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Natural Wonders of Canada

The natural wonders of Canada span the country.


The natural wonders of Canada draw from the country's Canada expansive space and extraordinary range of land- and waterscapes. Narrowing the list of natural wonders down to seven in a country so jam packed with wonders was a tough job, but here it is:

1. Niagara Falls, Ontario

Niagara Falls
Andrew Tallon/Moment/Getty Images
With more than 6 million cu ft (168,000 m³) of water falling over its brink per minute, Niagara Falls is the most powerful waterfall in North America and maybe the most famous in the world.

The town of Niagara Falls is best known as a honeymoon spot, attracting millions of romancing couples every year; it's akin to a smaller, shabbier Las Vegas in that it has a reputation as an adult playground. Nevertheless, Niagara Falls has become more sophisticated, seeing the launch of a large, modern casino resort in 2004, which draws big name acts. The casino's success has had a trickle-down effect, with finer dining and other hotels opening up.

Visitors can still pack in a day of tourist events, including the Maid of the Mist and Marineland.

2. Bay of Fundy, the Maritimes

Photograph of Cape Chignecto Provincial Park courtesy Getty Images.
The Bay of Fundy extends from the northern coast of Maine into Canada between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Twice daily, the Bay fills and empties its 100 billion tonnes of water, creating the highest tides in the world - in some areas of the bay, tides reach more than 50 feet (16 m).

The energy created by the force of these tides drudges up nutrients from the ocean floor that attract an interesting and wide range of animal life to the bay. The effects of the tides has also carved out a dramatic surrounding landscape of steep cliffs and sea stacks. In addition, water has worn away the shore's red sandstone and volcanic rock to reveal a plethora of fossils and signs of life from millions of years ago.

View the Fundy tides at Hopewell Rocks.

3. Rocky Mountains, British Columbia / Alberta

Photo Credit: Daniel van der Ree
The Canadian portion of this magnificent North American mountain range stretches along the BC / Alberta border and includes five national parks that attract millions of visitors each year for hiking, biking, skiing, fishing or just relaxing:
  • Banff National Park
  • Jasper National Park
  • Kootenay National Park
  • Waterton Lakes National Park
  • Yoho National Park
Kananaskis Country is another popular year-round Rocky Mountain destination and featured prominently in the film Brokeback Mountain.

Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise, Fernie, Kimberley, Waterton, Canmore, Kananaskis, Invermere, Revelstoke, Golden, Valemount and Cranbrook are all alpine towns that boast world-class skiing.

4. The Nahanni National Park Reserve, Northwest Territories

Photo courtesy Parks Canada
One of the first natural heritage locations to be designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1978, the Nahanni Park in Canada's Northwest Territories comprise the South Nahanni River, Virginia Falls, sulphur hotsprings, alpine tundra, mountain ranges, and forests of spruce and aspen. The park gained notoriety in the 1970's as a favorite retreat for then-prime minister, Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Today, the park has grown to 28,000 km² (10,811 sq mi), and although its remote location restricts tourism - it is only reached by helicopter or float plane - many companies operate whitewater rafting, canoe and other adventure tours of the area.

5. Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland

Jerry Kobalenko / Getty Images
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Gros Morne offers exceptional beauty by way of towering cliffs, waterfalls, coves, land points, sandy beaches, and colourful fishing villages. Hike the soft and loamy landscape (relatively easy on the knees and back) and set up camp at one of the many waterside sites.

A big part of the charm of Gros Morne is the native Newfoundland people you encounter during your visit - famous for their hospitality and good cheer. Most people in the little villages are happy to let you hike through their backyards (literally).

6. Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta

Photograph of Dinosaur Provincial Park by Thomas Kitchin & Victoria Hurst courtesy Getty Images
Two hours east of Calgary is one of Canada's most unique National Parks where dinosaur history meets stunning scenery. Pinnacles, serpentine spires and other sculptural land formations jut up from these Alberta badlands, creating an eerie environment unlike any other in Canada. This awesome landscape is home to some of the most extensive dinosaur fossil fields in the world boasting the remnants of at least 35 species of dinosaur that lived here 75 million years ago when the area was a lush, sub-tropical forest. Visitors can choose from bus tours, hikes, expeditions and other educational programs. In 1979, Dinosaur Provincial Park was designated a United Nations World Heritage Site.

7. Northern Lights

Photograph by John E. Marriott / Getty Images
The northern lights (scientific name: Aurora Borealis) is a phenomenon seen in northern skies where solar particles collide with atmospheric gases and create a light show in the sky. Depending on how north the location, the color of these lights are green, white, red, blue and/or violet. The aurora oval - the area where the northern lights occur most often and with greatest intensity - covers a huge part of Canada.

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