You don’t have to leave the country to experience something new
Photo by Maxine Quenneville
I spent three months in Penticton during my time in the Katimavik program and fell in love with the place. Nestled in the Okanagan Valley, surrounded by lakes to its north and south, and mountains to its east and west, Penticton is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve ever seen in Canada. There’s a great local music and art scene, and dozens of vineyards within a 30-minute drive.
My favourite thing about Penticton is the Kettle Valley Rail Trail, a hiking and biking trail that follows a former rail corridor through the mountains. There’s a bunch of massive wooden trestle bridges that cross high over canyons, and a few frighteningly dark old rail tunnels.
There’s just something awesome about Winnipeg. It’s the sort of place that once I experienced its culture and communities for a few days, I wished I had grown up there.
The city is bursting with culture. There’s Osborne Village, voted in 2012 as Canada’s best neighbourhood by the Canadian Institute of Planners. Then there’s the recently opened Canadian Museum for Human Rights, located in a strikingly modern building on the edge of the Forks, a historic and now thriving gathering place at the convergence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. One of my favourite places in the city was the Winnipeg Free Press Café, a restaurant and coffee shop in the centre of downtown that’s a hub for journalists and local writers.
Cape Breton Island, N.S.
Nova Scotia’s often forgotten Cape Breton Island is a can’t-miss stop on a trip to the Maritimes. Bursting with breathtaking ocean views and lush greenery, this picturesque region will quickly make the East Coast your favourite part of Canada. History buffs and nature lovers alike will find something to enjoy. I suggest visiting the Celtic music festivals, taking a hike on the famous Cabot Trail, or getting your photo fix at the national park.
I was lucky enough to go horseback riding when I visited Cape Breton, and I highly recommend it. Whether on the beach or through the trails, it’s an excellent way to soak up the beauty of the island at your own pace.
You may only know Stratford for being the home of Justin Bieber, but it’s much more than that. Stratford is home to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, amazing restaurants, and a delightful downtown. It’s a special place with the perks and charms of a small Ontario town and the culture of a big city. Come down for a weekend and see a play or two, only $29 for guests under 29. Eat at Boomers for some gourmet poutine, get the best sushi you will ever have from the General Store, and grab a coffee from any one of the shops downtown. Most importantly, walk around the town and the river, and experience some small town beauty.