There are hundreds, if not thousands, of things that make Canada a very unique place to explore. From the diverse landscapes to the wide variety of outdoor activities to enjoy, there’s always something new to discover. However, not only is Canada home to rare sights and adventures, but there are some really strange things that can be found here as well. Between trainwrecks and screaming tunnels, spotted lakes and oddly shaped trees, there’s some very extraordinary and peculiar natural treasures to unearth here. This Halloween discover the stranger Backroad Adventures we have hiding in the backcountry of Canada.
The tree on the Lake – BC
Fairy Lake, 5 km northeast of Port Renfrew, BC, certainly provides its share of magic with the ever famous tree on the lake. Situated on an old, half submerged log in the water, a single tree has made its home. The little bonsai fir tree has drawn hundreds of photographers and nature enthusiasts alike over the years, eager to see the astounding natural wonder. The strange sight can be seen from the road, or you can take a stop at Fairy Lake Recreation site for a paddle in closer-view or just a little extra time with the tree.
Whistler Train Wreck – BC
A train wreck in the late 1950s has created one of the Whistler’s most sought after adventure features, aside from its phenomenal ski hills of course. The cars of the Whistler Train Wreck are located at the end of a short hiking trail, near the Cheakamus River, just south of Whistler, easy enough for all family members to do. A suspension bridge was made along the trail in the summer of 2016, crossing the Cheakamus River, as many people had attempted to access the train wreck in previous years illegally trespassing on active train tracks.
The entire site of the wreckage is made up of 7 cars and has been re-decorated by various graffiti artists over the years. With a newly built bridge now everyone can seek the strange wonder of this historic train wreck in Whistler.
Othello Tunnels – BC
Situated in the area of the Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park, the Othello Tunnels are the site of the old railway system called the Kettle Valley Railroad to connect the Kootenay region of BC to the southern coast. A challenging job for engineer Andrew McCulloh, with intense winters and even more dramatic landscapes. Since the decommissioning of the tunnels, they have become a very popular trail and engaging place to explore. So much so that they have been featured in two movies; Rambo: First Blood and Cabin in the Woods, and have also become part of the historical Trans Canada trail system. Though closed regularly for winter, the Othello Tunnels are a very strange sight for any summer or spring day.
The Spotted Lake – BC
A famous, yet strange, sight as you drive into the valley of Osoyoos, in BC, is the Spotted Lake. The spots in the lake are created by large amounts of magnesium sulfate, calcium and sodium sulfates, as well as other minerals, and in the summer when most of the water evaporates, it leaves behind large deposits of these minerals around the lake. Spotted Lake is considered a very sacred healing spot known as Kliluk, by First Nations people from Canada and the United States and in World War I minerals from the lake were even used to great ammunition. Today it is seen as a natural wonder of the Thompson Okanagan Valley and a strange sight to see as you head into Osoyoos from Highway 3.
Image: – giogiocasati
Medicine Lake – ALBERTA
Nestled in the beautiful Canadian Rockies, in Jasper National Park, Medicine Lake is a magical lake to visit and explore. In the summer months the lake floods with cool glacier blue waters, but in the winter months the lake literally disappears and is nothing but a mudflat with no visible channel draining the lake. So the mystery is, where does it go? Much like a bathtub, the water from Medicine Lake drains through the sinkholes in the bottom into a cave system of the Maligne Canyon. When the lake is at its lowest levels in the fall, and the rainbow trout have returned, fly fishing is a great opportunity here and you will have no drain of success. The beautiful mountains are always there, and you can choose to explore the Beaver or Summit Lakes Trail year round, however, the best time to visit Medicine Lake is for some good summer healing in the refreshing waters.
The Hoodoos – ALBERTA
Right in the heart of Southern Alberta’s Badlands, many tourists from around the world are drawn to these strange shaped rocks known as The Hoodoos. Formed by erosion, these rock formations reach over 20 feet high and are continuously re-shaped by wind and water. The Blackfoot and Cree traditions tell tales that The Hoodoos come alive at night and protect the surrounding land by throwing rocks at intruders. For most The Hoodoos tell a story of a strange explorations through the badlands of Alberta.
Twisted Trees – SASKATCHEWAN
Situated on private land, in the Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve of Saskatchewan, this mystical grouping of aspen trees draw people from all over the country. What makes them so mystical you might ask? Well it could be the fact that they tremble, even in the slightest breeze – or none at all, but most would say it’s the fact that they have grown for hundreds of years in a twisted way, literally. Instead of tall upright, normal, aspen trees, these strange timbers have grown to twist around each other and continue to grow in this mutant way. While many botanists have explained that it is likely a genetic trait of the aspens and the twisted trees are clones of one single mutated tree, people still enjoy the their own theories of spells and radiation and evil. You can meander your way through these strange twisted trees on the beautiful boardwalk provided to persevere the trees and habitat.
