Just came back from a trip to Canada where I visited wonderful places, met with great people and saw amazing things. Like many Canadians living in the east part of the country I never had a chance to visit the west. It's funny that I decided to go there now that I live in Europe! But I did, and it was a tremendous experience.
The main plan was to visit my family in Quebec and then a friend in Tofino on Vancouver Island. Now that's a lot of km's!! After looking at the various options, we decided to fly to Montreal for a week, then fly to Vancouver for a couple days (including truck rental to Tofino), then fly to Calgary and drive another truck to the glaciers before flying back to Montreal and then France. The best way to fly from Nice to Montreal is with Air Transat which offer direct flights (except in the winter). We then opted for multi-destination flights with Air Canada between Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and then Montreal. Everything went very smoothly, no delays, no luggage losses and even a nice upgrade on the truck in Vancouver. We actually got a 10-seat Ford Expedition Max for the price of an Explorer! While we never felt hotel reservations were a problem on our way, most of our stays were booked in advance, except for some hotspot locations where we needed more flexibility (i.e. Banff, Lake Louise, etc.).
Meeting with our friend in Tofino was certainly a high point in our trip. This place is a little corner of paradise and the people we met there were fantastic. Getting to Tofino is a 3 hour drive once you get out of the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo (1h30). Stopping by MacMillan's old-grown forest is an absolute must. Do not hesitate to stop here and there on your way up to Tofino to discover the area. You can't go wrong, everything is beautiful.
Of course another big thing in the trip was the discovering the Rockies. From Calgary you can get to Banff in just 2 hours and another 30-45 for Lake Louise. Just take Trans-Canada Highway 1/Ice-Fields Parkway 93. We decided to push further to Jasper and that was a very good decision. I would say the landscape between Banff and Jasper is the most amazing. I would feel very sad if Lake Louise had been our last destination. Coming from so far, we had to go up to Jasper.
We brought the truck back a day in advance because we also wanted to visit Calgary and enjoy a meal at Caesar's. If you want to try some of the best steak in town, that's the place to go! We walked all day and used the shuttle back to the airport where we had a room at Delta. Thanks to the staff there for being so helpful and kind.
Planning a trip to BC and/or Alberta is not complicated, most services are easy to find and use. The roads are well maintained and the scenery is fantastic. Yet a bit of planning is always a good thing and the experience is very positive. Connecting with nature over there is the big thing and I'm pretty sure we'll be back before long.
© Normand Primeau