Mythic worlds mingle with contemporary Aboriginal storytelling.

  • 1.2 million Aboriginal peoples across Canada
  • 50-plus Aboriginal languages spoken in Canada
  • 115 National Historic Sites commemorating Aboriginal themes

It might hit you while lying beneath the stars during a night of tipi camping. You're on a sacred lands where Aboriginal peoples hunted and worshipped  thousands of years ago. Learn the distinctions among Inuit, Metis and First Nations peoples (including hundreds of diverse tribes), each with their own histories, cultures and traditions.  Visit cultural centres shaped like longhouses.  Watch a Haida carver shape a mythic whale from a chunk of stone.  Tap your feet before Inuit musicians bathed in the glow of the midnight sun.  Sway and stomp at a drumming circle during a summer pow wow.

Listen closely and you'll hear the ancient thunder of bison and learn the language of Blackfoot at a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Journey through ancient towering rainforest into the soul of Aboriginal wisdom, myth and storytelling.  Watch the loons soar as you paddle a canoe down a river wilderness. Join Aboriginal peoples at a traditional feast or share stories around the campfire. Savour wild salmon grilled on a fragrant cedar plank. Awaken in the morning to the aroma of freshly baked bannock bread.

Alberta

  • Sleep under the stars in a tipi, follow a vision quest, take in the World Chicken Dance Championships.
  • Listen for the ancient rumble of bison and discover 6,000 years of Great Plains history at a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Explore the sacred landscape where the Plains Indians left their mark at Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park.
  • Celebrate the history and cultural heritage of the Treaty 7 First Nations peoples at the Calgary Stampede.

British Columbia

  • Sail aboard a classic Canadian tall ship on a journey through a mystic island chain famed for its rugged beauty and First Nations heritage.
  • Visit an award-winning First Nations winery and sip a chilled Nk'Mip riesling.
  • Go behind the scenes at Victoria's Royal BC Museum, home to the First Peoples Gallery, and learn the secret treasures of curators, like how they created a rainforest.
  • Enter a mystical world of towering trees, deep fjords and snowcapped mountains in search of the fabled Spirit Bear with your Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nations guides.

Manitoba

  • Forge a connection with Louis Riel and embrace Metis pride at The Forks, Winnipeg's crossroads of culture and community, arts and entertainment.
  • Touch down in the waters of Aikens Lake Wilderness Resort for a fly-in fishing adventure and fur trade cultural voyage.
  • Winnipeg's largest pow-wow will have you tapping along to the beat of drums, ancient song, elders chanting, all in a frenzy of colour and creation.
  • Go on an Aboriginal prairie odyssey witnessing grunting bison herd, paddling a voyageur canoe, cooling off in a Plains Cree Tipi and taming your hunger with bannock fry bread.

Nunavut

  • Celebrate spring in the Arctic, build an igloo, mush dogs, and play ice golf.
  • Go dog-sledding on sea ice.
  • Go ice-fishing, spot beluga whales or even polar bears, go dogsledding or try caribou stew and embrace the Inuit life on a once-in-a-lifetime Arctic adventure.
  • Listen to Inuit rock, attend free workshops and cool concerts at the top of the world at the Alianait Arts Festival.

Ontario

  • Mingle with fur traders including Ojibwa and Métis Aboriginals during an overnight voyageur paddling adventure at Fort William Historical Park.
  • Paddle from the shores of the Canadian Museum of Civilization with Aboriginal voyageurs to an historic island where you'll enjoy a pow wow dance performance and a traditional feast including salmon, bison, rice, and Three Sister Soup (corn, beans, squash).
  • Explore caves carved from the ice age that once formed an ancient place of worship for the Huron and cross Ontario’s longest suspension bridge at Scenic Caves Nature Adventures.
  • Listen to the sounds of loons calling over the water as you float along on a voyageur paddle into Algonquin Provincial Park, home of the Algonquin First Nation.

Quebec

  • Be a guest in a Huron-Wendat’s stylish lodge, try gourmet First Nations cuisin and special skin-tingling spa treatments.
  • Feel the towering force of the world's largest indoor grouping of totem poles in the magnificent Grand Hall of the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
  • Immerse yourself in Atikamekw First Nations heritage by sleeping overnight in a tipi, joining a Native Circle, trying out a sweat lodge, or canoeing with Aboriginal guides.

Weather

When to go

Summer pow-wows in Canada run from June to August with the large Canadian Aboriginal Festival in Toronto occuring annually in November. The best time to visit Nunavut is July to mid-August, when the days are long and afternoons bring warm weather. Tipi camping packages are available from mid-May to mid-October in Alberta.

Need to know
  • Watch Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner), an Inuit film directed by Zacharias Kunuk.
  • Brush up on Aboriginal history by reading Canada's First Nations by Metis author Olive Dickason
  • Before visiting an Aboriginal cultural attraction, call ahead to find out about special ceremonies, performances and hands-on workshops