It’s (almost) spring! The warmer weather is on its way and I’m counting down the days until I can pack away my Bean boots and trade my parka for a jacket. Come April, Canadians everywhere will be re-emerging from their winter hibernation, and heading outdoors to take in the best of what Mother Nature has to offer. With snow-capped mountains and sparkling lakes, Alberta has some of the country’s most quintessential views, which is why we think the province is the place to go to get your Canada 150 fix in April.
Visiting Alberta in April will land you somewhere between the winter-sport buffs and the summer crowds. Toward the beginning of the month, you can still get in some snowshoeing time, and later in the month, get out your binoculars for some wildlife spotting.
Parks and Recreation
In celebration of Canada’s sesquicentennial, admission to national parks and national historic sites is free this year, so there’s never been a better time to go explore! Lucky for you, two of the country’s most iconic parks are in Alberta. Jasper National Park is the larger of the two and the site of the world famous Columbia Icefields, while Banff National Park (the country’s first) is home to the renowned hot springs and unbelievable turquoise waters of Lake Louise. If you’re looking for a more off the beaten path option, check out Waterton Lakes National Park just two and a half hours south of Calgary. These parks are year-round destinations for all kinds of outdoor activities including hiking, dog sledding, horseback riding, and back country skiing.
Look Out Below!
Looking for an incredible view of the Rockies that’s not for the faint of heart? Head to the Glacier Skywalk in Jasper National Park to take in the scenery from a glass-floored observation platform 280 meters above the valley. Opening for the season on April 14, the Glacier Skywalk winds its way along the edge of a cliff before ending at the observation platform for a 360 degree view of your surroundings.
Team Canada in the House
This year the world’s best curlers will flock to Edmonton for the World Men’s Curling Championships from April 1-9. 12 teams will compete to determine not only the world champion, but also the teams heading to Pyeongchang for the 2018 Olympic Games! Cheer on team Canada, last year’s champions, as they look to defend their title on home turf. There will be plenty of off-ice fun too, with live bands and autograph signings after the matches.
Think Outside the Box
Get creative with cardboard at Lake Louise Ski Resort! The annual Cardboard Box Downhill Derby on April 23 challenges participants of all ages to build the fastest (and coolest looking) sled using only cardboard, string, tape, and glue. Grab two or three of your closest friends and get to work!
Start stretching out those quads in preparation for the National Ballet School’s Sharing Dance Canada 2017, which helps Canadians of all ages (and experience levels) stay active and express their artistic side. This year’s dance celebrates Canada’s 150th and features music from the Afiara Quartet. Learn the choreography online with easy to follow videos that guide you through the movements, or join rehearsals in your community. If you’re in Calgary, which will host one of the official Sharing Dance Day events on June 2, you can practice the dance every Saturday at the Wildflower Arts Centre and every Wednesday at Decidedly Jazz Danceworks.
Maligne Canyon, near Jasper (image: Noel Hendrickson)
Panoramic image credit: Parks Canada
Main image credit: Paul Zizka Photography