Canada’s winter landscapes transform into a realm of enchanting beauty, and for wildlife enthusiasts, it offers a unique opportunity to witness the resilience and adaptability of creatures in the face of icy conditions. From the snow-covered expanses of the Rocky Mountains to the frozen coastal wonders of the Atlantic and Pacific, Canada’s winter wildlife is a testament to the country’s biodiversity. Here are the top five wildlife viewing areas to visit in Canada this winter.
1. Brackendale Eagles Provincial Park, BC
If you live within the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, be sure to check out Brackendale Eagles Provincial Park, nestled within the Squamish River Valley, this winter. This provincial park becomes a crucial wintering ground for bald eagles during the months of November-February. Brackendale attracts thousands of eagles that feed on the spawning salmon found in the area. To enhance the viewing experience for visitors, specific viewing areas have been established, to provide a convenient opportunity to witness this remarkable wildlife spectacle.
Where is Brackendale Eagles Provincial Park?
The viewing facilities located at Brackendale Eagles are found on the Eagle Run dyke, across from Easter Seals Camp (41015 Government Road, Brackendale). There is currently no road access through Brackendale Eagles due to the lack of a river crossing from the east side of the Squamish River to the park found on the west side. Recreational use of the park from October 1st-March 31st is closed to the public.
Because of this, visitors are advised to observe the park spectacles from the park boundaries. Brackendale Eagles park has high conservation values, which means that no recreational facilities are found inside the park.
2. Banff National Park, AB
In the winter months, Banff National Park transforms into a snow-draped wonderland, captivating visitors with its serene beauty and offering a unique perspective on wildlife. Banff becomes a haven for resilient creatures adapted to the cold, such as: deer, elk, and bighorn sheep. Deer and elk can be spotted in the town of Banff. Bighorn sheep are often found in the valleys surrounding the park, and will be easily spotted, along with various types of bears, for those who choose to adventure down any of the trails encompassing the park.
3. Algonquin Provincial Park, ON
Algonquin Provincial Park becomes a cross-country ski and snowshoe trail system during the winter months of Ontario. This trail system provides viewing opportunities for deer, fish, foxes, martens, moose, otters, and wolves. However, the most sought out winter animals of this area are the bird species! Species such as boreal chickadees, black-backed woodpeckers, gray jays, spruce grouse, and various winter finches can be found here. Check out the Algonquin Park Birding Report which provides information on the park’s most recent bird sightings.
Where is Algonquin Provincial Park located?
Algonquin Park is located at: Algonquin Park Visitor Centre, Highway 60 at km 43, Algonquin Provincial Park.
4. Killarney Provincial Park, ON
During the winter months Killarney Provincial Park is inhabited with moose, deer, martens, and bobcats. Most of these animals will not be found by humans, but the winter snow will track their prints.
Where is Killarney Provincial Park located?
Killarney Provincial Park is located at 970 Highway 637, Killarney.
5. Victoria, BC
Victoria, BC consists of various parks where winter wildlife viewing is possible (Goldstream Provincial Park, Sooke Potholes Provincial Park, Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park). However, the most notable wildlife viewing experience found in this area is winter whale watching. From December 1st-April 30th Victoria’s west coast offers sights of killer, grey, humpback, and minke whales. Sea lions, seals, otters, and pacific white-sided dolphins can also be spotted in this area. These animals may be spotted from the coastline, but a guaranteed sighting can be found if you take one of the many whale watching tours that Victoria offers.
Canada, renowned for its vast and diverse landscapes, offers a plethora of opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts to witness the country’s rich biodiversity in its natural habitat. Here are our top picks for the best wildlife viewing experience this season!
Sources: Winter Wildlife Viewing in Canada, Brackendale Eagles Provincial Park, Algonquin Park Birding Report, Ontario Wildlife, Victoria Whale Watching