Robin Esrock lays out the awesome adventure that is exploring Canada
An ultimate ‘bucket list’-maker on the must-have experiences in our own backyard.
"I had no interest in writing a guide book. In the world of Trip Advisor and Google, there's already enough information," says Esrock. "We lack inspiration, we need to get people off their couches—it's about what we are going to see, who we are going to meet, what it's going to feel like, that's what I was interested in writing about."
It's hard to believe, but true, that when Robin Esrock was asked to turn his newspaper feature article on an all-Canadian bucket list into a book in 2011, there wasn't yet a Canadian "bucket list" type book on the market.
"As I traveled and covered history, nature and cultural things, I started to understand how Canada is put together geographically. It's really 13 countries unified under one nation, and each province and territory has its own uniqueness about it," he says.
The first edition of The Great Canadian Bucket List: One-Of-A-Kind Travel Experiences came out in 2013 and thanks to its popularity (it became a best-seller), a second edition was released this past June. The latest edition has double the amount of experiences with over 70 new entries.
Esrock finds it astounding how we "tend to build more value to things that are farther away" and is quite adamant about pushing Canadians to take note of what we have here in our native land.
"People want to go to the Dead Sea in Asia, but Canada has its own Dead Sea in Saskatchewan…they talk about getting a mineral bath in Jordan or Israel, but Watrous, a little town just outside Saskatoon, has its own mineral spa. And there's crazy waterfalls in the world, sure, but Canada has a ton worth checking out."
He's right. Hamilton, Ont. houses over 100 waterfalls and cascades, making it the waterfall capital of the world.
Those wishing to follow his adventure menu should do so in their own way as "each person has their own interests." Although Esrock is a bit bias being that he lives in Vancouver.
"British Columbia is like the crown jewel of the country when it comes to urban experiences. The Rockies…like you can fly to a modern airport and then drive into the mountains, that's something you can't do in most places in the world."
Want to try something different? Esrock says to check out the Prairies.
"Everyone has this feeling that there is nothing to do there, that it is just a flat surface that you can watch your dog run for days over, but the liveliness, the festivals, the Moose Jaw tunnels, cat fishing, it's really great stuff," Esrock says.
If you can handle it, he also suggests spending the night in the Ottawa Jail Hostel, which is "the most notorious prison in Canada and the site of the last public hanging," Esrock notes. "They lock you in the cell, you sleep in a prison cell, they have ghost tours…it's incredible."
He also wishes that every Canadian had the chance to go up north and see the Northwest Passage because the space up there is "staggering."
For over five years Esrock has focused his travels and time exploring and showcasing Canada, accomplishing most of the things he's set out to do. But, there's still one thing he has his eyes on: "I've always wanted to do a grizzly bear lunch," he laughs.
To inspire your exploring, here's a snapshot of experiences from The Great Canadian Bucket List: One-Of-A-Kind Travel Experiences.
1) Exploring an old growth forest
2) Step over the Rockies
3) Track a wolf
4) Motorbike around Superior
5) Drink caribou with Bonhomme
6) Spend a night in an ice hotel
7) Zipline over a waterfall
8) Sleep in a lighthouse
9) Skate on a crystal lake
10) Visit a norse god