A year ago this week, our team at Experiences Canada was furiously rebooking flights to secure the safe travel home of four youth groups still in the middle of an Exchange as the pandemic shut down took effect.  We also started the process of postponing (and later cancelling) travel plans for more than 2000 youth involved in our programs. Who imagined that a year later, we would still be anxiously wondering when it would once again be safe to travel? While the warm weather and arrival of vaccines have given us reason to be optimistic, we’re still wistful for the time when we once again receive the social media posts, the photos and videos, and other reports from our participants as they discover another part of Canada for themselves. As we continue to wait, here is a compilation of some virtual tours of our most popular exchange destinations:

  1. Virtual Tour of the Parliament Buildings

Even when the pandemic is declared over – it will be another decade before anyone can visit the #1 travel destination for Experiences Canada participants, so this virtual tour will have to do

  1. Valcartier, Quebec – Snow Tubing

Almost half our exchanges are arranged to support second language learning, mostly pairing Quebec francophone schools with other schools across the country.  A visit to Valcartier Park and to Carnaval are always on the itinerary!

  1. Iqualuit, Nunavut

We always have more demand for exchanges to the North than we can accommodate each year.

  1. Virtual Hike, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park

Exploring Canada’s natural environment is another popular theme for exchanges, with Alberta and BC being top destinations for the rest of Canada eager to see the Rockies and Coastal Mountains.

  1. Toronto, ON Tour of Royal Ontario Museum

Google Street Views offer a growing number of walk-through tours of Canadian museums and art galleries for those missing cultural excursions!

  1. Haida Gwaii – History of the Haida

Presently, nearly 10% of our exchanges involve Indigenous communities. We’re continually working to build relationships with more Indigenous communities to support opportunities for them to build connections with other Indigenous as well as non-Indigenous youth across the country.

  1. Iceberg Tour – Newfoundland

Opportunities to explore the East Coast are also very popular, and it is always a thrill if they can catch a glimpse of an iceberg while they are there!

  1. Drumhellar – Dinosaur Dig

Outdoor Education and exploring history and heritage are two other popular themes for exchanges – all the better when you can do both at the same time!

  1. Preview of Quamajuq, the Inuit Art Centre in Winnipeg, MB

We count this as a future top destination since the Centre isn’t open yet – but we wanted to share this sneak peak of Winnipeg’s newest cultural attraction

  1. Heliskiing – Columbia Mountains, BC

We do a lot of sports exchanges including ski groups, but to be honest, no youth we know of have been on this kind of trip!  

There are so many amazing places to discover in Canada. This year, since were all sticking around in our own neighborhoods, we’re inviting youth to take a closer look and share the stories about what makes their home so special – creating photo galleries, videos, and other multi-media presentations to highlight the history, geography, art, culture and heritage of their communities. At the end of the school year, we’ll share their work of all the youth participating in our Virtual Exchange program on an Interactive map of Canada. So stay tuned and join us this summer for a virtual tour across Canada as seen through the eyes of our youth!

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