Canada has a lot to offer travellers during sesquicentennial year
Liberal MP Will Amos, left to right, Red Couch Tour creators Peter Sobierajski and Ela Kinowska have a toast as Canada's 150 Red Couch is unveiled in Gatineau, Que, on Thursday, December 15, 2016, as it begins its cross-country journey inviting Canadians to share what Canada means to them. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)
Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press
Published Monday, December 19, 2016 7:59AM EST
Last Updated Monday, December 19, 2016 5:11PM EST
FREDERICTON -- Canada already has a lot to offer travellers, but as the country celebrates its 150th birthday in 2017 with a year full of sesquicentennial celebrations, there's even more to see and do.
"Because of the celebrations happening around the country, a normal festival event will be that more special because of the 150th anniversary. We see a lot of interest by Canadians to travel within Canada," said Gary Howard of the Canadian Automobile Association.
Howard said he's hearing from people interested in exploring areas of the country they haven't been to, or visiting favourite places again.
"I think you will see a lot of movement with people from Eastern Canada going to the West, and vice versa," he said.
Howard said he expects most of the travel will be during the summer months, with the peak around Canada Day, July 1.
He said there are many great places to enjoy and take part in the birthday celebrations.
"Charlottetown and Ottawa are the obvious ones, but I think that we will see each and every city and community is going to have its own celebration. You think about the Calgary Stampede -- it's going to be much better in 2017 because they'll use that event to get more excited about the 150th. There's going to be lots of options right across the country."
Travel media company Lonely Planet has named Canada as the No.1 country to visit in 2017.
"Bolstered by the wave of positivity unleashed by its energetic new leader Justin Trudeau, and with dynamic cities that dominate global livability indices and a reputation for inclusiveness and impeccable politeness, the world's second-largest country will usher in its sesquicentennial in 2017 in rollicking good health," their "Best in Travel 2017" guide says.
"You add that to the perennial favourites such as Vancouver's great food scene, the great outdoors in the Canadian Rockies and beautiful fall colours in Nova Scotia. It's a great destination whatever year it is, but 2017 has a lot to offer," Lonely Planet spokesman Alex Howard said from his home in Nashville, Tenn.
And he said with the weak Canadian dollar, Canada offers a great value.
"International travellers, especially those from the United States, are going to have a lot to spend their money on," he said.
Gary Howard said train travel is an interesting way to get across the country and see cities, towns and everything in between.
"What we see for Western Canada is rail companies that go from Vancouver to Banff, or Vancouver to Calgary. They do that whole tour through the valley and the Rockies. That's five to seven days, so it's a lot shorter, but you have dining onboard, and those companies stop at night so that you're not missing any of the scenery. They'll stop at the evening, you stay at a hotel, and get back on in the morning," he said.
He said the cruise ship companies are also adding more ships to routes that make stops on Canada's east and west coasts. He said it's a great way to tour Atlantic Canada or British Columbia without having to drive.