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Driving across Canada

February 2nd, 2007, 04:10 PM
Ok, My folk (both will be retired soon) want to drive across Canada. I told them I'd ask all of you " What would you recommend?" They want to go on the trans-canada highway. They don't have a problem going a bit out of the way (maybe half-hour or so). What I am looking for are things that are not listed in the travel books. Maybe like a tiny museum or a restaurant that makes the best pie ever, a view not to be missed. Things like that. When we were kids my folks would just toss us in the back of the van with camping gear and off we'd go.
So if you have any ideas let me know, they want to leave this spring for 1 to 3 months if everything goes ok with my Dad's hip replacement. I'll print up all idea's for them. Thanks :D

February 2nd, 2007, 04:23 PM
Well if they are taking the trans canada, they'll prolly pass by here... sudbury... i'd say the big nickel... thats an interesting photo for the album.
And NorthBay... well just Lake Nipissing itself is amazing ( dont swim in it though:yuck: :sick: ) but it is really beautiful.

Rick C
February 2nd, 2007, 07:52 PM
Coming from the East . . . .

The world famous Gopher Hole Museum in Torrington, Alberta isn't so far off the TransCanada Highway that you wouldn't want to stop in for a visit.

Great link here:

The Royal Tyrell Museum Of Paleontology in Drumheller, Alta isn't so far off the Trans Canada Highway that you wouldn't want to visit . . . . the Queen has been there and the latest famous visitors were Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt when the latter was hanging around here filming Jesse James (out this summer I think). A truly fascinating place and The Drum is pretty interesting itself with terrain you won't see anywhere else. . . . . also, a guy named "Slug" told me to let go of a perfectly good airplane 3000 feet over Drumheller and I did, but that's another story.


At various points as they are crossing the prairie, they might co-ordinate themselves with a small town Stampede or Chuckwagon racing event. The High River chuckwagon races just south of Calgary a week ahead of the Calgary event give you great access and views without having to bother with the Calgary grandstand. Strathmore, just east of Calgary, has a great Stampede with an event modelled on the Running Of The Bulls in Verona.

The Okotoks Erratic, if you're going to be around High River, can be a modestly interesting stop. . . . . . Okotoks is an Indian word meaning "Big Rock" and it a giant boulder left behind by a glacier. Rock climbers practice on it. Linky:

Your folks might like the quietness of Heritage Park in Calgary . . . . . or the Glenbow Museum downtown.

If they time their arrival right, they could join the other 250,000 people (seriously) crowding downtown Calgary for the Stampede Parade . . . it lasts (seriously) about two hours. . . . otherwise avoid the city like a lot of other Calgarians do unless you really want to see The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth!!!

Instead of going straight to Banff from Calgary on the TransCanada, go south of the city on Highway 22, part of the Cowboy Trail (picture below), to Longview (which has Memories Inn where you can get a beer in a cowboy boot glass), then west from Longview into Kananaskis Country. This modern highway has little traffic (although you want to avoid the morning when people are running the Kananaskis 100 road relay). Spectacular mountain drive that eventually loops to Kananaskis Lakes (pic below) and then back to the TransCanada . . . . from that junction its only another half hour to Banff.

The cowboy trail, between Black Diamond and Longview:

Kananaskis Lakes . . . . the highway summit just before this is about 7,200 feet above sea level, this picture taken by moi high on Mt. Indefatigable.

Also, on a Saturday morning, before Turner Valley, on the way to Longview, they could stop at the Millarville Farmers Market . . . . this is about 10 minutes from my house and in the middle of pretty much no where but on a Saturday morning thousands of Calgarians descend on this place for all manner of crafts, breads, meats, fruits, artwork, etc. On the right day, there is a 100 year-old tradition of horse racing at the track there. Linky:

. . . . a Hutterite girl helps with the fruit truck in from BC at Millarville on a Saturday morning:

Members of the Millarville Musical Ride get set to go in front of the grandstand . . . . mid-August Millarville Fair.

