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Go North for Great Deals

Looking for a memorable fall or winter getaway? Why not head to Canada’s true north for an taste of the aurora borealis, sled dog racing, and a breath of the world’s cleanest air, according to the World Health Organization.

I recently travelled to the charming capital city of Whitehorse, Yukon, with a two-night air and hotel weekend deal for $579 including tax from Vancouver, Edmonton or Calgary, available through Air North, Yukon’s Airline.

Being a clueless "southerner," I had no idea that the 60th parallel was so close -- a flight from Vancouver clocks in at just over two hours, and flights from Edmonton and Calgary are three hours or less.

While flying with Air North, guests receive a complimentary light snack and dessert -- in my case, warm cookies -- served by friendly staff, most of them Yukoners themselves.

Getting around is simple. You won’t find big-city traffic, or grueling commutes: the city of Whitehorse (population 26,400) is just a 10-minute drive from the airport. Most hotels offer complimentary shuttles to and from the airport.

But, if you want to see some of the sights, such as the elusive Northern Lights, be sure to rent a car to experience breathtaking scenery and lonely mountain roads. It’s also astonishing how many things there are to do in the area, especially if you love the outdoors.

Here are some things to do:

  1. Visit the world’s smallest desert: Make a stop at the Carcross Desert, once the remains of a glacial lake.
  2. Relax: The Takhini Hot Springs is a 15-minute drive from town.
  3. Take a trip back in time: Visit the site of the S.S. Klondike, learn about the gold rush days and beyond at the MacBride Museum of Yukon History, or go back to the Ice Age at the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre.
  4. Meet the locals: Head to the Gold Pan Saloon from Thursdays through Saturdays and see the saloon girls perform or catch some local musicians. Or grab a hot drink or snack at Baked Cafe & Bakery or Bean North, two amazing local cafes. 
  5. Tour a glacier: Drive an hour out to Haines Junction and hop aboard a plane for an aerial tour of Kluane National Park and Reserve, its glaciers and Mt. Logan, Canada’s highest peak at 19,000 feet above sea level.
  6. Shop local: Mac’s Fireweed Books sells the largest selection of Yukon-related books, perfect for souvenirs. Other shops on Main Street include Bearpaw Music & Gifts, featuring First Nations souvenirs including, art, jewelry and clothing. 

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Tips by
Charmaine

Deal Expert, Toronto
Thursday, October 27, 2011
See more Tips from
Charmaine Pang