Canada’s always held a special place in my heart. Some of my fondest travel memories are of cramming my five closest high school friends into a beat-up 70s Mercedes Benz and driving six hours north to the (at least to us school age Americans) Xanadu that was Montreal. My grandmother was born and raised on a farm outside Quebec City with no electricity or running water. I’m pretty sure that, to this day, she still swears at me in French. But I can’t be sure.
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In short: I heart Canada and Quebec in particular. So when Travel + Leisure (by way of American Express Publishing) and the Canadian Tourism Commission asked if I’d be interested in promoting and personally visiting some of the best sites in Quebec (both the province and the city), I unsurprisingly said, “YES!”. Perhaps a little too loudly.
They asked where I’d like to visit in Canada and offered essentially free reign to design my trip to anywhere in the country. After singing Quebec’s praises, we decided on a 10-day backpacking trip across the vast and varied terrain of the entire province. Destinations would include hiking the fortifications of old Quebec City, kayaking scenic rural waterways, and backpacking and camping some truly breathtaking national parks.
It’s all part of the Explore Canada Like a Local sweepstakes (granted I’m not technically a local, but … I do love poutine and am 25% French Canadian so I’m almost a provincial expert). The initiative is two-fold. First, I’ll be posting every day this week about my amazing trip through the wilds of Quebec. And be sure to follow along with Matt Armendariz on his journey through Vancouver and Alison Stein Wellner on her journey through Toronto.
But the best part: you can enter to win your own all-expenses paid Canadian journey. Choose from three itineraries, including backpacking Quebec’s sites and national parks, eating your way through Vancouver or soaking in the culture of downtown Toronto. The choice is yours and the sweepstakes is open from now until December 15, 2011!
It takes less than thirty seconds to enter, so … seriously … why are you still reading this?
Oh, and don’t forget to check out the Explore Canada Like a Local mobile app. As always, I wouldn’t recommend it if it wasn’t worthwhile. But I promise – if you’re planning to visit Canada – it’s well worth the free download.