From whale watching to fine dining. 🍽
As Canada opens back up, local travel is on the rise, and people across the country are looking for fun, authentic ways to truly experience what it means to live here.
The Indigenous tourism industry offers a diverse and rich source of unique, memorable experiences across the country that acknowledge the heritage of what we now call Canada.
From trying authentic dishes to great river adventures, Indigenous expeditions and experiences should be at the top of this year's summer travel bucket list.
Coastal Rainforest Safari
Price: Experiences starting at $145
When: Tours available from June to October
Address: 7185 Market St., Port Hardy, BC
Why You Need To Go: Experience the ultimate West Coast Canadian wildlife and cultural adventure with Coastal Rainforest Safaris. Located in the Great Bear Rainforest, the safaris allow for whale watching and grizzly bear viewing all while learning about the Indigenous Culture of the Kwakwaka'wakw people.
Guests will enjoy luxury safari-style tents, surrounded by the wildlife-rich land and waters of the Great Bear Rainforest. The safari offers a special four-day safari package, which allows you to learn from local Kwakwaka'wakw guides, who are proud of their heritage and excited to share their culture, stories, and knowledge of the land.
Guests will experience everything from the sight of majestic Pacific Ocean whales to the cute and friendly sea otters near the shores.
Takaya Tours First Nations Canoe & Kayak Adventures
Price: Rentals starting at $40 an hour
When: Tours from May to September
Address: 4141 Dollarton Hwy., North Vancouver, BC
Why You Need To Go: Trade in the busy streets of Vancouver for the lush rainforest fjord of North Shore's Indian Arm. Guests of Takaya Tours will be treated to a trip through time, featuring a 10-metre replica of an ocean-going First Nations canoe. Experience the authentic wilderness of the Coast Salish peoples, while sharing songs, telling legends and pointing out ancient village sites. The tours are suitable for all fitness and skill levels.
The business grew out of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation's entrepreneurial desire to create an economically and environmentally sustainable adventure company, while also providing a greater understanding of First Nations history in the Vancouver area.
Services include team-building canoe activities and multi-day camping trips that take in the full 29-kilometre length of Indian Arm, and a visit to Granite Falls — a spiritual bathing site.
Oceah Oceah SUP & YOGA
Price: Rentals starting at $30 an hour
When: June 1 to October 1
Address: 52 Bluffers Park, Scarborough, ON
Why You Need To Go: Oceah Oceah is the leader when it comes to SUP (standup paddleboarding) in Toronto, providing SUP lessons, SUP tours and SUP yoga.
First Nations sisters Jenifer and Sharon Rudski were introduced to SUP in 2009, and now run a series of classes which you can find on their website. Classes run regularly all season long from June to September. If the scheduled classes don't coincide with your unique schedule, they can also arrange private and group classes. Follow them on Facebook for special events, workshops, retreats and to know when the surf is up — yes, it's possible to surf on Lake Ontario!
Wanuskewin Heritage Park
Price: $14 per adult
When: May 25 to September 6, seven days a week
Address: RR 4, Penner Road, Saskatoon, SK
Why You Need To Go: Six thousand years ago, tribes who roamed the Northern Plains gathered on the site of Wanuskewin. This location was once a centre for trade, ceremony and bison hunting.
Today, the park is on the cutting edge of conservation, having recently planted wild prairie grasses for a herd of Plains bison. Wanuskewin welcomed a brand new herd to the land in the spring of 2020, and visitors will now be welcomed by new bison babies who are working to repopulate the area.
Wanuskewin aims to become recognized as a centre for global excellence and education, and has been recognized with the ITAC Indigenous Tourism Award.
Address: 68 1/2, rue Saint-Louis, Quebec, QC
Why You Need To Go: Since opening in 1999, the Sagamité Restaurant has welcomed locals and visitors from all over the world who want to discover more about Huron-Wendat culture. As an immersive gastronomic experience, the restaurant blends together history, crafts, art and good food. Sagamité promotes reconciliation through shared tables and conversations. The restaurant offers a unique blend of tradition, with mouth-watering Indigenous food for a truly authentic experience.
Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.