Note that I haven’t called this a “bucket list.” I’d never heard that expression until moving here. Where does it come from? Why does everyone say it, ALL the time?
Anyway, I decided to write a travel *wishlist* because friends and family in the UK have been asking where they should visit, apart from Toronto, when they come to Canada to see us.
It made me think about areas I hope to return to, and those I’m itching to explore this year.
So far our travels out here have included a Vancouver to Alaska boat trip, the Okanagan Valley, the Rockies, Niagara, Algonquin, Parry Sound, the Haliburton Highlands and Prince Edward County. Not bad for six months, considering we’ve been based in Toronto for most of that time.
But there’s so much more to see. It’s quite a big place, as you might’ve noticed.
The main limitations to extensive travel in Canada are the enormous distances and budget-busting flight costs.
For example, one day I’d love to visit Churchill to see the polar bears, but the $500 airfare to Winnipeg, followed by the $1,200 onward flight, make that a bit of a pipe dream for now.
And seeing the Northern Lights in the Yukon would be incredible, but 5,000 km is rather a long way to travel.
Lots of prospective visitors tell me they want to travel by train from Vancouver to Banff, but few have $2,000 to spare for the Rocky Mountaineer – and most are shocked at the cost. There isn’t much regular train travel available, and where it exists, you’re at risk of suffering spontaneous outbursts of the national anthem (though personally I love this video!).
Forgive me, then, for the Ontario-centric map I’ve put together, of trips that are high on my agenda for 2013 .
It includes Tobermory, Niagara-on-the-Lake’s wineries, Montreal, Quebec City, but excludes tons of other places I’m desperate to see, like the Maritimes and Laurentians. Hopefully we’ll find a way to slip the rest in at some point.
But it’s not all about me, me, me. With a bit of luck, the map gives any would-be tourists out there some inspiration for things to do around Toronto and further afield, in different seasons.
While there are limitations to cross-country travel in Canada, luckily we’re spoilt for choice in Ontario when it comes to sweet summer spots for sunbathing, swimming, walking, canoeing, cycling and camping – and supping wine, of course.
I haven’t experienced winter out here yet, and, while it’s a shame that the province isn’t renown for downhill skiing (though there are places to do it), there are meant to be good opportunities for Nordic skiing, snow-shoeing and snowmobiling.
This is a good thing, as I’m determined to make the most of the big freeze, rather than turn into a onesie-wearing hermit for the duration. There’s a lot to be said for a onesie, and I shall be wearing mine with pride – but hopefully after a day of exertion on the Ontario trails.