READ TIME: 9 minutes
Had you organised a trip to Canada only for the coronavirus pandemic to scupper those plans? Don’t let the pandemic put a stop to your visit as many of Canada’s vibrant cities, towns and attractions are offering would-be-tourists a virtual experience.
There are lots of you who may have booked your flights to Canada from the UK and were looking forward to your holiday and visiting some iconic places in Canada. From national parks to museums and even icebergs, you can enjoy a number of these attractions online.
Whilst we know nothing is as good as seeing it with your own eyes, this guide looks at the top Canadian attractions you can enjoy virtually.
Canada attractions you can visit virtually
•Banff and Banff National Park
•Ottawa and the Canadian Museum of History
•The Johnson GEO CENTRE
Banff and Banff National Park
Banff is one of the most picturesque towns in the world and is a popular destination to holiday all-year-round. In winter, with easy access to the big 3 ski resorts – Mount Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise – you can enjoy skiing and snowboarding, while in the summer you can enjoy hiking, canoeing and horse riding around Banff National Park.
If you are missing the town or the national park, then you can enjoy both virtually. Banff has five online historical tours that let you wander through historic streets and the downtown core. The downtown discovery tour of Banff takes you over Bow River Bridge as well as to attractions such as the Banff Park Museum National Historic Site.
Banff National Park is at the top of many travellers’ bucket lists as it is one of Canada’s oldest national park and it boasts unparalleled mountain scenery which can still be enjoyed from your home. You can see the stunning scenery and its wild locals as wildlife photographer Amar Athwal and Susan Staple of Parks Canada share their experiences via video.
If that’s not enough, you can also enjoy a series of engrossing 360-degree excursions of Banff and Lake Louise online. With this series of videos, you will explore one of the largest non-polar icefields in the world in the Athabasca Glacier, hike through the impressive Marble Canyon, walk along the Lake Minnewanka Shoreline and enjoy the tranquillity of Johnston Canyon.
READ MORE: 48 Hours in Banff
View this post on Instagram
The CN Tower is the jewel in the crown of Toronto’s skyline, and it is still one of the most recognisable structures in the world. Standing at 553.33 metres high, it was once the world’s tallest freestanding structure and visitors are lucky enough to visit get stunning views of the forest of glass beneath.
The attraction is one of Canada’s most popular with more than 1.5 million people visiting the CN Tower every year and whilst it has suspended its operations for parts of this year, you can still enjoy the tower and it’s stunning views online.
The CN Tower has lots of live footage from its cameras at the top of the tower so you can enjoy the incredible views from your home. By clicking here you can enjoy an East View and West View from the top of the CN Tower and enjoy footage of the tower itself from the ground. So, if you want to see the sunset or the sunrise over Toronto, then you know where to look.
Janine, who is the writer behind the travel blog Fill My Passport, highly recommends visiting the CN Tower in the future. She says, “Make sure you pop into the CN Tower while in Toronto. It is definitely worth checking out while in the city. The cost is reasonable, the restaurant is deliciously elegant, and the views second to none. Reservations are essential for 360 so avoid disappointment and book your table in advance.”
For something else to enjoy at home, why not check out an exhibit which was created in collaboration with the Toronto Public Library called 114 Stories X 114 Storeys. The exhibit explores the facts and fiction behind 10 of Toronto’s best-known landmarks, including the CN Tower, and you can see it here.
READ MORE: The CN Tower at 40
Ever wanted to go heli-skiing? You can now go on a virtual heli-skiing journey in one of the wildest places on earth – the Columbia Mountains in British Columbia. Thanks to a team of filmmakers, skiers and CMH Heli Skiing guides you can experience all the beauty the region has to offer.
Lines of Sight: A Guided Virtual Reality Experience is a five-minute virtual reality film that will take you on a heli-skiing journey through the remote wilderness of the Columbia Mountains. This area is so remote that it is only accessible via helicopter.
Ottawa and the Canadian Museum of History
Ottawa is the capital of Canada and it is the cultural hub of Ontario. The city is full of history, famous national landmarks, eye-catching architecture, and a plethora of incredible museums.
Unsurprisingly, it is a popular destination for Canada holidays and if you were meant to be travelling to Canada’s capital this year but the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to it, you can explore the city from your home and get ideas of what to see when you rearrange your trip.
You can explore the iconic landmarks which are synonymous with the city by watching Ottawa in 360, a video that will give you a 360 degree perspective of attractions such as the Parliament of Canada, Rideau Canal and Confederation Square. You can see the video below.
If you are a history buff and are fascinated with Canada’s rich history, then you can explore the Canadian History Hall at the Canadian Museum of History from the comfort of your sofa. The museum offers a virtual tour that lets you explore the museum as if you were there. You can stop and read the information on different exhibits about Canada in its early days, colonial Canada, and modern Canada.
READ MORE: 48 hours in Ottawa
View this post on Instagram
Vancouver is the biggest city in British Columbia and it is a popular city break destination as it is one of a few places in the world where you can enjoy world-class shopping one minute and then be in the mountains the next.
The list of things to do and see in the city is endless, but one of the top attractions in Vancouver is the Vancouver Aquarium as you can check out the wild side of the city and see some of its animal residents.
The Vancouver Aquarium has a number of live cameras so you can enjoy a live feed of otters, penguins and even jellyfish until you go and see them up-close.
Vancouver and the surrounding area are also famous for being home to eagles and even during the pandemic you can see these magnificent animals. Hancock Wildlife Foundation has live cameras of nesting eagles where you can watch the hatchlings and their protective parents overseeing their care. There are five cameras with live footage and these are set in French Creek on Vancouver Island, Harrison Mills, the Surrey Reserve, White Rock over Boundary Bay and Delta.
Elisabeth from the Sidetracked Travel Blog talks about her time in Vancouver and why she thinks you should plan a trip to the city: “Steadfast mountains, dark blue ocean, and modern glass. When Vancouver comes to mind, these are three of the characteristic things my thoughts instantly jump to. On one recent 48-hour trip, I found myself enjoying the contemporary and clean landscape of the city, and of course, the vast natural splendour surrounding it. As a visitor, it’s easy to find the beauty of Vancouver.”
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador is home to legendary iceberg tours and while you might not be able to photograph the giant icebergs or the whales that call these waters home during the pandemic, you will be able to get up close and personal while staying cosy at home.
The Virtual Iceberg Tour With Skipper Bob Bartlett, which you can see above, shares information about icebergs and how they arrive in the region.
Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the best places in the world to view icebergs. From April to August, these 10,000-year-old glacial giants are one of Canada’s top tourist attractions as they are visible from lots of places along the northern and eastern coasts. The enormous icebergs detach from glaciers in Greenland, then the current carries them right past towns such as Battle Harbour and Twillingate.
The Johnson GEO CENTRE
St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
View this post on Instagram
The Johnson GEO CENTRE is a geological interpretation centre and it houses exhibit galleries related to the planet and the province’s geology. There are also displays at the centre about natural resources, space exploration, and the Titanic disaster.
Since the coronavirus pandemic, there have been gallery closures and limited opening hours, but now the centre is offering you to explore the attraction from home.
The panoramic virtual tours on offer let you roam around the centre and see the different exhibitions.
If you were looking forward to a Canada holiday in 2020, but have had to re-organise it, then these virtual attractions and places will at least let you enjoy the beauty of Canada from your home. We are sure they will inspire you to plan your next trip to Canada in the future!