By Jessica // @papertraildiary
My favourite thing about summer is that we have unlimited options of where we can read. Yes, reading all cuddled up in blankets with tea in the colder months is my jam, but I do crave fresh air, blue skies and a cozy spot under a tree sometimes. I know I’m not alone, book worms! Good thing Canada is full of gorgeous spots to relax with a book (perhaps this week’s Featured Read?)! No matter where you are in this country, you can find a spot that’s both picture-perfect and comfortable. Now before you just say “cottage, cottage, cottage,” here are some for real Canadian spots that I daydream about reading in. Let’s break it down by province, one by one, because otherwise this list could go on forever.
Have you ever wanted to sit at a café in the woods? Doesn’t that sound magical? You can if you go to Whitehorse. The Bean North Café is nestled between the Takhini Hot Springs and the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, which means it serves as a relaxing and interesting trifecta of land. Enjoy a cup of organic fair trade coffee or bowl of soup on their garden patio with your latest read!
Take a break from your bike ride around Vancouver’s epic sea wall at Stanley Park – an attraction that’s definitely not just for the tourists. There are plenty of benches, perches, grassy spots, and beaches to choose from! You will literally be reading on the tip of a province by the sea.
Apparently more and more people have been flocking to Yellowknife in the late summer in order to see the Aurora lights, a spectacle most of us just dream about. But since Yellowknife is close to the Arctic Circle, they have almost 24 hours of sunlight in the summer. You’ll have to stay up pretty late in order to see something, but that gives you plenty of time to read while waiting in by one of the NWT’s pretty lakes!
Some of the most creative people in the country make the trek to the Banff Centre for its arts programs, so you’d be in comfortable company if you were to be sitting around the Banff National Park with a book! I can’t imagine not feeling completely at peace while sitting on the rocks by Lake Louise, either.
I have heard a lot of good things about Saskatoon’s McNally Robinson bookstore – Canada’s largest indie bookstore – so I imagine that it serves as a bit of a reader’s hub in the city! Whether you’re there waiting for an author event, looking for a new book or just wanting to get cozy with the one you’re already immersed in, there are comfy chairs and a café in the store that you can use as your escape!
Just a kilometer away from Iqaluit, the Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park is something of a gathering place for locals and visitors. Whether you’re enjoying the tundra, rivers, waterfalls, fishing, summer flowers or hiking trails, there’s got to be a great spot to take a worthy pause to appreciate where you are (but then dive into your fantasy world of a book).
The pretty gardens in Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park Conservancy are so welcoming to readers that they even have a statue of a woman reading a book on a bench – and you can read right next to her! But if you prefer to read on your own, there are plenty of more spots to stretch out, practically in flower beds. That’s the dream, folks!
Okay, readers, here are your cottages. I am so jealous of everyone I know in Ontario who go up to a cottage almost every weekend! I long to be one of those people who Instagrams my current read on one of those iconic red Muskoka chairs with the lake and a pier in the background. I can practically feel the calm breeze and sunshine on my face!
Whether you like reading in a park’s green space or by the water for a break on a busy day, the soothing Parc Lafontaine in Montreal will do just the trick. Whether you can read around lots of other people or prefer a quiet spot to yourself in the shade or the sun, this is the perfect place to get lost in a book (or two)!
I spend a lot of time daydreaming about a vacation to Nova Scotia, and in those dreams I imagine people reading by lighthouses to the sound of choppy waves and seagulls, because, Nova Scotia. The Cape D’Or Lighthouse would be an incredible spot to make a day out of your reading plans – you have to hike up a cliff to get there, but once you’re there, you have a spectacular view, choice of sitting on grass or the beach and there’s even a little restaurant for when you feel peckish because we know reading can work up quite the appetite!
Newfoundland and Labrador
There’s a replica of the Peter Pan statue from London’s Kensington Gardens in the middle of Bowring Park in St. John’s, and it’s next to a duck pond! People are always happy around Peter Pan and ducks, so it’d be such a whimsical place to sit down and read in!
Prince Edward Island
You knew this was coming – obviously if any of us were to go to PEI, one of our major tour stops would be Cavendish for all the Anne of Green Gables fun! There’s a beach on the shore of Cavendish, so once you’re done dreamily walking around the museums and gables, you could skip out to the sand, set down a towel, open up a pretty umbrella and pop your latest read out of your bag! Anne would be proud.
The Fredericton Public Library is nestled among a sort of tourism hub in the city, with the Fredericton Region Museum, York Sunbury Historical Society Museum, Officers’ Square, Lighthouse on the Green and more. And besides being a cozy library inside, outside it sits next to the South Riverfront Trail and the Saint John River – on a nice day you could find a bench as the boats and bicycles pass you by, not aware of what bookish world you’re lost in!
So that’s that, Savvy Readers with the travel bug! But I know only one place per province is not even anywhere near all the idyllic reading locations, so tell us! Where do you love to read in Canada in the summer?
You can follow me on Twitter at @papertraildiary