From choosing restaurants who source their food locally and hotels with green energy solutions to spotting wildlife in protected areas, these top tips make eco-friendly travel in Canada easy...
As one of the most beautiful and diverse destinations to be found, Canada proves a fitting example of the importance of responsible travel where even the simplest of changes to our travel choices can have a positive impact in the protection of its natural wonders. This is where Flight Centre can help. The local expertise of its globe-trotting team sets it apart from many other tour operators: they have the knowledge you need to create an eco-friendly itinerary and make booking a breeze. Here, six Flight Centre experts reveal their top tips for responsible travel...
Countries visited: 10
Favourite city: Halifax
Top tip: Canada is simply incredible and with its renowned natural beauty, it’s small wonder that there is such a strong focus on sustainability. Foodies should visit Vancouver in British Columbia where many restaurants and vendors participate in the 100-Mile Diet; sourcing their product from within a 100-mile radius, boosting their local economy, reducing the carbon footprint and helping put Vancouver on the map as one of the best gastronomical destinations on the planet.
If you’re looking for an unforgettable and eco-friendly accommodation, check out the Fogo Island Inn in Newfoundland. This award-winning property invests 100% of its operating surplus into the local community and runs loads of sustainability initiatives too, so you can become one with nature while enjoying five-star luxury. Hot tub anyone?
Countries visited: 17
Favourite city: Vancouver
Top tip: I love Vancouver. Not only does it boast the smallest carbon footprint of any North American city but it also has an action plan to become the world’s ‘Greenest City’ in 2020 and has an abundance of eco-friendly hotels, attractions and tours.
I would recommend staying at The Fairmont Waterfront for its views and Ocean Wise-certified restaurant, ARC. It partners with local fisherman to ensure the catch is sustainably sourced and has its own rooftop garden so all the herbs are freshly picked.
I’d also suggest taking an Eagle Wing tour for whale watching. Based in Victoria, it’s the first 100% carbon neutral whale tour operator in Canada, as its catamarans reduce underwater sound and shore erosion. It’s an incredible way to experience these amazing animals without harming their habitat.
Countries visited: 38
Favourite city: Toronto
Top tip: On a recent holiday to Toronto, I was really impressed with how eco-conscious and green the city is becoming, particularly some of the local businesses and hospitality. During my trip, I stayed at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel and loved its rooftop garden where they grow herbs and vegetables and even produce honey. You’ve just got to try its gourmet dinner feast prepared by chef Corbin Tomaszeski – everything is seasonal, locally-sourced and just delicious, with a real sense of farm-to-table dining.
Countries visited: 23
Favourite city: Vancouver
Top tip: Chugging into Jasper on the Rocky Mountaineer from Vancouver is a proper Canadian experience. Not only will you sample delicious dishes onboard, like local sockeye salmon, but the glass dome of the train’s Gold Leaf Service also afford the best views of the town and its encircling peaks.
Located at the start of the Icefields Parkway, Jasper is one of my favourite places for seeing wildlife, especially around the majestic Maligne Lake. Grab yourself a packed lunch and drive 45 minutes south-east to the biggest natural lake in the Canadian Rockies, idyllic, rain or shine. It snowed when I went, but I still spotted three black bears during the drive, together with elk, chipmunks and more.
Countries visited: 36
Favourite city: Kelowna
Top tip: Canada is all about the great outdoors, and in the summer it’s perfect for getting out on the water on a canoe or paddleboard adventure. If you like to get off the beaten track, head to Revelstoke; home to the Columbia Mountains and the glistening Lake Revelstoke this is a real water sports haven.
If bald eagle-spotting, beautiful waterfalls and hidden coves don’t get your adrenaline pumping then challenge yourself to white-water rafting and take on the rapids of the Illecillewaet River. To relax, pack a picnic and go to Williamson Lake for a leisurely afternoon and a dip in the warmest waters in the area.
Countries visited: 12
Favourite city: Vancouver
Top tip: I’ve stayed at a few hotels in Canada, but The Fairmont Royal York in Toronto is my favourite as it was one of the first to get its own beehive and produce its own honey, setting a trend throughout the Fairmont hotel chain. I am also lucky enough to have been on the Rocky Mountaineer, which encourages a lower impact than travelling by car, to help protect the environment. They also work closely with the Fairmont – luxury done sensibly.
You too can travel on the Rocky Mountaineer with Flight Centre’s 9-day itinerary, priced from £3,135 per person. This includes direct flights with WestJet, transfers, hand-picked accommodation, a Journey through the Clouds in SilverLeaf Service and tours.
All of these tips come from Flight Centre’s expert staff, who are based everywhere from Head Office to high-street stores all over the world. Armed with their insider knowledge and excellent contacts, they can tailor-make your perfect holiday to Canada, combining its best cities and natural wonders.
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