SHARP Drives: The Best Roads in Canada To Drive Manual On
SHARP & Acura
From coast to coast, the vast expanse of Canada is peppered with a healthy assortment of fantastic roads (though not always in the finest conditions). While some deliver incredible views of the countryside, others are less about the surroundings and more about the drive itself. With twists, turns, and elevation changes abound, these are the types of routes we love to explore from the driver’s seat — especially in a car like the 2023 Acura Integra with a manual transmission. Creating a truly complete list of all of these roads would be a daunting task, but after years on the road testing all shapes and sizes of cars from coast to coast, we’ve compiled a hit list of some of our favourite routes across the country.
The Cabot Trail — Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
Starting things off with an especially legendary route, the Cabot Trail on Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton island is easily Eastern Canada’s most iconic route, as it cuts a path along the cliffs of the island. It can be driven in a single day, or broken up into smaller sections. It’ll get a bit busy in the summer travel season, but with its many twists and turns, it’s certainly more enjoyable in a car with three pedals.
King’s Highway 35 — Ontario
A slightly less common route for those in proximity to Toronto, Highway 35 in Ontario cuts north from near Bowmanville, making its way up through the Kawartha Lakes. The southern section isn’t especially exciting, however as you head north you’ll soon realize why it’s one of the more interesting driving routes in the province. The stretch that runs from Carnarvon to the tiny town of Dwight is what really sells it, and there are a few picturesque spots to stop for a snack and a stretch along the way.
Duffey Lake Loop — British Columbia
The Duffey Lake Loop in BC is one of several impressive driving routes that is deserving of a spot on this list, and one that’s best to split out into a couple of days. Departing from Vancouver, the route can either be completed clockwise up through Whistler and Pemberton, or counter-clockwise via Abbotsford and Chilliwack. We tend to prefer the former, as the route starts off with more twists and turns that way, and settles into a calm and straight highway cruise at the end of your day. This is safely the biggest undertaking on the list, but worth it if you love a road trip filled with twists and turns.
Gaspésie 132 — Québec
Touring the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula is the kind of drive we recommend to just about anyone — regardless of whether or not you love driving with a manual transmission — but being able to swap gears on your own just makes it that much better. Highway 132 in Québec is actually the province’s longest highway, that hugs the Saint Lawrence River all the way from the Southwestern corner of the province, but the key section of this drive is the loop that surrounds the peninsula, running from Matane, around to Precé, and down to Campbellton.
David Thompson Highway — Alberta
Last but certainly not least, the David Thompson Highway is part of the Cowboy Trail, taking drivers from Red Deer and connecting them into Highway 93 — the route that connects between Banff and Jasper National Park. There are a number of ways to experience the entry into Canada’s Rocky Mountains throughout the province, however few deliver as exceptional a driving experience as this particular route does.