Before you get to Banff, stop in Canmore, drive through the town and out the backside, past the Olympic Cross-Country ski venue and up, up, up to Spray Lakes, overlooking the town on a gravel road. Spectacular view up there. Also, half way up, there's a little known walk to Grassi Lakes they could give a try. Linky:

A few obvious things:

The Mt. Norquay lookout overlooking Banff is something to see because there are often Bighorn Sheep hanging out up there.

Get to Lake Louise by 10 a.m. or they'll be walking part way up the hill . . . parking is tight in the summer . . . . and, if they have the time, walk up to Lake Agnes teahouse from the lake. Spectacular views up there. Better views if they take the longer walk out the backside of the lake up to another teahouse. About half an hour longer.

As they're travelling between Banff and Lake Louise, they should peel off onto the old transCanada called The Bow Valley Parkway, to Johnston Canyon . . . . an easy but fun walk into a canyon where they're walking on metal grates stapled into the canyon walls, the river running beneath them. A very quaint drive, in any event, that eventually re-connects with the primary four lane TransCanada. Linky:

About 1.5 hours off the Trans Canada north of Lake Louise is the Columbia Ice Fields (my brother runs the place!!) via the Icefields Parkway, itself a UNESCO World Heritage drive. And the Peyto Lake lookout along the way.

Anyhoo, that's all I can think of for the moment.


Vancouver Island . . . . you can take a ferry over to Victoria, the harbour area at least, is wonderful Truly. Butchart Gardens, Butterfly Gardens, etc.

Go up the coast then across the island and off the rugged west coast, to Tofino, Ucuelet and Pacific Rim National Reserve.

My wife Carol beachcombing last summer at Combers Beach, Pacific Rim:

Sharing a sunset, Chesterman Beach, between Pacific Rim and Tofino.

A young lady poses for her beau at the Butterfly Gardens in Victoria:

Rick C

February 2nd, 2007, 08:04 PM
Ooo everything Rick said! :highfive: And don't forget a trip up the Sulfur Mountain gondola in Banff and the hot springs there too. :thumbs up (touristy, but super worth it anyway)

As for Quebec.. Well, they should stop at either a Lafleur or a La Belle Province for a poutine. :D

In Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, there's the Ecomuseum... It's one of my favorite places... It's right off highway 40, so it's pretty easy access. It does take about an hour to walk through though.

Hmm... What else... Non touristy, eh? Going to have to think about that.:o

February 2nd, 2007, 08:20 PM
We drove from here to Alberta when I was 12. My uncle lived in Drumheller at the time. I don't remember much because I was young.

We saw quite a few nice things in Alberta: The Hoodos, Lake Louise, The Swinging Bridge, Tyrell Museum, The Little Church (if that's what it's called), The Badlands (deadlands whatever they're called). I'd like to go on a dig at Tyrell, apparently they do tours.

If they are camping, here in Ontario is Sleeping Giant on Lake Superior and also Rainbow Falls Which we stayed at on our way out there.

I don't know which way they are coming through Ontario, probably not down this far I would assume. In Sudbury we did stop at the Science Centre which was amazing, and the big nickle is cool too. There is the Wawa Goose in Wawa. A Terry Fox memorial somewhere along the Transcanada too.

I really would love to do this trip myself too. I would love to see the territories and eastern Canada.

February 2nd, 2007, 08:21 PM
Yeah, the badlands are definitely something everybody should see. It's just amazing to see the layers. :cloud9:

February 2nd, 2007, 08:36 PM
Oh, I just thought of another one: Edmonton Mall.

Can't think of anything in Manitoba and Saskatchewan though. :shrug:

February 3rd, 2007, 02:08 PM
Yes West Edmonton Mall is THE ULTIMATE shoppers paradise.

Check out and they give you a bunch of information on what to see and where to go.

