Synonymous with dramatic landscapes, dazzling cities and flurries of wild animals, British Columbia is an adventure mecca.
Canada is vast, varied and vibrant – a great destination for an adventure, whether in pursuit of bears, hurtling along an iconic railway line or soaking up city life.
As the second-largest country in the world, it is hardly surprising to find modern cities, traditional cultures, vast mountains, lakes, plains and deserts. But it is surprising to find that almost 90% of the country remains uninhabited and the vast majority of the population live clustered in a handful of cities along the US border.
Whilst Canada’s cities have great energy, for us, it is this wilderness that really makes it special. From the magnificent Rocky Mountains in the west to the Arctic tundra in the north, it has much to offer. And with such great wildlife – from the grizzly to polar bear – a wildlife-viewing holiday in Canada is among the very best.
The wilderness of the north is a haven for wildlife watching and remote lodges have been built to accommodate the adventurous – they are often only accessible by float plane in the summer months. The forests teem with grizzly and brown bears, making Canada one of the premier bear-watching destinations in the world. Meanwhile, the rich waters of the west coast attract orcas, dolphins, otters and beluga whales. It is the expertise of our hand-picked naturalist guides that will really make your trip – we know first-hand that their knowledge and experience will get you as close as possible to the creatures of this great wilderness.
For such a vast and often inaccessible region, small boat cruising is an ideal way to maximise your time and see the wildlife and landscapes of British Columbia and the archipelago of Haida Gwaii. The rugged coastline of British Columbia is over 25,000 kilometres in length, marked by deep inlets and scattered with over 40,000 islands.
Some truly extraordinary accommodations can be found in Canada’s wildest and most remote locations. Surrounded by breathtaking scenery, they are ideal for solo travellers, couples and families alike.
Our experts have created and curated these holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something that is the spark for your unique adventure.
Every captivating tailor-made itinerary needs a perfect base. Our team has handpicked this collection of properties to give you luxury options in styles to suit any adventure.
Boasting panoramic views of the surrounding tundra and…
All at once a spectacular scenic journey and a way to speed up transfer times, seaplanes are the sky taxis of Canada. Ideal for both romantic getaways and families keen to cut down on driving, we can arrange seaplane journeys between most destinations (even cities).
Grab a wetsuit, put on some fins and pop on a mask before jumping in for an incredible snorkeling adventure with humpback whales off the coast of Newfoundland.
Head out on a culinary adventure atop the waters off Newfoundland in a privately chartered boat, feasting on local and seasonal produce en route to scenic Bell Island.
Get stuck in and partake in the construction of a classic Newfoundland wooden rodney boat, which are used by the locals for fishing and exploring the coastline.
Spend a day at sea during a private zodiac adventure to Bell Island, exploring its sea caves, sea life and century old fossils in the company of an expert paleontologist.
Hop between Gros Morne’s top rated restaurants, sampling their selections of fresh seafood, garden herbs and handpicked berries while sipping carefully paired wines.
Ride a bike through Niagara’s wine country, take a helicopter flight over the falls, embark on an all-access tour with a private guide, join a classic sailing trip through the spray or dine at the brink of the Horseshoe Falls.
Wander the Museum of Fine Arts after hours with one of its curators, travel with a local insider on a guided VIP tour of the city’s iconic sites and off-the-beaten track places, go on a culinary walking tour or get behind the wheel of a super car or Mustang on a rally racing track.
Embark on a private tour of Quebec’s museum of fine art, sail the St. Lawrence River in a private boat experience that passes the historic skyline, sample French-Canadian delicacies or travel further afield to the Beaupre Coast to visit the first settlements.
Go canoeing, kayaking, biking or hiking in scenic Algonquin, observing moose, beavers, foxes, deer and other wildlife species in their environment. At night, listen as the breeze whistles through the pines and wolf howls pierce the air.
January is an undoubtedly cold time of year in Canada, with temperatures reaching negative daily. However, visiting during this time can be a good chance to avoid the overwhelming busy times of the festive season and school holidays.
Winter in Canada offers an array of sporting and cultural events both indoors and out. Banff, Whistler and Jasper offer phenomenal ski resorts or perhaps be a spectator of an ice hockey match, arguably the country’s favourite sport.
While March can be a good off-peak time to visit, it is worth being prepared for drastic weather changes. However, this also means lower costs and fewer crowds. The mountains are still open for the ski season and cities are ideal as they are fewer tourists.
