Kathleen McAulay experiences the Great White North

As a child growing up in Toronto, Kathleen McAulay dreamed of travelling to Canada’s territories, feeling they were a world away from the hustle and bustle of her hometown.

“Since I was a young girl, I’ve wanted to see the North Pole and the Northern Lights,” says Kathleen. “I was drawn to the magic of it. It’s an earthly delight and nothing controls it.”

Kathleen has traveled all over Canada, from Vancouver Island to Prince Edward Island. But she had never ventured up to see the true north, which for her, would be the adventure of a lifetime.

With her trusted travel buddy and longtime best friend, Brigitta, by her side, and a brand new DSLR camera from Canon to capture the experience, Canon sent Kathleen to the Yukon to finally check “Seeing the Great White North” off her bucket list.

Kathleen immediately fell in love with Whitehorse: the untouched snow pillowed on the trees, the vast blue sky and the shimmering turquoise water of the Yukon River, and the friendly locals, including a shop girl who explained the science behind the Aurora Borealis.

When the sun set on the first night, it started to snow, obstructing Kathleen and Brigitta’s sightlines. The following evening, however, the sky was clear and the Northern Lights were in perfect view.

“It was a dream come true. It’s a phenomenon because you never know when the lights are going to show up. All these elements need to come together … it really is dancing lights,” Kathleen says.

And the lights were even more vibrant, beautiful and quintessentially Canadian than Kathleen could have ever imagined. In fact, Kathleen, Brigitta and the crew broke out into O’ Canada while gazing at the sky.

Using the Canon EOS 70D camera, Kathleen snapped photos of every moment of her trip, including dog sledding along the Yukon River (“It was so glorious; the water, the snow, and the mountains all around”), and of course, the lights, which she insists looked even better in photos. “The camera enhanced the colours and actually picked up things we couldn’t see,” Kathleen says. “It made them even more beautiful.”

Kathleen met people from far-flung places all over the world—Japan, Australia, Belgium, Pakistan—and from all over Canada, who traveled to Whitehorse for similar reasons.

“I can understand why people go there for three days and stay forever,” she says.