Explore seven of Canada’s most scenic drives

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You don’t have to portage your way through rivers and lakes in a canoe anymore—although you could if you wanted to.

Photo by Justek16/Shutterstock

Canada has always been a country ripe for exploring. With three coastlines, three mountain ranges, and the world’s most pristine lakes, Canada boasts the most beautiful backyard on the planet.

You don’t have to portage your way through rivers and lakes in a canoe anymore—although you could if you wanted to. There are more comfortable and stylish ways to explore the vast beauty of this country, like in the 2018 Volvo XC60.

Here are our top picks for the scenic drives in Canada that will take your breath away.

Pacific Rim Highway – Vancouver Island, B.C.

It takes about three hours to drive across Vancouver Island, from Parksville to Tofino. You will drive through charming towns, but the payoff comes once you reach Tofino and the Pacific coast, where you’ll experience stunning beaches, wildlife sightings, and Canada’s only temperate rainforest. Make sure the panoramic moonroof, which extends the full length of the cabin, is closed on your SUV, because it’s most likely going to rain. Towering all around you is the magnificent old growth pine forest, with ancient cedars rising into the sky, in one of the most unique habitats in Canada.

The Icefields Parkway – Alberta

The Icefields Parkway is often called the world’s most spectacular driving journey. This stretch of Hwy 93 cuts through Banff and Jasper National Parks in Alberta. The high-altitude drive will take you through the Rocky Mountains, past emerald lakes and 100 ancient glaciers. You might just feel like you stepped back into the Ice Age once you reach the northern part of the parkway. A good time to test out the AWD and superior handling capabilities of the Volvo XC60. Make sure you stop to do an ice walk guided tour on the Athabasca Glacier. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget.

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Badlands Trail – Alberta

If you’re looking for an open road that’s out of this world, then the lunar-like terrain of the Badlands Trail is for you. Here you can really test out the Volvo XC60s off-road capabilities over different terrains. On rugged surfaces, the SUV’s Off-Road Mode makes it easier to control at low speeds. Creating a loop from Calgary to Drumheller, to Medicine Hat, Lethbridge and back to Calgary, this is an eight-hour drive. It can also be explored over a few days. But it’s so worth it, especially if you want to take your kids on a dinosaur fossil hunt and play palaeontologist for the day. Drumheller is home to some of the most extensive dinosaur fossil fields in the world, and don’t forget to check out the Royal Tyrell Museum for some amazing dinosaur finds.

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Algonquin Park, Ontario

It’s fall, and there’s no better time to see the changing colours of the season than by taking a drive on Highway 60 through Algonquin Park. About three hours north of Toronto, this is a drive your whole family will enjoy. The park covers more than 7,700 square kilometres, boasting forests, bogs, rivers, and stunning beaches. But be careful: this is moose country. And from September to October, it’s also moose mating season. Keep an ear out for the prehistoric-sounding call of the moose echoing through the area. It’s also a good thing your Volvo XC60 offers the highest safety standards, with proactive features that react before the unexpected happens, like large animal detection. You wouldn’t want to get in the way of an angry bull!

Gaspe Peninsula, Quebec

If you’ve got the time to make a 1,235 kilometre loop around Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula, don’t miss it. This is a legendary scenic drive by the sea. In 2013, National Geographic Traveler voted it as a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Not much has changed since then, and the area still offers mountains, rugged sea cliffs, and the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. And don’t worry about the long drive— in the luxurious cabin of the Volvo XC60, the super comfortable nappa leather seats were designed by orthopaedic surgeons, so you can keep driving without the back pain.

Photo by Kristi Blokhin/Shutterstock

Fundy Coastal Drive, New Brunswick

The Bay of Fundy is one of the seven wonders of North America. It creates some of the highest tides in the world, rising more than 50 feet. The dramatic coastal drive is about 460 km between St. Stephen and Sackville. Along the way, you’ll be treated to whales breaching off the coast, fossil-filled mudflats, and beautiful coastal islands, as well as charming locals.

Cabot Trail, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Voted one of North America’s most scenic destinations, the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia is a 300-kilometre-long road that winds around Cape Breton Island. It offers gorgeous vistas of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the Atlantic Ocean, luscious old growth forests, and prehistoric rocks. Driving the Volvo XC60 through this area will really make you appreciate all the technology and amenities in the car, but they won’t distract you from appreciating the drive. Happy exploring, and safe driving!

Photo by Justek16/Shutterstock