Amid research indicating that spending time outdoors and in nature plays a vital role in our physical and mental well-being, it is no surprise that many individuals look to reside away from urban areas in search of greener spaces, fresher air, and a slower pace of life.
With this in mind, Canada Casino was keen to uncover which Canadian province has the most to offer nature lovers. To do so, the experts created a points-based index system which evaluated the number of unique species, zoos and aquariums, hiking trails, forest coverage and open water to award each province and territory an overall nature score out of 10, ultimately revealing the best province for nature lovers.
Nova Scotia is the best province for nature lovers
Canada Casino can reveal that Nova Scotia is Canada’s top province for nature enthusiasts, with a near-perfect score of 8.99/10. With over three-quarters (77%) of forest cover, 30% more than neighbouring Prince Edward Island and having the second-highest hiking trail count at 2.095 per 100 km2, Nova Scotia is a haven for those wanting to be closer to nature.
With almost a quarter more unique species per 100 km2 (24.61) than New Brunswick (18.46) and 7 zoos/aquariums, Nova Scotia is the ultimate province for exploring nature. Also, the province has the highest forest cover of all territories analyzed (77%), which has been proven beneficial for improving mood and decreasing stress.
James Roy, technical director at Brainworks Neurotherapy, comments on the importance of relaxation and the benefits travel on for the brain: “A relaxing time away is one of the healthiest things you can do for your brain – the further from your daily routine, the better.
“A change in environment helps brain flexibility and weakens our mental habits, while unfamiliar sights and sounds stretch our brain in new ways. As our brains flex and come alive, colours become brighter, smells more intense, and our sense of touch and intimacy is heightened. This experience is often called the travel high. Some can find this greater brain flexibility quite addictive.
“The real power of a relaxing time away is clear when we return home. The greater mental flexibility (increased neuroplasticity) brings more awareness, allowing us to see our lives afresh. This is the time to break the old habits, usher in the new and change your routine for the better.”
Ranking second is Prince Edward Island, boasting an impressive overall nature score of 8.84/10. The scenic province is home to the highest volume of hiking trails (4.488) and unique species (99.66), over five times more species than in New Brunswick (18.46), in all of Canada, offering an unparalleled experience for nature lovers.
Also, the island houses two zoos/aquariums, amplifying the opportunity to connect with diverse wildlife. Almost half of the region (47%) is covered by forest, almost three times that of Yukon (16%), which ranks 11th.
New Brunswick takes the third spot with an overall nature score of 8.55/10. A remarkable 84% of New Brunswick is covered by forest, the highest of all Canadian provinces. With a total of five zoos and aquariums in the area, nature lovers have ample opportunities to experience a variety of animals and marine life.
Visitors and residents can take long walks in nature as New Brunswick is home to 1.178 hiking trails per 100 km2, 75% more than in the neighbouring province of Quebec (0.292).
Northwest Territories offers the least for nature enthusiasts
At the bottom of the ranking, the Northwest Territories take the last spot with an overall nature score of 3.92/10. Forest cover is just 21% in the region, half the coverage of neighbouring Alberta (42%). For those passionate about wildlife, there is little to offer, with just 0.58 unique species per 100 km2, the lowest nationwide, and no zoos or aquariums.
However, the Northwest Territories has the country’s third-highest volume of water coverage (12.10%). This includes the Great Bear Lake, Canada’s largest lake, making it an idyllic destination for those who enjoy being near open water.