Story Ideas

10 things you need to know about… Canada’s offbeat attractions.

From UFO landing pads and pumpkin-paddling regattas to bathtub racing and snake dens, Canada is home to otherworldly highlights.

26 November 2014

Suggested tweet: Looking for an otherworldly experience: try one of Canada’s 10 offbeat attractions #explorecanada

It’s no secret that Canada has many breathtaking natural wonders. Lesser known are some of our more unusual attractions. Here are 10 offbeat ones worth visiting, whichever planet you are from.

1) Snakes on a plain : Manitoba’s Interlake region has more snakes in one place than anywhere else in the world. Twice a year, tens of thousands of red-sided garter snakes emerge from the Narcisse Snake Dens to mate before scattering into nearby marshes.

2) Trekkie town : To the residents of the Alberta town of Vulcan, Star Trek provided an interstellar opportunity to build a 9-m (30-ft) replica of the Starship Enterprise, along with a Star Trek-themed Visitor Information Office.

3) Best foot(wear) forward : You think you own a lot of shoes? Toronto's Bata Shoe Museum showcases more than a thousand pieces of fascinating footwear dating back over 4,500 years, from ancient Egyptian sandals to glitzy platforms.  

4) Polar bear selfies : At Cochrane, Ontario’s Polar Bear Habitat, the human pool is separated from the bear pool by a thick pane of clear Plexiglas—perfect for aquatic photo ops with the sanctuary’s newest ursine resident, Ganuk.

5) Bathtub boating : Every July Nanaimo, BC, hosts the International World Championship Bathtub Race, a high-seas challenge featuring ocean-worthy crafts shaped like old-style bathtubs, with “tubbers” vying to bathe in the glory of finishing first.

6) Forest signs : In 1942, an American G.I. working on the Alaska Highway posted a sign in the woods near the Yukon town of Watson Lake to mark how far he was from home. Today, Watson Lake has over 70,000 signposts, along with a Northern Lights Space and Science Centre.

7) Pumpkin paddle : Each October, contestants hit the waters of Lake Pesaquid in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley in huge, hollowed-out homegrown gourds weighing up to 363 kg (800 lb) to compete in the annual Pumpkin Parade and Regatta.

8) Spud stories : Surrounded by fertile fields of tasty tubers, the Canadian Potato Museum in O'Leary, PEI, houses the world’s largest collection of potato-harvesting machinery. Spud-struck visitors can also peruse its Potato Hall of Fame.

9) E.T. phone home : In 1960, the Alberta town of St. Paul decided to attract visitors from far and wide by constructing a UFO landing pad. This alien-alluring attraction now includes a UFO tourist information centre that details UFO sightings.

10) Canoe capital : Before planes, trains and automobiles, canoes were Canada’s main mode of transportation. The Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough, ON, showcases more than 600 canoes, kayaks and paddled watercraft.

Looking for more offbeat Canadian visual inspiration? Browse our Brand Canada Library for thousands of images and videos from all over the country.

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