Think of Canada and no doubt what comes to mind is the natural beauty in Banff National Park, French charm in Quebec City and quaint lighthouses in Canada’s Maritimes. While these iconic spots are must-see places on your Canadian holiday, away from the pages of the tourist guide Canada has plenty of hidden attractions to inspire you on your next trip.
If you’re planning a road trip across the country’s myriad of landscapes and provinces, make the most of car hire in Canada and get off the beaten track with a few lesser-known gems to explore en route!
Le Grand Rassemblement in Quebec
Somewhat hidden in plain sight, Le Grand Rassemblement or ‘the Grand Gathering’ is a series of primitive wooden statues that reveal themselves as the tide goes out off the coast of Southern Quebec. The eerie collection of more than a hundred carved figures is the work of Marcel Gagnon, an artist based in Sainte-Flavie on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. He has continued to position and add to this art display since the 1980s. If you’re coming to the beach to see this unusual gathering for yourself be sure to check out the Centre D’Art Marcel Gagnon where you’ll discover more about the project, the artist and his other works. There’s also a relaxed restaurant at the centre where you can savour the spectacular seafood dishes of this region.
Othello Tunnel in British Columbia
While the tallest mountains in British Columbia prove perfect for skiing in Canada, if you’re looking to explore the hidden treasures of the west coast then there’s much to see deep underground too.
A throwback to the early days of the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Othello Tunnel is an impressive network of straight tunnels that burrow through the landscapes of the Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park near the town of Hope. Today, the tunnels offer a hiking trail through some of the province’s best scenery. Between the granite caverns and ridges overlooking the park’s streams there are places where you can relax with a picnic, enjoy fishing or simply stop and take in the views.
Maud Lewis’ Painted House in Nova Scotia
Maud Lewis’ Painted House has become part of Canadian folklore. Where once this tiny house sat by the roadside in Marshalltown, today it is hidden inside the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax in the hopes of preserving its colourful history.
Suffering with rheumatoid arthritis from an early age, Maud found solace in painting – a skill that not only helped to support her family, but also worked its way into the décor of their home. Every inch of the house is painted with bright murals inspired by nature, from the walls and ceiling to the stairs and even the stove. When Maud and her husband both passed in the 1970s, the little building lay abandoned for a time until it began to deteriorate and a society was formed to save the town’s familiar landmark. Now a permanent part of the collection at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Maud’s vibrant home reveals as much about her painting preferences as it does her character. If you’re travelling to Canada’s Maritimes, this little piece of personal history is sure to move you too.