Canada is known for its natural beauty and stunning landscapes, and has long been a favourite destination for tourists from around the world. And, while Canadians have always enjoyed the open road, the pandemic has fueled a newfound love for the outdoors and a greater desire to get back behind the wheel and explore their own country, according to a new poll conducted by Leger Marketing on behalf of Toyota Canada.
While the majority of Canadians (73%) have had to change their summer vacation plans due to the pandemic, and eight in ten (84%) Canadians plan to stay closer to home than usual, many (43%) feel this summer could be the perfect time to explore Canada via a road trip (as soon as it is safe to do so*).
As we approach summer, and when its safe to do so,here are some of Canada’s landmarks, monuments and picturesque drives to consider exploring on your next fun-packed daytrip!
- Mighty Fraser Circle Route - Follow the Mighty Fraser Circle Route from Vancouver to Lillooet and back, and discover ancient traditions, historic sites, and outdoor adventures as you visit the small communities that call BC’s largest river home.
- Pacific Marine Circle Route - This coast-to-coast journey on Vancouver Island offers panoramic views of the Juan de Fuca, Haro and Georgia straits, as well as the Saanich Peninsula.
- World's Largest Totem Pole - At 173 feet tall, the wooden tribal totem in Alert Bay, British Columbia is the tallest tower of its kind in the entire world. While most totem poles represent a single family, this one is meant to represent different factions of the Kwakwaka’wakw people. The figures include the Sun Man, a whale, an old man, a wolf, the Thunderbird, and its cousin, the Kulusł, a two-headed serpent, a bear holding a salmon, and a raven holding copper.
- A-maze-ing Laughter - This artwork is a legacy of the Vancouver Biennale.It has quickly become an iconic cultural beacon in the city and will continue to inspire and engage the imagination of future generations of residents and visitors from its home in Morton Park.
- The Highwood Pass Loop - The Highwood Pass Loop is one of the most varied and scenic one-day drives in Canada, providing a true Rockies experience. It can easily be done as a day trip from Calgary, Canmore or Banff, and is loved by RVers, bikers, and motorists alike. This driving loop can take a full day (with stops and activities) or can be done in just three or four hours as a scenic drive.
- Crowsnest Highway - Stretching from Southern Alberta all the way to Vancouver, British Columbia, the Crowsnest Highway route is full of mining history and beautiful scenery for a drive. The Alberta portion starts a couple hours south of Calgary, with the charming towns of Bellevue, Hillcrest, Blairmore and Coleman offering opportunities to explore the area’s coal mining history, with picturesque hikes and quaint mom-and-pop shops along the way.
- Big Head Sculpture - Alberta-based artist Alan Henderson was commissioned to build a sculpture for the town of Canmore and found inspiration in the town’s name. It’s named after Ceannmore on the northwest shore of Scotland, which was in turn named after King Malcolm III, who was also called Malcolm Canmore. In Gaelic, Ceannmore means “big head,” and that’s exactly what Henderson produced.
- Talus Dome - Placed beside the renovated Quesnell Bridge, Talus Dome is both a sculpture in the landscape and a mirror to the landscape. Composed of nearly 1,000 handcrafted stainless steel spheres forming an abstract talus shape, the sculpture reflects the sky, weather and the river of cars that pass by it.
- The Shores of Lake Winnipeg - You might be surprised to learn that Lake Winnipeg is even larger than Lake Ontario - which means it has a lot of coastline to explore. One great route is from Gimli to Riverton along the gravel Highway 222, taking you through Camp Pemberton and Hnausa Beach Provincial Parks, both of which both offer stunning views.
- Regina to Qu’Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan - Carved out by water from glaciers some 14,000 years ago, the Qu’Appelle Valley is home to three of the province’s smaller, but very popular provincial parks: Crooked Lake, Echo Valley and Katepwa Point. The drive time is under four hours and includes some fun things to see along the way and a destination with lush, green valleys and scenic beauty.
- Mac the Moose Monument - You’ll want to make point of visiting Mac. He’s a steel and concrete moose located just off of the Trans-Canada highway next to the Moose Jaw visitors' centre. Apparently, he’s the world's largest moose, measuring more than 10 metres (34 feet) tall and tipping the scales at about 10 tonnes (10,000 kg).