April marks the start of spring across Canada, a time to avoid crowds and discover all that the country has to offer with comfortable temperatures on average.
May is a favourable time to visit Canada, with temperatures rising, avoiding school holidays and off-peak rates.
For many travellers, June is the ideal time to visit Canada. Just before peak season, the weather is favourable and most of the trails and seasonal activities will have opened.
Summer in Canada calls for longer days to explore the natural beauty that awaits outdoors whether it’s hiking, fishing or camping. Temperatures average around 25, making cities quite warm but head into the wilderness or by the coast and enjoy the open air.
Summer is considered the peak season with warm temperatures and all attractions open. It is worth noting this time of year can be quite busy as it is school holidays.
As autumn rolls in and temperatures lower, September is a great time to avoid massive crowds and experience all that the country has to offer in comfortable weather. September is also the beginning of the salmon run, a peak time to see the bears fishing.
Temperatures continue to drop in October, also bringing cloudy days and rain. The autumn foliage is in full bloom across the countryside. This can also be a good time to take advantage of off-peak rates, however, it is worth bearing in mind that the weather can vary and some coastal towns will have started to close for the season.
November is a good time of year to visit the cities of Canada. It is too late to view the foliage and a bit too early to skiing yet, but a good time to explore cities across the country, in temperatures averaging 5 degrees.
The build-up to the festive season is in full swing across the country. Snow may have already started, making the perfect scene for ice skating and markets.
A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.
Roxy’s love for Canada is limitless and she has returned on an almost yearly basis since her first visit as a child. From hiking the high alpine trails, riding with local cowboys to kayaking with humpbacks, she has likely been there and done it.
Watching bears interacting without any care of his presence was fascinating for Paul, and being a privileged onlooker in their natural habitat created a lifelong fascination with Canada.
Canada has something to offer year-round and travel is possible from May through to October. The most popular time to travel is during the summer (July and August). Grizzly bear viewing is great through to early Autumn at it’s peak from late August through to October. but for the snow lovers, there is a multitude of winter sports to try in the colder winter months. We personally prefer the shoulder months during spring and autumn when national parks are quieter but the scenery and wildlife no less wonderful.
During November, the weather turns colder but it is still possible to see grizzlies in the Canadian Arctic and Yukon. Stay at one of the specialist bear viewing lodges for a truly immersive experience. Many are floating lodges, only accessible by float-plane located within the pristine wilderness.
The bears emerge from hibernation in the spring when food sources are increasing and the weather is mild and warm. In August, the famous salmon run begins making this a fabulous time to see the grizzly bears, this continues through to October; however, the run is at its peak in September.
During the summer months from July through to October, it is possible to see orca and humpback whales off the west coast of Canada, some of which are resident and some transient. The Johnstone Strait is one of the best places in the world to see orca as there are 16 pods who reside in the area between May and October. See beluga whales in the Canadian Arctic between mid-June and late August as they migrate and congregate in the shallow waters of the Cunningham River estuary.
It is possible to see polar bears in the Canadian Arctic anytime between July and November. In July the bears can be seen against the floral backdrop of the arctic tundra and are often at their most active during this time. For almost guaranteed sightings due to the high concentration of bears, visit Churchill and the surrounding areas in October when the bears congregate near Hudson Bay as they wait patiently for the ‘big freeze’ to occur so they can head out onto the ice to hunt. This is also the time to see them in a more iconic snowy setting.
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I could not have wished for a better and more efficient itinerary in terms of both the destinations we visited and how the timing coincided. Plus, the communication from Roxy was excellent throughout.
We had a truly amazing trip and everything was so very well planned by Paul - this trip will be hard to beat.
Not only is Steppes an excellent organisation, but the friendliness, great advice and superb attention to detail provided by Paul meant that we had a seamless booking experience and a wonderful trip to Canada.
As always, Paul married his knowledge with our preferences which resulted in a superb trip.
Roxy was FANTASTIC at recommending the best place and season to go to see bears in Canada. We saw 47 in total, and 3 of these were up close and personal. Roxy was very professional and helpful, especially when my friends circumstances changed.
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Support from The Steppes Fund for Change will be used to acquire further commercial trophy hunting rights for the Kitlope tenure in the Great Bear Rainforest, to stop such activities occurring. This will add to the approximately 33,500 square kilometres acquired so far.
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