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Oh Canada!

By  Lynn O'Rourke Hayes   

  ft ts heli kids

Family adventures abound north of the US border. Visit Canada for outdoor adventure and yet another view of the natural world. Here are five places to explore with our northern neighbors:

Heli-hiking in British Columbia.  Chopper, chopper, chopper. The thrill begins when your crew boards the spacious helicopter bound for your high mountain lodge. Within just a few days every member of the family will push their high altitude limits while rock climbing with world-class mountain guides or simply enjoying  colorful wildflowers aside stunning glacier lakes. Designed to engage children of all ages, families can choose to divide by ability and interest during the day and gather for the evening or choose to explore together for the week. CMH also offers heli-skiing adventures during the winter months. Contact: 1(800)661-0252; www.CMHInc.com. 

Whistler/Blackcomb, British Columbia. Olympic alpine ski coverage may have stoked your interest in this pair of charming ski resorts. Throughout the year, families will find plenty of activities to engage each member of the clan. In summer, enjoy kayaking, rafting, and horseback riding. Try out the bungee trampoline, the Core climbing center or just stroll through the village. When the snow falls there is plenty of downhill and cross-country skiing as well as snowboarding, snowshoeing and dog-sledding to keep an active family engaged. Check out deals, packages and last minute offers on the website. Contact: 1 (888) 403-4727; www.WhistlerBlackcomb.com; http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/accommodations/index.htm

Rocky Mountaineer.  Kids love the chance to ride the rails.  A good option for reunions or multigenerational travel, this family owned company offers more than 70 Canadian train vacation packages through British Columbia, Alberta and the Canadian Rockies. Unplug and relax while taking in spectacular scenery from the comfort of your seat. Onboard attendants provide colorful commentary and make sure every member of the clan enjoys the ride.  Best known for their two-day, all daylight train excursion and rail tour through the Canadian Rockies, this year the company celebrates their 20th year in business. Contact: (800) 665-7245;

 www.Rocky Mountaineer.com

Churchill, Manitoba. Find your way to the remote community of Churchill for a chance to see the magnificent polar bear, which migrates to this icy seaport on the Hudson Bay in search of the ringed seal. As night falls on the “Polar Bear Capital of the World”, glimpse the amazing aurora borealis or northern lights for an added thrill. During the summer months, Beluga whale-watching is possible in small boats or zodiacs. Contact: 1(800)665-0040; www.travelmanitoba.com.;

Klondike Gold Rush Route, The Yukon. Relive one of the most exciting and colorful eras in Canadian history when you step back in time along the route of the Klondike Gold Rush. Be sure to make time for Dawson City, where dusty streets lined with old-time boardwalks and historic buildings evoke a sense of what life was like in the Wild West. You’ll also learn about First Nations cultures, and have plentiful opportunities to view wildlife, fish and hike. Take advantage of visitor centers along the way to maximize your journey. Come winter, snowshoe, cross- country ski or join in a dog sled race. Contact:1 (800) 661-0494;  www.511yukon.ca/; www.TravelYukon.com.

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