the oil sands (tar sands is what the US calls them) are in northern alberta (fort mcmurray is the hub) and i think its kind of like shale oil but its sand thats saturated with heavy bitumen, and they strip mine it because in some places its very close to the surface, under just a couple feet of muskeg. google some pictures its absolutely nuts. whether you are for or against it the photography opportunities i think are pretty stunning. they do strip mining, lng, fracking, cyclic steam, the works. if it makes oil they will do it in alberta.
for mountains, driving from banff to jasper on the banff-jasper highway (we are bad at naming things) is arguably the most scenic drive in canada, very loaded with tourists in places like the icefields, but there are tons of hiking opportunities if thats something you like. the alpine club of canada would be a good place to look for hiking info/guides.
cant help you with polar bears although i'd like to see them too!
knight inlet and cmh are personal recommendations, i know the people that own the lodge and my aunt and uncle work at cmh (i think for the perks lol) if you want to spend more time in the mountains, i have stayed at an excellent lodge at assinaboine. (http://www.assiniboinelodge.com/
) you can hike in or fly in, and its a super good spot to do day hikes from and see mountain goats, grizzlies, other rocky mountain wildlife. I would go later in the summer, larch trees are the landscape photographers wet dream!
in the interior of bc (on the way to the rockies from vancouver) there are lots of small towns and some ghost towns from the gold rush, old mills and industry things, that kind of stuff, and a pretty unique desert geography around vernon, kamloops summerland area. there is also an area in alberta around drumheller that might be interesting, it has unique geography and a huge number of dinosaur finds and fossils.
i would make tofino a priority, although you do have beaches and big waves in australia, its a bit different here
not sure what level of hiking or dripping forest you are into, but at the north end of the island (cape scott) there is a park with some pretty excellent vistas and rain coast wildlife. you can also water taxi to the cape but its very expensive and the hike is not technical, just damp. I live in port mcniell, (and grew up on vancouver island) and to be entirely honest unless you really like trees, you cant do much better than tofino. going north in bc is kind of a waste of time (other people would disagree) its just wet trees until you get to the arctic. theres lots to see but theres also an area the size of europe thats just wet trees and rocks. every time our german friends come to visit canada they insist on doing a giant driving tour through prince george and kitimat and the north coast and to us its kind of bonkers to look at roadside trees for days on end. hit tofino and head to the mountains.
sorry for the extended travel guide its 4 in the morning and im up with a sore back. happy to help!