10 great Canadian cities to add to your to-do list
Canada is a country filled with natural beauty, stunning mountain ranges, incredible glacial lakes and temperate coastal rainforests. So it can be hard to remember that its beautiful cities are also full of amazing things to do! Whether as a gateway to nature or a city vacation, each of these Canadian cities has something unique and amazing to offer visitors!
ten Quebec City
The beautiful cobblestones and horse-drawn carriages give Quebec a historic and European feel, especially since it’s a French-speaking city, although English is common in tourist areas. The incredible Parliament Hill and century-old Château Frontenac overlook the city, located on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. Quebec City is easily accessible on foot, especially Old Quebec, the historic downtown, which is full of shops, cafes and restaurants. Nearby, the impressive Montmorency Falls is a must visit for any visitor to Quebec!
Montreal is both the second largest city in Canada and the second largest French-speaking city in the world, but still manages to preserve a historic atmosphere, especially in Old Montreal and the Old Port. In contrast, Montreal also boasts striking skyscrapers and a modern Olympic Stadium, creating a wonderful juxtaposition. There are two options for magnificent views of the skyline, La Grande Roue de Montréal, a huge Ferris wheel in downtown Montreal, or on the outskirts of the city, visitors can scale Mont-Royal for a breathtaking view of the city.
Canada’s capital is a perfect blend of dynamic and historic. The impressive Parliament Building dominates the skyline and Ottawa is home to some of Canada’s best museums and galleries, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Royal Canadian Mint, the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum and the Canadian Museum of History. The city also has excellent walking and hiking trails, and visitors can kayak the Ottawa River for more views of this beautiful city.
An often overlooked city in Canada, Winnipeg will surprise visitors with its abundance of restaurants, cultural attractions and outdoor activities. A perfect place to start is the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which is not only a fantastic museum, but housed in a uniquely designed modern building. Visitors can also enjoy the trendy Stock Exchange District, the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Assiniboine Park Zoo. Close to town is Fortwhyte Alive, a huge grassland conservation area.
With more hours of sunshine than any other Canadian city, 333 sunny days a year, the weather is one of the main reasons to visit Calgary! These sunny days make Calgary a great place to enjoy outdoor activities such as rafting, hiking, biking or walking along the Bow River through the 50-acre Prince’s Island Park. For incredible views of the city, try the 191m Calgary Tower observation deck or grab a drink at the SKY 360 revolving restaurant. Home to the famous Calgary Stampede, visitors in early July can enjoy this festival of a week featuring rodeo events, music and exhibits.
As one of Canada’s most iconic cities, Toronto is often described as the cultural capital of Canada due to its world-class museums and galleries, including the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Museum of Ontario. The massive CN Tower shapes the skyline of downtown Toronto, and visitors can soak up these unique views of the city from across the water in the Toronto Islands. What makes Toronto unique are the small but diverse neighborhoods scattered across the city, each with their own unique restaurants and shops, including Little Italy and Chinatown. The historic Distillery District has quaint cobbled streets leading to shops and studios and art lovers should visit Rush Lane (Graffiti Valley).
Edmonton, Alberta is a city with two faces. It offers incredible options for visitors wanting to enjoy the great outdoors. River Valley Park is gigantic and is actually made up of 20 different parks which together are 22 times larger than Central Park and filled with lakes, ravines, trails and golf courses. Conversely, Edmonton is also home to the largest mall in North America. Filled with huge stores, endless restaurants, theme parks, a water park, miniature golf courses and four movie theaters, there really is something to keep everyone entertained!
Beautiful Halifax is the capital of Nova Scotia and is centered around its beautiful harbour. Visitors can learn about Halifax’s history at Pier 21, and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic houses an impressive collection of Titanic artifacts. For more outdoor adventure, try taking the ferry to Dartmouth, exploring Halifax’s Victorian Public Gardens, or taking a cruise around the harbor and coast.
Located just at the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria is as close to Britain as it is on this side of the Atlantic. Possible as a day trip from Vancouver, Victoria is a huge tourist destination in its own right. The Fairmont Empress is the city’s most iconic building and offers a traditional British afternoon tea. Some popular activities in the town include exploring the beautiful harbor and promenade, as well as the colorful Butchart Gardens, and for a unique view check out Victoria’s Houseboats on Fisherman’s Wharf!
It’s hard not to fall in love with Vancouver. Surrounded by mountains and located on the west coast of the Pacific Ocean, it is easily one of the most beautiful Canadian cities. It’s also a very diverse city, with an eclectic arts scene, a variety of cultural and historical sites, and beautiful beaches and parks. The enormous Stanley Park is one of the most iconic parts of the city. It has over 1,000 acres of trails and beaches, and breathtaking views of Vancouver and the water. Whale-watching cruises are also a popular activity here, with chances of seeing grey, humpback and killer whales. The town also makes a great base for exploring the Canadian wilderness, and visitors can take a cable car to the top of Grouse Mountain or walk across the famous Capilano Suspension Bridge. There’s so much to do and see that it’s hard to fit it all into one visit!