From Keith Bellows, Editor in Chief, National Geographic Travel
In the early '70s, a Canadian living in Montreal, I worked on a book called Scenic Wonders of Canada. It went on to become a best seller in a country that then had about 22 million inhabitants. I would go on to write The Canuck Book, which celebrated the countless Canadian achievements and discoveries that the country’s citizens were reluctant to accept as their own. What amazed me at the time was how little Canadians themselves knew about a country that is the world’s second biggest. I would make phone calls to check out details on Dinosaur Provincial Park, one of the world’s great dinosaur graveyards, and had to resort to a satellite phone call to an elite paleontologist at 4 a.m. to find out what was actually there. I’d fruitlessly try to locate someone who had actually been to Nahanni National Park Reserve (founded in 1976, virtually unknown to travelers, and a movie set waiting to happen—the headless corpses of Métis prospectors Willie and Frank McLeod were found there).
That was then—and this is now. Canada has 33 million inhabitants and is known for more than Neil Young, Arcade Fire, and Margaret Atwood. It is a world-class country that offers a captivating array of scenic, cultural, urban, and intellectual wonders (including Dinosaur and Nahanni, which these days, are both quite accessible). Canadians acknowledge that Mounties, the maple leaf, hockey, and pancake syrup are durable national images. But what is truly remarkable is that the 50 Places of a Lifetime—Canada’s Places of a Lifetime—you’ll find here reveal a country more nuanced and inviting discovery than even Canadians themselves realize. Forget the clichés. You’ll discover a country as original and unique as any in the world.
Country Unbound: Civilization and Nature in Harmony
Wild Spaces: Wonders of the Outdoors
2015 Traveler Photo Contest
Explore the submissions, share your favorites, and check back for the winning images.