While many of us kept our travels closer to home throughout 2021, dreams of experiences still to come continue to inspire!
Here at the West Coast Traveller, we’re excited to share some of the many possibilities awaiting discovery throughout the West Coast of Canada and the United States. From standing below the northern lights in the Yukon to hiking historic trails on Vancouver Island to tips to exploring California’s wine country, we’ve taken you there.
As we embark on a brand new year, here’s a look back at some of our favourite features from the past 12 months – come explore with us!
As a vibrant city perfectly positioned between ocean and sea, Vancouver is internationally renowned. Back in January, we looked at your perfect downtown Vancouver visit – in 48 hours – ideal for those looking for a quick escape, or building in a visit during a layover.
Heading below the sea in February, we took readers to the Alberni Inlet on Vancouver Island, where the wreck of a former migrant ship at China Creek Marina is now an artificial reef and official dive site “completely teeming with marine wildlife.”
In March, we met Sarah Tokarek, the person behind the Shuswap Adventure Girl blog. Born in the Yukon, today Tokarek shares her hiking experiences throughout the Shuswap, along with a wealth of information about local trails. Looking for a way to get outdoors with young children, the family began heading out on weekends to hike the region’s numerous trail systems: “Every single weekend, we’d grab a back-road map book, we’d grab the trail guide, we go… all over the place, we do it all,” Tokarek says.
And don’t forget our March trip to experience winter in the Yukon, from the comfort of home!
April brought the opportunity to explore 5 Must-see tourist attractions in Northern British Columbia, from the spectacular Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark to the SGang Gwaay UNESCO World Heritage Site on the southern tip of the Haida Gwaii archipelago. If you’re looking for a way to expand your explorations in British Columbia, you’ll find it here!
April also introduced readers to Jonas and Gillian, a young couple making their home on a 1978 Catalina 30 sailboat in Victoria’s Inner Harbour, and sharing with us their explorations of coastal BC.
May brought the Royal BC Museum’s Orca’s exhibit, a unique look at these remarkable creatures and our relationship with them. In creating a life-size model of the orca J1, or “Ruffles,” for the exhibit, Dr. Gavin Hanke “asked a colleague how big to make Ruffles, and he said, make him big. Add some more. Then when you think it is ridiculously large, add a bit more.”
Spring stories also took us to Alberta’s Dark Sky Preserves and the spectacular views awaiting star-gazers.
Summer is made for thrill-seekers and in June, we upped the adventure with an adrenaline-filled weekend in the Comox Valley. From exploring the heights of Mt. Washington via zipline to traversing the mountain bike trails of Cumberland, we took you there!
July took readers to the sky-high views from the south Island’s newest attraction, the Malahat Skywalk, a collaboration with the Malahat First Nations, and farther north, to meet the Alert Bay Trumpeter yearning to serenade cruise ships once again: “I’m not the best trumpeter in the world, but certainly the loudest,” Jerry Higginson says, musing that his gift for uniting a crowd may come from his ancestors, who were chiefs in Bella Bella and the Comox Valley.
BC’s Freedom Road was just a read away with 7 adventures in the Central Coast – paddling, hiking, climbing and more amid the breathtaking beauty between Bella Coola and Nimpo Lake.
A bucket-list hike for many, A hiker’s guide to Vancouver Island’s Cape Scott Trail took our armchair travellers along for the August journey, “so far from anything that even Vancouver Islanders say it’s a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.”
A little more accessible, but equally stunning was the Sunshine Circle we travelled, beginning with a whale watching adventure in Telegraph Cove and continuing on the mainland side of the Strait of Georgia with a roadtrip along the picturesque Sunshine Coast.
In September, we ventured with the Rocky Mountaineer along an “epic West Coast train trip ranked the world’s most Instagrammable journey” and discovered Why this Alaska-to-Yukon hike should be on every adventurer’s list for 2022 – better start planning!
Biking is big adventure in British Columbia, and in October, we explored how in Nelson’s forests, trail building becomes an art, as “every path a hiker walks, every bridge a bike rattles over was hand-crafted by people who carefully part the forests and maintain a network of trails with the eyes and hands of artisans.”
Keeping with the cycling theme, November introduced the Kootenay mountain bike trails poised to become a global destination for athletes with disabilities. Here, the Kootenay Adaptive Sport Association is adapting physical and social environments to allow more people to get active and challenge themselves in the great outdoors, often using a three- or four-wheel off-road hand cycle.
One of the tastiest features of the year took us to the Yukon and “the best tapas north of 60,” where Dawson’s BonTon & Company was included in the annual list of best new restaurants produced by Air Canada and OpenTable.
And in December, the West Coast Traveller explored with Indigenous leaders like Mike Retasket how storytelling in tourism can support truth and reconciliation. A storyteller, Traditional Pipe Carrier, Dancer, Drummer and Singer, Retasket is among the many personally impacted by residential schools, and incorporates some of that history in his work at Barkerville Historic Town and Park. “Three generations of my family attended Kamloops Residential School. But our language survived. Our songs survived. Our ceremonies survived,” Retasket says.
Here’s looking forward to the new journeys we’ll take with you in 2022!
Plan your adventures throughout the West Coast at westcoasttraveller.com and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @thewestcoasttraveller. And for the top West Coast Travel stories of the week delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our weekly Armchair Traveller newsletter!