Canada occupies the north of North America, bordering the north Pacific Ocean on the west, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the north Atlantic Ocean on the east. It is mostly plains with mountains in west and lowlands in southeast. The highest point is Mount Logan 5,959 meters (19,551 feet), located in Kluane National Park and Reserve. (See Wikipedia List of National Parks of Canada.) Canada has 2 to 3 million lakes – more than all other countries combined; almost 9% of Canadian territory is water, more fresh water than any other country. Environment issues include air pollution and resulting acid rain severely affecting the lakes as well as damaging forests, caused by metal smelting, coal-burning utilities, and vehicle emissions. Ocean waters are also becoming contaminated due to agricultural, industrial, mining, and forestry activities. The Green Party of Canada (Parti Vert du Canada) is very much involved addressing these environmental issues in Canada today.

The Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park is the name of the union of the Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada and the Glacier National Park in the United States; both parks are declared Biosphere Reserves by UNESCO, and their union as a World Heritage. The Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve is adjacent to the Old Town Lunenburg World Heritage site; the core protected areas of the biosphere reserve consist of Kejimkujik National Park and the Tobeatic Wilderness Area.

CERF (Coastal Ecosystems Research Foundation) is a British Columbia NGO that funds research on whales, dolphins, and their environment through an ecotourism program. On the other side of the country, at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy, Ocean Explorations offers whale watching adventures out of Tiverton, Nova Scotia. There is a Commercial Bear Viewing Association of British Columbia, listing members and certified guides. Reno Sommerhalder is a Swiss-Canadian living in Banff, Alberta, who also offers guided bear watching via his Goosetongue Guiding and Consulting, especially for German-speakers. Dogsledding tours are ever popular winter sports, from Blackcomb Dog Sled in Whistler, British Columbia to the Arctic Chalet Whitehuskies in Inuvik, Northwest Territories. The British Columbia River Outfitters Association includes a regional members listing for guided river trips throughout the province. Sundance Balloons is one of the world’s largest operators of commercial hot air balloons, flying thousands of passengers annually in 12 cities across Canada.

In tourism, ecolabels often serve as environmental management systems; the Ecolabel Index lists quite a few tourism ecolabels active in Canada; however, the Sustainable Tourism Certification Network of the Americas lists only the Blue Flag program for beaches and marinas in Canada. A number of organizations provide regional membership directories, including the Wilderness Tourism Association of the Yukon, the BC Wilderness Tourism Association and Aventure Écotourisme Québec. Strathcona Park Lodge & Outdoor Education Centre is an adventure holiday destination on Vancouver Island. Earth Rhythms is a learning adventure company in southern Manitoba, next to Riding Mountain National Park. G Adventures (formerly Gap Adventures) is the largest adventure travel company in Canada, and offers socially and environmentally sensitive travel worldwide. Yamnuska Mountain Adventures, located in Alberta at the gates of Banff National Park, provides all kinds of mountaineering, climbing, and trekking experiences.

Biosphere reserves:

IUCN members:


A land of vast distances and rich natural resources, Canada became a self-governing dominion in 1867 while retaining ties to the British crown. Economically and technologically the nation has developed in parallel with the US, its neighbor to the south. Its paramount political problem continues to be the relationship of the province of Quebec, with its French-speaking residents and unique culture. (See Wikipedia Quebec sovereignty movement.)

Aboriginal peoples in Canada include First Nations, Inuit and Métis, and number over one million or almost four percent of the national population. The Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia is a non-profit, membership-based organization that is committed to growing and promoting a sustainable, culturally rich Aboriginal tourism industry. Offshore from Campbell River, British Columbia, Aboriginal Journeys organizes visits with the We-Wai-Kai First Nation on Quadra Island. Just off the Trans-Canada Highway in Kamloops, British Columbia, the Secwepemc Museum & Heritage Park provides insight into the lifestyle and culture of the Secwepemc people. In North Battleford, Saskatchewan, the Allen Sapp Gallery is Canada’s only public gallery named in honor of a living artist, the prominent Cree painter Allen Sapp. In southern Ontario, the Six Nations of the Grand River is the largest First Nation in Canada, and the only place in North America with all six Iroquois nations living side by side; Six Nations Tourism is a division of Six Nations Council. Also in Ontario, Cape Croker Indian Park is owned and operated by the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation. Tourisme Autochtone Québec (Quebec Aboriginal Tourism) supports the development of tourism businesses through the offering of services that are conducive to the ethnocultural, economic and sustainable development of the eleven aboriginal nations of Quebec. Lennox Island is located off the northwest coast of Prince Edward Island, connected by a short causeway and bridge; Lennox Island First Nation consists of a single reserve occupying the whole island. In the far north, bordering Greenland, is the territory of Nunavut, almost 84 percent Inuit people (who don’t like being called “eskimos”); see Nunavut Tourism for details on visiting.

