The second largest country in the world, Canada has no shortage of beautiful landscapes and unique places for travelers to explore. From coast to coast to coast, the country is home to vibrant and culturally rich cities, along with incredible natural wonders. In Western Canada, the Rocky Mountains and cities of Vancouver, Victoria and Calgary dominate most routes. In Central Canada, Niagara Falls, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City are some of the most popular options. For those who want to go to the Canadian maritime provinces to the east, the beauty of Gros Morne National Park, along with the cities of Halifax and St. John’s provide their own unique character. Off the beaten track but equally impressive is Canada’s north, with the opportunity to see polar bears in the wild and explore the remote beauty of places such as Nahanni National Park and the towns of Whitehorse and Yellowknife.
1 Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls is Canada’s most famous natural attraction, bringing in millions of visitors each year. Located just over an hour’s drive from Toronto, along the US border, these massive waterfalls drop approximately 57 metres. Visitors can see the falls at their top an astonishingly short distance from the rim. Niagara Falls and the Niagara Gorge have attracted tourists and daredevils for more than a century. Between the mid-19th and 20th centuries, there were numerous attempts to dive over the falls in various types of homemade boats and barrels. This, along with tightrope walkers and other spectacles, led to the neighboring town of Niagara Falls which developed a carnival-like atmosphere that still exists today. Families will enjoy strolling through Niagara’s ExquisiteClifton Hill leads to the gorge and falls.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Niagara Falls: Best Areas and Hotels
2 Banff National Park and the Rocky Mountains
Located in the heart of the majestic Rocky Mountains in the province of Alberta, Banff National Park offers some of Canada’s most beautiful landscapes. Turquoise green lakes, snow-capped peaks and glaciers are all easily accessible in this beautiful park. The jewel of the park is Lake Louise , where green waters reflect the surrounding mountains and visitors can easily stroll along the shores. The Icefields Parkway that runs from Lake Louise to Jasper is an unforgettable drive and another one you must see in Banff. At the south end of the park is the lovely town of Banff, which offers all kinds of accommodations, shopping and dining options.
In winter, Banff is also a major winter sports area and home to Lake Louise Ski Resort and Sunshine Village , two of Canada’s most prominent ski destinations.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Banff National Park
3 Toronto’s CN Tower
On the shores of Lake Ontario in Canada’s largest city lies the iconic CN Tower, one of Canada’s most famous landmarks. The tower is one of the tallest buildings in the world at 553 meters high. It offers fine dining in its revolving restaurant, 360 , where visitors can enjoy a meal while looking out over the city and lake. There’s also the Beware and the Glass Floor , with stunning views over the city and beyond. Even those who choose not to go up the tower will find themselves stopping to gaze at the structure, which is visible from almost anywhere in the city. At night the tower is illuminated in different colors.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Toronto: Best Areas and Hotels
4 Oud Quebec (Old Quebec)
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Old Quebec is spread across Upper and Lower Quebec and contains the city’s most historic buildings. The Lower Town, along the St. Lawrence River, is the site of the original settlement and home to the outstanding Château Frontenac , as well as numerous other treasures. The upper town sits on 100-metre-high cliffs and is home to the Citadel , the Plains of Abraham , Place d’Armes , and the Parque Historique de l’Artillerie . This area is one of Canada’s most popular historic areas and is well developed for tourism. In addition to the historical sites, visitors will also find artists displaying their worksRue du Trésor , interesting museums including the Musée de la Civilization and all kinds of shops and restaurants.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Quebec City: Best Areas and Hotels
Just a two-hour drive from Vancouver is the famous ski resort and village of Whistler. While Whistler has always been a major winter sports area, it has also developed into a popular summer destination all year round with golf, mountain biking and a lively village atmosphere. The village received a lot of international attention in 2010 when it became one of the venues for the 2010 Winter Olympics. The area offers world-class skiing, hotels and restaurants, as well as a variety of other outdoor recreational opportunities and beautiful mountain scenery.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Whistler: Best Areas and Hotels
6 Ottawa’s Parliament Hill
Ottawa’s Parliament Hill stands high above the Ottawa River and is characterized by the Gothic Revival style buildings built in the last half of the 19th century. The most notable feature is the Peace Tower which divides the House of Commons and Senate on both sides. In front of the Parliament buildings is the Centennial Flame , lit in 1966 to commemorate the centenary of Canadian Confederation, and behind the buildings is a sculpture garden. In summer, the Changing of the Guard takes place on the front lawn of the Houses of Parliament, weather permitting. There is a beautiful walk below Parliament Hill along the Ottawa River.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Ottawa: Best Areas and Hotels
7 St. John’s Signal Hill National Historic Site
At the entrance to St. John’s harbor, overlooking the city and sea, is Signal Hill National Historic Site. It was here in 1901 that the first wireless transatlantic signal was received. It also played a strategic role in the Seven Years’ War with France, although the current fortifications were built during the hostilities of 1812.
