Canada is a big place, extreme in every sense of the word. Our latest travel trivia quiz takes a look at the biggest and longest geographic extremes of the Great White North and asks you to test your knowledge:
As part of its phased re-opening of the country’s international borders to fully-vaccinated travellers, the Government of Canada announced Monday that it is ending its mandatory hotel quarantine program as of August 9 and expanding the list of airports that will accept international flights into the country.
Effective August 9, 2021, international flights carrying passengers will be permitted to land at the following five additional Canadian airports in addition to Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary:
- Halifax Stanfield International Airport
- Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport
- Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport
- Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport
- Edmonton International Airport.
These airports, in cooperation with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency and Transport Canada, are working to implement the measures necessary to safely welcome international passengers as soon as possible after August 9, as conditions dictate.
As of that date, Canada plans to begin allowing entry to American citizens and permanent residents, who are currently residing in the United States, and have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to entering Canada for non-essential travel. This preliminary step allows for the Government of Canada to fully operationalize the adjusted border measures ahead of September 7, 2021, and recognizes the many close ties between Canadians and Americans.
On September 7, 2021, provided that the domestic epidemiologic situation remains favourable, the government intends to open Canada’s borders to any fully-vaccinated travellers who have completed the full course of vaccination with a Government of Canada-accepted vaccine at least 14 days prior to entering Canada and who meet specific entry requirements.
“Thanks to the extraordinary commitment of Canadians to getting vaccinated and following public health advice, we are seeing improvement in the public health situation in Canada. As a result, today we announced new steps in our re-opening approach, including that international flights carrying passengers will be allowed to land at five more Canadian airports,” said Transport Minister Omar Alghabra in a news release.
All travellers, regardless of vaccination status, will still require a pre-entry COVID-19 molecular test result. However effective August 9, 2021, the Government of Canada is adjusting its post-arrival testing strategy for fully vaccinated travellers. Using a new border testing surveillance program at airports and land border crossings, fully-vaccinated travellers will not need a post-arrival test unless they have been randomly selected to complete a Day 1 COVID-19 molecular test. There are no changes to the mandatory testing requirements for unvaccinated travellers.
With the advent of increased vaccination rates in Canada, declining COVID-19 cases and reduced pressure on health care capacity, the three-night government authorized hotel stay requirement will be eliminated for all travellers arriving by air as of 12:01 A.M. EDT on August 9. Fully-vaccinated travellers who meet the requirements will be exempt from quarantine; however, all travellers must still provide a quarantine plan and be prepared to quarantine, in case it is determined at the border that they do not meet the necessary requirements.
This strategy allows the Government of Canada to continue monitoring variants of concern in Canada and vaccine effectiveness. Using these layers of protection, the Government of Canada can monitor the COVID-19 situation in Canada, respond quickly to threats, and guide decisions on restricting international travel.
Subject to limited exceptions, all travellers must use ArriveCAN (app or web portal) to submit their travel information. If they are eligible to enter Canada and meet specific criteria, fully vaccinated travellers will not have to quarantine upon arrival in Canada.
While Canada continues to trend in the right direction, the epidemiological situation and vaccination coverage is not the same around the world. The Government of Canada continues to advise Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada – international travel increases your risk of exposure to COVID-19 and its variants, as well as of spreading it to others. Border measures also remain subject to change as the epidemiological situation evolves. As Canada looks to welcome fully-vaccinated travellers from the U.S., the federal government will continue to monitor the situation and provide updated travel advice to Canadians.
With the official opening of Malahat SkyWalk on British Columbia’s Vancouver Island last week, Canada has added another “skywalk” attraction.
Located about 35 minutes drive from Victoria, Malahat SkyWalk visitors embark along a 600 m (1,968 ft) elevated, wooden walkway rising 20 m (65 ft) through an arbutus and Douglas fir forest. Guests then ascend a circular ramp gently rising to the top of a 10-storey, architecturally-inspiring spiral tower lookout.
At the top of the tower, guests are 250 m (820 ft) above sea level and enjoy 360-degree views of two countries, including islands, inlets, fjords, forests and mountains in B.C. and Washington State. Also at the top, daring guests can walk on an adventure net suspended partially across the centre of the tower for another thrilling perspective.
On the descent, guests can choose to retrace their steps or take an exhilarating ride down a 20 m (65 ft) spiral slide. Available to everyone over five years of age or minimum 107 cm (42 in) tall, guests can ride as many times as they like.
Malahat SkyWalk is located on the traditional territory of the Malahat Nation and their Indigenous stories are embedded in the visitor experience.
Tickets are available online at www.malahatskywalk.com/pass and are valid for one year from date of purchase. Admission is $31.95 CAD (adult 18+), $28.95 CAD (senior 65+), $18.95 CAD (child aged 6-17) and $86.00 CAD (two adults, two children), plus taxes. Children aged five and under are free.
