Although Canada is mainly known for its nature and national parks, it is also a great destination for a diving holiday. The kilometres of coastline and numerous lakes offer unique diving experiences for lovers of this sport. In addition to a diving licence, remember to apply for an eTA Canada before you travel.
Required documents: passport, eTA Canada and diving licence
A diving licence is a must for any trip where you plan to dive. You can get it before or even during your holiday in Canada. There are schools where you can take lessons and courses to get your diving licence in just four or five days. They also offer the possibility of renting diving equipment and going on guided or independent diving excursions.
Another thing to take care of before travelling is applying for an eTA Canada. This travel authorisation is required to enter Canada without a visa. It has a maximum validity of five years from the time it is granted. An eTA Canada allows you to stay in the country for up to six consecutive months. This gives you ample time to visit the various dive sites and combine these plans with sightseeing in the rest of the country. To obtain this travel authorisation, simply complete the eTA Canada application form and pay the fee. Once your eTA has been granted, you will receive it by email in an average of 5 days.
Ontario: Tobermory, Kingston and Brockville
Tobermory is considered the diving capital of Canada. Located in Georgian Bay, north-east of Lake Huron and about four hours north of Toronto, its main attraction is its clear and transparent waters. There are also wrecks to be found, which are only about 12 metres deep; thus, it is a safe dive site for inexperienced divers. More advanced divers can visit the Arabia and the Niagara II. The Arabia is a wooden sailing ship that sank in 1884 at a depth of 30 metres and is still in good condition. The Niagara II is an artificial wreck from 1999 that was made for divers. This wreck is also at a depth of 30 metres. Take a dive through the engine room and swim through the cargo hold.
The city of Kingston is located on the north shore of Lake Ontario. The wrecks are the main attraction of this place, thanks to their good condition. The Katie Eccles, sunk in 1922, is ideal for advanced divers. The Wolfe Islander II is an old ferry that was deliberately sunk in 1985 as an artificial reef. Due to its length of 50 metres, several dives are required to see it from top to bottom.
Just an hourʼs drive from Kingston and across the St. Lawrence River in upstate New York is Brockville. In this area, there are more than a dozen wrecks and interesting dive sites to explore. One of them is the Robert Gaskin, a wooden schooner that sank in 1889 and lies at a depth of about 20 metres. More experienced divers can also swim to the Henry C. Daryaw, a 70-metre steel cargo ship that sank in 1941 after colliding with another ship in the fog.
Britisch Columbia: Barkley Sound
According to Jacques Cousteau, the French marine biologist who co-invented todayʼs pressure regulators, Barkley Sound, on Canadaʼs Pacific coast, is the second-best place in the world to dive, after the Red Sea. This is due to its spectacular biodiversity: you will find everything from giant Pacific salmon or octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) to sea lions or the huge blunt-nosed gill sharks (Hexanchus griseus). One of the favourite dives in this area, located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, is at Renate Reef, a reef famous for its large number of invertebrates. Another is Tyler Rock, from where you can see humpback whales and the aforementioned sharks.
Newfoundland: Bell Island
Another Canadian diving paradise is Bell Island, an island on the Avalon Peninsula in Newfoundland. This area is famous for the four cargo ships sunk by German U-boats during the Second World War. The SS Rosa Castle, SS Saganaga, PLM-27 and SS Lord Strathcona were loading iron ore in 1942 when they were torpedoed by the Germans, killing more than 60 men. The combination of this sad history and the amazing marine life that has developed since makes this dive a unique experience. A visit to the so-called whale graveyard in South Dildo is impressive and sad at the same time. Many bones and skeletons of whales still lie at the bottom of this former whaling station.