Canada also boasts a highly developed rural tourism infrastructure. British Columbia has not only an Agritourism Alliance but also a Backcountry Lodge Association and Guest Ranchers Association. Alberta has a Country Vacations Association. There is the Saskatchewan Bed and Breakfast Association. Manitoba has its own Rural Tourism Association. Ontario country hosts offer Farm & Country Accommodations. And, Quebec promotes the slow food movement with its Association de l’Agrotourisme et du Tourisme Gourmand. AgriTours Canada is an agency offering all kinds of agricultural tour programs.

Hostelling International-Canada has a network of 60 hostels, from coast to coast. Bowers Homestay and Educational Services of Canada organizes English as a second language (ESL) opportunities, including homestays. Great Excursions, based in Regina, Saskatchewan, organizes cultural tours, including “Back Alley Safari” reality tours. Heritage Canada Foundation functions as the National Trust for Canada, listing historic sites throughout Canada.

Canada offers working holiday visas for young people, generally from developed countries up to 30-35 years of age in some cases, called International Experience Canada. Working Holiday Canada is one online portal which offers assistance in this process. Volunteer Canada is a national volunteer center, with reach throughout Canada’s volunteering community. WWOOF Canada provides “world wide opportunities on organic farms”, which include volunteering or work exchange. LETS traveler extraordinaire Jame Staris lists LETS groups in Canada. (See Wikipedia Local Exchange Trading Systems.)

World Heritage:

ICCROM members:


  • Management of Ecotourism Impacts at Gros Morne National Park, Canada by RN Oketch, 2012
  • Sustainable Tourism: a hope or a necessity? The case of Tofino, British Columbia, Canada by R Dodds, 2012
  • Sustainable Mi’kmaw cultural tourism development in Nova Scotia, Canada: examining cultural tourist and Mi’kmaw perspectives by MF Lynch, P Duinker & L Sheehan, 2010
  • On Eco-tourism Planning in View of Canada Capilano Suspension Bridge Park by WU Tao, 2009
  • Internet-based ecotourism marketing: Evaluating Canadian sensitivity to ecotourism tenets by HM Donohoe & RD Needham, 2008
  • Carrying capacity for sustainable tourism development: Tofino, British Columbia, Canada by EL O’Brien, 2007
  • Revelations of Sustainable Development Practices on Eco-tourism in Canada by X Zhou, L Wang, 2007
  • Sustainable cruise tourism in Arctic Canada: An integrated coastal management approach by EJ Stewart & D Draper, 2006
  • Canadian Aboriginal ecotourism in the north by A Hashimoto & D Telfer, 2004
  • Sustainable tourism development in Canada: practical challenges by C Jayawardena, 2003
  • Integration of Biodiversity in Cultural Heritage in the Development of Ecotourism. A case study from Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlottes Islands), BC, Canada by S Blangy & JL Martin, 2002
  • Interorganisational Relations and Sustainable Tourism in Canada: an Historical Perspective of Federal National Park and Tourism Agencies and Key Interest Groups by BA Lovelock, 2001
  • Japanese ecotourism in the Northwest Territories, Canada by B Carpenter, 2000
  • Responses of woodland caribou to winter ecotourism in the Charlevoix Biosphere Reserve, Canada by M Duchesne, SD Côté & C Barrette, 2000
  • Toward sustainable mountain communities: Balancing tourism development and environmental protection in Banff and Banff National Park, Canada by D Draper, 2000
  • CBMT: A Cultural Ecotourism in Canada by T Fletcher, 1998
  • Ecotourism in Canada by DA Fennell, 1998
  • Lessons from developing and marketing ecotourism: a view from Canada by C Wild, 1998
  • Linking Tourism and Conservation: Exploring the Ecotourism Industry in Atlantic Canada and Its Potential for National Parks by JE Tompa, 1998
  • Vacation farms and ecotourism in Saskatchewan, Canada by DA Fennell & DB Weaver, 1997
  • Private ecotourism operations in Manitoba, Canada by D Weaver, C Glenn & R Rounds, 1996
  • Using Geographical Information Systems To Identify Potential Ecotourism Sites In Northern Ontario, Canada by SW Boyd & RW Butler, 1996
  • Attitudes towared ecotourism, economy, and wildlife in a Canadian boreal region: implications for northern development by A Miller, 1995
  • Identifying criteria and establishing parameters for forest-based ecotourism in northern Ontario, Canada by SW Boyd, RW Butler & W Haider, 1995
  • Ecotourism: Canadian destinations for the conscientious tripper by P Lenton, 1993
  • Canadian Tourism Council Report on Ecotourism by KÇD Komisyonu, 1992
  • Ecotourism and conservation policies in Canada by M Colin, 1992
  • Ecotourism in Canada by RC Scace, E Grifone & RG Usher, 1992
  • Marketing and economic benefits of ecotourism at Point Pelee National Park, Canada by GT Hvenegaard, 1992
  • Promoting sustainable tourism – the Canadian approach by LJ D’Amore, 1992

Canada Data