fishing, an eco-boat tour, kayaking, and spa therapies. Kuoni’s three-day stay leads in at £1,025 for full-board, including a flight from Vancouver to Campbell River and water taxi transfers to the resort, but excluding international flights.
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