Canada and Australia.
Bold young countries, built on recent adventure.
Some similarities. Some differences.
These days those two factors help to drive plenty of happy traffic between them.
It was just over 200 years ago they were each setting out on multi-fronted journeys to become the countries they are today. Both have British heritage, not just English. You have to recognise the major influence of the Scots and the Welsh and the Irish in the early days of both settlements.
It’s our birthday but you get the presents.
This year is Canada’s 150th birthday.
On July 1 1867 the British colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were united into one dominion of Canada. The old province of Canada was divided into Ontario and Quebec. Since then there have been many more changes and expansions to bring this land to its present configuration of ten provinces and three territories.
It has been a long and winding road, but this year the sesquicentennial candles are on the cake.
A few weeks back TML attended a most generous presentation in Sydney.
Generous not just because of the super lunch provided, which included some superb examples of their craft beers, but the generosity of a roomful of folk intimately involved in Canadian Tourism. Most had recently taken the long trip downunder just to share their time and knowledge. Their choice of name for this event set the tone: Canada Corroboree.
These people are the faces of hospitality and adventure enterprises large and small.
An exciting line-up.
Shall we run through the presenters? We shall.
Firstly we heard from Donna Campbell of Destination Canada, based in Australia. She told us that visits from Aussies to Canada was up 17% on the previous year and she gave just a few reasons: the sheer scale of the wilderness, the diversity of the cities with myriad enjoyable events, skiing (of course) and all in all a better understanding of the true spirit of Canada.
She then introduced the teams that make it such a worthwhile visit. Each of them were limited to just a few minutes to make their mark. Indeed they did.
Richard from One Ocean Expeditions opened up on Arctic history and culture and extraordinary sea journeys.
Darcy from Banff & Lake Louise Alive told us that bison had just returned to Banff National Park for the first time in a century.
We were transported to Yukon and the historic Chilkoot Trail that follows the path of the old goldminers through pristine wilderness.
Lizzie from Destination British Columbia introduced us to super, natural BC with its sophisticated big cities and it superb snow adventures.
Estelle couldn’t wait to enthuse about the beauty and adventure in Jasper outlining the Festival in January for the ultimate Winter experience.
Sophie took us aboard the Rocky Mountaineer where sipping local wines in 1st class comfort you may hear someone call “Bear on the right.”
Jaqueline introduced us to the revolutionary Sparkling Hill Resort and Spa in the Okanagan Valley which also boasts more than 130 wineries.
Nancy loves Calgary in Alberta the agricultural province, your stopover not only for scenery, but for fine dining and drinking.
Trevor got our attention in words and music with his description of the Calgary Stampede, held in the first week of July. Exciting stuff!
Pause for the main course, then …
Marg showed us Great Bear Lodge on Vancouver Island, floating on a breathtaking lake. What should you see there? Bears, of course.
More excitement? Rockies Heli Canada takes you up, above and beyond the ordinary for unique ice lake and wildlife tours.
Brigitte from Travel Manitoba describes ‘where Canada’s heart beats’ a land of 100,000 lakes the home of bear, elk and moose.
Gillian is rightly proud of Fairmont Hotels. There are 19 of them from East to West including the magical Banff Springs and Lake Louise.
Ainsley from New Territories Tourism drove us beside the Arctic Ocean and assured us we had a 90-100% chance to gasp at the Aurora Borealis.
Josephine proudly presents BC Rail and some of the world’s greatest train journeys. The Pan Canadian takes you from one end to the other in 6 nights and 7 days.
Richard represents the Atlantic Provinces. (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland & Labrador). Icebergs, whales. Tough territory with fun people and sublime seafood.
Kim takes us back for more of Alberta a movie-maker’s paradise with heartwarming people.
Eliza introduces Brewster Travel provider of amazing travel experiences since 1892 and the Viad Flyover Canada a virtual experience that takes you right across the country.
Elizabeth is from Frontiers North Adventures. Rug up for award-winning tours right into the heart of polar bear country.
See for yourself.
Unfortunately we can’t show you the images, the sounds, the humour and the passion these ambassadors wowed us with us on the day, but you can pick up the essence of their messages on this website.
And of course they have enough room to fit you in when you choose to call in to their hometowns.
Here we go: www.canada.travel