Proving the power of the set-jetting trend, tailor-made tour operator Frontier Canada is seeing a serious rebound in travel to Canada. With the country’s larger-than-life landscapes bursting onto our screens in two critically acclaimed TV series, including the BBC’s Race Across The World and HBO’s The Last of Us, the UK’s passion for travel to the Great White North appears to have been well and truly ignited.
And, there will soon be even more to look forward to, as the second series of The Last of Us is set to be filmed in British Columbia. Canada is also gracing the covers of top-tier publications, with British Vogue including Canada in its top 10 list of Trending Travel Destinations To Explore This Year and TIME magazine highlighting Churchill, Manitoba, as one of the World’s Greatest Places in its third annual roundup.
Jeremy Timms, Managing Director of Frontier Canada, comments, “Last summer was our busiest yet for at least a decade. Once the country’s borders opened in October 2021, there was a dramatic surge in bookings. This summer is proving to be just as busy, and the cost-of-living crisis clearly hasn’t affected the demand for holidays to Canada. The provinces of British Columbia and Alberta are performing particularly well, and Canada has certainly benefited from the set-jet craze, with the BBC’s Race Across The World and HBO’s The Last of Us inspiring many of us to take a trip to the Great White North.”
A likely contender for TV show of the year and filmed primarily in Alberta, The Last of Us took the UK by storm, with the finale of the nine-part series watched by over 3.1 million Sky UK viewers—Sky’s biggest finale audience ever for a US debut series. The largest film production in Alberta’s history and one of the biggest in Canada, season one featured 180 locations, from Grande Prairie to Waterton Lakes National Park. Stampede City made several appearances, with notable places like Inglewood (Calgary’s oldest and one of the city’s coolest neighbourhoods), the Heritage Park Historical Village (Canada’s largest living history museum) and the Calgary Zoo all making the final cut. The 10-night Hidden Treasures BC & Alberta fly-drive starts and ends in Calgary, with time spent in Waterton and Canmore—most of the filming taking place in the small mountain town. Where the Alberta prairies meet the majestic Canadian Rockies, Waterton Lake National Park (see the wilderness scenes in episode eight) borders Montana’s Glacier National Park and is renowned for its hiking and wildlife viewing. It is also the only spot in Alberta where you’ll find a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an international peace park, a dark sky preserve, and a biosphere reserve all rolled into one. A favourite of the lead actors (Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey) and a jumping off point for adventure including hiking, biking, and even golf, Canmore has its own Banff-esque Quarry Lake, the iconic Ha Ling Peak, and Mt. Rundle towering above it. British Columbia’s Fernie, Panorama, and Kicking Horse resorts also feature on the itinerary before crossing back over into Alberta to explore Banff. From £1,950pp (two sharing), including accommodation, car hire, and return flights. Frontier Canada is also able to create tailor-made fly-drives for die-hard fans of The Last of Us: the capital city of Edmonton and the smaller suburbs of Fort MacLeod and Bragg Creek, other locations from the hit series.
British Vogue’s list of the top 10 trending travel destinations to visit in 2023 featured Canada. The publication touted the country’s abundance of national parks, wildlife, and energetic cities and highlighted several provinces, including Alberta and British Columbia. The 10-night Stunning fly-drive Circle Best of British Columbia & the Rockies starts and ends in Vancouver and includes two nights in Banff (episode three’s checkpoint) and the chance to take in the stunning coastal scenery and mountain splendour of the Sea-To-Sky Highway, both the national park and the legendary roadway, which runs from Vancouver to Whistler, mentioned in Vogue. The itinerary also includes stops in Whistler, Jasper, and Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley, one of BC’s many celebrated wine regions. From £1,995pp (two sharing) including accommodation, car hire and return flights.
TIME magazine listed Churchill, Manitoba—episode four’s checkpoint—as one of the world’s greatest places to visit in 2023. From July to November, around a thousand polar bears migrate to Churchill, earning it the nickname of the “Polar Bear Capital Of The World.” Located at Polar Bear Point, home to the largest concentration of polar bears in this part of Canada, the Tundra Buggy Lodge offers 24/7 wildlife viewing and the chance to sleep alongside the bears themselves. Lucky travellers might even catch sight of the Northern Lights – visible here for 300 days of the year. Five night Polar Bears in Churchill Enthusiast from £5,889pp (two sharing), including Air Canada flights, 2 nights Winnipeg, 3 nights Churchill and 2 full days on the Tundra Buggy.
In episode five, the teams headed from Manitoba to Ontario and made a roughly 1,864-mile journey to Lake Huron and Manitoulin Island—the heart of the Great Lakes (the Great Lakes holding 20% of the world’s freshwater) and the largest island in a freshwater lake on the planet. Canoeing, fishing and beachcombing are on offer, and home to one of Canada’s top hikes, the family-friendly Cup and Saucer Trail (part of the Niagara Escarpment, with 70-metre cliffs, over 2 km long) leads to Manitoulin’s highest point. The route features four lookout points, including the east lookout, a rock ledge with a panoramic view of the millions of trees that cover the island. Home to six Anishinaabe First Nations, the island’s Indigenous guides make the adventures here truly authentic. Starting in Toronto and ending at Niagara Falls, the 13-night Lakeside Adventures in Ontario fly-drive includes a stay on Manitoulin Island and stops in the Killarney and Algonquin provincial parks. From £2,595pp (two sharing) including accommodation, car hire and return flights.
Canada’s first zero-emission hydrogen-powered train (only emitting water vapor) is set to launch this June in Québec. The Train de Charlevoix, will run from the Québec City (episode six) Terminal at Chute-Montmorency through to Baie-St-Paul—known for its mountains and art galleries—between June 17 and October 22, 2023. Throughout the summer an eco-agrotourism guided tour will be available in Baie-Saint-Paul, with stops at local sustainable breweries. Seven-night Quebec City Break | A Whale’s Tail and Two Cities from £1,440pp (two sharing) including accommodation, transfers, day tour to Tadoussac and return flights.
A new activity, cage diving with great white sharks, will be available at Liverpool, Nova Scotia, from August 01—episode seven’s checkpoint. Described as “the ultimate life experience and adventure,” the excursions will include the opportunity to search for sharks while learning from experts and contributing to research. Starting and ending in Halifax, an eight-night tailor-made Nova Scotia fly-drive includes stops in Kejimkujik National Park and Cape Breton, and a night at White Point Beach Resort near Liverpool from £2,000pp (two sharing), including all accommodation , car hire, and return flights.
Frontier Canada (020 8776 8709; [email protected]; Frontier-Canada.co.uk).