We are Bad Canadians


Something quite unexpected happened to us after leaving home to travel for an extended period of time.

We realized we were terrible tourists in our own country.

We lived next to the gorgeous Rocky Mountains for a good part of our lives. We were just over an hour from Banff – the most popular tourist destination in Alberta, a place foreigners flock to by the millions – yet we visited only once or twice a year.

And worse yet, within mere hours were even more alluring destinations that would rival any of the places we’ve traveled to in the world – and we didn’t ever bother going.

Absolutely shameful, really. How can we justifiably go traipsing off to all corners of the globe when we’ve never explored our own backyard?

With this trip home, we wanted to change that.

First up, a day trip to Waterton, a large national park in the southwest corner of the province that spills over into the US. Still can’t believe we’d never been there, especially because you know what suckers we are for mountain landscapes.

And Waterton is simply stunning.

Waterton Alberta


Waterton Lake Alberta


Creek, Waterton Alberta


Another complete failure as Canadian citizens? We had never been in a canoe.

We paddled out onto Cameron Lakes to remedy that atrocity, tout de suite!

Canoe Cameron Lakes Alberta


Bonus ‘Canadian’ points for getting my Mom out there as well – she’s terrified of water.

Cameron Lakes Alberta

Photo by: Teri Hartman of oneartfulvoice.blogspot.com


In one day we earned a couple of checkmarks in the “Good Canadian” handbook. We’ve got a few more to go though…

Driving Waterton Alberta


45 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • September 19 2012

    Gorgeous photos! I often feel like a bad Canadian too – especially when I travel and meet people from other countries who have been to parts of Canada that I haven’t been to myself!
    Jessica recently posted..Guest Post at A Dangerous Business

  • September 19 2012

    Beautiful pics! We are headed to Waterton in October. It will be my first time and I have lived in Calgary for almost 30 years. I guess when it is in your back yard you are less likely to see it as a destination.

    • September 20 2012

      I think that is it Misty, whenever we thought of traveling, we thought of getting OUT to see other places. Now, I wish we had done more while we lived here.

  • September 19 2012

    Waterton Lakes is definitely our favourite Canadian national park. We were last there with our motorhome in November of 2007…


    Have you been to the Frank slide yet?
    http://www.travelwithkevinandruth.com recently posted..100 Meters Underground

    • September 20 2012

      Oh yes, we’ve been to the Crowsnest Pass many times – it has to be one of our favorite spots in all of Alberta!

  • September 19 2012

    I know exactly what you mean! I’ve lived on Vancouver Island my whole life and this summer I went to Strathcona Park where I have only been once before in my life and it was stunning! Last year I went to the maritimes for the first time and I highly recommend it for you.

    • September 20 2012

      We’ve both spent time in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, but would love to get back and see more!

  • September 19 2012

    Great photos!

  • September 19 2012

    I live 4 hours away from Algonquin and I have never even been. I always feel ashamed when people from far away tell me how beautiful it is….awkward much.

    • September 20 2012

      Guess you’re just going to have to make the trip there then! πŸ™‚

  • Alice
    September 19 2012

    Although I now live in the UK, and there are lots of places I haven’t been to here yet, I come from Newfoundland, and only managed to see and live in the areas around Toronto.

    In fact there are lots of places in Newfoundland I haven’t seen!

    So I guess that makes me a bad Canadian.

    ps I love the photos. I get homesick when I see them.

    • September 20 2012

      Welcome to the club Alice! πŸ™‚ We have both managed to make it out to Newfoundland (to see family) and really loved it there. I haven’t been to Quebec at all yet, and am quite ashamed by that!

  • Chrystal McKay
    September 19 2012

    Now that I’ve been home for 3 weeks I’ve been catching up on all the hikes in North Western Ontario that I just never got around to before. Its great to explore your home and realize it is stunning. But I won’t lie – I would love to be out in the world again. Hopefully soon!