- The Loyalist Parkway - The Loyalist Parkway hugs the shoreline of Lake Ontario and there are many scenic rest stops and picnic areas at the roadside. Throughout the 94km of the parkway, you can experience recreational opportunities that range from swimming, fishing and boating, to exploring historical homes and museums, and nature trails abundant with wildlife.
- The Long Sault Parkway - Set between the major cities of Kingston and Montreal is the Long Sault Parkway, a 10-kilometre long road that connects a collection of eleven islands on the St. Lawrence River. The parkway is visually beautiful and has significant history surrounding it.A drive around the area allows you to explore the wonders and stories of the attractions along the way.
- Giant Toonie - This 27-foot tall statue of the iconic silver and gold two dollar coin was constructed in 2001 as a monument to Canadian nature artist Brent Townsend, who created the now-iconic polar bear image on the ‘tails’ side of the coin. Townsend created the artwork in Campbellford, thus deeming this quiet riverside town the birthplace of the Toonie.
- Wawa Goose–Close to the gorgeous shores of Lake Superior, this giant metal goose has been drawing in motorists from the nearby Trans-Canada highway for over 50 years, and the giant fowl’s popularity doesn’t appear to be flying the coop anytime soon.
- St. Lawrence Route - Enjoy a unique view of the St. Lawrence River and discover the beautiful Charlevoix region on this 78-kilometre road. In addition to art and history museums, original water and windmills can be discovered on this road trip. You’ll also have the opportunity to board the ferry to wander around L’Isle-aux-Coudres, a 23 km island.
- Route des Belles-Histoires - Named after the popular TV series, Les Belles Histoires des Pays d’en Haut, that originally aired in 1956 in Quebec, this route crosses the Laurentides region, north of Montréal, from one train station to another where the P’tit Train du Nord used to stop. Go back in time by stopping at some of these stations and learn more about the historic significance of the region’s iconic railway.
- The Bas-Saint-Laurent - Gaspesie Tour - This part of Quebec is definitely a must-see and the path to get there is a road trip you won’t forget. It will take you about 10 days to go from La Pocatière to Kamouraska in order to discover the whole Gaspé Peninsula. While discovering breathtaking landscapes - including the renowned Percé Rock - take a breath of fresh sea air and enjoy some outdoor activities on the way.
- Le Grand Rassemblement (The Grand Gathering) - Alongside the Centre d'art Marcel Gagnon in Sainte-Flavie, more than 100 statues stand in the waters of the St. Lawrence River. This unique natural artwork, made by Marcel Gagnon himself, is inspired by the movement of the sea and its tides and is, thus, in continuous transformation.
- Sunrise Trail - This awesome summer road trip will take you along Nova Scotia’s North Shore, with views of sandy beaches and the scenic Northumberland Strait. Begin your journey in Amherst and wind along the shore while making stops in Tatamagouche, Pictou, New Glasgow and Auld’s Cove along the way.
- Viking Trail- This beautiful drive to Newfoundland's northern tip is one of Canada's best road trips and provides a wild and solitary ride, with views of bizarre geology and wind-raked coastline; the road ends at one of North America's great historic sites: L'Anse aux Meadows.
- Glooscap Statue - The Glooscap Statue was built to be 40 feet tall to represent the tides in the Bay of Fundy. There is a garden around the courtyard where berries and medicinal herbs are grown to supply the Millbrook First Nation. All the trees and plants are edible and were part of the traditional diet of the Mi’kmaq.
- World’s Largest Lobster- Located in Shediac, New Brunswick, the self-proclaimed “Lobster Capital of the World,” the massive concrete, steel and fiberglass sea bug acts as both mascot and monstrous vision. It's 35 feet long and sits atop a craggy concrete base positioned right at the entrance to town so none of the hundreds of thousands of people who visit Shediac each year forget exactly who is in charge: lobsters.
*The purpose of this study was to better understand the perspective of Canadians in terms of taking a road trip this coming summer. Given the extent of COVID-19 restrictions across the country, a disclaimer was provided to respondents up front as follows: We understand that each province is currently abiding by its own set of COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines. This survey only intends to get a better idea of Canadians’ opinions and perspectives for the upcoming months. Therefore, when answering questions about the future, we ask you to imagine a time in the upcoming months, assuming that such government orders and restrictions have been lifted.