A group of islands in British Columbia and a city north of Manitoba can expect a boost in tourism after receiving accolades from the travel section of The New York Times.
Haida Gwaii, B.C., and Churchill, Man., Both broke the The newspaper's annual list of "52 places to go".
Haida Gwaii, an archipelago off the coast of northern British Columbia, reached number 26, while Churchill was 29. Washington, DC, British Virgin Islands and Rurrenabaque, Bolivia, are the first three.
Amy Virshup, travel editor for The New York Times, told CTV News Channel that sustainability has emerged as a theme on the entire list, which fits Haida Gwaii perfectly.
"Haida Gwaii was really there as a sustainable place that is being managed by Haida Gwaii First Nations people to maintain their beauty," she said.
The people of Haida Gwaii maintain a strict limit on how many tourists can visit at any given time and those who choose to visit must be accompanied by a local guide, only increasing the sustainability of the region, he added.
In 2017, heavy flooding in Manitoba damaged Churchill's only railway line, effectively cutting off the city from the rest of the world. The railroad was reopened in November 2018, which Virshup said was part of why Churchill was on the list.
"The train that comes back is really the momentum," she said.
Popular tourist activities in Churchill include polar bear watching – Churchill is the polar bear capital of the world – and watching the northern lights.
In 2019, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. (10) and Calgary (20) made the list, while Saskatoon (18) made the 2018 edition.
HOW THE LIST IS COMPILED
Virshup said The New York Times travel team meets for the first time in September to begin compiling the annual travel list. They also talk to freelance travel writers and people known for frequent travel for advice on which locations to include.
"We wondered, 'Okay, if we could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?' And we left from there," she said.
Editors will discuss the list at various meetings until they reach a conclusion.
Virshup said one point of emphasis when compiling the list is to focus on places with new attractions.