    • September 20 2012

      Yep, we’re getting anxious to go travel again as well, but at the same time, we’re really enjoying our time here!

  • September 19 2012

    I looove waterton, and the Banff/Jasper area! I think it’s going to be one of the parts of home I miss the most when we travel! Sorry that we missed you on your visit home, it would have been great to go and have a coffee with you, next time πŸ™‚

    • September 20 2012

      Yes, it really is too bad we missed you! Next time for sure…ENJOY your travels!

  • September 20 2012

    It looks so pretttyyyyy!

    I think it’s a pretty common thing to be a terrible tourist in your home country. We just don’t usually think about “home” as a place to explore or discover. But, of course, when you come from a country as huge and diverse as the U.S. or Canada, there’s TONS to explore!

    I’m trying to make sure I travel a little bit within the States each year, along with traveling abroad. Even though I’ve lived here nearly 26 years, I haven’t even been to half of the states yet!
    Amanda recently posted..Discovering Hidden Istanbul

    • September 20 2012

      I’d love to just rent an RV and drive across the continent one day. But damn, that is an expensive venture, which is part of what makes it hard to explore at home as well, it’s just SO much more pricey!

  • September 20 2012

    Wow! Absolutely stunning photography.

    If it makes you feel at all better, I’m a terrible Canadian as well – I have barely touched anything north of Muskoka (in terms of Ontario), have only been to smalltown NS, Montreal, and Regina. And yet despite living in Toronto for most of my life, I’ve never been to Ottawa. The only time I’ve made it out to the west coast, was twice when I’ve had layovers in Vancouver. Yet I’ve explored most of Australia and New Zealand!

    One day, I’ll take the time to see my own country… one day.

    • September 20 2012

      One friend of ours from Amsterdam always says that she’ll come visit Canada when she’s old because it’s an easy place to visit. I suppose that it is something that can be saved for that exact reason, vs when we backpacked around South America, not sure I want to do that in my old age! πŸ™‚

  • September 20 2012

    Amazing pictures. It’s so easy to completely forget about all the things you can do close to home. I think because it’s right there, or just a few hours away, we end up saying,”I’ll go there later after I go *insert name of far away place here*” I’m totally a bad Canadian, and a bad Alberta too. I’m lucky if I make it to the Rockies once a year, and I’ve never been to Waterton either.

    • September 20 2012

      That is exactly what happens. But after coming home now I am looking at things differently. I WANT to go and see all the places I haven’t. You just need to go on a long trip Alouise! πŸ™‚

  • September 20 2012

    The post reminds me that there is so much to visit for me in and around Mumbai!!!
    And the captures are fantastic, you certainly live in a beautiful world πŸ™‚
    Arti recently posted..Technological Marvels: Japanese Automation and Innovation

    • September 20 2012

      Thanks Arti! Canada has a lot to offer, that’s for sure. πŸ™‚

  • September 21 2012

    Good work! I am sure you will get yourselves over into the “Good Canadian” column before long!

    I suffer from a similar phenomenon to the one you describe – although I have lived in New York City for 26 years, and been coming here since I was a small boy, there are still many wonderful sights to see that I have not seen yet!

    For example, I went to the Guggenheim Museum, one of the most beautiful and interesting museums from an architectural standpoint, for the first(!) time just a few weeks ago.

    As for Canada, I have lived in the Northeast U.S. all my life, and there is still a lot of Canada I haven’t seen. For example, I am planning to visit Toronto for the first time in October.

    Don’t feel bad – it is easy to take for granted what is right next to you. The most important thing is to be continuously seeking new experience. Expanding your horizons, as they say.

    • September 22 2012

      Ha, and here I am, SHOCKED that you never went to the Guggenheim! But, it’s the same as me never going in a canoe. Well…almost. πŸ™‚

  • Ali
    September 22 2012

    I certainly haven’t seen enough of the US, but there are lots of places I’d love to see someday. Especially out west, I’ve never been to Yellowstone or Yosemite just to start.
    Ali recently posted..Advantages of Taking a Tour

  • September 22 2012

    You had never been in a Canoe?!!? You are bad Canadians!

