Maps and Tourist Information
Driving maps are available at bookstores, gas stations, and gift shops throughout western Canada. In Vancouver, pick up maps at these specialty bookstores: International Travel Maps and Books (530 W. Broadway, 604/879-3621, www.itmb.com), The Travel Bug (3065 W. Broadway, 604/737-1122, www.travelbugbooks.ca), or Wanderlust (1929 W. 4th Ave., Kitsilano, 604/739-2182, www.wanderlustore.com).
By request, all these retailers can send out a catalog of maps designed specifically for hiking (topographical maps), camping (road/access maps), fishing (hydrographic charts of more than 100 lakes), and canoeing (river details such as gradients). They also supply wall maps, thematic maps, historic maps, and aerial photography.
Gem Trek (www.gemtrek.com) produces some of the best and most useful maps you’re ever likely to find. They specialize in the Canadian Rockies, and the maps are available throughout the region. Map Art (905/436-2525, www.mapart.com) produces a variety of maps for the region, including an annual atlas for both British Columbia and Alberta.
Begin planning your trip by contacting a government tourist office: Tourism British Columbia (250/387-1642 or 800/435-5622, www.hellobc.com), Travel Alberta (780/427-4321 or 800/252-3782, www.travelalberta.com), Northwest Territories Tourism (867/873-7200 or 800/661-0788, www.spectacularnwt.com), and Tourism Yukon (867/667-3084 or 800/661-0494 or 800/661-0494, www.travelyukon.com). Their literature and maps can be downloaded from their websites or ordered by phone. Major cities have multiple tourist information centers, and at least one open year-round. Each town of any size in western Canada has its own information center. Hours vary, but most are open daily in July and August. When these are closed, head to the local chamber of commerce for information. Most chamber offices are open Monday–Friday year-round.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition