On the watch for fins and flukes.

  • 33 whale species in Canada’s waters
  • 03 oceans and world's longest coastline
  • 100 m safe viewing distance to whales

Glide across the sea chasing a distant fluke. Watch a 40 foot whale breach clear out of the water and feel your heart race. Whales abound in Canada’s waters from sea to sea to sea. Grab binoculars to catch a glimpse of a misty spout on the horizon in New Brunswick and listen for their eerie, haunting songs and the slap of their flukes on the surface. A pod of black and white orcas on the BC coast surges along a rainforest shore, their moist, syncopated gasps surrounding you as if the ocean itself was breathing. Unicorn-tusked Arctic narwhal in Nunavut seem magical as they follow the ice floe edge. Hop in a sea kayak and watch whales from sea level or slip on a snorkel in Newfoundland and come face-to-face with giant humpbacks - don a drysuit in Manitoba and join chirpy belugas prancing underwater, their white skin shimmering ghostly against the deep. Commune with these ocean giants—get up close and personal - and come away with memories of a unique spectacle and a respect for them and their habitat.

British Columbia

  • In Vancouver, book a sea safari or whale-watching adventure in a zodiac to spot resident pods of killer whales.
  • Set sail from Bella Bella on a custom ketch and watch humpbacks breach while sailing through BC’s famed Inside Passage.
  • Go whale watching by boat from Tofino, then finish up by relaxing in a natural hot spring.
  • Kayak with orcas, humpbacks and gray whales off Vancouver Island.
  • Step onto Maple Leaf Adventure’s classic schooner in Haida Gwaii and watch humpback whales against a backdrop of ancient rainforests draped with moss.

Manitoba

  • Peer into a curious beluga’s eyes through a mask while snorkeling with the white whales in Hudson Bay off Churchill.
  • Hop a helicopter in Churchill and gaze down at waters littered with beluga whales and their calves.

New Brunswick

Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Set sail from St. John’s or the outpost of Twillingate to spot up to 22 species of whales and thousands of seabirds.
  • Go whale watching along the Southern Shore while paddling a sea kayak.
  • Cruise through Witless Bay Ecological Reserve peeking at puffins and picnicking with whales.
  • In Conception Bay, slip into a wetsuit and slide into the water for a once-in-a-lifetime experience of snorkeling up close and personal with whales.

Nunavut

  • Somerset Island offers a rare chance to get close to beluga whales mingling en masses in the shallows just offshore.
  • Count whales from orcas to bowheads on an Adventure Canada cruise through the Arctic’s Northwest Passage.
  • Take a Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari on board a snowmobile-drawn Inuit sled to the sea ice floe edge near Pond Inlet with Arctic Kingdom.

Quebec

  • Cruise from Tadoussac up the Saguenay-St. Lawrence River watching for Minke, finback, belugas and perhaps even Blues, the world’s biggest whales.
  • Sea kayak with whales along legendary Saguenay Fjord and spot 13 whale species.

Weather

  • Temperatures in spring and fall are chilly on all coasts though above freezing, and there is always chance of rain showers. Summers, July and August, are generally warm enough for t-shirts and shorts, but come prepared for the occasional rainy day.
  • Average spring temperatures in May and June in northern Nunavut are between –10°C and 0°C degrees at the floe edge; in Southern Nunavut expect temperatures in June and July whale-watching seasons to be between 3°C and 8°C.
  • Discover local weather information. Research local weather patterns at Environment Canada's Canadian Climate Website.
When to go
  • Prime whale-watching season on both Canada's west and east coasts is May through October.
  • Manitoba’s belugas remain along the Hudson Bay shore in July and August.
  • Quebec whale-watching seasons are May through October although the most whales will arrive in the Saguenay area in August and September.
  • In Nunavut narwhal, belugas, orcas and bowheads show up as soon as the sea ice breaks up, June or July depending on the northern latitude.
Need to know
  • Expect on-the-water temperatures to be slightly chillier, damper and windier than on land. In spring, especially in Eastern Canada, bring extra layers including gloves, hats and a rain jacket.
  • The floe edge ice landscape is very bright: pack good sunglasses.
  • Bring binoculars for a closer look at the whales.
  • Seeing whales and other marine wildlife in their natural environment is a memorable and special experience, but be mindful of our presence and effects on wildlife and their habitat and please abide by Canada’s whale watching regulations.