At the heart of the towering mountains and turquoise lakes of Jasper National Park, the small town of Jasper lies at the confluence of the Athabasca and Miette rivers. This pleasant place can be reached by car or by rail from Prince George, Vancouver or Edmonton and is ideally located for exploring the northern regions of the Rockies and still retains a frontier feel. Though it is small enough to walk around, it offers every amenity with plenty of restaurants, bars and shops.
Enjoy the wildlife, pristine lakes, and breathtaking mountain peaks along the world famous Icefields Parkway. Visit the natural wonder of the Columbia Icefield – one of the largest expanses of ice and snow south of the Arctic Circle. Step onboard an Ice Explorer for an interpretive adventure onto the Athabasca Glacier. At the Glacier Skywalk, enjoy the unobstructed view on a glass floored observation platform extending 30 metres out over the Sunwapta Valley.
The small town of Banff is dominated by the towering mountains of Banff National Park. The town itself has plenty of shops and restaurants and is small enough to walk around, but it is the stunning beauty of the surrounding national park that captivates visitors. Created in 1887, this is Canada’s oldest national park and encompasses some of the finest scenery in North America, if not the world. For an overall view of the mountain landscape take the gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain before visiting the Cave and Basin, Lake Minnewanka and bathing in the Upper Hot Springs. Active options include walking, horse riding, mountain biking, canoeing and rafting, all of which may well provide a close sighting of the region’s abundant wildlife.
Vancouver basks in a glorious natural setting, set on the water yet surrounded by the Coast Mountains. Downtown Vancouver, including historic Gastown, Chinatown and Granville Island, is compact and easily explored on foot. On the edge of the city you’ll find the huge expanse of Stanley Park with its ancient cedars and totem poles, the beaches of English Bay and Kitsilano, Grouse Mountain and the Capilano Suspension Bridge. A multi-cultural hub of the Pacific world, it has some of Canada’s finest and most varied restaurants, shops and most lively entertainment. Countless highlights include the Museum of Anthropology, renowned for its insights into First Nations culture, and the spectacular float-plane flight to Bowen Island.
Named for Queen Victoria, Victoria is a garden city situated in the south of Vancouver Island and is the capital of British Columbia. Compact and easily navigated, it lends itself to discovery on foot, in a horse-drawn carriage or, thrillingly, from a lowflying float-plane. Victoria is adorned with some lovely colonial architecture such as the Parliament Buildings while the Empress Hotel is an historic gem, an excellent place to take afternoon tea. The nearby Butchart Gardens are world-renowned, as is the Royal British Columbia Museum while other attractions include Craigdarroch Castle, the home of artist Emily Carr, and orca whales which visit the waters off the island in the summer.