Why go camping in Canada?
I think there should be four [Canadian] flags, one for every season: a very small maple leaf for spring, sort of yellowish green, a big green leaf for summer, a red one for fall, and just a white outline of a leaf for winter. – Leonard Cohen
A country with as many faces as Canada will leave no one who likes to travel untouched. Whether it is the splendid view of skyscrapers against the horizon of Toronto or spotting the salmon snatching grizzly’s in the lakes of British Columbia: camping in Canada is bound to be a unique experience. In 1896 it was the discovery of gold that put in motion masses of treasure hunters, nowadays it is the unspoilt flora and fauna that excites many adventurers (in the making). Like us!
In May of this year, for Pete Gone Camping we leave the cosy Netherlands for a camper van journey through Canada, but of course the exploring has already started. So tag along with our new and enthusiastic blogger Elske who did some extensive travel prepping this January.
If you already made up your mind about going to Canada, feel free to jump ahead to the next posts in the series:
- Camping in Canada (part II): when and where
- Canada camping road trip: 6 things to know before you go
- Camping with bears in Canada
Why choose Canada?
Canada has a rich history of visitors, that dates back way before the gold rush or the French and British setting foot on dry land in the 16th century. Did you know that the Vikings already built settlements there for over a thousand years ago? And that it was the native Indian population that named the country Kanata, which means settlement? Today we recognize all these different influences in a unique mix of culture in the eastern cities and the well-preserved nature in the west.
But where to begin, when you dream of traveling through a country with so many possibilities? Where to go camping in Canada, how do you prepare, and what to expect? First of all, some reassurance: according to Roderick Aalbers, founder of GoCanada, anyone who travels to Canada finds that it is a super safe and welcoming country. So whether you feel comfortable with planned tours to make sure you don’t miss out on the best highlights, or you’re looking to expand your camping skills and really going off grid, Canada is the right decision for all your goals. Good news for you!
What do you need to know about camping in Canada?
In the next few blogposts we will make sure you learn everything you need to know for your upcoming trip. For example, what month offers the best weather for your travels? Obviously that all depends on the regions and activities you’re going for. In the province of Alberta alone, the temperatures can vary from -50° C in the mountains to +40° C down south. And while all summer months in New Brunswick are pleasant for outdoor camping, winter in Manitoba is the best season if you want to be sure of some aurora borealis.
Tip: for the best pictures of Lake Louise in Banff National Park, pay it a visit in June, July or August to see its wonderful blue colour (and avoid the deception of it being frozen).
Ideally you would have all the time and money in the world, but few of us know of such luxury. That’s why you’ll want to know all about the logics of travelling around efficiently and economically through a country that reaches 5.500 kilometres from east to west. Of course we would recommend touring by camper van over domestic flights anytime, but we will also get you up to date on the ways and costs of renting a camper van, the fuel prizes, costs and possibilities for camping sites, legislation, camping equipment and ways to make your tour as eco-friendly as you like.
Getting excited? Us too! Let’s prepare together for the lifetime experience that is Canada, and keep an eye out for the next few blogs. By the end, you’ll know exactly how to tackle the Niagara Falls without being overrun by other tourists, how to deal with bumping into bears and how to put together the journey that suits you best.
In the meantime …
And in the meantime, go watch Jesus of Montreal to get in the mood, or Brokeback Mountain of course. ‘But isn’t Brokeback Mountain about two dudes from Wyoming?’ Correct! But the breath-taking shots were taken at the prairie of Alberta.
We also highly recommend Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner by Nunavut director Zacharias Kunuk: the acclaimed number 1 Canadian film of all time about an Inuit legend and spoken completely in Inuktitut language.
Of course we are always looking for more Canada stories ourselves, so don’t hesitate to comment with your own experiences and travel tips down below. And make sure to follow Pete Gone Camping on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and sign up for our newsletter!