The Stories Behind Three Of Canada's Hidden Gems

04/10/2017 12:05 EDT
Jordan Siemens via Getty Images
A woman standing on a scenic lookout overlooking Moraine Lake in Alberta, Canada.

Growing up in Canada, you hear about the big tourist destinations: Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Niagara Falls. You’ve been up the CN Tower and got your boots dusty at the Calgary Stampede but you’re looking for more. The good news is that there are still places to see and stories left to be told, and no vehicle is better equipped to facilitate that journey than the MINI Countryman with it sleek design and spacious interior. Throw the bags in the trunk, hit the road less traveled, and uncover the stories behind some of Canada’s hidden gems.

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The Big Apple: Colborne, Ont.

If you’ve ever driven on Highway 401 going towards Kingston, you’ve seen The Big Apple. This fantastically-large fruit was created in 1987 by George Boycott, an Australian who got the idea from his hometown’s Big Pineapple. From there, Boycott opened a restaurant, a pie factory (you must try the pie), a souvenir shop, and an amusement park. The Big Apple (whose name is actually Mr. Applehead, thank you very much) is nearly 11 metres high.

Want somewhere to lounge while eating way too much pie? The grounds have a picnic area, so you can people watch and enjoy all the apple things at the same time. The attraction is open all year, so anytime you want to live that apple life, The Big Apple will generously provide.

Gopher Hole Museum: Torrington, AB

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and thought, “I have the most intense desire to see taxidermy gophers anthropomorphized in elaborate dioramas”? Of course you have! The obscure but delightful Gopher Hole Museum, located in Torrington, AB, turned a pest problem into a pet project.

In 1996, the town of 200 was being overrun by gophers. The solution? Turn them into art. Each gopher has a name, a favourite song, an occupation, and an ambiti

on. For example, Jeb (nickname Jeb, or Boots) is a salesman. Jeb loves Garth Brooks and dreams of roping cattle at the Calgary Stampede.

The gophers’ activities include getting married, hunting, going to school, and yes, visiting the Gopher Hole Museum. It’s clear that the curators put a ton of love into the dioramas.

The Enchanted Forest: Revelstoke, B.C.

Tucked deep into the forests of B.C. is a magical place where fairies, castles, and woodland creatures come to life. The Enchanted Forest was created in the 1960s by Doris and and Ernest Needham, who dreamed of a place to put her beloved, handcrafted, cement sculptures. They found the 40-acre paradise and made it into what it is today.

The forest has fairy houses, tree-lined trails, treehouses with winding staircases, dragons, and over 350 folk-art figurines.

Bring your dog, your kids, and your lunch, as you’ll want to spend plenty of time exploring. If you want to spend more time in the area, head to the Skytrek Adventure Park next door for ziplines, giant swings, and forest games.

Road trips are a Canadian tradition, and these hidden gems will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime. With its top level safety features, cutting edge technology, and comfortable yet sleek interior, the MINI Countryman is the perfect ride for your next adventure.