Major sites of interest in this office’s jurisdiction
Today, the fifth part of the series focuses on sites of interest within this office’s jurisdiction (i.e., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Northwest Territory, Nunavut). Knowing that everyone has different interests, the saying “Tastes differ”, we hope this information could be of use for you.
There are a lot of beautiful places in the Canadian Rockies, but the “must” would be a driving along the Icefields Parkway. The highway stretches from Lake Louise, north of the famous Banff, to Jasper. The length is about 230 km. You can enjoy a comfortable drive, while watching a lot of high peaks and a few glaciers.
Even if you do not have time to visit Banff or Jasper, Kananaskis area also provides beautiful scenery. The leaves change colour to a vivid yellow in the fall. You also can enjoy Canadian Rockies’ magnificence in Waterton, southern Alberta.
To the opposite side of the Prairies, Churchill, Manitoba (a coastal town of Hudson Bay) is famous for polar bear viewing during summer season. Amongst the nature, you can witness wild animals in their habitat including polar bears if you are interested.
Northwest Territories and Nunavut are located in high latitude and their nature are very harsh. However, you can have wonderful experiences including kayaking, dog sledding in summer and watching fantastical northern lights (especially in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories) in winter. These are very special experiences in the Far North.
(Prehistoric lives, including dinosaurs)
In western Canada’s long geological history, a lot of prehistoric lives flourished, such as many species of dinosaurs, and the creation of the Rockies by mountain building activities and erosion of the land by glaciers created current geographical features and abundant fossil fuel resources in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, Drumheller, Alberta（see the right picture） and Royal Saskatchewan Museum, Regina, Saskatchewan showcase a lot of fossils of prehistoric lives. In particular, Royal Tyrrell Museum’s collection is amazing.
In the surrounding area of Drumheller, you can see a very wild landscape, called the “badlands”. (The right picture shows “Horseshoe Canyon” on a rainy day.) You can enjoy hiking while being immersed in a strange landscape.
(First Nation’s footprints)
There are many sites related to ancestors of First Nations. One notable site is a cliff called “Buffalo Jump” used by First Nations to drive many bison (buffalo) to death. Among these kinds of sites, the most famous one is located in southern Alberta and called “Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump”(right, the second picture).
Another site related is the First Nation’s preserved rock art panels, located on Milk River Valley near the U.S. border. The picture on the right is a part of “The Battle Scene”.
It would be worth mentioning that bison was about to go extinct due to overhunting in 19th century, and later preserved, bred at Elk Island National Park near Edmonton (See below). In recent years, the bison were sent to Alberta Rocky Mountain House, Banff and surrounding and Waterton in order to protect their original form of natural ecosystem.
(Calgary)Lastly, as this office is located in Calgary, it introduces two things we cannot talk about Calgary without touching them.
First comes “Calgary Stampede”. This is a summer festival featuring rodeo and has more than 100 years of history. The organizer calls it “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”. This is Calgary’s feature in July and more than a million people from around the world gather here every year for the Stampede. This is the biggest stampede among all the stampedes. If you have a chance to visit Calgary this season, please join us!
Another is a Calgary-born cocktail, called a “Caesar” (Vodka base). According to WIKIPEDIA, Mr. Walter Chell, then-restaurant manager of Calgary Inn (Currently THE WESTIN) invented this beloved cocktail in 1969. It has a little bit of a peculiar taste, but it might be interesting to compare Caesars by each bar or restaurant.
(Reference)For now, there are 22 sites in Canada which are listed in the UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Among them, eight sites are located in this office’s jurisdiction. While some of them were mentioned above, below is a complete list.
- Nahanni National Park Reserve Northwest Territories, listed in 1978. The Nahanni River is one of the most spectacular wild rivers in North America. The major geologic and geomorphologic features in Nahanni National Park provide a combination of geological processes that are globally unique.
- Dinosaur Provincial Park Alberta, listed in 1979. Seventy-five million years ago, what is now eastern Alberta was a lowlying coastal plain at the edge of a large shallow sea. Countless creatures, including about 35 species of dinosaur, flourished there. These “badlands” stretch along 24 kilometers, presenting a land scape of stark, but exceptional natural beauty.
- Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Alberta, listed in 1981. The Aboriginal people of North America’s Great Plains had used the buffalo jump to kill large numbers of buffalo. And the biggest, oldest and best-preserved buffalo jump in North America is the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump.）
- Wood Buffalo National Park Alberta and Northwest Territories, listed in 1983. Wood Buffalo is Canada’s largest national park. The great concentration of migratory wildlife is the rare and Wood Buffalo is the most ecologically complete and largest examples of the entire Great Plains-Boreal grassland ecosystem of North America.
- Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks Alberta (and British Columbia), listed in 1984. The seven parks of Canadian Rockies form a striking mountain landscape.
- Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park Alberta and Montana, U.S., listed in 1995. The Rotary Clubs of Alberta and Montana proposed in 1931 uniting Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta and Glacier National Park in Montana as the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, the first of such park in the world.
- Pimachiowin Aki Manitoba (and Ontario), listed in 2018. A large intact boreal forest ecosystem under Indigenous stewardship
- Writing-on-Stone / Áísínai’pi Alberta, listed in 2019. More than 200 rock art panels are found on cliff faces at Writing-on-Stone on Milk River valley.