More than 30 species of whale live off Canada's shores. During whale watching season, there's nothing like seeing the fluke of a humpback whale disappearing into the Atlantic Ocean or sailing alongside a pod of orcas in the Pacific. My favourite are the belugas in Northern Canada - they're so cute!
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Canada's whale seasons
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Ways to get on the water
Meet Canada's whales
Here are some of our favourite whale watching routes you can follow on a Canada driving holiday or escorted tour
Watch these inspirational videos for an idea of the incredible wildlife encounters you can have with whales in Canada
There is a good reason that enthusiasts choose Canada as the destination for their whale watching holiday. With over 202,000km of coastline and more than 30 species of whales living off its shores, Canada offers excellent opportunities to view the giants of the sea. Well-organised boat tours maximise your chances of spotting whales. You are guaranteed to see incredible marine life from seals, sea lions and porpoises to seabirds and hopefully whales. Whether it’s an exhilarating Zodiac or a statelier cruise, every whale watching trip in Canada is accompanied by an experienced guide who knows the most likely spots to find whales.
British Columbia - and particularly Vancouver Island - is a brilliant location to spot orcas, minke whales, huge humpbacks and grey whales. Resident orcas live there year-round, while migratory species visit between May and October, with the season peaking around July and August. For the grey whale migration past Tofino, you’ll need to go in March. Churchill in Manitoba plays host every summer to 60,000 elegant beluga whales, which despite their ghostly appearance are friendly and curious about sightseeing boats. In Eastern Canada, Nova Scotia and Quebec are famed for their humpbacks, and even the King of the Ocean: the mighty blue whale.
Below are our picks of the best places in Canada to see whales
Victoria, the capital of Vancouver Island, is one of the best places to spot whales. Head out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca in an open Zodiac boat and you’ll enjoy incredible views with fantastic chances of spotting whales. In the summer, the Strait can be calm as a millpond. It’s possible to spot the pod of resident orcas as well as dozens of humpbacks.
Tofino offers the chance to see orcas, sea lions and eagles as well as coastal black bears, making it a versatile destination.
Churchill in Manitoba is the best place to spot ethereal beluga whales in their thousands. Go in summertime to catch the migration.
Tadoussac in Quebec is a favourite for humpbacks, fin whales, minke whales and even belugas in the rich waters of the St. Lawrence Estuary.
The Bay of Fundy offers incredibly rich feeding waters home to dozens of species of whales. Tours leave from New Brunswick’s coast.
Newfoundland and Labrador offers a unique whale watching experience alongside icebergs. Between the mainland and the island of Newfoundland, giant icebergs which have broken off the ice sheets in Greenland make their way down Iceberg Alley. Here you can also see whales like humpbacks feeding in the cold waters.