Our hiking group was scattered on the beach when our guide spotted three polar bears on the far side of the fjord. Suddenly, two of the bears started swimming diagonally not far from our protected zone. The guide quickly gathered us together and urged us to swiftly board waiting zodiacs. Returning from the zodiac outing, still warming up after hiking through the snow chatting about the polar bear sighting, four of us sat in the Compass lounge playing cards enthusiastically. Cards were hastily thrown on the table as carts of scones, cakes and fruit platters were wheeled in. It was time for afternoon tea and everything stopped. Fellow passengers barely noticed the boat dipping in the swells; they were focussed on getting their afternoon treats. Traveling on an expedition ship with Adventure Canada is filled with different levels of treats from adventures with bears, afternoon tea, riding in zodiacs around icebergs, an onboard spa and hot-tub, wildlife spotting, and top quality food.Explore
Early morning mists add to the mystical allure of Silent Lake, near Bancroft, Ontario. PHOTO CREDIT: Sharon Matthews-Stevens
The sounds of Silent Lake are myriad.
Listen to the whisper of your canoe as you drag it over the sand of this little beach toward waters clear and cold; listen to the splash when the canoe slides into the lake; listen to the muffled thunk the canoe makes when it nudges the dock.Explore
“If you look over to the right along that far shore, you can see a pair of swans on the nest,” Rachel, my Parks Canada guide, indicated from the stern of the canoe.
“Wow! Can we get the canoe in position so I can get a good shot of them?”
She said we could and so we paddled a bit closer – not too close, as the protective parents may become very ornery if they feel you’re too close – and swung the canoe around so the bow was pointed toward the nest and I had a clear shot.Explore
Knowing that I was setting out on the same route that Franklin took in 1845 somewhat intimidated me. After all, he didn’t make it home. However, once aboard Adventure Canada’s Ocean Endeavor expedition ship surrounded by 110 like-minded adventurers, 30 experts in every field and a crew that went above and beyond, intimidation quickly transformed into exhilaration.Explore
The Grand River watershed includes all the land drained by the Grand River and its tributaries. At 6,800 square kilometres (2,800 square miles), it’s the largest watershed in southern Ontario. It’s home to close to one million people and includes the cities of Brantford, Cambridge, Guelph, Kitchener and Waterloo, as well as many small towns and villages. Explore
When the word “Gold!” rang out from the Klondike in 1898, one of the main ways for prospectors to get there was by river – specifically, the Yukon River. It was a wide and wild, powerful and pristine waterway when sourdoughs travelled it; not much has changed in 120 years. It still exudes a wild essence, a sense of isolation when you’re on it. Depending where you put-in, you may not have any road, cell, or WIFI access until you arrive at Dawson City. That’s where the Klondike and Yukon Rivers meet and from where Klondikers ventured further into the wilderness seeking their fortunes.Explore
Everywhere you turn in Victoria, there is a strong connection to nature, whether it’s the ocean or the land, with activities, hotels and restaurants all paying homage in different ways.
You can’t get much closer to nature than snorkeling with seals in the Pacific Ocean. Gearing up for snorkeling took us an hour to squeeze into our wetsuits in between giggling and being measured for boots, suits, gloves and hoods; it took me back to prom night preparation. Squeezing into wetsuits not dissimilar to gowns, replacing eyeshadow with snorkel masks, and the prep produced similar reactions from all six women.Explore
Canoeing among the spawning salmon on the Sydenham River in Ontario’s Grey County was such a special experience, I still think about its magical qualities months later. Fall is a beautiful time to visit the area and hike to some of the ten waterfalls in the area or to canoe amongst the salmon. We were advised to start our tour at Inglis Falls, as they cascade eighteen-meters into the Sydenham River. Waterfalls are a common theme for tours in the area with sparkling rivers tumbling over the edges of the Niagara Escarpment from Holstein through the Beaver Valley and up to Owen sound.Explore
I had kayaked many times but actually taking the time to learn to do it properly helped the overall outcome immensely. Similar to sitting on my dad’s knee thinking I was making the car drive, as well as being solely responsible for the steering, taking the time to learn kayaking techniques and picking up helpful tips from an experienced guide made everything come together efficiently and effectively resulting in a smoother ride with less effort.Explore
I have lived in Ontario my entire life but have likely explored more acres outside my own province and perhaps even country than within. Shame on me! Because clearly there’s definitely more to discover here.
If You Don’t Know Me By Now
If you had told me a year ago that I would be enjoying our “calvacade of colour” cruising up the Rideau Canal in a houseboat, you’d have knocked me over with a feather. And although travelling by houseboat may have never been on my ‘to do’ list then either, I’d certainly add it to yours now.Explore