Canada is a huge, endlessly exciting country that contains some of the most iconic cities in the world. While these places more than deserve their reputation on the global stage, it is in the small towns that Canada really comes to life and shows why it is a country synonymous with welcoming attitudes, stunning landscapes, and peaceful sojourns.
Some of the most difficult to access communities in Canada are the most rewarding. Not too many journeys here can be considered short, but every single small town will open its arms to travelers and gratefully show off their natural marvels and in-built kindness. For those with time and a full tank of gas, the following ten small towns should be pinned inspirationally on a map.
10 Legal, Alberta
A name that somehow has an old-world charm to it, Legal is a beautiful community in Northern Alberta that leaves all who visit harboring a sense of peace and relaxation. Predominately an agricultural community, many residents, in fact, work in nearby cities but prefer to commute from the paradise of Legal.
A bi-lingual town, every July the Fete Au Village is held, bringing the village together for a celebration of their French heritage. Also home to a thriving arts community, the town is decorated with several beautiful murals that give the streets a splash of color and a healthy handful of happiness.
9 Flin Flon, Manitoba
The first thing that has to be cleared up about Flin Flon is its name. Just where did such an unusual small-town name come to be? It is actually named after a character from a 1905 science-fiction novel that was supposedly found by prospector Tom Creighton at the site Flin Flon now stands.
The incredible fishing in the area attracts anglers from all over the world and sees the town host a trout festival each July. For ice hockey fanatics, no trip to Flin Flon would be complete without heading down to the rink to see the Bombers carve up the ice in pursuit of victory.
8 Victoria-By-The-Sea, Prince Edward Island
Made up of old-era, brightly colored homes, Victoria-By-The-Sea is a heartwarming fishing village no matter how low the temperatures that grace its shores sink.
With the beautiful views, friendly locals and inspiring atmosphere, many artists such as painters, sculptures and writers have taken up residence here. Days spent in Victoria-By-The-Sea will often not seem real, such is the almost fairytale setting that greets visitors. A place not be missed on a Canadian jaunt. Especially for seafood-lovers.
7 Dawson City, Yukon
The gold rush of 1898 brought countless new residents to the town of Dawson City, and while only a small percentage of them achieved the success they set out for, many would become enamored with the beautiful surroundings and set up homes here.
In modern times, visitors can still pan for gold and wander the heritage streets as though strolling through Canada’s richly storied history. Culinary adventurers should check out the Downtown Hotel, home to the Sour Toe Cocktail, one of the strangest drink options on the planet.
6 Tobermory, Ontario
The past misfortunes of mariners make for a tourism delight in Tobermory. Named for a similarly quaint town in Scotland, this small part of Ontario is known as the freshwater scuba capital of the world. 22 shipwrecks grace the floor of Fathom Five National Marine Park alone.
Those without scuba licenses are more than catered for thanks to the glass-bottomed boat option that is immensely popular with travelers. And if getting wet isn’t your idea of a good time, hiking trails and campgrounds appear around almost every bend of this marvelous Canadian town.
5 Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec
While the name Baie-Saint-Paul may not be familiar to many citizens of the world, it’s biggest export is one of the most well known and revered institutions on the planet. Cirque du Soleil was founded in this small Quebecois town in 1984 and has since taken its Canadian roots worldwide.
The locals may not suddenly burst into precisely choreographed movements or juggle impossible numbers of balls at one time, but visitors won’t be disappointed thanks to the simple and stunning beauty of Baie-Saint-Paul. Bring a book and get lost in the town center, there is no more peaceful way to spend a day in Canada.
4 Drumheller, Alberta
At some stage, almost every child wanted to be a dinosaur hunter. Scouring the world for remains of the great historical beasts while adventuring through exciting terrain and discovering new worlds. Drumheller calls that inner child to its streets with the Royal Tyrrell Museum which contains an incredible number of dinosaur fossils.
Once visitors have their fill of a species long gone, the Badlands beckon gracefully with their canyons and remarkable living history. Hiking trails here can be traversed all year long and provide endless wonder and joy.
3 Killarney, Ontario
Whatever the official population limit is to call a town small, Killarney certainly goes nowhere near it. Home to just 386 people at the time of a recent census, this wonderful town sits at the very end of Ontario’s Highway 637 and it would be difficult to find a drive more worth its end result.
The quintessential Canadian delights are on abundant display here. Nature walks, canoes astride the crystal clear water, delicious food, pleasant company, and cozy architecture make for a stress-free and joy-filled experience like no other.
2 Ucluelet, British Columbia
Placed on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, Ucluelet houses a postcard-perfect harbor filled with colorful wildlife and unique views that make it one of the loveliest small towns in all of Canada.
It is possible here to spend some of the day relaxing on deserted beaches before exploring nearby rain forests that same afternoon. If walking shoes made their way into visitors' luggage, there is no excuse for missing the developing Wild Pacific Trail. Simply stunning.
1 Churchill, Manitoba
When planning a trip to a Canadian small town, several items will make the list of most travelers. On this list, the desire to see a bear in the wild generally appears somewhere near the very top. The chances of seeing a black or brown bear are quite high in many places, but witnessing a polar bear in the wild is a feat most will not achieve.
Unless they go to Churchill, of course. From October to November, the magical creatures gather along the nearby shores as they prepare themselves for a winter of seal-hunting. In addition to a good chance of seeing the reclusive bears here, visitors can also take in the Northern Lights and even see beluga whales in the summer.