Our northern neighbor, Canada, is expansive and wild—and the people there are known for their exceptional manners. Needless to say, there’s much more to Canada than frigid winters and poutine fries. Check it out for yourself, but not before you peruse our helpful tips for traveling in Canada.
Remain Aware of the Weather
Though many people choose to travel during the more pleasant and aggregable summer months, Canada turns into a spectacular wonderland in the wintertime. Canadian winters become more harsh as you climb north, and in remote areas, temperatures can reach 40 degrees below freezing. Even if you don’t experience extreme wind chills, winters in Canada are still colder than those in America’s Upper Midwest. Bring along good-quality snow boots; wool socks and winter accessories; and a thick, waterproof winter jacket.
Beware of Bears
The Canadian Rockies and the Columbia Mountains are home to grizzly and black bears, and you can certainly come across them in the backcountry wilderness. Take extra precautions before you go frolicking among the wildlife. Especially in vast national parks, park rangers may not be able to intervene should things take a turn for the worse. If you’re camping, dispose of all garbage and cook far from your campsite.
Here, you can learn a bit more about bear safety to be able to correctly interpret their demeanor and safely escape. If a bear approaches you, its behavior can be categorized as either defensive or non-defensive:
- Defensive: The bear may feel threatened if you’re too close while it’s feeding its young. The bear will appear stressed and may start to vocalize. You should appear calm and non-threatening. If the bear continues to approach, stand your ground, talk in a calm voice, and use your bear spray.
- Non-Defensive: The bears may just be curious about you or hungry for your food. It may also want to test and establish its dominance.
In either case, make sure you’re carrying bear spray. Bear spray contains ground-up hot peppers that will burn the mouth and nose of the bear and can deter an attack.
Traveling across a country so vast will require some forethought. Many backpackers don’t have enough time to visit all their destinations in one backpacking trip. Instead, focus your travels on either the western or eastern region of Canada. This will save you money on flights and make the actual trip more manageable.