Most people have never heard of Torngat Mountains National Park and only a few hundred visit every year. But a visit to this isolated park (you can only reach it via charter aircraft or cruise ship) will change you. One of Canada’s most unique national parks (and that’s high praise as there are so many amazing Parks Canada sites) it is also an Inuit homeland.
I was approached by National Geographic recently to write about this special destination and the result is a story that explains why Torngats is known as the “place of spirits”. You can read the full story here.
Canada’s North is still relatively undiscovered to travellers so if you want to enjoy travel experiences that are not heavily scripted and allow meaningful interaction with hosts, you will enjoy Newfoundland and Labrador’s Torngat Mountains National Park.
It’s that rare place where you might spot a polar and a black bear in the same day. Did I mention you’ll need a Inuit bear guard to keep you safe while you’re exploring it?
One thing that will be sacrificed if you’re contemplating a trip like this is spontaneity. You don’t just drop into the Torngats. You need to arrange a trip to Basecamp or join an expedition cruise (at this time, all 2020 cruises have been cancelled).
This destination may not be on your travel list for 2020 but when you’re dreaming of your post-pandemic travel plans, you might want to put Torngats at the top of your 2021 or 2022 wishlist.
Will COVID-19 help us press the reset button on travel’s impact?
Vernon may not be as well known as Kelowna, its Okanagan neighbour but it offers plenty of small-town charm, agricultural products, and outdoor adventure.
I headed there in February to check out the Vernon Winter Carnival and get my fitness pride back. Do you remember those commercials in the 1970s where Canadians were shamed over their fitness levels by comparing our activity levels to an aged Swede and finding us lacking? I’ve never forgot them.
In Vernon there are plenty of reasons to get outside – even in winter – and I took advantage of as many as possible. You can read about the buffet of activity choices in my story for Roadstories here.
Have you been to Vernon? What were your favorite finds? I thought one of the coolest parts of Vernon was the hotel with a river running through it. Yes, you read that right. The river runs through a hotel, not next to it. I’m not sure about the engineering that makes it possible but the river can be seen from the restaurant or the lounge and it’s a sizeable river. It rushes past the concrete and dinner tables, the sound of tumbling water adding unexpected quirk to a hotel common area.
Do you know more than a fifth grader about First Nation’s history?
I didn’t which is how I came to be at St. Eugene Resort near Cranbrook, British Columbia.
This is a great resort for golfing, hiking or going to the spa, but perhaps the most memorable vacation experiences come from learning about First Nation’s history and the dark period in Canada’s past where children were ripped from their families and their culture destroyed.
It sounds (and is) depressing but the Ktunaxa are focused on healing and the future. They want guests to learn about their culture while enjoying a special holiday. They have turned the former residential school into a tool to teach culture and create economic wealth. To learn why you should visit, read my recent story in Family Fun Canada here.