Canada is spoiled when it comes to the wildlife that calls our nation home. Some of the most majestic mammals are the whales that live in the waters that surround us. Whale watching is an experience of a lifetime, and there are a number of great places to see the mammals do what they do best – be whales. No matter what the season, there is a whale watching expedition just right for you.
Witless Bay, Newfoundland
There are whales to be seen all around the island of Newfoundland but Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, just south of St John's, is the place to be. 22 species of whales, including the minke, sperm, pothead, blue, orca, and the world's largest population of humpbacks, feed on capelin, krill and squid along the coast. The sanctuary is also home to millions of seabirds, some really rare; and you might even have an opportunity to catch a glimpse of an iceberg drift slowly by.
Digby Neck, Nova Scotia
Every day, 160 billion tonnes of seawater flows in and out of the Bay of Fundy during one single tide cycle, making it the world's greatest destination to experience high and low tides. This daily flow of water brings large amounts of fish and plankton, making it an all you can eat buffet for hungry whales. Finbacks, humpbacks and minkes are commonly seen in the bay, and it is the best place to catch a glance of the rare right whale, who come to mate, feast and play in the rich waters.
The fresh waters of the Saguenay River push out on top of the frigid waters of the St Lawrence River, making for large volumes of krill. And where there are krill, there are whales. Humpbacks, minkes and blue whales swim in to eat like kings, as do the white belugas, which can otherwise only be seen in the Arctic. Boat tours are the best way to see these creatures and you’ll want to bundle up for this windy venture over the waves. But the cold will be worth it when you're experiencing the majestic beauty.
Tofino, British Columbia
Every winter up to 20,000 Pacific Grey Whales travel the Baja Peninsula heading north to Alaska, passing Tofino en route. Some say this migration, at 20,000 kilometres, is one of the longest animal migrations known to man, and it’s fascinating to see the pack up close. You might be able to catch a breach from the beach but one of the more adventurous ways to see the migration is in an open, zodiac boat. Outfitted in a full body ‘cruiser suit’ to stay protected from the open waters is definitely a photo opportunity, but you will want to make room on your camera for the exhilarating sight of the whales travelling their route.