A dramatic Pacific coastline, the towering peaks of the Rocky Mountains and the wonderful city of Vancouver are just a few of the reasons why Western Canada is regarded as one of the most thrilling holiday destinations on the planet. Whether in Banff or Jasper National Parks, sailing the islets of Vancouver Island, or visiting the Calgary Stampede, stunning landscapes and amazing experiences are at every turn.
When to go
Western Canada and Alaska covers a vast region stretching from the US border up towards the Arctic Circle and to the Pacific – as such, weather varies dramatically. The spring weather can arrive as early as late Feb in Whistler but arrives in April in Alaska. Summer is from late May to Sept and is the best time to visit Alaska and the national parks of the west. Winter starts in November, the ski season in the west is traditionally from December and can go through to April.
TIME DIFFERENCE: GMT -8 hours (Alaska -9 hours).
FLIGHT INFORMATION: Direct flights operate to Vancouver and Calgary with British Airways and Air Canada. United Airlines fly via Seattle to Anchorage.
FLYING TIME FROM UK: Approx 10 hours to Vancouver and Calgary and 16.5 hours to Anchorage.
10 Must Do in Western Canada
In summer Banff National Park has great trekking, mountain biking and horse riding – in winter it has some fantastic snow sports on offer.
Passing towering mountains and over gushing rivers, the Rocky Mountaineer really is one of the world’s great train journeys.
3WHERE TO GO FOR ADVENTURE
Take a heli-hike into the Columbia Mountains, an inaccessible range overwhelming in their beauty.
Many people don’t think of Western Canada’s beaches, but the sands on Vancouver Island are awesome – though the Pacific waters can be more than a little chilly.
A dazzling expanse of emerald, surrounded by jagged peaks, Lake Louise is a photographer’s dream.
DATES FOR THE DIARY
The Calgary Stampede is promoted as the ‘Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth’ – and with a bewildering array of events you may find it hard to disagree (July annually). For something a little slower paced, the Vancouver International Jazz Festival is a celebration of toe-tapping smoothness, with over 400 performances across the city (June to July, annually).
BEST FOR KIDS
For a family experience that everyone will enjoy, stay at a traditional ranch and ride the trails.
North of Vancouver Island, the Great Bear Rainforest has some amazing wildlife. In the middle of the park, Great Bear Lodge is the perfect place to watch grizzlies in their natural habitat.
Take a break at the all-inclusive Sonora Resort, a stunning wilderness retreat on British Columbia’s Inside Passage.
LIVE LIKE A LOCAL
Meet some of Canada’s oldest residents with a trip to Churchill – this is where you can see polar bears in the wild.