8 adrenaline rush inducing Canadian experiences

By Steinar Cramer
Adrenaline junkies rejoice! Canada has no shortage of attractions and activities that turn the excitement level up to 11. From skydiving and ziplines to scream-inducing rollercoasters, here’s a list of 10 ways to get your heart racing. [Image credit: iStock.com/vulkanov]

8 adrenaline rush inducing Canadian experiences

1. Skydiving

Fancy a jump out of a plane? With only a bundle of string and cloth to save you? Skydiving has long been one of the ultimate rushes for adrenaline junkies, and there are plenty of places in Canada to give it a try. Skydive Vancouver Island offers incredible views of the ocean, islands and mountains, while Banff Adventures also goes big on the mountain views.

Most beginners will start with a tandem jump from anywhere between 9,000 and 18,000 feet, while the true crazies will work their way up to a solo jump. Still not enough? Some outfits, like Skydive Big Sky in Calgary, also offer wingsuit flying (but only for experienced jumpers), letting you soar through the sky for an extended period before eventually pulling the cord.

2. Bungee jumping

Arguably a somewhat tamer type of jump than skydiving, bungee jumping can be done without any training, but still offers up plenty of heart-pounding excitement. From small tower-based jumps to a 200-foot plunge at Great Canadian Bungee in Chelsea, Quebec, there are plenty of options for those that want to test their faith in a rubberized cord tied around their ankles.

3. Roller coasters

Ah, the roller coaster – the amusement park staple that people either love or hate. Some can’t get enough of the thrilling loops and heart-stopping descents, while others want nothing to do with them. If you’re ready to test yourself on the roller coaster rails, the obvious choice in Canada is the Leviathan ride at Canada’s Wonderland in Vaughan, Ontario. With a vertical drop of 93 metres and top speed near 150km/h, it’s not for the faint of heart! Other top Canadian roller coaster destinations include La Ronde amusement park in Montreal and Playland at the PNE in Vancouver.

4. Swimming with sharks

For many, going scuba diving is a huge adventure, but visitors to Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, in Toronto, can turn things up a notch with a Discovery Dive ($250, dive experience required). Taking place in the aptly named Dangerous Lagoon, divers share the water with sawfish, sharks and turtles, among other marine wildlife. No word on whether ominous music is played during the dive session!

5. Get up high

For many people, heights are a thrill like no other. Whether the adrenaline comes from excitement or fear, Canada has its fair share of experiences that take things to, ahem, new heights. The CN Tower’s Edge Walk put you 356m above the ground, staring straight down from a sheer edge on the roof of the Tower’s sky-high restaurant. The Cliff Walk at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in North Vancouver, BC, is another vertigo-inducing experience, especially with strategically placed glass panels that make it feel like there’s nothing between you and the canyon floor below.

Another experience that falls into this category is the via ferrata (Italian for “iron road”), an increasingly popular alpine attraction across Canada where the adventurous are able to safely access some incredible mountain topography. Arguably the most spectacular is located on Mt. Nimbus, in the Rockies to the west of Banff National Park. It includes a narrow suspension linking two peaks, with a 600m drop below! It’s only available through one tour operator, Canadian Mountain Holidays, and doesn’t come cheap at over $2,000. Luckily more accessible via ferratas can be found throughout Canada’s alpine regions, including popular ones in Squamish and Whistler, BC.

6. Exotic car racing

If putting the pedal to the metal is your idea of the ultimate thrill, then Ultimate Exotics has just the thing for you. They can put you behind the wheel of some of the most iconic sports cars in the world, including a Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche Turbo and Nissan GTR, then set you loose on the closed race track at the Toronto Motorsports Park.  Out on the West Coast, drivers can get into a similar range of exotic cars provided by the aptly named Scenic Rush, although the race track is replaced by a cruise along the incredibly picturesque Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver up to Whistler. Start your engines!

7. Whitewater kayaking

Who wouldn’t want to hop in a small plastic boat or raft and plunge into a raging river, right? Aquatic thrill-seekers just can’t enough of Canada’s many whitewater rivers, and there are plenty of guiding outfits happy to help them get their fix. From more accessible options like the Kipawa and Gatineau Rivers in Quebec to the more extreme Stein and Nahalatch Rivers in central B.C., there’s something for everyone.

8. Paragliding

The rush as you take flight on your first paragliding experience is like no other. Unlike the relatively brief rush of skydiving, paragliding puts you above it all for extended periods of time, allowing you to feel like you’re flying as you swoop over the landscape far below, in control of where you’re going. Paragliding can be found across Canada, but is particularly popular in the more mountainous regions, where a wide range of operators offer training, equipment and the opportunity to get up in the air. Prepare for take-off!

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