Travel experts predict that 2022 is going to be the year of “comeback travel,” which means that 2021 is the year to stay local, and plan your next Canadian vacation! From West to East, we’ve collected 10 of the best new and updated Canadian travel guide books to help you explore your home and native land.
1. 150 Nature Hotspots in Canada (2020) edited by Debbie Olsen
Edited by outdoor travel expert, Debbie Olsen, 150 Nature Hotspots in Canada is packed full of information about some of Canada’s best nature spots. The photos are stunning, and the information is complete and well-organized. Sidebars help to plan a possible vacation, noting seasonal opening times, camping areas, beaches facilities etc. One of the best features for families is the historical/cultural information in each chapter – kids will learn a lot about Canada, just by leafing through it. This book is perfect for anyone thinking of doing a cross-country road-trip. It would be a great inspirational gift for family or friends who are thinking of visiting Canada from overseas, and would also make a perfect “coffee table” book for your Air BnB.
2. 25 Places in Canada that Every Family Should Visit (2017) by Jody Robbins
In 25 Places in Canada Every Family Should Visit, family travel expert Jody Robbins highlights 25 key regions of Canada that offer something for all members of the family. Each colour-illustrated section includes several places to visit within that region, with recommendations for places to sleep and eat, and a couple of fun or quirky facts about each destination. The difference between this and your average guide book is that Robbins has actually been to each of these places with her family, which means that you feel like you’re reading an informative travel magazine, rather than consulting a list of must-see attractions. The book also includes helpful bonus chapters, such as “Surviving the Family Road Trip” and “How to Pack Like a Pro”. There’s even advice on how to work in couple-time during your family vacation.
3. Moon Vancouver, with Victoria, Vancouver Island, & Whistler (2020) by Carolyn Heller
The new Moon guide: Vancouver, with Victoria, Vancouver Island, & Whistler, by travel writer Carolyn Heller is perfect for families visiting the region for the first time, or for locals who want to reach into new corners of their home. Explore Vancouver by neighborhood or by activity with color-coded maps, or follow one of our self-guided neighborhood walks. This guide has Full-Color Photos and Detailed Maps, so you can explore on your own, plus an easy-to-read foldout map to use on the go. It also includes handy tools such as information on the landscape, history, and culture. The book has a small, easy-carry format.
4. 111 Places in Calgary that You Must Not Miss (2020) by Jennifer Bain
In 111 Places in Calgary That You Must Not Miss, award-winning travel writer Jennifer Bain has unearthed over 100 unusual attractions, adventures and festivals in Calgary, including many fascinating and quirky spots across the city that many locals may have never known existed. How about a bookstore full of historical secrets, a vintage carousel ride, or even Terry Fox’s blue Adidas shoe? Grown-ups in the family can trace the origins of Canada’s beloved Caesar cocktail, or attend Bottlescrew Bills Testicle Festival. Each place is accompanied by a beautiful colour photograph, and there is a comprehensive map in the back section. 111 Places In Calgary That You Must Not Miss is the third guidebook for Canada after Toronto and Vancouver. Rumour has it an Ottawa edition is on the way!
5. 110 Nature Hotspots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan: The Best Parks Conservation Areas and Wild Places (2019) by Jenn-Smith Nelson and Doug O’Neill
Beautifully illustrated with colour photographs, 110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan is a guidebook that explores the natural splendour and remarkable recreation of both provinces. Each province – Maintoba and Saskatchewan – is divided into three chapters – south, central and north – and feature Special Interest sections to help readers craft their adventures based on their interests and discover even more hot spots. The Manitoba chapter includes a few natural hot spots in Northwestern Ontario. This book is perfect for any family thinking of visiting the prairies on their next family vacation, or for anyone who is interested in the natural parks, conservation areas and “wild places” in the prairies.
6. The Great Saskatchewan Bucket List (Revised in 2021) by Robin and Arlene Karpan
Revised and updated in March 2021, The Great Saskatchewan Bucket List is a perfect guide for families since it not only shows you 50 top natural wonders, but rates each place as to how difficult it is to visit. With over 170 colour photographs this book will guide you through many of the provinces best natural adventures, getting up close and personal with wildlife that you find nowhere else in Canada, standing on the brink of Saskatchewan’s largest waterfall, or enjoying the view from the top of Canada’s largest sand dunes. The Great Saskatchewan Bucket List was named the Number 1 Bestselling Saskatchewan book for 7 consecutive years (2012 to 2018) by SaskBooks (Saskatchewan Publishers Group).
7. Toronto’s Lost Villages (2020) by Ron Brown
By the same author of 160 Unusual Things to See in Ontario, Toronto’s Lost Villages is a travel and historical guide that unearths the vestiges of settlements, hamlets and villages now swallowed up by Toronto’s urban growth. In this fascinating book, stories from pre-contact, right through to the present day, are brought back to life, helping families to explore Ontario’s capital city through a new lens. Published in 2020, Toronto’s Lost Villages was heralded by the Literary Review of Canada as “a compendious buffet of civic history,”
8. Ottawa Road Trips: Your 100-Km Getaway Guide (2021) by Laura Pyrne Paquet
Author Laura Byrne Paquet has written the popular Ottawa Road Trips blog since 2014 and is an Ottawa expert. Published in 2021, Ottawa Road Trips: Your 100-Km Getaway Guide is the most comprehensive guide ever published to help families plan their day trips around Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. From the Bell tower in Almonte to the log-palace splendor of Chateau Montebello to a quiet picnic spot along the Rideau Trail, this book is your go-to resource for travelling around the national capital region. Laid out in 10-kilometre grids expanding from the base of the Peace Tower, it is easy to plan any trip, from a one-hour cycling excursion to a full-day road trip. Note: you can save money by ordering this directly from the publisher!
9. A Rising Tide: A Cookbook Of Recipes And Stories From Canada’s Atlantic Coast (2021) by DL Acken and Emily Lycopolus
From the oyster beds of Prince Edward Island to the wilds of Newfoundland – and every delicious Atlantic nook and cranny in between, A Rising Tide: A Cookbook Of Recipes And Stories From Canada’s Atlantic Coast is a beautiful tribute to the culinary landscape of Canada’s east coast. Travel to meet the fishers, producers, foragers, chefs and restaurateurs who are working to define, and re-define Atlantic Canadian cuisine. Then, when you are ready – come visit them for yourself! A Rising Tide is more than just a cookbook – it’s a delicious roadmap to Atlantic Canada, with beautiful photographs that will make you hungry for the salt air. Buy it, and devour it – before your next trip to the East Coast.
10. 25 Family Adventures in Nova Scotia: Making the Most of Your Travels with Kids (2021) by Helen Earley
Last but not least, Nova Scotia’s first family guide book, 25 Family Adventures in Nova Scotia features exciting full-day adventures and weekends away in the beautiful province of Nova Scotia. From a family hike through history on McNabs Island to a backcountry canoeing adventure or exploring the Shearwater Aviation Museum, this full colour travel guide highlights the best family adventures for every budget and season. Important tips include seasonal opening times, how to save money – and even where to find the bathrooms – while each chapter offers important historical and cultural information. (Disclosure: I wrote this one…and I hope you love it)