Weak loonie or not, Canadians love to travel. And so the question becomes where will they head this year? Domestic travel is certain to be popular, prompting the travel experts at Cheapflights.ca to take a look at Canada’s travel hot spots.
By comparing flight searches to Canadian destinations on Cheapflights.ca in the first six weeks of 2016 versus the same window in 2015, the team compiled the report “Rising Stars,” five domestic destinations trending with Canadians. While they are yet to top the charts as the most popular spots overall, these intriguing and largely off-the-beaten path locations are attracting more and more Canadian travellers.
Following are three of the destinations where Canadians are suddenly turning their travel interest.
- Kelowna, BC – Kelowna was recently named the fastest growing city in British Columbia and fifth fastest growing city in Canada, proving that word continues to spread about the charms of this lakefront destination. Dry and sunny by Canadian standards, Kelowna and the surrounding Okanagan Valley are a sprawl of blue water, rolling hills and big sky. The city sits on the eastern shore of the 110-km long Okanagan Lake, which has more than 30 beaches and water sport options to suit every taste. The valley is also home to dozens of vineyards and rich farmland that make fresh, local food and farm-to-table dining a way of life. And, for snow lovers, sun and champagne powder are the standard winter forecast for the valley. And, whether you want downhill, heli-skiing, cross-country, snowshoeing or snowmobiling, there’s a resort available for you.
- Yellowknife, Northwest Territories – Admittedly, Yellowknife is a bit extreme as a destination. This former gold rush town is just a few hundred kilometres south of the Arctic Circle. Yet, with nearly 24 hours of sun in the height of summer and a sky full of northern lights in the winter, it draws visitors year round with an upswing underway. Winter adventures include ice fishing and dog sledding, while summertime is for hiking, birding, canoeing and fishing. Remote and scenic, there is seemingly endless backcountry for the hearty to explore, and lakes and streams loaded with pike, walleye, trout and more. The region has a storied history centred around fur, gold and diamonds, as well as an aboriginal culture that remains strong. This rich history and heritage is on display throughout the Yellowknife area as well, adding a cultural thread to any visit.
- Whitehorse, Yukon – Tucked into a valley in the northwest corner of Canada, Whitehorse has long been the hub of the Yukon. Stretched along the Yukon River and the Alaska Highway, the city was a key transit point in the Klondike Gold Rush with steamships, tramlines and, later, railroads serving stampeders. Now the city is an increasingly popular jumping-off point for exploring the largely untouched wilderness of the Yukon. With a number of Canada’s tallest mountains and massive ice fields, as well as a rich population of moose, bears and salmon, there is plenty to entertain any nature lover. Explore by raft, mountain bike, car or, of course, foot. The surprisingly mild summers offer as much as 20 hours of daylight for seeing the sights, while the winter is a wonderland of snow, with extensive cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and dog sledding. And don’t think the long winter nights aren’t filled with entertainment too. With the northern lights, some amazing hot springs and a growing nightlife, Whitehorse has you covered even when the sun doesn’t shine.
- Rounding out the top five “Rising Stars” list are Nanaimo, BC, and Banff, Alta.