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Explore Canada: The Adventurer's Guide    by Marion Harrison & Peter Thompson order for
Explore Canada
by Marion Harrison
Order:  USA  Can
Key Porter, 2004 (1999)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This large-sized book for outdoor adventurers introduces Canada, by regions, as 'arguably the best country in the world for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers'. Its introduction tells us that over 400,000 scenic square kilometers of parkland have been preserved as national treasures. Icons identify areas for birding, winter sports, hiking and camping, biking, fishing, water sports, and trail riding (with best times of year recommended for the different activities, as well as suggestions to accomodate varying skills in your party, and for family travel). Other introductory sections cover trip preparation, equipment and clothing ('keep it light!'), and tips with respect to wildlife, the environment, and your health while on the trip. At the back of the book is a guide to further reading.

Explore Canada is full of inspiring color photos, that make me want to pack up the camping gear and go right now! Sidebars provide handy summaries of tips on activities like snowshoeing, canoeing and backpacking. A few pages give an overview of each area, from Gold River in British Colombia to Ellesmere Island National Park ('the ultimate northern experience') in Nunavut. Having been to many of the destinations in Ontario and Quebec, I read those sections with interest - the Haliburton Highlands, Algonquin Provincial Park, Bon Echo Provincial Park (famed for its native pictographs), the Ottawa River (great for rafting, may go back for some this summer), the Rideau Corridor, Gatineau Park, Parc du Mont-Tremblant - and learned something new about all of them, such as the existence of a 'Wolf Centre' in the Haliburtons.

I recommend Explore Canada as an excellent resource, which allows an outdoor traveler to choose a Canadian adventure vacation destination and activities. Given its broad coverage, the guide provides an overview of what's available, rather than great detail, making it the perfect place to start planning. My family and I will make use of it over the years, for both local trips and vacations further afield.

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