Canada is a country filled with natural beauty, from stunning mountain ranges, incredible glacial lakes, and temperate coastal rainforests. So, it can be tough to remember that its beautiful cities are filled with amazing things to do as well! Whether enjoyed as a gateway to nature or as a city-break vacation, each of these Canadian cities has something unique and incredible to offer visitors!
10 Quebec City
The beautiful cobblestones and horse-drawn carriages give Quebec City a historic, European feel, particularly as it is a French-speaking city, although English is common in the tourist areas. The incredible Parliament Hill and 100-year-old Chateau Frontenac overlook the city, which sits on the banks of the Saint Lawrence River. Quebec City is easily walkable, particularly Vieux-Québec, the historic city center, which is filled with boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. Nearby, impressive Montmorency Falls is a must-visit for any visitor to Quebec City!
Montreal is both Canada's second-largest city and is also the world's second-biggest French-speaking city but still manages to preserve a historic feel, particularly in Vieux-Montreal and the Old Port. In contrast, Montreal also has some striking skyscrapers and a modern Olympic Stadium, creating a wonderful juxtaposition. There are two options for magnificent skyline views, the La Grande Roue de Montreal, a huge Ferris wheel in downtown Montreal, or on the outskirts of the city, visitors can climb Mont-Royal for sweeping views across the city.
Canada's capital city is a perfect blend of vibrant 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 on the Ottawa River for alternative 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 is housed in a uniquely designed modern building. Visitors can also enjoy the hip Exchange District, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and the Assiniboine Park Zoo. Close to the city is Fortwhyte Alive, an enormous prairie conservation area.
With more hours of sunshine than any other Canadian city, a whopping 333 sunny days per year, the weather is one big reason to visit Calgary! These sunny days make Calgary a perfect place to enjoy outdoor activities such as river rafting, hiking, biking, or walking along the Bow River through the 50-acre Prince's Island Park. For incredible views over the city, try the observation platform in the 191m Calgary Tower, or a drink at the SKY 360 revolving restaurant. Home to the famous Calgary Stampede, visitors in early July can enjoy this week-long festival featuring rodeo events, music, and exhibitions.
As one of the most iconic Canadian cities, Toronto is often described as Canada's Cultural Capitol because of its world-famous museums and galleries, including the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Ontario Museum. The gigantic CN Tower shapes the downtown Toronto skyline, and visitors can soak up these unique city views from across the water at the Toronto Islands. What makes Toronto unique is the small but diverse neighborhoods found scattered across the city, each with its own unique restaurants and shops, including Little Italy and Chinatown. The Distillery Historic District has quaint cobbled streets leading to shops and studios and art-lovers should check out Rush Lane (Graffiti Valley).
Edmonton, Alberta, is a city of two sides. It offers incredible options for visitors wanting to enjoy the great outdoors. The River Valley Park is gigantic, and it actually made up of 20 different parks which, together, are 22 times bigger than Central Park and are 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 is truly something to entertain everyone!
Gorgeous Halifax is the capital city of Nova Scotia and is centered around its beautiful harbor. Visitors can learn about the history of Halifax at Pier 21, and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic houses an impressive collection of artifacts from the Titanic. For more outdoor adventures, try taking the ferry over to Dartmouth, exploring the Victorian Halifax Public Gardens, or taking a cruise around the harbor and coast.
Found right on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria is as close to British as you'll find 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 population activities in the city include exploring the beautiful harbor and promenade, and the colorful Butchart Gardens, and for a unique view, check out Victoria's floating homes on Fisherman's Wharf!
It is difficult not to fall in love with Vancouver. Surrounded by mountains and right on the West Coast of the Pacific Ocean, it is easily one of the most beautiful Canadian cities. It is also a very diverse city, with an eclectic art scene, a variety of cultural and historic sights, and beautiful beaches and parks. One of the more iconic parts of the city is the enormous Stanley Park. It has over 1,000 acres of trails and beaches, and jaw-dropping views of Vancouver and the water. Whale-watching cruises are also a popular activity here, with chances of seeing Gray, Humpback, and Killer whales. The city also makes a great base for exploring the Canadian wilderness, and visitors can get a cable car to the top of Grouse mountain, or walk across the famous Capilano suspension bridge. There is so much to do and see, that it is tricky to fit everything into one visit!