We know that once the littles are done school we are going to hear a lot of I’m bored’s. Even if they have camp and sports and trips and clubs and play dates scheduled they’ll still say it. Even if we’ve scheduled their summer within an inch of their (and our!) lives, THEY’LL. STILL. SAY. IT.
So we hunted down at least two things per province for you to do with the littles this summer. You can thank us later…
Speed over whitewater and forests as old as your great great great grandparents on a series of zip lines, some as long as 2,200 feet. Perfect for kids and adults alike.
Did you know that we Canadians have our own version of Loch Ness? There have been lots of sightings of Ogopogo, a snakelike creature said to be anywhere from six to twenty metres long, in the Okanagan Lake in British Columbia. The kids will love the tales…and love searching for the tail!
Dino teeth and bones are still lying around Dinosaur Provincial Park. Once the edge of an inland sea, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the world’s richest fossil beds. Book a tour at least a month ahead; it’s a popular spot.
Beyond Lake Louise, at the end of a scenic 13 kilometer-long twisty mountain road, is Moraine Lake in the Valley of the Ten Peaks. Like Lake Louise, this is another scenic setting with similar turquoise water surrounded by snow-capped peaks, but it is much less visited. It opens mid-May, so start planning your trip now! The view was the image on the reverse side of the old Canadian twenty dollar bill and will always have a place in our hearts.
Moose Jaw earned the name “Little Chicago” back in the 1920s, when American gangsters rode north to beat Prohibition. Tour the underground tunnels—complete with animatronics—through which Al Capone’s mob ran their bootleg operation.
The RCMP Heritage Centre in Regina celebrates all things Mountie, bringing to life the incredible story of the RCMP and its role in the development of Canada using state of the art exhibits, multimedia technologies, and engaging programming and tours.
If your travel takes you to Manitoba in the summer, prepare yourself for an entirely new way of snorkelling; you aren’t swimming in search of creatures of the sea or playing with trained dolphins here! Belugas are incredibly inquisitive and friendly creatures and they will make you feel like the main attraction. 3,000 belugas make the Churchill River estuary their summer home, attracted by its abundant fish, lack of predators and pollution-free water. Starts July 10 and is dependant on water clarity and possible ice conditions; minimum age is 12.
Head to the Manitoba Legislative Building and book a tour of the Hermetic Code (April 12 – October 25). The grandiose interior of this ode to Olympus is studded with hieroglyphics, Freemasonic symbols and numeric codes, all of which are unveiled in the Hermetic Code Tour — a must for anyone with a sense of intrigue.
Toyota offers a truly unique program that is designed to give ‘tweens and teens (ages 10-16) and their families a true, real-world understanding of the physics behind driving a motorized vehicle. It’s a seriously FUN half-day course that gives participants the opportunity to learn some fundamentals of driving skills and safety in a vehicle just their size—a go-kart!
Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve’s suspended walkway through the canopy of a 200-year-old pine forest feels a bit like an ectomorphic trampoline. Take in breathtaking views and, if you’re really lucky, catch a glimpse of wolves, foxes and moose.
From 1842 to 1972, the Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol in Goderich housed a gaggle of thieves, murderers, debtors, madmen and starving itinerants in its 48 tiny cells. The staff tell excellent tales (because dead men tell no tales).
Sudbury’s twin science centres offer hands-on exhibits covering a broad array of scientific topics, often with a northern flavour. At Science North visitors can learn all about fighting wildfires, try their hand at measuring emissions and air quality in the region, and visit an IMAX theatre and a planetarium.
Need a break? Slip over to the charming and fertile Ile d’Orleans by ferry or bridge from Quebec City. Just eight km wide and 34 km long, its patchwork of fields and pretty towns attracts an eclectic mix of artisans, from blacksmiths to makers of jam, cheese, cider and chocolate (yum!).
With over 3400 bicycle paths spanning the province, it’s no surprise that cycling is one of the most popular things to do in the summer/fall, especially in the Laurentides region. There’s a special trail called “Le p’tit train du Nord” (translates to: “The small train of the North”) that stretches over 200 km on what used to be an old railway line, and is now officially the longest linear park in Canada. It offers gorgeous views on the forests, lakes and rivers of this region. The trail is surprisingly flat, making it accessible for just about anyone, big and small.
Beautiful St. Andrews-by-the-Sea offers up the classic beach vacation: warm waters and sandy strands, a Children’s Fantasy Garden (with live ladybug releases daily), an aquarium (with an underwater viewing room), whale-watching and a bunch of B&Bs, some lovely inns and even a gorgeous resort (The Algonquin).
An hour drive from Saint John is the Fundy Trail Parkway, a 16 km drive along the coast of the Bay of Fundy. There’s a restaurant at the caves that serves seafood chowder and lobster rolls; there you’ll have an unobstructed view of the sea caves and the ever-changing tides of the Bay of Fundy.
If your ancestors were among the one-million immigrants and evacuees who arrived in Halifax from 1928 to 1971, there should be a record at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. Come armed with info: date of arrival, ship name, etc. Staff researchers will dig up passenger lists, shipboard tales and photos.
Head to the Hatfield Farm, only 15 min from downtown Halifax. Trail rides, hay rides, sleigh rides, children’s pony rides and overnight trail rides; beginners and experienced riders welcome. Private rides and personalized packages available.
When the P.E.I. railway stopped service in 1989, the island converted its rails to the Confederation Trail. Bike or hike from one end of the island to the other past red-sand beaches and exuberant wildflowers.
The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada offers week-long workshops all summer long. Learn to play the bagpipes and drums or dance the Highland fling. Tuition varies. May need basic equipment. Register in advance.
Newfoundland and Labrador has as iceberg alley where massive amounts of glacial ice arrive from Greenland from spring through early summer. Use the Iceberg Finder to pick a good spot to look.
Tour the remains of the 11th-century Viking community L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site. Then head to St. Anthony for the Great Viking Feast Dinner Theatre. The sod-covered restaurant, a replica of Leif Erickson’s home, serves Moose Stew, Cod Casserole, Cod Tongues, Roast Capelin, Baked Atlantic Salmon, Roast Beef, Squid Fried Rice and more, buffet style.