Covering an area of nearly 10 million square kilometres, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that there’s more to Canada than hockey and maple syrup. This land’s geographical diversity means that there are plenty of “hidden treasures” in Canada — from dense forests to vast deserts to dreamy islands. Whether you’re planning a solo trip or you’re on the hunt for hidden places in Canada that are a bit off the beaten path, consider these hidden-gem places and amazing destinations to visit in Canada before you die.
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1. Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
One of the most stunning places to visit in British Columbia, Haida Gwaii, home to the Haida people, has much to offer for wilderness lovers and adventure seekers. Hiking, biking, caving, zip-lining, wildlife viewing, sailing, fishing and surfing are just some of the activities offered in the archipelago previously known as the Queen Charlotte Islands. Then there are the art galleries and the ancient totem poles to take in when visiting this hidden treasure.
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2. Parkland Region, Manitoba
Another lesser-known travel destination in Canada is the Parkland Region — which is home to several lakes, rivers, woodlands and the highest mountain in Manitoba, making it a prime spot for lovers of the great outdoors. With its farming communities and historic sites, it also caters to foodies and history buffs.
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3. Athabasca Sand Dunes Provincial Park, Saskatchewan
Want to explore a beautiful, hidden place in Canada? The vast dune fields along the southern shore of Lake Athabasca are among the most northerly in the world and are home to several species that you won’t find anywhere else. PS: The only way to get here is by float plane!
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4. Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador
Looking for an incredible view? If you thought Banff boasted dramatic scenery, wait until you see the fjords, alpine highlands, meadows, cliffs and rugged coastline of Gros Morne. During a hike in the park, you may spot moose, caribou, foxes, beavers and, out in the ocean, seals and whales.
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5. Auyuittuq National Park, Nunavut
Auyuittuq National Park offers some fantastic hiking, skiing and dog sledding opportunities, but visitors looking for a real adrenaline rush climb the granite peaks instead. The two most famous mountains in the park are Mount Asgard and Mount Thor, which has the greatest vertical drop on the planet.
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6. Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta
Sometimes, it's not about the hidden locations in Canada. Sometimes, it's more about what was long-hidden in a spot — like dinosaur fossils. Located in the Canadian Badlands, Dinosaur Provincial Park has a landscape that would be perfectly at home in a cowboy flick. The unique park also boasts extensive fossil deposits, and you can dig for dinosaur bones, too!
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7. Sable Island National Park Reserve, Nova Scotia
Windswept, sandy Sable Island is home to a permanent population of five people and some 400 wild horses. Add some seals, large bird colonies and around 350 shipwrecks and you have a hidden gem in Canada that's also a photographer’s paradise.
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8. Manitoulin Island, Ontario
Islands in lakes on an island in a lake: that’s what you’ll find with this hidden treasure in Canada: Manitoulin Island. Located in Lake Huron, Manitoulin Island is the world’s largest freshwater island.
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9. Tidal Bore, Moncton, New Brunswick
When the tide comes in from the bay of Fundy, it creates a tidal bore that pushes up the Petitcodiac River. It’s quite a dramatic phenomenon to watch, but it’s even better when you grab your surfboard and catch that wave.
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10. Thunder Cove, Prince Edward Island
Up for a hike to a hidden place in Canada? Getting to the beach at Thunder Cove involves a bit of a walk, but you’ll be rewarded with red sand, breathtaking rock formations and sea caves that just beg to be explored.
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11. Dawson City, Yukon
Back in the day, Dawson City was at the centre of the Klondike Gold Rush. Now a walk around downtown is like stepping back into the very colourful past. Dawson City is home to several national historic sites and Canada’s first casino: Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Gambling Hall.
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12. Vulcan, Alberta
The town of Vulcan is a Trekkie paradise with a Star Trek-themed museum, a replica of the Starship Enterprise and even a tourist information centre shaped like a spaceship. This is the perfect place to pay homage to the fact that Captain Kirk, or at least actor-slash-musician William Shatner, is Canadian.
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13. Shediac, New Brunswick
Want to journey to a Canadian town with an unusual claim to fame? Shediac is home to some fine swimming beaches, historical sites, great restaurants and what may or may not be the largest lobster in the world. Every July, the town also hosts a popular lobster festival.
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14. Burk’s Falls, Ontario
Burk’s Falls is a gorgeous riverside village in the Almaguin Highlands, with plenty of places to go for a stroll. One of these unique places is Screaming Heads, artist Peter Camani’s surreal property with its huge concrete sculptures and the strange Midlothian Castle.
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15. Spirit Ridge at NK’MIP Resort, British Columbia
Located in Osoyoos in Canada’s only real desert, Spirit Ridge is home to a spa, a golf course, a cultural centre and the award-winning Nk’Mip Cellars, the first Aboriginal-owned winery in North America.
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16. Fairview Lawn Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia
After the Titanic sank, the bodies of those who didn’t survive the disaster were brought to Halifax and most of these were buried in Fairview Lawn Cemetery. You’ll find row upon row of simple gravestones, some of them without names because the victims were never identified, in an area known as the Titanic Grave Site.
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17. Wynyard, Saskatchewan
Wynyard makes a good base from which to explore the Quill Lakes, a prime birdwatching destination. For birdwatching of a different kind, though, visit Wynyard in June during the town’s carnival, where the highlight is the Chicken Chariot Races.
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18. Sucrerie de la Montagne, Quebec
Maple syrup is as Canadian as, well maple syrup — and Quebec produces the vast majority of the sweetness. The Sucrerie de la Montagne is located on top of Mont Rigaud and offers sleigh and wagon rides, Quebecois feasts, live music and of course maple treats.