The Cabot Tower is one of Signal Hill’s most important sites. It was built in 1897 to commemorate the four hundredth anniversary of the discovery of Newfoundland. It now also commemorates Guglielmo Marconi’s reception here in 1901 of the first transatlantic radiotelegraphy signal, broadcast over a distance of 2,700 kilometers from Poldhu in England. The tower features exhibits on the history of Signal Hill and the history of communications (with a special section on Marconi). From the top, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the city and coast all the way to Cape Spear – the easternmost point in North America.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in St John’s
8 Old Montreal
Lined with beautiful old historic buildings, the old part of Montreal welcomes visitors with great shopping and delicious food. Horse-drawn carriages take visitors through the cobbled streets and past the open squares. While Montreal itself is a vibrant modern city, Old Montreal’s waterfront is where most tourists come to soak up the atmosphere. Some of the must-see places in Old Montreal include Rue Bonsecours and the landmark Marché Bonsecours in the old City Hall building, the interior of the beautiful Basilica of Notre-Dame , the lively Place Jacques-Cartier and the 1870s Town Hall .
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Montreal: Best Areas and Hotels
9 Polar bears from Churchill, Manitoba
Polar Bears of Churchill, Manitoba
One of Canada’s most unique attractions is the polar bear migration, watching these beautiful creatures make their way from the mainland to the ice in Hudson Bay, near the town of Churchill in Northern Manitoba. This small community opens up to tourists every fall. Tours take visitors in tundra buggies with caged windows for close encounters with the polar bears. The best viewing time occurs in October or November, as the bears wait for the water to freeze before going on the ice.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Churchill
10 Bay of Fundy
The Bay of Fundy, located in Eastern Canada between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, is known for its great tides. The variation between high and low is the largest in the world, with a maximum of 19 meters (10 fathoms). While there are many ways to appreciate this natural wonder, some of the most popular locations and sights along the Bay of Fundy include the cliffs and rock formations at Hopewell Cape , Fundy National Park , the Fundy Trail Parkway , and Grand Manan Island .
Accommodation: Where to Stay on the Bay of Fundy
11 Victoria’s Inner Harbor
Few Canadian cities have done such a wonderful job developing their waterfront areas as Victoria and its inland harbour. This is a great place to stroll, relax, shop, dine and watch street performers all against the backdrop of the harbour. The centerpiece of this area is the historic Empress Hotel , one of the city’s most beautiful buildings. Over the years the Empress has welcomed kings and queens and today hosts a traditional high tea, one of the highlights for many visitors to Victoria. Although the harbor area is popular all year round, it is particularly lively during the summer months.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Victoria
12 Gros Morne National Park
Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland is more remote than many of Canada’s most popular national parks, but worth exploring this beautiful landscape of mountains and fjords. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features steep cliffs, waterfalls and interesting rock formations sculpted by the glacier-fed waters. Most visitors take a boat ride to appreciate the scenery, but there are also hiking trails and kayaking opportunities. In winter, the park sees far fewer visitors but is open for ski touring, complete with backcountry ski huts.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Gros Morne National Park
13 Stanley Park in Vancouver
One of Vancouver’s greatest treasures is the 405-acre Stanley Park, conveniently located on the west side of downtown. Located on a peninsula, the park is surrounded by the ocean and home to enormous red cedar and Douglas fir trees. A sea wall that merges into the park has an extensive walking, jogging and cycling path with designated lanes for walkers and cyclists. From the sea wall there are some beautiful views of the city and mountains. A scenic drive also winds through Stanley Park with numerous pullouts.
Within the park are the Vancouver Aquarium , scenic Beaver Lake , and the Stanley Park Pavilion and Rose Garden . Also of particular interest, are numerous totem poles , some of which were erected more than 100 years ago.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Vancouver: Best Areas and Hotels
14 Calgary Stampede
This ten-day affair is one of the most anticipated events in Western Canada, with many city residents and summer travelers planning their vacation around the Calgary Stampede. For this week in July, the city of Calgary transforms into a true western city, where people who would otherwise wear suits will instead don jeans and cowboy boots. The Stampede Grounds features daily rodeo events with competitors from all over North America, thrill rides, games, food and the nightly Grandstand Show. Free ‘Stampede Breakfasts’ are hosted around the city by numerous establishments, either in indoor or outdoor locations and usually consist of pancakes. Many big name country artists also typically come to town for this event.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Calgary: Best Areas and Hotels
15 Canadian Museum for Human Rights
Canadian Museum of Human Rights AJ Batac / photo modes
Winnipeg’s newest attraction, which has attracted both national and international attention, is the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Opening in 2014 in the The Forks neighborhood , the building showcases a unique design that is blinding to say the least, with geometry and colors based on images of the Canadian landscape. Also unique is the concept behind the museum, which proved controversial in determining which histories would be featured here. The museum highlights personal stories, captures different perspectives and focuses on a range of themes.
Official site: https://humanrights.ca/
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Winnipeg