Thank you to USA Today 10best for inviting me to write: “Now for something completely different: 10 unique places to see in Canada. These destinations offer something you won’t find elsewhere”
Ready for a wild ride? If you turn right at unique, you’ll arrive at these uncommon Canadian attractions. From east to west, there are dinosaurs, gophers, goats and daredevils. Get ready to be amazed by these truly one-of-a-kind places to visit.
Dinosaur Provincial Park | Alberta
Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta — Photo courtesy of George Simhoni, Travel Alberta
One of the most off-the-beaten-track UNESCO sites in the world is the Dinosaur Provincial Park near Brooks, Alta. Here, tourists can participate in dinosaur digs featuring the world’s richest deposits of dinosaur bones, explore more than 5 miles of walking paths, camping under the stars and much more. Visitors to the area have the option of going on self-guided tours or more informative guided tours.
Sooke Potholes | Sooke, B.C.
Foggy morning in Sooke — Photo courtesy of Landon Sveinson Photography / Tourism Vancouver Island
During the last ice age, nearly 15,000 years ago, a series of natural polished rock pools and potholes were carved into the Sooke River. The Sooke Potholes Provincial Park, located on Vancouver Island, features formations from huge boulders that were carried by melting ice.
The boulders left a deep path in the bedrock, became stuck and formed the potholes by spinning in place. Today, the water is spectacularly clear which makes a perfect spot to swim.
Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park | Alberta
Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park / Áísínai’pi National Historic Site in Alberta — Photo courtesy of Canadian Tourism Commission
One of the best places to see First Nation petroglyphs and pictographs in North America is at the Áísínai’pi National Historic Site also known as Writing-on-Stone Provincial Parkin southern Alberta. The park is set along the beautiful Milk River and contains the densest concentration of glyphs in North America.
In addition to exploring the area, tourists can kayak, fish, hike, swim and view wildlife.
Goats on a roof | Coombs, B.C.
Old Country Market — Photo courtesy of Boomer Jerritt / Tourism Vancouver Island
Where in the world is there a sod-roof market with goats living on it? The answer is at the Old Country Market in Coombs, B.C. The marketplace started in the 1950s as a roadside fruit stand and over time was transformed into a marketplace with a sod roof. To combat the problem of overgrowing grass on the roof, goats were used to “mow” the lawn and today, the goats call the sod roof their home.
Moose Jaw, Sask.
Moose Jaw, Sask. — Photo courtesy of Brian Wolitski, Tourism Saskatchewan
Moose Jaw, Sask. is known to locals as “The Friendly City.” Visitors to this small town of around 35,000 are treated to a plethora of activities for the whole family to enjoy. Not only is the world’s largest moose statue on display, but there’s also a casino, a geothermal pool, a history of transportation museum, and even more to explore.
T.rex Discovery Centre | Eastend, Sask.
T.rex Discovery Centre — Photo courtesy of Paul Austring, Tourism Saskatchewan
In August of 1991, a local high school teacher accompanied paleontologists to learn how fossils are found and identified. Within half a day of learning, the teacher would find the base of a tooth of a Tyrannosaurus rex. More than two decades later, the T. rex dino exhibit at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum is on display for everyone to enjoy.
Today, the T. rex is known as “Scotty” and he attracts visitors from all over the world.
Gopher Hole Museum | Torrington, Alta.
Gopher Hole Museum — Photo courtesy of Gopher Hole Museum
The Gopher Hole Museum in Torrington, Alta. features 47 dioramas of gophers posed to resemble local townspeople in their favorite activities, such as playing baseball, blacksmithing, robbing banks and playing music. The museum was founded in 1996 when there was a rodent infestation issue in the small town. The owners decided to help the cause by stuffing dozens of gophers.
Niagara Daredevil Exhibit | Niagara Falls, Ont.
Niagara Falls daredevil — Photo courtesy of IMAX Niagara Falls, Tourism Ontario
All in all, 16 daredevils have made the famous trip over Niagara Falls. The actual devices that these people chose for the descent are on display at the Niagara Daredevil Exhibit, and are available for all to touch and examine up close. In addition to exhibiting the actual vessels, the museum also tells the stories of the few and brave.
Aga Khan Museum | Toronto
Aga Khan Museum — Photo courtesy of Aga Khan Museum, Tourism Toronto
Toronto is home to the Aga Khan Museum, the only museum in North America dedicated to Islamic art. The space is compact in size, coming in at 81 meters (265 feet) long and 54 meters (177 feet) wide. It houses two exhibition galleries, a 350-seat theater and two classrooms – and the architectural design is unbelievably stunning. The museum displays several temporary exhibitions throughout the year that focus on current themes in Muslim culture.
Insectarium | Montreal
Up close and personal with insects — Photo courtesy of Insectarium Espace Pour La Vie
How do bumblebees fly? Why do some insects sing? Those questions plus many more can be answered about insects at the Insectarium in Montreal. The insect museum opened in 1990, is the largest in North America and attracts more than 400,000 visitors per year. It features insects from all around the world that are both alive and dead.
Like many museums, the Insectarium features both permanent and temporary exhibitions that are rotated throughout the year.