By Adventure Canada · July 2021
If you’re adventurous, curious, and looking for a life-changing trip that offers a true sense of place, then look no further. We sat down with our new partner, MJ Swan, Director of Business Development at Adventure Canada, and learned how Adventure Canada’s voyages combine fun and wonder while simultaneously being a force for good.
Q: Tell us a bit about Adventure Canada.
Adventure Canada is a family-run travel company specializing in small-ship expeditions to the world’s most beautiful and seldom visited coastlines. My father founded the company with his brother and a close family friend in 1987, and now, my siblings and I have taken over the business.
Our approach to expedition cruising and small-group experiences puts an emphasis on wildlife, meaningful cultural exchange, learning, and a sense of fun and wonder. We believe in the power of travel as a force for positive change in the world, and our goal is to help every person who travels with us become an enthusiastic ambassador for the regions and the cultures we visit.
Q: What type of "go big" trips does Adventure Canada offer for those looking to reach their travel dreams post-pandemic?
I think many of our itineraries make for incredible “go big” experiences, but our iconic Northwest Passage expeditions are probably the first that spring to mind. These bucket list itineraries, Into and Out of the Northwest Passage, are only available for a short time each year because of ice conditions combined with the short summer season in the Canadian High Arctic. We sail the famed Northwest Passage waterway while connecting the fabled human stories with the natural environment. It’s a powerful experience.
There are also our Atlantic Canada Explorer trips which visit Sable Island, a Parks Canada Reserve, which requires special permission to visit. Or, our epic Iceland to Greenland: In the Wake of the Vikings voyages call in at some gorgeous, seldom-seen spots along Greenland’s southeast coast.
Q: What type of travelers are perfect for an Adventure Canada trip?
People who are searching for transformative travel experiences will really love our trips — those who want to avoid the mainstream, who wish to make a significant connection to a destination, and who wish to come away with a true sense of place. Our travellers are adventurous, curious, and eager to immerse themselves in the places and cultures they are visiting. Solo travellers and multi-generational groups are emerging segments within our main demographics. We also have an escorted groups division where tour leaders and hosts enhance what is an already incredible experience to the next level.
Q: How does Adventure Canada help immerse travelers into the places they visit?
Our expeditions are carefully curated to make sure travellers are fully immersed in the many rich opportunities this type of travel offers. On the ship, Adventure Canada’s guests have an incredible onboard learning program to engage in. Our expedition team is world class — made up of researchers, authors, historians, scientists, and artists with celebrated professional careers. There is a smorgasbord of presentations, hands-on workshops, panel discussions, and other specialty programming offered which all relate directly to the places we’re visiting and the communities we’re meeting.
Out on deck or on a Zodiac cruise, our travellers can look forward to spotting spectacular wildlife alongside our expert naturalists and scientists. They can witness the sights, sounds, and smells of a colony of millions of seabirds with an ornithologist’s interpretation, or they can observe firsthand while a marine biologist teaches them about the feeding behaviours of whales.
Ashore, they’ll have the chance to visit archaeological ruins, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and places of historical significance. Walking amidst an unearthed Neolithic village or listening to an Inuit Cultural Educator explain the workings of a stone fox trap really makes the learning come alive.
Q: How does Adventure Canada support and give back to the local economy?
Regenerative travel is a guiding ideology throughout Adventure Canada’s entire program. The discovery fund fee included in the price of each trip supports our partner organizations doing amazing work in the realms of environmental conservation, youth empowerment, cultural revitalization, historical preservation, and food security in the regions we travel to. We also hire expedition team members who are local to the regions we travel in, thus providing meaningful training and employment opportunities while ensuring our guests have the opportunity to learn from authentic knowledge keepers.
Our regenerative programs are specifically tailored to the needs of each region we travel in. For example, on our Arctic expeditions, we stock our onboard gift shop with artworks, jewelry, clothing, and souvenirs purchased conscientiously through co-ops and small businesses from nearly every hamlet across the Canadian Arctic, to spread the economic benefit of tourism beyond just the communities we visit. Meanwhile, on our Mighty Saint Lawrence and Newfoundland Circumnavigation expeditions, our Taste of Place program sources local delicacies directly from growers, harvesters, fishers, and brewers to best support regenerative food systems in Atlantic Canada.
Q: How has Adventure Canada changed its offerings in response to the pandemic?
The pandemic has provided us the opportunity to reflect upon and reimagine our business practices. Rather than maintaining business as usual, we’re looking at innovative ways to run our operations, support our partners, protect the natural world, and value people.
We’ve updated our registration terms with a new Flexible Booking Policy which includes Future Travel Credits in the case of unforeseen cancellations. We’ve also done a thorough overhaul of our Health & Safety protocols and are now accredited as a Certified Safe Travels Operator by the World Travel & Tourism Council and the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario.
But, most importantly, this global experience has served as an important reminder of just how lucky and grateful we are to travel in the regions we do. It has reignited our commitment to regenerative travel practices, to ensure we are best supporting the revitalization of the places we visit in the ways our hosts decide is best for themselves.
Q: BONUS: What are your top three favorite Adventure Canada trips if you had to choose?
If I had to choose, I would say a Scotland Slowly, Newfoundland Circumnavigation, or a High Arctic Explorer expedition would be my personal favourites. They each offer a unique experience, but each one is jam-packed with opportunities for cultural immersion, spectacular wildlife sightings, and beautiful scenery.
Image Credit: Adventure Canada