Top Places to See Wildlife in Canada


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Lake LouiseDue to Canada’s diverse range of terrain from coast to coast, many tourists flock to the vast North American country to witness some of the world’s most amazing ecosystems both on land and out to sea. Due to Canada’s harsh winter climates, many of these animals, such as bison, moose and elk are some of the biggest and most impressive in the world. Here is a quick guide to Canada’s wildlife hotspots to help you plan your journey to North America.

Churchill, Hudson BayThe small town of Churchill in Hudson Bay on the west coast of Canada is also known as the ‘Polar Bear Capital of the World’. Every year, hundreds of bears populate by the bay to wait for the waters to freeze in order to hunt seal – the best time to catch this migration is during the autumn months. Beluga whales and more than 270 bird species can also be found in the area alongside an occasional sighting of the Aurora Borealis, otherwise known at the Northern Lights.

Torngat Mountains National ParkThis awe-inspiring national park in Newfoundland and Labrador has an impressive area of 9,600km2. Today, 13 out of the world’s 19 populations of polar bears can be found in Canada – the Torngat Mountains National Park is one of them. The national park, with its mountains, forests and glaciers, is a natural paradise and a place of tradition. Due to its remote location, only experienced campers should seek an adventure here. Alongside polar bears, caribou can also be seen at Torngat.

Gaspe BayStick to Canada’s east coast to find this little whale watching gem. Many tourists like to stray from the larger cities of Quebec City, Montreal and hotels in Niagara Falls further inland to witness some of the world’s most majestic creatures out to sea. One of the most spectacular species to be found at Gaspe Bay is the Humpback whale, although 13 species of whale can be found along the St. Lawrence River including belugas and the largest of them all – blue whales. Peak whale watching season at Gaspe Bay is from May through to October.

Banff National ParkBanff National Park in the province of Alberta in the Rocky Mountains is Canada’s oldest national park. 56 species of mammal have been recorded across its mountain ranges, ice fields, dense forests and alpine scenes including grizzly bears and black bears, mule deer and marmots, cougars and wolverines. Because of its harsh winter climate, mammals are the most successful group here while reptiles are seldom seen. The Byrant Creek area is a particularly good spot for bear watching.

Maligne Lake, Jasper National ParkWhilst in the Alberta region, why not drive to Jasper National Park’s Maligne Lake – one of the most photographs spots in the world. Here you will find Spirit Island surrounded by the lake’s stunning cerulean blue lake. Fishing and kayaking are popular here alongside some brilliant wildlife watching. Sightings of moose, mule, black bears and deer are frequent.

For travel to and around Canada, including wonderful wildlife adventures, Silver Travel Advisor recommends Frontier Canada and Canadian Sky.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 3 Comment(s)

  • PamN
    over 5 years ago
    We're planning a trip to the Rockies/Vancouver in May 2015 and I was interested to see the reference to Maligne Lake which someone has already recommended to me. Hopefully we will get there and will see some wildlife. We've booked through Frontier Canada, who so far have been great with some good ideas for our trip. We're hoping to go whale watching from Vancouver Island while we're there too. I'll see if I can write a review when we get back!
  • schroedie
    about 6 years ago
    This one's high on my list of places to go for wildlife watching. I spent five weeks wandering New Zealand and searching out tuataras, penguins, keas, sperm whales, dusky dolphins, tuis, pukekos, wetas - all manner of fascinating creatures - and it adds so much to a holiday to find out about an area's native animals. I'd love to do the same in Canada.
  • ESW
    almost 7 years ago
    I would agree, Canada is a marvellous place to see animals in the wild. There is so much space and many of them seem unfazed by humans. As well as the places listed above, I would like to add the following...

    One of the best places to see Bison is in Elk Island National Park in Alberta where there are free roaming herds of plains and wood bison. In spring there are usually good close up views of the bison from the Bison loop road.

    As well as Banff, bears are often seen in Jasper National Park and are known to come into Jasper in search of food. We have also seen bears in Waterton Lakes National Park, again in Alberta. Snowy mornings are good as there are bear prints in the snow everywhere, making you realise just how many bears there are around. We saw a mother and her two cubs on the nature trail below the Prince of Wales Hotel.

    Bears, especially the black bears can be seem grazing the roadside edges first thing in the morning. They are particularly fond of dandelion flowers. These are often the cause of accidents as drivers jam on breaks to get a good look and also the dreaded bear jams when all the world and his wife stop to take a picture of the bear.

    An unexpected encounter with a bear is one of the highlights of a trip to Canada, but tourists do have to remember they are wild animals and not the cuddly animal of children’s stories. For more information about bear encounters see here:

    Moose may be seen anywhere there is woodland. They are particularly active around dawn and dusk and drivers are warned to be extra vigilant around these times. Moose are big and if hit can do a lot of damage to a car. We’ve seen them in Newfoundland ambling along the side of road minding their own business. There are details of good places to see moose here:

    Another good place for Wale watching is the coast of Labrador and the western side of Newfoundland. Whales can often be seen from the shore line. Red Bay National Historic Site was a major whaling centre until the beginning of the 17thC when the Basques came across to hunt whales in the summer months.

    There is a review here: