When many of us think of Canada’s West, soaring mountain peaks come to mind. But it’s also home to some stunning beaches, two of which recently made The Guardian‘s list of the 50 best beaches in the world.
The list includes a little bit of everything—shallow waters, pounding surf, remote islands, party places—from just about every end of the earth, including the Great White North. And despite the fact that both of the Canadian beaches to make the list are in British Columbia, Vancouver Island’s Chesterman Beach and Vancouver’s English Bay are two very different beaches, chosen for two very different reasons.
Chesterman Beach was listed as one of the “best wild and remote” beaches, alongside Scotland’s Monach Isles and Croatia’s Jagodna Bay.
“It’s the kind of place where you might see kids pedalling along barefoot with a surfboard under one arm,” Guardian editors wrote about the beach, which happens to be located next to Canada’s biggest surf town, Tofino. The town is also famous for its whale-watching, which is another reason Chesterman is considered special: “With a bit of luck, and keen eyesight, you might spot orcas out beyond the breakers.”
But the British publication noted that it’s just one of many beautiful beaches on the island: “You could almost pick any beach off the ocean side of Vancouver Island,” the list read. In fact, the beaches that run between Tofino and Ucluelet—Wickaninnish Beach, Combers Beach, Long Beach, and Radar Beach—are just as awe-inspiring and surfable, and they often attract fewer crowds.
Vancouver’s English Bay might not have the rugged appeal of Vancouver Island’s beaches, but that’s because it was named one of the “best city beaches.” Situated between Vancouver’s West End restaurant scene and the stunning Stanley Park, it’s described as a “mecca for families and volleyball players.”
According to the The Guardian, and pretty much anyone who’s ever visited, English Bay really stands out in the evening. When the sun starts to go down, “Vancouverites stroll in to sit on the huge blanched logs that wash up here and gaze out at the sunsets, glass or guitar in hand.”