This is the last in my series of Canada blogs, as Jasper was our last port of call before driving through to Edmonton and then flying back to Australia. The drive from Lake Louise to Jasper was just over three hours, through magnificent terrain along the Icefields Parkway, which is the main highway that starts in Banff. We were lucky in that it had opened up a couple of weeks before we wavered across, as it remains closed in many sections during the winter months. It’s a spectacular drive, mountainous, rugged National Park terrain that is stunningly beautiful.
Jasper itself is an old style railway town; the railway runs straight through the middle of the little township and I have to admit, the town was much smaller than we expected, but still home to a number of restaurants, cafes (the bakeries are fantastic), shops and lots of hotels. The scenery and wildlife are the main draw-card that attracts people to Jasper, as it is set in an amazing National Park that is home to elk, moose, bears, deer and many other animals. It was a thrill to see the elk roaming through town, as we had no idea they would venture so close to civilisation.
We were out of season to see the breathtaking Northern Lights in the sky, but the Planetarium is well known and people can see the evening stars, constellations and learn all about the Milky Way, solar system and Northern Lights.
The Jasper National Park is home to Medicine Lake, Sunwapter Falls, Spirit Island, Maligne Canyon, Athabasca River and Falls, the Miette Hot Springs and Mount Robson, so there is much to see and take in and lots to keep you occupied, especially if you are into nature, wildlife and spectacular scenery. The area is fantastic for hiking, bike rides and most can be easily accessed by car which is great.
The Jasper Brewing Company is a great place to eat and is a modern brewery offering house made craft beers and pub food. We also had a great meal in our hotel restaurant at the Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre. Buffalo meat is very popular in Jasper and its used to make nachos, spaghetti bolognaise and lots of meals we would usually make with beef mince. The Sawridge Inn and Conference Center was the perfect place to stay; lovely rooms and great facilities. We spent two nights here so we could go wildlife spotting and we weren’t disappointed.
After Jasper, we travelled to Edmonton and it is worth mentioning the West Edmonton Mall which is the largest mall in North America, and must be a place you stop in and visit if you ever get the chance. We were completely blown away by the sheer size, as this shopping mecca is also home to World Waterpark, Galaxyland, an Ice Palace skating rink, bowling alley, adventure golf, casino, hotel, Imax 3D theatre, nightclub, wild west shooting centre and the list goes on. And that’s not to mention every type of shop and brand you could possibly think of – it would be remiss of me not to mention as this is a MUST STOP IT you do happen to be passing through. Prepare to be amazed!
So this blog tells a tale of the end of our Canada adventure and it was truly and amazing almost three weeks – Canada should be on everyone’s list for a visit. Canada is a real ‘bucket list’ adventure; the people are amazing, the activities diverse and varied with some real highlights that you cannot do in Australia, beautiful sights and country, great places to eat and drink, lots to do and even more to experience.