5 Best Places to Go Whale Watching in Canada This Summer

The tail of a humpback whale in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Newfoundland.
The tail of a humpback whale in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Newfoundland.

Canada is strategically situated on the borders of the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans making it a popular destination for whale watchers. The Canadian waters are rich in a variety of whale species which are easily visible during summer. Over 33 species of whale can be viewed either from the shore or by use of sailing boats, kayaks cruisers, and zodiacs.

5. Newfoundland and Labrador

The Canadian province of Newfoundland & Labrador lies in the nation’s Atlantic region. It encompasses mainland Labrador and the island of Newfoundland. The region is one of the most prime whale-watching spots in the world. 22 whale species have been recorded from the province’s waters including minke, blue, humpbacks, orca, fin, pothead, and sperm. The whales prey on the abundant krill, capelin, and squid. The peak season for whale watching in this region is between May and September, and they can be seen from the shores. Visitors can take a boat or a sea kayak or spot the whales while on sea-trails.

4. Churchill, Manitoba

Churchill Town lies on Hudson Bay in the Canadian Province of Manitoba. The town is famed for the presence of polar bears which have facilitated the growth of a tourism sector. Whale watching is another of the city's attraction as it is located at the estuary of the Churchill River. Beluga whales, thousands of them, migrate to the warm Churchill River estuary from July to August to calf. These whales are known for their high-pitched sounds and white color. Visitors use kayaks and boats while the more adventurous people can opt to snorkel and watch the whales up close.

3. Tadoussac, Quebec

The village of Tadoussac in Quebec is situated at the meeting point of the Saguenay and St. Lawrence Rivers. The Saguenay River has freshwater while the St. Lawrence has salty water. At the confluence of the rivers is a rich marine region and whales gather to prey on the abundant krill. Among the whale species commonly spotted are blue, humpback, minke, and beluga whales. The whales are best seen on a Zodiac which is offered by numerous excursion companies. Enclosed whale watching cruises departing from the village offers the ultimate experience.

2. Cape Breton Highlands, Nova Scotia

The Cape Breton Highlands, also known as the Highlands, is a mountainous region in Northern Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. The Highlands is recognized as a prime whale-watching spot from the shores. Humpback whales, fin whales, and pilot whales are some of the most common whale species in the Highlands’ waters. The peak season to spot whales in this region is July and August.

1. Tofino, British Columbia

The district of Tofino lies off the west coast of Canada in British Columbia. In summer, Tofino becomes crowded with tourists from whale watchers, surfers, fishers, to bird watchers. The waters of Tofino become a migration route in March when gray whales move north from the Baja Peninsula. This movement is celebrated with the annual Pacific Rim Whale Festival. The whales travel south in October. Numerous tourist companies take visitors to see the pods that stay in the nearby Clayoquot Sound for summer.


More in Travel