Canada: Five Cities, Five Days

Is Canada a hipper, cleaner, and sexier version of the United States? We tour five cities in five days to find out.
By Alan Muraoka for PASSPORT Magazine

I have always had a secret crush on Canada. I don't know why. Maybe it's because it welcomed our draft dodgers during the Vietnam War, or that prescription drugs are easier and cheaper there, or maybe it's just the Mounties. Whatever the reason, I think of Canada as a hipper, cleaner, and sexier version of the States. So when I was given the unique opportunity to travel to five different provinces on a coast-to-coast tour of the country, I jumped at the chance. I would be visiting five distinctive cities, staying in deluxe accommodations, and traveling on a private jet. There was a catch. All of this luxury would be condensed into five days: five cities, five days. I fantasized that it would be like being a rock star on tour, like Jagger doing one-nighters, only without the booze, drugs, and women. Well, at least without the drugs and women. Let me clarify something right off the bat. I'm a product of a middle class upbringing. I'm one of those guys who always takes home the tiny toiletries that are offered in hotel rooms, and will hide them in my suitcase so the maid will restock them daily. So there was a part of me that was afraid that I'd be like a fish out of water. I decided that to truly be a jet setter, I needed to assume the role, like an actor getting into character. After Googling "jet setter," I realized that I needed: A) Fabulous outfits—check; B) A nonchalant, slightly bored attitude—not usually my nature, but check; and C) big, Jackie O sunglasses—check! Canada, here I come.

The first stop on my Canadian adventure was Cape Breton. Cape Breton lies on the northeast tip of Nova Scotia and offers travelers a diverse terrain of scenic mountains, rugged seacoast, and lush forest. The native customs and architecture of the Mi'Kmaq (one of the First Nation tribes) pair nicely with the Gaelic influences of the Scottish, who were the first settlers to land on its soil. (Nova Scotia is Latin for "New Scotland"). The area is so beautiful that inventor Alexander Graham Bell moved his family from the States to Cape Breton in 1885. At the Alexander Graham Bell National Historical Site (Tel: 902-295-2069), located in the town of Baddeck, you can learn all you want about this prolific inventor and humanitarian. Next, I headed west to the town of Glenville, and to the Glenora Inn and Distillery (Route 19/Ceilidh Trail; Tel: 800-839-0491). The Glenora Distillery is the only single malt distillery in North America, and visitors get to see the whole whisky process from start to finish. What is unique about Glenora is the Inn that is situated on the property. With nine modest rooms and six log chalets nestled in the wooded mountains, this is definitely a place to get away from it all. With daily Celtic entertainment, you can live out your Lord of the Dance fantasies as you are immersed in the bagpipes and fiddles of the traditional Scottish ceilidh (pronounced KAY-lee).


Published: 11 Aug 2008 | Last Updated: 1 Apr 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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