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As founder of the luxe adventure outfitter Butterfield & Robinson and a native of the province of New Brunswick, George Butterfield knows more about active travel and the Canadian backcountry than just about anyone else. We asked the Toronto resident to share his favorite trekking trips up north.
Sea Kayaking in Lunenburg
Of Canada’s three beautiful maritime provinces, I’m partial to Nova Scotia, especially the coastal town of Lunenburg, where we have a family home. The sea kayaking just doesn’t get better than this, with endless miles of protected inner shores and vast, open waters. Stay at one of the Victorian-style B&Bs—the Lunenburg Inn ($155–$195; lunenburginn.com), for example—and dine at Fleur de Sel (902-640-2121).
Hiking in the Gulf Islands
About a half-hour flight from Vancouver, this archipelago is a secret find. The hike up Mount Galiano, on the island of Galiano, provides astounding views all the way to the Olympic Peninsula. My favorite retreats are Brentwood Bay Lodge & Spa in Victoria ($385–$690; brentwoodbaylodge.com) and Sooke Harbour House in Sooke ($425–$630; sookeharbourhouse.com).
Rafting in Tatshenshini
I recently went to Whitehorse, in the Yukon—have a drink at the Capital Hotel (867-667-2565)—and rafted down the Tatshenshini River to see the province’s untamed areas and pristine national parks. We spied peaks with hanging glaciers rising 8,000 feet, as well as wolves, Dall sheep, mountain goats, black bears, grizzlies, and even the occasional golden eagle.
Flying Above the Great Northern Peninsula
The peninsula offers rugged coastline, dramatic fjords, icebergs, whale sightings, and thousands of waterways. Stay at the Quirpon Lighthouse Inn on Quirpon Island ($320–$370; linkumtours.com) and arrive by floatplane from the Humber River. The trip takes passengers over Gros Morne National Park—a World Heritage site—but keeps them low enough to spot moose and caribou.
Biking the Eastern Townships
About 90 minutes east of Montréal, the bucolic Eastern Townships are almost unknown outside Québec. A 30-mile ride goes from Knowlton to Manoir Hovey in North Hatley: a stunning place to spend the night ($150–$435 a person; hovey manor.com). Stop by antiques stores and lunch at Les Péchés de Pinocchio in Magog (lespechesdepinocchio.com) and sample cider at the Abbaye Saint-Benoît (st-benoit-du-lac.com).