Adventure Holiday: 9 Extreme Things To Do in Canada
Canada is the perfect location for an adventure holiday. Check out some of these extreme activities next time you’re visiting the country.
By Joseph Low
Looking to take an adventure holiday in Canada? From swimming with whales to bungee jumping to sleeping in an ice cave, Canada offers plenty of opportunities to step out of your comfort zone. If you’re not sure where to start, however, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite adventure activities available in Canada. Read on to find out more.
Calgary, Alberta, which is famous for its yearly stampede, hosted the Winter Olympics in 1988. Calgary Olympic Park continues to attract thrill-seekers who want to speed down its bobsleigh, luge and skeleton tracks.
Calgary Olympic Park includes bobsleigh runs with a qualified expert directing the cart as well as the more intense luge run, which sends people hurtling down the slick track at speeds of up to 60 km/h. If speed and excitement is what you’re after on your adventure holiday in Canada, bobsleighing is a must.
The thrills of folly are available all year round at Calgary Olympic Park.
Trekking the West Coast Trail, Vancouver Island
The Canadian West Coast has some of the most beautiful scenery in the country.
The Pacific Rim National Park has thankfully conserved much of the landscape, including the famous West Coast Trail, a 75-kilometer (47-mile) hike through forests, bogs, up and down ladders, through rugged and sandy shoreline, and more. Accessing more challenging-to-reach places will require a brief boat journey or helicopter ride, but this adds to the sense of adventure.
The week-long trek is not for the faint of heart. It requires physical strength and stamina, so don’t take it lightly, because you will likely see few people on your walk. Everything you need, from supplies to meals, is carried on your back.
The West Coast Trail is open from May to September, and only allows 52 hikers per day.
Swimming with whales, Newfoundland
Canada, with its extensive coastline, offers numerous opportunities to watch whales on their migratory routes or on their food quests. The bulk of passengers simply board a huge ferry or a smaller, more manoeuvrable Zodiac. However, those looking to check ‘swimming with whales’ off their bucket list can dive in and swim alongside the majestic creatures.
It’s best to schedule this kind of trip with adventure holiday pros, and Ocean Quest Adventures in Newfoundland, Canada’s most easterly (and perhaps friendliest) province, is one of the best.
Rick and Debbie Stanley have a long history with the whales. They enjoy hosting visitors and educating them about the whales, as well as marine conservation and sustainable tourism.
Exploring the CN Tower EdgeWalk, Toronto
Simply staring down from the CN Tower’s sky-high glass observation decks is enough to make some people nervous.
However, for those seeking their adventure holiday to the next level, EdgeWalk is the place to go. EdgeWalk is known as the world’s highest full-circle, hands-free walk, and this activity requires visitors to walk on a 1.5 m wide ledge encircling the top of the Tower’s central pod — 356m or 1,168ft (116 stories) above the ground.
EdgeWalk is both a terrifying and exhilarating experience, as participants walk around the 360-degree perimeter of the Tower while strapped to a track. Enjoy unrivaled views of Toronto by leaning back or over the side.
Staying at the Ice Hotel, Quebec
Hôtel de Glace. Credit: Québec City Tourism
Sleeping in an ice hotel could be lovely and comforting, or it could be completely insane. Make your own decision by booking a room at the Quebec Ice Hotel. The Ice Hotel is rebuilt each year as the temperatures drop in January, and as every year passes, the design gets more and more opulent.
Start your adventure at the bar, like the rest of this freezing architectural wonder, which is made entirely of ice. Temperatures in the hotel vary between -3 and -5 degrees Celsius, but no one is ever cold.
The hotel invites guests to dip in the outdoor hot tubs and sauna before retiring for the night. Deep and restful sleep is guaranteed.
Bungee jumping, Nanaimo
Credit: WildPlay Nanaimo
Jumping 50m from a bridge with nothing but a long elastic cord linked to your ankle qualifies as “extreme”. Although Canada does not claim ownership of bungee jumping, it does have some excellent locations, including the famous WildPlay Elements Jump.
The WildPlay Elements Park in Nanaimo, British Columbia, encourages brave visitors to freefall 150 feet off a bridge, and brush up against the Nanaimo River before rebounding up and down. Nothing really screams ‘adventure holiday’ quite like a bungee jumping experience.
In February, visitors to Nanaimo who are on a budget will be interested to learn that WildPlay Nanaimo offers giant bungee jumping discounts, as part of a mental health fundraising and awareness event, benefiting the British Columbia Schizophrenia Society. You must, however, jump naked. There appears to be no scarcity of interested parties. Tickets for spectators are also available.
Riding rollercoasters at Wonderland’s Leviathan, Toronto
The country’s largest amusement park, Canada’s Wonderland in Toronto, Ontario, is home to this incredibly steep and narrow rollercoaster. Leviathan is Canada’s tallest and most exciting roller coaster, measuring 5,486 feet (1,672 m) long, 306 feet (93 m) tall, and reaching a high speed of 92 miles per hour (148 km/h).
The Leviathan’s engineering is sound, to be sure. There have been no accidents, and driving a car on a Canadian highway is far riskier than riding a rollercoaster at Canada’s Wonderland. Still, something about willingly boarding this skinny combination of steel and fibreglass, even for three and a half minutes, seems wrong.
But that’s a minority viewpoint — the rollercoaster’s wait is notoriously long, and some visitors ride it a dozen times per visit.
Surfing in the Bay of Fundy
The legendary Bay of Fundy tides, the world’s highest, generate the tidal bore phenomenon. As the tide comes in, the outflowing Petitcodiac River surges back upstream, causing a tremendous, lengthy, continuous wave. Surfers have taken notice.
Whitewater rafting, Ottawa
Did you know that Ottawa is one of the best spots in the world to go whitewater rafting?
You’ll get wet, and it’ll be physically demanding, but the adrenaline rush will keep you going down the Ottawa River. Regardless of your skill level or expertise, the surrounding region offers various options for you to conquer the river.
Canada should be top of your list when planning an active holiday in a foreign country. With plenty of extreme activities on offer, you’ll need a holiday after going through them all.
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