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Now this really is going the extra mile. One of our travellers was soundly asleep in his luxury Hudson Bay lodge, when he awoke to a polite 3am door knock. The group's guide, who'd stayed awake into the wee small hours scanning the sub-arctic coast, had spotted a polar bear swimming ashore.
'It was huge and glistening,' wrote the amazed visitor. 'It actually peered in through our restaurant window, just feet away. And to ice the cake there was a simultaneous display of the northern lights. I'll never forget those moments.'
While we can't promise up close and personal nature encounters directly beneath stellar astronomy on every Abercrombie & Kent Canada holiday, brilliant and tireless guides are par for the course - this one also made fabulous plaster casts of wolf paw prints for younger guests.
He and the other guides are the front line of our highly experienced North American team, which offers creative itineraries - fancy swimming with beluga whales or wilderness cookery lessons with leading chefs? - along with the best vehicles and long-established contacts. It allows us to offer extraordinary adventures and seamless travel across this vast, diverse country.
An A&K tour, of course, is generous with the great outdoors. From wild, empty and atmospheric Atlantic Canada with its superb seafood, to the vertiginous wall of the Rockies, rising out of the plains and merging into the beautiful West Coast mountains, it's a stage for wonderful hiking, skiing and wildlife viewing, including bears, eagles and wolves.
You can raft the Yukon's stunning rivers past toothpaste blue icebergs or explore its Gold Rush historic towns; fish in Ontario's lakes or British Columbia's emerald waters - returning guests love the ease with which their salmon was shipped home - or take the relaxed luxury option of the Rocky Mountaineer train. We recommend its domed observation car for prime views of the Continental Divide and snow-capped peaks (you may even be welcomed by Mounties, as our guests were).
Whatever option, your journey is punctuated by Canada's sophisticated cities: cosmopolitan Toronto's fine food and arts on Lake Ontario's shore; French-speaking Montreal, dubbed 'Canada's Cultural Capital' by Monocle magazine; and Vancouver, the urban good life sandwiched between imposing mountains and Pacific Ocean.
Clearly, even without the polar bears and aurora borealis, Canada offers an awful lot and A&K are more than happy to help you discover it.
Best time to be there
The peak season is from June to September. Killer whale viewing is best in June and July.
British Airways fly to Vancouver and Calgary.
Western Canada is GMT -8 hours
British Passport holders do not require a visa
All the countless immigration procedures were extremely well handled and were flawless. So, well done to you and all of the A&K team at every level of the company. You have proved you really understand how to handle ‘uber luxury’.
- BM, Sussex
Suggested itineraries in Canada
Family Wilderness Adventure
Nights: 6 | from £4,839
Nights: 10 | from £3,195
Birds, Bears and Beluga Whales
Nights: 7 | from £6,839
Ranches & Wilderness
Nights: 8 | from £5,875
The Great Ice Bear Adventure
Nights: 7 | from £6,889
Land of the Northern Lights
Nights: 3 |
Private Gulf Island Cruising
Nights: 6 | from £5,500
Nights: 7 | from £1,985
Highlights of the Rockies
Nights: 7 | from £2,380
Grizzly Bears of Knight Inlet Lodge
Nights: 4 | from £2,670
Alaska Cruise Silversea
Nights: 10 | from £3,020
Suggested accommodation in Canada
Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff, Alberta
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Lake Lousie, Alberta
Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Shangri-La, Vancouver, British Columbia