Some of the best places to spot wildlife during your gap year in Canada include:
Digby Neck, Nova Scotia – Small whales, large whales, spotted whales, striped whales – you’ll find them here. Fins, humpback whales, minke whales, pairs, sperm, pilots and even mighty blue whales are found on this coastline.
Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland – Nearby are herds of caribou, large numbers of Atlantic puffins and thousands of white gannets. Newfoundland is a remote part of Canada, and that’s still part of its appeal and beauty.
VANCOUVER ISLAND, British Columbia — The waters of Vancouver Island are teeming with killer whales as well as sea lions, seals, porpoises, otters and sea eagles soaring overhead. For the ultimate experience, rent a kayak and get up close and personal.
Prince Albert National Park, Saskatchewan – Home to the second largest pelican habitat in North America, this park is well worth a visit. The park is also home to other larger species such as bison, moose, elk, black bear, and red fox, but with more than 1 million acres of wilderness, you’ll have to spend some time here for the best wildlife viewing.
Banff National Park, Alberta – Banff is home to a variety of wildlife such as grizzly and black bears, moose and wolves. Pika is also another great spot. Pikas are like small gophers or rodents and are usually found on rocky outcrops. The best time to see wildlife here is early spring or fall (fall).
Jasper National Park, Alberta – Jasper National Park is another great park in Canada, especially if you enjoy watching wildlife. Large predators like mountain lions, lynx, coyotes and wolves live here, so be careful. Coyotes are usually easy to spot, and mountain lions, wolves, lynxes, and lynxes are not so easy to spot. Highway 93A, Highway 16 or Marlene Road at dawn or dusk are the best options for spotting Canadian carnivores.
Royal Princess Island, British Columbia – Located in the heart of the famous Great Bear Rainforest, Royal Princess Island is an extremely remote area in Canada. It may be far away and require a long journey to get there, but the trip is well worth a glimpse of this elusive and rare elf bear found in this part of the world. Spirit Bears are relatives of black bears, not relatives that look more like polar bears. It has a gorgeous cream coat that’s very relaxing and soft on humans, in part because it hasn’t been in direct contact with us before.
Manitoba, Canadian Arctic – Located in the frigid northern part of Canada and within the Arctic Circle, Manitoba is home to a variety of Arctic species, including arctic foxes, snowshoe hares, beluga whales, moose, seals and polar bears. The area itself is also a huge attraction, with the chance to see the Northern Lights and quiet, open, unspoiled spaces.
Tips for spotting wildlife
- Do some research beforehand and choose the golden season for wildlife spotting in the area you plan to vacation in.
- Dawn and dusk are the best times of the year for wildlife viewing.
- Try it out and keep a knowledgeable guide with you. They usually become tracking experts and see things you might not see yourself.
- Don’t get too close (this goes without saying for larger, more dangerous creatures). A helpful tip is to stay far enough away so you don’t change their natural behavior anyway. If they start looking anxious, back off.
- Bring a good pair of binoculars and practice before you start using them.
- Wear unobtrusive colors – especially avoid bright or vibrant primary colors.
- Know where the wind is blowing. If you’re upwind of them, animals can smell you from a mile away.