OH CANADA!

Turning new corners in summer travel and beyond

Everyone knows about Banff, Jasper, Butchart Gardens, the Calgary Stampede, Peggy's Cove and all the other big hitters in Canadian tourism. If you think your groups may be tired of the same old scenery — or the same old slot machines — we've got a few other spots you may want to consider:

St. Catherine de la Jacques Cartier, Quebec

About 30 minutes from Quebec City, the area of St. Catherine de la Jacques Cartier beckons with all the usual Quebec beauty — and two unusual pastimes. In summer, the area is home to Tree Link Duchesnay, part of an arboreal network of treetop sports areas. Tree Link Duchesnay offers a forest adventure that features monkey bridges, nets, cables, zip slides and other ways of moving tree to tree amid stunning scenery. In winter, the area also hosts snow golf. And, of course, the famous Ice Hotel. Summer or winter, it's a winner.

Duffey Lake, British Columbia

Lakes Louise, Ontario and Superior typically get a lot more attention, but Duffey Lake offers its share of dramatic snow-capped vistas (you can see the glacier-topped Mt. Rohr from shore), wildlife and excellent trout fishing — and with a lot less traffic. Visit http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/duffey_lk for details.

Newfoundland, Canada

Last year, Frommer's called Newfoundland an "almost criminally overlooked destination in Canada." Frommer's complimented "The Rock" for its summertime scenery, featuring icebergs, puffins and whales. St. John's is the main town of note, and it makes a good base for wildlife trips and the World Heritage site of Gros Morne National Park.

Charlevoix, Quebec

Set along the picturesque St. Lawrence River, the Charlevoix region of Quebec, east of Quebec City, is beautiful, rural, French — and loaded with attractions. From cheese factories, picking orchards, cider houses and an emu farm to arts colonies, music conservatories and the birthplace of Circue de Soleil, the area is also one of the largest inhabited craters of the world. And there's even a casino. Visit www.charlevoix-guidetouristique.com for more details.

Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, British Columbia

The National Geographic Traveler gave this little-known park one of its highest scores on an annual survey of American and Canadian national parks. Located in the Queen Charlotte Islands, the park gets only a few thousand visitors a year but is highly regarded for its cultural integrity, thanks to a strong partnership between Parks Canada and the native Haida people. Find archaeological artifacts, history and scenery — but not a lot of easy access.

Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

Condé Nast Traveler listed Cape Breton as one of the best islands in the world, offering splendid sunsets, coastline scenery, whale watching, sailing and even scuba diving.  The Cabot Trail is one of Cape Breton's best-known scenic drives (some 400,000 visitors drive it every summer and fall), and the island hosts popular events including the October Celtic Colours Festival. It's also a hot spot for fiddling. Who knew?

Wineries of Naramata, British Columbia

Think Napa Valley, but even more beautiful, and before the huge crush of tourism. This area of British Columbia known as the Naramata Bench has many great wineries to visit. Traditionally a fruit-growing center, the Naramata area has been growing in popularity over the past 15 years. With vineyards, restaurants and arts enterprises in abundance, it makes a great getaway. For a list of wineries, see http://www.discovernaramata.com/wineries.php.

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Not only is it the manufacturing home of MCI, it's also a vibrant city  with a melting pot of restaurants, nightlife and attractions like paddleboat river tours, the historic Exchange District and more. Find upcoming events and information on enduring attractions at http://www.destinationwinnipeg.ca.

The FYI from MCI editorial staff values your feedback. Please e-mail any suggestions, comments, or ideas for future articles to fyi@mcicoach.com.

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