Vacation Planning with Chris for travel tips with his Top 10 Wildlife Experiences


Top 10 Canadian Wildlife Experiences

Chris’ personal picks from places in the world that he has visited.

Bison – Edmonton, Alberta:  Elk Island National Park is the closest National Park to any major Canadian city. Just 35 km east of the city, it is home to free-roaming herds of elk, moose, deer and bison. My up-close-and-personal encounter with a huge bison came within 100 meters the park entrance as it straddled the road imperiously.

Black Bear – Haliburton Highlands, Ontario: As a cottager in the Haliburton Highlands – and a runner – I’ve had more than my fair share of interactions with black bears. All of them have been positive and wondrous – including mums and cubs, and an alpha male boxing the ears of a young pretender in a test of testosterone testiness.

Grizzly Bear – Kluane, Yukon:  A heli-hiking trip had dropped my son and I atop the summit of a peak high above Kluane Lake. We were bushwacking down a gully when we abruptly came face to face with a huge grizzly raised up on its hind legs looking down at us a few feet away…We survived to tell the tale countless times.

Polar Bear – Akpatok Island, Nunavut: We were on a zodiac headed toward an island in the Bay of Ungava when we spotted the polar bear swimming for shore. Staying at a respectful distance, we watched as the world’s largest carnivore waded ashore and then enjoyed an ecstatic roll in the seaweed beds like a big kid.

Beluga – Saguenay, Quebec:  I had wanted to view these white whales in the wild and my chance came from a sailboat in the Saguenay Fjord. It was a beautiful sight – a large pod of beluga frolicking beneath the imposing walls of the fjord, as curious about us as we were about them.

Humpback- Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick & Nova Scotia: I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy several whale watching trips in the Bay of Fundy, but the most memorable by far was a mother humpback whale teaching its calf how to breach feed in the waters of Passamaquoddy Bay.

Salmon – Stewart, British Columbia: So many wildlife experiences are blind luck, as it was when we arrived at the aptly named Fish Creek in the midst of the spawning run of the chum salmon. Back to back across the river, their colourful bodies surged forward in their thousands, a feast for the many attendant bears.

Moose – Cypress Hills, Saskatchewan: Like most Canadians, I’d seen moose before, mostly along Algonquin roadsides. But on a dusk stroll in Cypress Hills Provincial Park I came face-to-elongated-face with a huge moose. Across a few feet and a few evolutionary turns, we gazed into each other’s eyes for an eternity.

Caribou – Dempster Highway, NWT: Driving south from Inuvik on the Dempster Highway, we were fortunate to intercept the migration of the Porcupine Herd. First a few tens, then hundreds, then thousands of wandering caribou were sprinkled across the vast Arctic plain. And they are more handsome than Africa’s wildebeest!

Garter Snakes – Interlakes, Manitoba: On a family road trip through Manitoba, we stopped at a small quarry to let the boys stretch their legs. They returned with armfuls of writhing snakes. We had lucked out and arrived at a garter snake hibernaculum where thousands of snakes emerge simultaneously from their winter hibernation.