Landmarks: Canada's Natural Wonders

Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta
If you use an Android* smartphone, you’re probably already familiar with Moraine Lake, in Banff National Park: It’s one of the operating system’s main background images. Of all the scenic lakes on Earth, there’s no question why Google chose this one. Set at 6,100 feet in the Canadian Rockies, it has brilliant blue water and the stunning Valley of the Ten Peaks for a backdrop. Visitors tempted to try a refreshing swim should dip a finger in first. The lake’s almost tropical hue comes from sediment carried in glacial runoff. Even on the warmest summer day, it’s frigid!

Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta
Wherever there’s a museum dinosaur exhibit, chances are good that it contains some of the extraordinary fossils found in central Alberta’s wildly eroded badlands. Today the region’s arid landscape is speckled with cottonwoods and sagebrush, but 75 million years ago it was a subtropical jungle teeming with an exceptional diversity of dinosaur life. More than 35 species have been discovered in the park, and hundreds of specimens unearthed here are on display at major museums around the world. Visitors can even participate in a paleontological dig.

Prince Edward Island National Park
Streams run red when it rains in Prince Edward Island, and the fragile crimson cliffs crumble slowly into the North Atlantic. After an especially heavy downpour, the island can appear to be bleeding its iron-rich sandstone away. That steady erosion gives visitors broad pink sand beaches and undulating dunes to explore. The waters off this island province are known to be relatively warm for swimming, but the sand is the real charm of PEI National Park. Take a stroll on one of its beaches at twilight and watch the setting sun paint sky, soil and sand in innumerable hues of red.

The Polar Bears of Churchill, Manitoba
They may look adorable, but polar bears are fierce predators, and safely getting near them in the wild is almost impossible. But tiny Churchill, Manitoba, which is close to one of the world’s largest polar bear populations, offers a unique opportunity to see the charismatic critters in their natural environment. To do that, it uses a little local ingenuity. Back in the late 1970s, Len Smith cobbled together a prototype of the first tundra buggy (there are now 16) in a Churchill workshop. Part jacked-up lunar rover, part customized school bus, this Churchill original has been bringing people and polar bears together ever since.

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