Set on the shores of Hudson Bay, this subarctic town has earned international fame as the polar bear capital of the world. So plentiful are the bears that the town actually has a “polar bear jail,” which holds wayward bears that wander into town until they can be released back into the wild. Seen on foot, from the air or from a boat (local tour companies venture into the mouth of the Churchill River in Zodiacs), encountering a polar bear in the wild is an unforgettable experience.
The Muskoka Lakes, Ontario
One of National Geographic’s Best Trips of 2012, the Muskoka Lakes-Toronto’s favourite cottage country-have long been a destination for weary weekend warriors from the city. And while, in the past, the ability to spend more than just a day here depended on whether (or not) you had a place on the lake (or access to one), the recent addition of some great luxury properties-including a lovely JW Marriott on Lake Rosseau-have opened up the area to non-cottagers. Shop and eat in the charming villages that dot the region, then log some serious time on Joseph, Rosseau, Muskoka or any of the other, smaller lakes in the area.
CN Tower, Toronto
Although its luster has dimmed somewhat as the records it once held have tumbled at the feet of taller towers in Asia, this Toronto landmark-the former tallest freestanding structure on earth-is, at 1,815 feet, still one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World and the world’s tallest tower. And despite the fact that some of its glory has passed, the allure of a visit here is perhaps greater than ever, with the addition of its vertiginous glass floor and the installation of extra entertainment features, such as the EdgeWalk, which dares people to walk along the abyss on a five-foot wide span atop the tower’s main observation deck, 116 stories above the ground.