    Pierre Berton defines a Canadian as “somebody who knows how to make love in a canoe.” That checkmark is probably best left off the blog however!

  • Kate - Canuckiwikate
    September 22 2012

    You’re certainly not alone, I am also a fellow member of this club! I grew up on the east coast (in NS) but have yet to see the Cabot Trail, and have only been as far west as London Ontario, with the exception of a 2 day layover in Vancouver on my way to New Zealand (where I’ve explored almost every corner of this country!)

    My goal is to roadtrip from Van to my parents place one summer and see ALL that I can on the way!

  • A Montrealer Abroad (@amontrealer)
    September 23 2012

    I’m a very bad Canadian too πŸ™ I’ve never been on a canoe, I hate camping AND hiking. But I do love me some poutine, and a good snowfall.

  • September 25 2012

    Glad to see you guys embracing your inner Canuck!
    Cam @ Traveling Canucks recently posted..Photo of the Week: Postcard from Zurich

  • September 26 2012

    I visited Waterton for the first time over Labour Day and loved the three hikes we did. I cannot believe you hadn’t been in a canoe before. Maybe we should have mandatory canoe school for all Canadians.
    Leigh McAdam (@hikebiketravel) recently posted..Calgary Day Trip – Cycling the Sheep River Valley

  • September 26 2012

    I always wanted to visit Waterton National Park when we were living in Canada but unfortunately never got the time. Looks like a great spot though. I think everyone is bad tourists in their own country as you figure its always going to be there
    Adela @FourJandals recently posted..Live Blogging from Costa Brava – #fjCostaBrava

  • Richard Lucas
    September 27 2012

    I think I’m a lucky person being born in canada and being able to see a large part of alberta and bc due to work but am I bad because I haven’t seen eastern canada,well crikey canada is huge country go north,go west,go east just go.Try to experience it with people from other counties and see it through their eyes.I was fortunate enough years ago to raft the tatsheshini with a group from england and to see their expressions and reactions to something like bald eagles that I get to see everyday made the trip that much more memorable never forget the yelling and pointing when the first black bear was spotted and then the grizzlies the visitors almost died and went to heaven.So I’m not a bad canadian but a damn lucky one and I realize it every single day

  • Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)
    September 28 2012

    I have had this same realization myself! I have only visited 3 of Canada’s provinces (and one of those is the one I’m from!) and have never even been west of Ontario! So many people flock to Canada as tourists and yet it would appear I haven’t taken the time to get to know my own country before running off to other parts of the world! Thanks for reminding me of all the great stuff that’s in my own backyard!

  • September 28 2012

    Travel has made me realize I’m a bad North American too!

  • September 30 2012

    Gorgeous photos! I really haven’t spent any time in Canada since I was a kid, but I’d like to change that!

    • October 2 2012

      Ohhh…there is still SO much that I want to see too!

  • October 6 2012

    Your mum looks like she is holding on tight haha

    • October 7 2012

      Yes, she wasn’t so pleased that we told her AFTER we got out there that we’d never been in a canoe before! πŸ™‚

  • October 10 2012

    You guys have a pretty epic back yard to explore. Awesome photos as always!
    Laurence recently posted..A month in New Zealand–my perfect itinerary

    • October 13 2012

      Thanks Laurence! Yes, we sure do, but it was sadly unappreciated by us before.

  • October 12 2012

    Great photos! I am due my first trip to lovely Canada early next year and can’t wait to feast my eyes on landscapes like these. It looks truly stunning and I am sure it’s even better when actually there!

    • October 13 2012

      You will love it Jules. The country has such a great variety of landscapes.

  • Tim H
    July 16 2013

    We feel the same way about being bad Canadians. My parents recently visited Alberta for the first time so we showed them around. It made us realize just how much awesomeness is a few hours away from where we live … but we rarely take advantage of it.

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