This year marks Canada’s 150th birthday, so what better way to celebrate the milestone than with a good old road trip across the country? I have lived just outside of Toronto my whole life. I have been all over Ontario, visited Montreal, and travelled to Vancouver and the west coast a few times but never have I actually explored all that this beautiful country has to offer. Sometimes we are so preoccupied with wanting to see the world, that we forget to appreciate our own home – to explore our own backyard. Now in saying that, Canada is huge. Driving from the east coast to the west coast takes a whopping 80 hours and 7000km. Toronto is pretty centrally located, so wehad to choose one way or the other for our adventure. Since the mountains seem to be calling, we are going west and taking the next two months to travel from our hometown of Toronto, Ontario to Tofino, British Columbia.
Our route takes us on 60 hours of driving, covering just over 5200 km – from the big city of Toronto through the great lakes of northern Ontario, through the vast prairies of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, into the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, through the Okanagan Valley and onto Vancouver Island on the pacific coast of British Columbia. Along the way, we will be camping, hiking, and visiting some of the great sites that Canada has to offer. We will be completely immersing ourselves in the abundant nature of this great northern land. I couldn’t be more excited – not only to explore but to take time to simply enjoy life. No commitments, no distractions – just yoga, trees, good food, good tea and good company.
Since the mountains seem to be calling, we are going west.
To set out on our journey, we bought a perfect little 14ft camper trailer. For the next two months, 96 sq ft of pure camper bliss will be our home. It has everything that we need to be happy and comfortable on the road. A bed, a fridge, a stove and a spot to put Kodas’ dog bed. For a while, we considered tenting. We love tent camping – sleeping under the stars and being that much closer to nature. But we decided on the camper for two reasons. First, having an 85lb lab who loves to swim and roll in sand made the idea of sharing a tent for two months much less appealing (think wet and sandy sleeping bags every single night). Second, my eating habits. I love healthy food and cooking with fresh ingredients. Good food is fuel and I’m a strong believer that you are what you eat! Since we will be spending a lot of our time camping and away from city centers, fresh ingredients are harder to come by and a cooler only works for so long. A refrigerator will help me to stay healthy and feeling good on the road.
The Route: Driving from Ontario to BC
I spent quite a bit of time planning our route and the stops along the way. We are more interested in seeing nature than in seeing city centers, so our route definitely reflects this. It hits up campgrounds along the way, including 6 Canadian National Parks. We also have two months, so we decided that we wanted to spread out the driving so that we could have enough time to see and do things in different places without passing them by. We will be spending the longest amount of time in Alberta and BC. So, without further ado, our (detailed) route.
Day 1 – Leave Toronto, ON and arrive in Sudbury, ON ~ 4hrs of driving, 410km
Day 2-4 – Leave Sudbury, ON and arrive in Sault Saint Marie, ON (staying at Lake Superior Provincial Park for two nights) ~ 5.5hrs of driving, 502km
Day 4-6 – Leave Sault Saint Marie, ON and drive towards Thunder Bay, ON (staying at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park for two nights) ~ 5.5hrs of driving, 494km
Day 6 – Leave Thunder Bay, ON and arrive in Kenora, ON ~ 6hrs of driving, 552km
Day 7 – Leave Kenora, ON, drive through MB and arrive at Regina, SK ~ 8hrs of driving, 790km
Day 8 – Leave Regina, SK and drive northwest towards Edmonton to Lloydminster, AB ~ 5hrs of driving, 532km
Day 9 – Leave Lloydminster, AB and drive towards the Rocky Mountains to Edson, AB (stopping at Elk Island National Park for a day hike and staying overnight in Edson, AB) ~ 4hrs of driving, 445km
Day 9-13 – Leave Edson, AB and arrive in Jasper, AB (staying at Jasper National Park, Wabasso Campground for 4 nights) ~ 2hrs of driving, 180km
Day 13-16 – Leave Jasper Wabasso Campground and travel down the Icefields Parkway to Jasper Wilcox Creek Campground (staying at Jasper National Park, Wilcox Creek Campground, which is first come first serve for 3 nights) ~ 1.5hrs of driving, 91km
Side note: The Icefields Parkway has been named one of the most scenic drives on the planet by National Geographic, so we are going to take our time in the Rockies and enjoy it.
Day 16-18 – Leave Wilcox Creek Campground and continue down the Icefields Parkway to arrive at Banff National Park, AB (staying at Lake Louise Campground, Banff National Park for 2 nights) ~2hrs of driving, 126km
Day 18-20 – Leave Banff National Park, AB and arrive at Yoho National Park, BC (staying at Kicking Horse Campground, Yoho National Park for two nights) ~ 1/2hr of driving, 24km
Day 20-24 – Leave Yoho National Park, BC and arrive at Glacier National Park, BC (staying at Illecillewaet Campground, Glacier National Park for four nights) ~ 2hrs of driving, 143km
Day 24-34 – Leave Glacier National Park, BC and arrive in Kelowna, BC (staying 10 nights in the Okanagan Valley) ~ 3hrs of driving, 261km
Day 34-37 – Leave Kelowna, BC and arrive in Keremeos, BC (staying 3 nights at an organic farm) ~ 1.5hrs of driving, 108km
Day 37-40 – Leave Keremeos, BC and arrive at Nanaimo, BC (via Ferry to Vancouver Island, staying 3 nights at Nanaimo, BC) ~ 6hrs including Ferry Crossing, 430km
Day 40-50 – Leave Nanaimo, BC and arrive at Tofino, BC (staying 10 nights at Pacific Rim National Park) ~ 3hrs of driving, 207km
Day 50-60 – Leave Tofino, BC and head back to Ontario. At this point, whether we will drive home through Canada or the US is TBD. Google maps tells me the fastest route is 45hrs and 4665km. Stay tuned!
“Because the greatest part of a road trip isn’t arriving at your destination. It’s all the wild stuff that happens along the way” – Emma Chase
So there you have it! A great Canadian road trip adventure from Ontario to BC, with so many great stops along the way. You can follow our journey on Instagram for updates of some of Canada’s most beautiful, must see places. Do you have any favorites? I can’t wait to spend the summer in nature, exploring all that Canada has to offer!
Keep Shining — Kate☀️
*Note: This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.