Lake on the Mountain – ONTARIO
On a high mountain above the Bay of Quinte, lies a lake that is a strange natural wonder to many. Lake on the Mountain is exactly what the name portrays, a lake on the mountain, except this isn’t just any lake perched upon a mountain top. This lake has a constant flow of clean fresh water, but no nearby source. Geographers and scientists have spent the years creating theories of how the lake restores itself, but the most believable is the theory that it is simply bottomless. However you believe the Lake on the Mountain receives its source of fresh water, you’re sure to enjoy this strange wonder just passed the Bay of Quinte.
Image: lorijference www.leaderscalltoadventure.com
Screaming Tunnel – ONTARIO
Though some might believe this arched passageway is simply just an ordinary tunnel, those who call it the “Screaming Tunnel” or “Blue Ghost Tunnel” might say otherwise. Originally created in the early 1900s as a drainage passage to prevent the train tracks from being flooded over, it also became a common passageway for farmers to use to get to and from. The “Screaming Tunnel” name come from the old fable that long ago a local farm near to the tunnel caught fire and a girl ran screaming from the house with hair and clothes set burning. Before reaching help, she perished in the tunnel from her burns, and to this day if you light a match off the tunnel wall around midnight you can still hear her scream. Most will say that the “screams” are a late night train running overhead, but maybe you should scramble over to this strange monument to see for yourself.
Reversing Falls – NEW BRUNSWICK
As many know, the Bay of Fundy, in New Brunswick, is home to some of the highest tides in the world, but it’s also home to the strange and intriguing Reversing Falls. The falls change direction multiple times throughout a single day due to the drastic surges of water from the incredible tides of fundy. As the tides come in and out, the falls reverse back and forth, making this an unideal place to be boating. Though you can’t catch a glimpse of the reversing falls from the water, there are plenty of places to view them from shore and see the flip-flopping of the coastal reversing falls.
Oak Island Money Pit – NOVA SCOTIA
For any dedicated geocacher, a treasure hunt on some island off the coast of Nova Scotia may seem like a walk in the park, but the Oak Island Money Pit is no simplistic game. The Oak Island Money Pit has been sought after people, companies and groups for more than 200 years, starting in 1795 when a teenager by the name of Daniel McGinnis came across an oval-shaped decline in the ground. He began digging, and as he dug he hit wooden planks every ten feet in. From then on, various people and companies would attempt to find the unknown that was hiding below.
Various theories have been made about what exactly is buried in this immensely booby trapped pit, including the idea of Marie Antoinette’s lost jewels, documents stored by Francis Bacon proving him as the author of Shakespeare’s plays, and of course the placement of the treasure by pirates. The Oak Island treasure hunt is said to be the site of one of the most costly treasure hunts ever recorded in history, costing millions of dollars and even some lives of treasure hunters.
The Oak Island Money Pit is such an engaging tale that it has earned itself its own TV show on the History Channel, documenting the strange tale of the pit and two brothers story of over 50 years dreaming of finding what’s inside. While it is now on private property and you cannot go hunt for the treasure yourself today, you can imagine the kinds of strange things have been hiding there for over 200 years.
Joggins Fossil Cliffs – NOVA SCOTIA
Named Canada’s 15th UNESCO World Heritage Site, the breathtaking layers of rock at the Joggins Fossil Cliffs depict life over 300 million years ago. Here you’ll find trees frozen in place for millions of years, footprints of creatures that roamed the earth possibly with the dinosaurs, and has been enjoyed and researched by geologists since the 1820s. Due to the coastal exposure of the Coal Age rocks, new fossils buried extremely deep in the structure are steadily surfacing to be discovered and researched. The strange wonder of the Joggins Fossil Cliffs are a great adventure to engage the whole family and learn a lot of history along the way.
Sable Island – NOVA SCOTIA
Officially named a national park in 2011, Sable Island is a strange treasure of Canada, for a number of reasons. For starters, the island situated 300 km southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia is comprised entirely of sand, and is an odd mix of two climate categories, but it gets better. The 34 km2 island (13 mi2) is an ecological treasure of over 400 wild horses, bird colonies, and seal breeding colonies.
While the difficulty to get to the island deters most visitors, most are also drawn away by the extremely strict regulations to stay there, and you even must obtain permission to visit the island before heading there. Despite the regulations and rules, Sable Island is a strangely beautiful place to explore.
Whether it’s an old fable, a long lived conspiracy theory, or just plain weird, there are certainly some strange things to be discovered in Canada. We know there are more so if you have come across a strange thing in Canada during your Backroad Adventures, share it with us and the #brmblife community. Using #brmblife will not only share your incredible photos and videos to a group of devoted outdoor enthusiasts, but you’ll also be entered to win great prizes. Follow our Facebook and Instagram to find out more and start living your #brmblife today!