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Whale Watching Tours in Canada


By touring - Posted on 17 August 2010

is a popular activity on all three oceans that surround the country. Always professional and environmentally respective, tour operators take visitors into the marine world of these intelligent creatures. Coming eye-to-eye with a giant mammal that’s 50x our size is an amazing & memorable event.

Whale watching tours can be found along all coastal areas of the Canada and registered operators can be found in the following locations:

  • BC including Vancouver Island, Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands) and along the mainland coast from Vancouver up to Prince Rupert.
  • Churchill, Manitoba.
  • The Gaspe Region of Quebec.
  • Nova Scotia.
  • .


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The Atlantic Ocean has the highest number of whale species that frequent Canadian waters. Spring and summer is the best time to see the migrating whales as they return from the Caribbean to feed on the fertile waters of the North Atlantic. The gentle giants of the Atlantic include Beluga, Gray, Minke, Orca, Sperm, Humpback, Pilot and Fin. Some feed close to shore while others, like the Pilot whale, are deep water feeders and rarely seen close to shore.

The Pacific Ocean has the most number of whale watching tour operators and can be found up and down the rocky shores of British Columbia. In the spring and summer, humpback and minke whales return from their wintering grounds in Mexico and can be seen playing in the bountiful waters of the north Pacific. Killer whales are also a popular tourist attraction with a three pods calling the Juan de Fuca Strait, the Georgia Strait & Puget Sound their permanent home.

The Arctic Ocean is home to the Beluga whale. They survive year round in this icy environment and in the spring, large pods visit Churchill, Manitoba to feed in the Churchill River Estuary. Nature lovers even have the opportunity to swim with intelligent & playful whales. The Narwhal whale, also known as the unicorn of the north, is an elusive creature and very rarely seen close to shore.

Canadian Whale Watching Tours

Since coastal weather can change quickly, tours are subject to the prevailing winds and sea-conditions. To avoid disappointment, call ahead to the tour operator to see if an outing is scheduled for the day.

Whale watching tours last from half a day to a full day and include educational highlights of marine animals (whales, sea lions, seals) and birds. Tours are suitable for people of all ages.

Boats include heavy duty inflatable crafts (Zodiacs) or rigid-hull ships with a capacity of up to 30 people. Tour operators are registered with Transport Canada and act with utmost care and responsibility around these creatures. All stop within 50-100 meters of whales but many times, these curious creatures will come closer to inspect humans! Whale watching in Canada is an amazing sight-seeing adventure that you'll never forget.

Get more insider tips on Canadian Adventures at Scenic Travel Canada.

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