Despite a busy year of home renovations and much time spent in the backyard doing landscaping and deck re-building, I did manage to squeeze in several trips in 2013 that were memorable. Travel outside of Canada wasn’t in the cards this year, but sometimes playing tourist in your own country can be just as fulfilling.
In no particular order, here are the top five places in Canada that I visited in 2013:
It was my first time visiting Regina – I didn’t know what to expect having heard it was not a big city and surrounded by flat Prairie lands. Flying in, I looked down to see pale golden fields interspersed with the occasional building.
However, when I arrived in Regina, I found a walkable downtown with a cluster of tall buildings, squares and pretty parkland. Immediately surrounding “downtown” are residential areas – some dating back to the early 20th century and earlier. The lack of pretentiousness of Regina’s residents, their friendliness and overall salt-of-the-earth approach was a refreshing reminder that Canada is just Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal.
Read more about my brief visit to Regina.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Halifax in early November can be chilly and damp, but for somebody who loves history, architecture, culture and delicious seafood, it doesn’t matter what time of year you make your visit. It’s amazing!
My brief two hours of playing tourist have whet my appetite to see and do more the next time I visit this old city. On my list for a future visit is a visit to the Halifax Public Gardens, exploring Pier 21 and having a full three-course dinner at Five Fisherman Restaurant (Lobster Thermidor, here I come!).
Check out my post on my brief visit and some of the things that I did in a span of two hours.
Vancouver, British Columbia
My last visit to Vancouver was in 2010, so seeing it again after a couple of years I didn’t notice too many changes – only a few extra condos blocking the gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains.
A quick business trip had me staying in downtown Vancouver. While I didn’t have much time to play tourist, I did enjoy dinner at Steamworks Brewery and Pub with my dear friend Amanda, her fiance, and her sister and her husband. Located in the heart of Gastown, it is a must-visit for any beer lover and those who enjoy good pub food.
Beaver Valley, Ontario
Have you ever heard of Beaver Valley? If you look on your map of Ontario, it’s located south east of Owen Sound and just south west of Collingwood. What’s so fantastic about this area is that there are so few people that flock to it during the summer and early fall periods.
Off the beaten path, it takes you away from the madness of road and day trippers that take up the roads and trails.
The Old Baldy Conservation Area offers kilometres of trails along the Niagara Escarpment and glimpses of the views below (like in the photo above).
Visiting the area is worth the two-hour drive along side roads (or the hour and half drive via Highway 400 and then side-roads). Read my post about this area.
Morningstar Mill near Thorold, Ontario
Decew Falls at Morningstar Mill near Thorold makes for a pretty photo in late winter – and even more beautiful in the summer. Our brief winter visit road-tripping through an area that I had never thoroughly explored before was a treat. Having been cooped up at home during a chilly winter full of home renovations we took advantage of a sunny day in March to visit this spot.
The surrounding area gets numerous visitors during the summer, heading to the wineries and nearby Niagara Falls.
What were your favourite places you visited in 2013?