It’s no secret that Canada has some of the best sports fans in the world. We support our teams through drastic losing streaks until they turn things around, come together as a country to support Canadian athletes on an international level, and feel losses as deeply as they were our own personal losses.
True sports fans deserve memorable experiences. Wherever you decide to travel in Canada, there are a few once-in-a-lifetime experiences you don’t want to miss.
Try your hand at biathlon at Whistler Olympic Park
Whistler Olympic Park is a place that celebrates and commemorates the 2010 Winter Olympics where Canada took home the most gold medals in the tournament and came out third overall. While you can sightsee at the park at any time throughout the year and take advantage of many great winter activities, a truly unique experience is available November through April. Visitors can try biathlon which combines cross country skiing and target shooting. Lessons are developed for visitors of all ages. Find yourself on the courses that Olympic athletes actually use for competition and training. If you happen to visit during the summer, you can still learn about biathlon and try out some target shooting!
Test your nerves at the Whistler Sliding Centre
Open year-round, the Whistler Sliding Centre has served as a training facility for athletes from all over the world on Blackcomb Mountain since the 2010 Winter Games. If you want the true winter sports fan experience, visitors can launch themselves down the world’s fastest ice track with either the Passenger Bobsleigh Experience or the Public Skeleton Experience. The Passenger Bobsleigh Experience is guided by a trained pilot in a 4-person bobsled while the Public Skeleton Experience let’s you experience the track on your own – head-first. You can reach speeds upwards of 125 km/hr and you won’t be able to try this anywhere else in Canada.
Attend the Annual Banjo Bowl
Nobody does football in Canada quite like the prairie provinces. Fans are so dedicated you will see packed open-air stadiums even during the harshest of winters. The annual Banjo Bowl started as a bit of friendly rivalry between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Saskatchewan Roughriders. This annual rematch happens in September the weekend after Labour Day and comes with a lot of fanfare and fan celebration. It’s not even an official CFL event, yet the CFL promotes it and all fans embrace it.
Attend a Grey Cup game
Football fans should definitely check out the biggest game in the CFL. Obviously, it’s best if you support one of the teams in the final, but if you can score tickets to the game, the atmosphere and the surrounding party in the host city is more than worth it even if you don’t have a team in the running. This year, the Grey Cup will be held in Regina, Saskatchewan at Mosaic Stadium. Be sure to get there early for the tailgate parties and extra excitement!
In 2021, Hamilton, Ontario will host the Grey Cup festivities at Tim Hortons Field.
Watch real cowboys at the Calgary Stampede
The Calgary Stampede is a spectacular 10-day celebration that features classic Western heritage. While some people don’t traditionally think of the Stampede as an athletic event, it is definitely athletes putting on a show. Since 1912, Calgary has welcomed visitors from all over the world. If you live in Calgary, it might seem exciting but nothing new. If you are travelling to Calgary, you definitely want to check out the Stampede at some point in your life!
Watch a Raptors Playoff game at Jurassic Park
The Raptors famously became NBA Champs for the first time to close out the 2019 season. While that was an incredible feat for Canada’s only Canadian team in the NBA, for fans that couldn’t score tickets to a game it was short-lived disappointment in Toronto. Maple Leaf Square was dubbed Jurassic Park and thousands of fans flooded the area to watch the playoff games. The energy during the playoffs is electric and something that every NBA fan should experience at some point.
Play a round of golf where Mike Weir launched his career
Mont Tremblant, ON
Mike Weir was the first Canadian to ever win the Masters in 2003. But even before that historical win, he was shaking things up in 1999 at Le Diable in Mont Tremblant. Known for its surprising elements, like large red-sand bunkers along narrow fairways, Weir was playing among some of the game’s best at the 1999 Telus World Skins Game. He surprised many by taking top honours in the tournament, putting his name on the map and launching his storied career.
Go “Inside the Ropes” at the RBC Canadian Open and the CP Women’s Open
Toronto, ON and Vancouver, BC
The RBC Canadian Open and the CP Women’s Open are the biggest golf tournaments in Canada and among the top tournaments in the world. How would you feel if you were able to walk alongside a PGA or LPGA tour player during the final round? People will be wondering how you were able to score such an exclusive experience. Hilton will be auctioning off this once-in-a-lifetime experience here, so if you’ve been saving up your Honors points, this might be the perfect way to cash them in. Golf fans, you don’t want to miss this.
Attend the 2021 World Junior Championship Hockey Tournament
Edmonton & Red Deer, AB
Canada is a hockey country, and takes the sport very seriously. For hockey fans, the World Junior Championship is a big deal and it sells out every year. If you are lucky enough to get tickets to a game, the atmosphere is electric and you get the chance to see the future stars of hockey battling it out on a world stage. The 2021 World Juniors will be in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta, but Canada is often host in a variety of cities.
Canada has a lot to offer sports fans, whether you are looking for an escape close to home or you want to take an adventure across the country.