This whole country is full of eye treasures, I'd love to drive across it someday too,stop off and meet all of your dogs/cats.....and you none furries too:p

February 3rd, 2007, 02:15 PM
As for Quebec.. Well, they should stop at either a Lafleur or a La Belle Province for a poutine. :D

LOL. La Belle's is right next door and I just had a poutine from there on Wednesday. MMMMMM

Thanks all, Keep them coming :thumbs up

February 3rd, 2007, 02:29 PM
Check out and they give you a bunch of information on what to see and where to go.

I will have to keep that in mind, I am making this trip someday!!!

Mocha's mum
February 3rd, 2007, 06:21 PM
We saw quite a few nice things in Alberta: The Hoodos, Lake Louise, The Swinging Bridge, Tyrell Museum, The Little Church (if that's what it's called), The Badlands (deadlands whatever they're called).

The swinging bridge is nice. It's in Rosedale, just outside of Drumheller. It's kind of scary though...:o I'm a little afraid of heights.

I think just the whole countryside of rural Saskatchewan and Alberta is beautiful. You get into the neutral hills around the Wainwright/Provost area, and it's really quite nice. Of course, you could always stop in Chauvin and see the world's largest softball (okay, it's not that great, but there's a neat little diner there on main street called Irene's).

And if you like beef jerky, might I recommend Meatco in Wainwright. Thousands of military folk can't be wrong!! It's are the cheddar smokies :D

February 4th, 2007, 12:38 AM
Oh, if they get to Vancouver Island, they have to have a nanaimo bar in Nanaimo! I was there when I was 8 and I remember those bars... oooo

Why do all my detours involve food? :D

I took a detour by accident in BC on my way home 6 years ago, and I ended up in the desert. I have no idea where that was, but there were ginseng farms all over. It was really a part of Canada I never thought existed. :o

Oh yeah, sorry for the Quebec ones then.:D I didn't see a starting point in the post, so I just assumed your parents would "try" to make it through Quebec. Quebec is sooo not tourist friendly.:D :evil:

February 4th, 2007, 05:19 PM
I want to go to the Sunshine Coast in BC - have a fried who lives there are the pix are gorgeous!!! I loved Vancouver as well but I have seen it, I want to see other parts of that province, esp the forested areas.

Rick C
February 5th, 2007, 10:30 AM
A few more things . . . .

Longview, the small village I mentioned above, is also proud of its beef jerky . . . . one company shipping all over North America.

Some of you might remember Ian Tyson, a folk singer from Ian & Sylvia fame in the late 1960's/early 1970's with songs like "Four Strong Winds." He's a rancher in the Longview area. He also has an ongoing country music career and has a coffee shop in Longview worth visiting, the Navajo Mug. He gives periodic concerts at the East Longview Community Hall, about five miles east of town on the treeless prairie.

There is a place called the "Boot Hill Gallery" with local artists prominently featured. On weekends, the local hotel is overrun with citified bikers looking for the best burger around.

The highways in this area are very popular with local cyclists - including moi.

The backside of Lake Louise in the picture below. It takes about 20 minutes to walk from the Chateau to where the horses are. The backcountry trail to the far treehouse starts here and goes into the canyon beyon and then up, up, up. It takes about another hour, ending underneath Victoria glacier. To the right of the riders is a sheer cliff face of many hundreds of feet where you'll often find climbers practicing on the rock wall.

At the top of Whistler overlooking Jasper, Alberta . . . a cable car right out of "Where Eagles Dare" goes up here. Another 40 minute walk can take you to the summit. Mt. Robson in BC, about 80 miles away and the tallest peak in the Rockes, can be seen quite easily from up here.

Between Jasper and Lake Louise along the Icefields Parkway is Athabasca Falls . . . .

Rick C

February 5th, 2007, 11:43 AM
Ooo, the falls! I've been there! Sort of scary if you're afraid of heights...:D