How I Visited 11 of Canada’s National Parks in 11 Years

I’m a big fan of Parks Canada nation­al parks. I don’t vis­it them enough to have an annu­al pass, but when­ev­er there is one close to where I am and I have the time to vis­it it, I will vis­it it. My log­ic is, there must be some­thing very spe­cial about a park that they had to turn it into a nation­al park so it must be worth a vis­it. I still have yet to be dis­ap­point­ed by a vis­it to a nation­al park and real­ly wish that I could vis­it them more often. In my defense, the clos­est nation­al park to where I live is about 3–4 hours dri­ve away so it’s not like I could just walk to one. ;-)

Any­way, in my 11 years of liv­ing in Canada, I have man­aged to vis­it 11 of Canada’s nation­al parks in 8 provinces. I’m one of the few lucky Cana­di­ans to have had the chance to vis­it all 10 Cana­di­an provinces. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I didn’t get the chance to vis­it any nation­al parks when I was in New Brunswick and Man­i­to­ba due to one rea­son or anoth­er. But I’m sure I’ll get around to it some­day. Wapusk Nation­al Park in Man­i­to­ba and Fundy Nation­al Park in New Brunswick are high on the list of nation­al parks I’d like to vis­it!
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A Day Trip to Forillon National Park in Gaspésie, Quebec

I’m a big fan of nation­al parks. Doesn’t mat­ter where they are or which coun­try they belong to. If there is one with­in a dri­ving dis­tance from where I am, I’m so there! Nat­u­ral­ly I had to pay Foril­lon Nation­al Park (Quebec’s first nation­al park) a vis­it while we were in Gaspé Penin­su­la even though it would take us about 90 min­utes of dri­ving to get there from where we were stay­ing in Per­cé. When you live in a coun­try as big as Canada, 90 min­utes of dri­ving is noth­ing. :-)

Before we left Per­cé, we stopped by Boulan­gerie Le Four­nand, a local bak­ery, to pick up some tasty pas­tries for the trip. We ate some on our dri­ve up to Gaspé and saved the rest for a lit­tle pic­nic in the park. We decid­ed to have brunch at Restau­rant Cafe Des Artis­tes in Gaspé to refu­el before we head­ed into the park because we all know that hun­gry Fir­da is hangry Fir­da! :-D I had the shrimp panini sand­wich. It was sim­ple but tasty and also quite fill­ing.
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A Sunset Drive in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island

Some­times when I’m wrong, I’m very, very wrong. Case in point: I was so sure we didn’t stay in Cavendish the last time we were in Prince Edward Island (PEI) 10 years ago, but one look into my blog archive and I found that yes, we sure did stay in Cavendish! And yet, we didn’t vis­it the Prince Edward Island Nation­al Park. How did that hap­pen (or rather, not hap­pen)? How could we pos­si­bly miss it? Well, I guess it doesn’t real­ly mat­ter now because when we were in Cavendish in May this year, we made it to the PEI Nation­al Park (at least the Cavendish part of it) and have pic­tures to prove it!

Anoth­er thing I was wrong about was that you can’t see a good sun­set in Cavendish because it’s locat­ed in the north­ern shore of the island. One look into the Cavendish coast at sun­set and I knew I was wrong again. I usu­al­ly hate it when I’m wrong, but this time I was hap­py about it, because the sun­set we saw was pret­ty spec­tac­u­lar! The wildlife at sun­set wasn’t too bad either. I think we saw about half a dozen red fox­es. And a bun­ny. Nev­er for­get the bun­ny!
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West Iceland’s Hvalfjörđur: Worth A Detour

I’ve been think­ing about our lit­tle detour around West Iceland’s Hvalfjörđur (Whale fjord) a lot late­ly. I don’t know why. It could be that I’m just miss­ing Ice­land in gen­er­al and the dri­ve around Hvalfjörđur was the last item in our itin­er­ary before we head­ed down to Reyk­javik to spend the last two nights of our two week road trip around Ice­land, so it was one of my last mem­o­ries of Ice­land. But it could also be because it was sur­pris­ing­ly beau­ti­ful. Like, breath­tak­ing­ly beau­ti­ful.

Hvalfjörđur used to be a busy route because it used to be the only way for peo­ple in Reyk­javik to get to the town of Bor­gar­nes, which is like the gate­way to the beau­ti­ful Snae­fell­snes Penin­su­la. How­ev­er, in the late 1990s, the tun­nel Hvalf­jarðargöng­in was opened for pub­lic. For a small fee, peo­ple are now able to bypass the 62 km detour around Hvalfjörđur by tak­ing the tun­nel. When we were there two years ago, the Hvalfjörđur route had very lit­tle traf­fic. Dri­ving around the fjord on a driz­zly and fog­gy day, I felt like we were the last two peo­ple on Earth!
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Perce and Île Bonaventure: Birds, Boats, and Beyond

Some places you just know you’re going to love even before you’ve ever been there. Per­cé is one of those places for me. Every time I saw a pic­ture of Per­cé Rock, I fell more and more in love with the idea of vis­it­ing it. Of course I had to add it into our Québec itin­er­ary. And when we final­ly made it to Per­cé and saw the big rock, it was love at first sight for me. Who knew you could fall in love with a big chunk of rock. ;-)

While we were hang­ing out at the mari­na, tak­ing pic­tures of the rock at sun­set after a long dri­ve from Prince Edward Island, we saw what would be my new favourite ani­mal: the north­ern gan­nets! We were simul­ta­ne­ous­ly impressed and amused by the way the sea birds dive into the water to catch fish. So con­fi­dent, with no reser­va­tion what­so­ev­er. They sure know what they’re doing! I just knew I want­ed to get to know them bet­ter. So, on the next day, we bought our tick­ets for a boat tour around the Per­cé Rock and a round trip to Île Bonaven­ture, where the world’s most acces­si­ble north­ern gan­net colony in the world is locat­ed.
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A Visit to the Beautiful Iles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec

I had been want­i­ng to vis­it Iles-de-la-Madeleine (Mag­dalen Islands) ever since I saw some beau­ti­ful pic­tures of it that some­one post­ed to Flickr about three years ago. We already made the deci­sion to go to Ice­land by then so the idea to vis­it the islands just stayed in the back of my mind, up until ear­lier this year. You see, this year in May we cel­e­brat­ed the 10th year of us being togeth­er as a mar­ried cou­ple, so we were bound for a big road trip!

For our hon­ey­moon 10 years ago, we went for a two-week road trip all over the Cana­di­an Mar­itimes, which was amaz­ing. Except for a night we spent in Que­bec City at the end of the trip, we pret­ty much just skipped Que­bec. Deep down I knew we must’ve missed out a lot by skip­ping Que­bec, so, for our 10th anniver­sary road trip, I told my hus­band that I’d like to see more of Que­bec, includ­ing Iles-de-la-Madeleine.
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