Meghan Young shares how traveling the world helped her fall in love with Canada and the 5 spots she wants you to see for yourself.
By now it’s clear that I love to travel. I’ve made a priority of it since my first big trip away to Cyprus and Egypt when I was 20. I’ve gone on tangents explaining why it’s important to expand your four walls beyond the city — the country — you live in, yet one of the things I’m most proud of is the fact that I’ve managed to explore a good chunk of Canada. Once you get a taste for travel, it’s easy to get caught up in the allure of the exotic. Yet appreciating where you’re from beyond your own immediate surroundings is just as fulfilling. Especially if you call Canada home.
I’ve been fortunate enough to end up on both the west and east coasts of Canada — not to mention discovering Ontario as well — and have fallen in love with the country over and over again because of it. You don’t have to travel far to have an adventure. Here are the top 5 spots I’ve travelled to personally, all of which embrace Flow Water’s latest campaign, “From Canada, With Love.”
VANCOUVER AND TOFINO
I lived in Vancouver for a couple years in my mid-twenties. It was there that I truly learned to love Canada. Up until this point, I don’t think I had travelled much within the country. While Vancouver itself is a beautiful city with tons to do (Grouse Grind, Seawall, etc.), it was also close to so many sights in British Colombia in general. I loved surfing in Tofino, skiing in Whistler, horseback riding in Kelowna and camping under glaciers at Joffre Lakes.
The kind of nature you find just outside of Vancouver may not be as accessible in Ontario, but it’s still there. When I moved back to Toronto, It became a mission of mine to discover the beauty of my home province. Thankfully, my dad and mom moved out of the city (separately), allowing my brother and I to appreciate smaller towns a couple hours outside for the city. But I also wanted to see even more. A couple summers ago I finally made my way to the Bruce Peninsula and fell in love with Flower Pot Island. The rock formations were incredible to behold. As bonus spots in Ontario, I also highly recommend Elora Gorge and Cheltenham Badlands.
I always thought it was fascinating that many foreigners were more familiar with Vancouver and Montreal than they were Toronto. But after visiting Montreal a few times over the years, I understand the appeal of the Euro-Canadian city. Although it might be an obvious choice on my list to visit, I’ve been consistently surprised at the amount of people I know who have yet to visit this charming destination with its incredible food, beautiful old quarters and, of course, rich culture.
CALGARY AND BANFF
I’ve always wanted to go to Banff and somehow never made it there while living on the west coast. So when a friend asked me to go there and Calgary with her, I was extremely excited. Banff was as breathtakingly beautiful as I expected and Calgary won me over with a surprise bid for my affections. As an avid cyclist, I loved the safe bike paths that connected the small city perfectly. The food scene was also impressive and overall the vibe was warm and welcoming.
PEI AND THE RED SAND SHORES
My first real taste of Canada was a road trip my dad took us on while I was in high school. We drove east all the way to PEI, stopping for sights and towns along the way. Although I remember having the best time, unfortunately I don’t remember many details from the trip itself. But what I do remember is making it to PEI and heading straight to the Red Sand Shores. My dad had been so excited to see it in person and it was everything he had hoped for. I would love to go back as an adult to soak it all up again.
These are a few of the places I’ve been to, but I have a never-ending list of where I want to go next in Canada. Here are my top 3 destinations to check out next:
As I mentioned, I teamed up with Flow Water in writing this post and I have some exciting news to share. The new Flow packs have a UID number, which you submit here to be entered into a contest for a chance to win a wellness retreat to Quebec City, Tofino or Grafton! There are 2 grand prize winners, plus gift cards + Flow water vouchers. Good luck!
This post originally appeared on meghanyoung.ca