Keep up to date with the weekly Sightseer newsletter. Sign up today.
Postponed openings and tourism-revival efforts are combining to yield a bumper crop of new diversions across the country. Consider adding the following to your travel calendar this year.
Museums, exhibits and special events
Bluenose 100th Anniversary Celebrations, Nova Scotia
The centennial of the launch of Canada’s most famous tall ship – you know, the one on the dime – is scheduled to kick off with a March birthday event in Lunenburg. The events that follow, which depend on pandemic restrictions being eased, will include a celebratory festival in August, 100 days of Bluenose II harbour tours highlighting the history of the replica’s predecessor, night markets, dory and schooner races and a parade of sail. Lunenburg’s Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic is also expanding its Bluenose exhibit.
Canadian Niagara Power Generating Station, Niagara Falls, Ont.
Fifteen years after producing its last kilowatt, the ornate National Historic Site just above Horseshoe Falls is scheduled to begin its new life in July as a home to interactive hydroelectricity exhibits and an immersive sound and light experience.
Originally scheduled to open in the fall of 2020, the 40,000-square-foot facility formerly known as the Inuit Art Centre is now targeting late February to begin displaying more than 14,000 artworks held in trust by the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
The Rolling Stones | Unzipped, THEMUSEUM, Kitchener, Ont.
Following engagements across Europe, the United States, Australia and Asia, the first international exhibition by and about one of the highest-grossing live acts of all time will debut in Canada on Nov. 30. It features hundreds of original artifacts and memorabilia spanning the Stones’ 59-year journey.
Picasso. Bodies, Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec, Quebec City
Designed by the Musée national Picasso-Paris in collaboration with the MNBAQ, this June-to-September exhibit will feature 77 works, including masterpieces such as Man with a Guitar and The Acrobat.
Rembrandt in Amsterdam: Creativity and Competition, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
Timed to coincide with the blooming of the Dutch master’s namesake purple, pink and white flowers during the Canadian Tulip Festival, the National Gallery is hosting its first major Rembrandt exhibition from May 14 to Sept. 6.
Ice bikes, Calgary
Along with a new 1.6-kilometre skating trail, the municipal government recently launched what is said to be Canada’s first fleet of ice bikes in Bowness Park. Mounted on sled-like metal frames, the single-speed bikes are available to rent for $20 an hour. calgary.ca
Interzip Rogers, Ottawa
Billed as “the world’s first interprovincial zipline,” Interzip Rogers is slated to start linking Ottawa and Gatineau this spring after its summer-2020 launch was delayed by the pandemic. The 425-metre-long twin cables will offer unique views of Parliament Hill and its surroundings from 37 metres above the Ottawa River.
Mountain Bay Cliffs, Canada’s Wonderland, Vaughan, Ont.
The country’s largest theme park never opened in 2020, which means guests will have to wait until May at the earliest to leap from ledges that top out at 7.5 metres above the Splash Works pools below.
Little Canada, Toronto
Another COVID-19 casualty, this $17-million display of five miniature cities and regions, mostly built to a 1:87 ratio, is now aiming to open in Yonge-Dundas Square as soon as possible this year.
Open Top Touring, Banff, Alta.
As was the case for much of 2020, Banff Avenue will be closed to vehicles during this summer to allow for physical distancing and continuing construction along the town’s main drag. One block west, however, work on Bear Street is slated to be completed before September, giving pedestrians, cyclists and motorists a more equal share of the lively thoroughfare. Those motorists will include whoever is at the wheel of the new vintage-inspired open-roof coaches that will be offering guided tours of the town and surrounding area for up to 10 passengers.
The great outdoors
Malahat Skywalk, B.C.
A 40-minute drive southwest of the BC Ferries terminal in Sidney, this 600-metre walk through lush arbutus forest culminates in a 32-metre-tall spiral ramp offering views of Finlayson Arm, Saanich Peninsula, Mount Baker and the distant Coast Mountains.
Rocky Mountain Adventure Park, Golden, B.C.
This canyon-spanning complex is slated to include 110- and 200-metre-long suspension bridges, a bungee jump and bungee swing, several lookout platforms, and a network of walking trails with interpretive signage when it opens this summer.
Parks Canada bookings
Online and phone reservations for all manner of Parks Canada accommodations will open on staggered dates throughout April instead of January to give visitors more time to consider the latest COVID-19 measures. New lodging options include the teardrop-shaped Oasis cabins in the Forillon and Mingan Archipelago national parks, and Mount Revelstoke’s three new MicrOcubes.
For sporty types
West Bowl, Lake Louise Ski Resort, Alta.
It’s been a quarter-century since Canada’s third-largest ski area unveiled new terrain – such are the limitations of being located in a national park – but the 480-acre West Bowl sure looks like it was worth the wait. Accessed via a new quadruple chairlift, the former backcountry area is strewn with steeps, bowls and glades suitable for intermediate, advanced and expert riders.
Soar and Explore, Bella Coola Heli Sports, B.C.
Well-heeled skiers and snowboarders who’ve done it all may want to take note of this new all-inclusive package offered by Maple Leaf Adventures and Bella Coola Heli Sports. Starting at $319,000 for up to eight people, it combines eight days of heli-skiing across 3.25 million acres of remote Coast Mountain terrain with a luxury cruise aboard the helipad-equipped MV Cascadia catamaran.
Club Med Quebec Charlevoix
Originally scheduled to open in time for the 2020 holiday season, Canada’s first Club Med resort is now accepting reservations for all-inclusive stays starting Dec. 3, 2021. The $120-million property is set at the base of Le Massif de Charlevoix’s ski slopes, with local diversions such as whale-watching and golf spanning all four seasons.
Constella Cabin Collective, Red Mountain Resort, B.C.
These six overnight cabins, along with a central clubhouse, are tucked into Paradise Basin on Granite Mountain, providing direct ski access to Red’s Paradise Chairlift and to the myriad mountain biking and hiking trails that criss-cross the resort and surrounding area.
Rest and relaxation
Thermëa Spa Village, Whitby, Ont.
Now slated to open this spring after a two-year delay, this $20-million spa complex will be the third from Quebec’s Nordik Group and the first in Ontario. The 700-guest facility will include a range of hot, cold and saltwater flotation pools, as well as saunas, steam rooms, dozens of massage and resting areas, and three dining areas.