If you want more skywalking adventures, here are some other elevated attractions you can experience in Canada:
Columbia Icefield Skywalk
Step out on a cliff-edge walkway where giant glaciers perch above you and the spectacular Sunwapta Valley spreads out below. The Columbia Icefield Skywalk experience features waterfalls, wildlife, fossils and more on an exciting 1-kilometre walkway that leads to a platform where glass is all that separates you from a 918-foot (280 m) drop. The walk is presented in an interpretive storytelling format that will connect you to the natural world in a deep and meaningful way.
Saint John Skywalk
Saint John, New Brunswick
The Reversing Falls Rapids on the Saint John River in New Brunswick have amazed visitors for generations. As the powerful tides of the Bay of Fundy rush up the river twice per day, they reverse the direction of the river’s flow that is an unforgettable demonstration of nature’s power. Visitors can step out on the glass-bottomed skywalk that perches above the roiling waters below. There’s also an adjacent restaurant that they can visit before or after the tide’s approach
CN Tower’s Glass Floor
The granddaddy of all glass-bottomed attractions in Canada is the CN Tower’s glass floor that was the world’s first when it opened in 1994. A mere 2 1/2″ of glass keeps you safe from the ground which is 342 m (1,122 ft) below, but it’s strong enough that you can walk on it, or even jump on it, without worry. Despite those reassurances, you have to force your mind to tell you that it’s safe when you step out on the transparent 23.8 square metres (256 sq. ft) surface. If that’s not scary enough for you, then you might be ready for the EdgeWalk, where you walk outside the tower while attached with safety straps.
Even as Canada relaxes quarantine rules for vaccinated citizens on Monday, the Canada Border Services Agency is warning would-be travellers that they still aren’t allowed to enter the country for non-essential reasons.
“If you were unable to come to Canada on July 4 of this year, you can’t come in on July 5 — there’s been no change to all of the restrictions and the provisions that have been issued on that front,” Denis Vinette, CBSA vice-president, travellers branch told the CBC.
“I think we can expect, certainly in the early days, individuals believing that, you know, July 5 is here, Canada is now open for tourism, recreation and things of that nature. That is not the case,” said Vinette.
Most foreign visitors to Canada come from the United States (15 million of the 22 million total foreign visitors in 2019) and mutual travel restrictions between the two countries will remain in place until at least July 21.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has given no hints as to whether or not the restrictions will be lifted by then.
“When we start reopening so Americans and others who are fully vaccinated can come into Canada will depend on how this goes — on the data we collect, on how we’re able to keep Canadians safe even as we make adjustments to the rules,” he stated.
Previously, Canadian officials have indicated that they would like 75 per cent of eligible Canadian residents to be fully vaccinated before easing border restrictions. Ottawa has said that it expects to have enough vaccine delivered for 80 per cent of eligible Canadians to be fully vaccinated by the end of July. As of July 1, slightly more than 35 per cent of the eligible Canadian population was fully vaccinated.
According to statistics cited in a USA Today report, the U.S. Travel Association estimates that each month the border is closed costs US$1.5 billion.
Just in time for in time for Indigenous People’s Day, the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) announced the launch of their new campaign Monday, The Original Original.
The campaign aims to educate travellers, modernize their perception of Indigenous experiences and rebuild the industry, which was disproportionately devastated by the pandemic.
A key component of The Original Original is a new brand mark that will help travellers better identify and book experiences from Indigenous-owned tourism businesses across Canada.
“The Original Original campaign is a reflection of our communities as they really are: diverse, authentic, empowered and current,” said Keith Henry, president and CEO of ITAC. “Our greater mandate at ITAC is to leverage tourism to help support the revitalization and broader understanding of Indigenous culture in a way that contributes positively to Indigenous communities. The Original Original mark supports this mandate by helping travellers better distinguish and support authentic businesses, and lift our voices.”
The Original Original mark identifies tourism businesses that have been vetted by ITAC using four key criteria: the business is at least 51 per cent Indigenous-owned, it’s a business that embraces the values of Indigenous tourism, it offers a market or export-ready experience, and is an ITAC member.
The Original Original mark artwork aims to explore the ethos of this very concept by placing two letter O’s within each other, representing the world, as well as the cycle of life. At the centre of these circles is a fire symbol that possesses a single flame, but is divided into three parts. This distinction represents each of the three groups of Indigenous Peoples in Canada: First Nation, Métis and Inuit. Through this branded mark, ITAC aims to further develop wide-spread recognition of authentic Indigenous experiences across the country.
The Indigenous tourism industry was disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Prior to March 2020, Indigenous tourism was a fast growing industry, which brought an estimated $1.9 billion in revenue to Canada’s gross domestic product. At that time, there were an estimated 40,000 Indigenous tourism employees and 1,900 Indigenous-led businesses. Today there are an estimated 15,000 employees and 1,000 businesses left.
Canadians interested in helping to rebuild the Indigenous tourism industry can do so by visiting Indigenous tourism destinations from coast to coast to coast at www.destinationIndigenous.ca to book an Indigenous experience.