Canada’s Atlantic and Maritime Provinces include Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.
The region is loaded with history and popular tourist destinations, such as the Cabot Trail, the Bay of Fundy, Peggy’s Cove, Anne of Green Gables homestead, Gros Morne National Park and Nostead—the ancient Viking ruins on the north shore of Newfoundland.
This region’s magnificent, rugged scenery and friendly people make it a popular spot for U.S. and overseas visitors but is also a major attraction to Canadians wanting a ‘staycation’ within their own borders.
Renowned for autumn colour and its cultural flare, the most popular time to tour the Maritimes region is early autumn, September through early October.
Cast across a rolling landscape from Quebec east to the Maritime provinces, travellers become witness to one of the most spectacular displays of autumn colour anywhere in the world.
The experience is immersing and organic. In many ways, what you’re left with is reminiscent of the faded memories so many of us have of childhood. Those moments in time we faintly remember yet are so profound they leave an ethereal feeling deep inside.
Remember the nostalic effect of a softening autumn sun on fall colour, sweet crisp morning air, and happy peaceful moments of play in the warmth of midday. Step into that moment and you get a sense of what this region will forever impress upon you.
Steeped in culture and history there is no better place to learn Atlantic history. More than just local history however, this is the region that bore witness to events which ultimately gave birth of this great nation. It was here that the battles for independence between French and British armies were fought both on land and at sea.
The evidence of this has been preserved in places such as the Fortifications of Québec, which span close to 4.6 kilometers around Old Québec. Artillery Park, where characters in period costume welcome you to defensive buildings dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries, or Cape Diamond a key part of the city’s fortifications, with the star-shaped Citadel that showcases Québec’s military history.
In New Brunswick the Historic Garrison District of Fredericton still carries out the famous changing of the guard, and in Nova Scotia today the beloved and historic city of Halifax was once and still is ideal for a military base, with the vast Halifax Harbour, among the largest natural harbour’s in the world.
Also in Halifax sits the beautifully preserved Citadel Hill. The Citadel is a national landmark, commemorating Halifax’s role as a key naval station in the British Empire and bringing history to life in Atlantic Canada’s largest urban centre.
History is what connects a travel experience to the foundation of the culture, but it’s seeing the sights, enjoying the hardworking but light-hearted and friendly culture of the people, and of course, taking time to ‘savor the flavour’ that will leave a lasting impression on you.
Think fresh lobster and fishermen’s stew as you watch fishing boats unload their catch from your harbour view table at one of the many quaint ocean front diners.
For sightseeing attractions, some of the most notable begin in New Brunswick at Hopewell Rocks, which are rock formations standing between 40-70 feet tall and the Fundy National Park which showcases a rugged coastline rising up to the Acadian Highlands, the highest tides in the world, and more than 25 waterfalls.
Getting there: Sunwest Tours offer a competitive and detailed tour package for the region and have offices locally in Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton. Call 1-800-667-3877 or book online at www.sunwesttours.com.
More on the vacationing in the Maritimes next Friday in the Capital News Travel section.
Aaron Young is the president of business development and marketing for Sunwest Tours in Kelowna.