The 2 Canadian Stops on Our 52 Places to Go List

Few lists from The New York Times are as eagerly awaited as Travel’s annual roundup of 52 Place To Go this year.

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Calgary is one of The Times’s 52 destinations for travelers this year.CreditColin Way for The New York Times

Last year, Saskatoon was among the global destinations. This year, Calgary, Alberta, and Lake Superior’s ice caves near Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, landed on the list along with the Setouchi Islands of Japan and Puglia, Italy, among many others.

Though I wrote about the ice caves, I played no role in their selection, or that of Calgary. To find out how they made the cut, I spoke with Amy Virshup, who took over as Travel editor for The Times last autumn and was immediately thrown into the compilation of the list.

Readers with a good memory may recall that Calgary was also on the 52 Places list for 2014. But Amy assured me that the city’s return wasn’t a case of institutional amnesia.

“The new library seemed like such an incredible building, and new buildings, new infrastructure are part of our catalog of reasons that we go to places,” Amy told me.

“That it was also in a neighborhood that was kind of coming back made it interesting. Also the fact that the library is kind of unusual, with sculptures, a performance hall, a cafe, and that it is trying to redefine what a library is.”

The library Amy was talking about is the city’s new Central Library. Like the relatively new main library in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which I’ve had the pleasure of visiting a couple of times, and the Grande Bibliothèque in Montreal, which opened in 2005, Calgary’s new building is defying earlier predictions that libraries would wither away in the digital age.

The ice caves are on the list for a completely different set of criteria. Amy said that she and the other travel editors were looking for experiences or places that may disappear or change because of climate change — last-chance destinations.

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The International Bridge that joins Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario with its namesake in Michigan.CreditIan Willms for The New York Times

“They were so incredibly beautiful and fascinating, the idea that they were going to go away seemed so incredibly sad to me that I thought we should highlight them,” Amy said.

The caves are also not particularly well known. Since the list was published this week, I’ve heard from former residents of the Sault who weren’t aware of the natural wonders just an hour or so away from the city.

If you’re curious about how the full 52 Places list comes together, Amy has put together a detailed explanation.

In 2018, for the first time, we gave one writer the exhausting, if exciting, task of visiting all 52 places within the year. Jada Yuan’s accounts were a hit with readers. If you missed it in last week’s Canada Letter, make sure you read her final report on a year of nonstop travel.

The 2019 traveler, Sebastian Modak, was chosen from a wide pool of applicants. He’ll take a slightly different approach, Amy told me, drawing on his background as a multimedia producer to tell his stories.

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Sebastian Modak will be traveling the world non stop this year for The Times.CreditAnnie Tritt for The New York Times

As for Canada, Amy said that she wants Travel to take its readers to the country’s less obvious destinations.

“A lot of our Canadian travel has focused on either a handful of cities or natural beauty like Banff,” she said. “But we know there’s a lot to explore in Canada.”

So here’s our challenge for Canada Letter leaders: If you have a favorite destination that you think has been generally overlooked, email us at nytcanada@nytimes.com, explaining why others should visit. Please include your name and where you live. A photo would be a welcome addition. We may use the contributions to create our own mini list of places to visit in Canada.

Read more:

[Read: 52 Places to Go in 2019]

[Read: How We Pick the 52 Places]

[Read: 1 Woman, 12 Months, 52 Places]

Trans Canada

—For the second time in less than six years, passengers aboard one of Ottawa’s double-decker buses have died in a collision.

—Court documents detailed the final moments before a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos struck a transport truck in a deadly collision that shook all of Canada.

—Rebecca Marino, who was born in Toronto and now lives in Vancouver, became burned out and quit professional tennis in 2013. She’s now in the midst of a comeback.

—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that, at the request of the United Nations, Canada will take in an 18-year-old runaway from Saudi Arabia who fears for her life.

—There are harp seals stranded seemingly everywhere in Roddickton-Bide Arm, Newfoundland. But there are no good answers about what can be done about it.

—A group of Canadian scientists have found a signal from the stars.

—This year marked the first time that Canada wasn’t on the podium while hosting the world junior hockey championship. But Carol Schram found that may be because of other countries getting better, rather than Canada falling behind.

Around The Times

— Apple’s new iPhone XR has been a sales disappointment. The tech columnist Kevin Roose writes that may be because many people are perfectly content with their aging iPhones.

—A collaborative project involving the influential, Swiss-born photographer and filmmaker Robert Frank, who once lived in Cape Breton, has been rediscovered.

—While the centuries-old tradition of the dancing girls of Lahore continues, their status in Pakistan has taken a decidedly downward turn.

—Many people in Britain have developed a fondness for a car that was never formally exported from Japan. Unsurprisingly, it’s eccentric.

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