Canada is home to three cities over one million residents, 51 cities of between 100,000 and one million and 235 with populations of 10,000 to 100,000. With plenty of cities and towns home to even less, it's in these smaller locations that visitors can experience the genuine hospitality and true joy of the Canadian lifestyle.
With so much of the country inhabitable only by those able to withstand extreme temperatures, many of the cities are concentrated in the southern regions. Several large, iconic cities already have a name on the world stage, but here are 10 destinations that are small in size.
10 Perth, Ontario
A Canadian breakfast is a palette pleaser no matter where you happen to be within the North American country, but Ontarian city Perth is proud to lay claim to one of the best early morning feasts in all the land. This is because of the region's reputation as the maple syrup capital, home of the quintessentially Canadian delicacy that graces every countertop across the nation.
Fine food isn’t the only reason to visit this small but beautiful city however, visitors of all ages will find plenty to do amongst the stone-walled buildings that make up the town. Whatever is decided upon, a gentle stroll along the Tay River that splits Perth is a must. Perth has 5,930 as of 2016.
9 Dawson City, Yukon
Once the largest settlement in the Yukon, Dawson City was a major player in the 1898 Canadian Gold Rush. People from all over the world came here to try their luck at panning their way to a better life and the population skyrocketed.
Today, Dawson City is primarily a tourist town thanks to its well-preserved image of the history that once played out within its streets. Those feeling ambitious should also try the Sour Toe Cocktail, a famous Canadian drinking challenge at the Downtown Hotel that isn’t at all what you are imagining. Dawson City has a population of 1,410 as of 2017.
8 Canmore, Alberta
So often relegated to the task of granting travelers access to Banff National Park and beyond, Canmore has gradually become recognized for the wonderful place it is in its own right. Unarguably a wonderful place to spend a day pre and post-National Park exploration, it has so much more to offer the wildlife wanderer.
Beautiful buildings line Main Street, each more interesting that the last and many housing delicious food options, unique arts and crafts or simply a local excited to tell tales of the bears and cougars that also call Canmore home. The population is 13,992 as of 2016.
7 Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Lunenburg was founded in 1753 and thankfully it has retained the look and feel that has made it an iconic, if relatively small, Canadian city. The buildings have not changed with the passing of time, being marked for preservation due to their historical impact on a proud country.
Off-shore fishing is the order of the day for locals in Lunenburg and one of the greatest joys a visitor can experience is the privilege of joining a crew on a mission to bring back a delicious dinner for those remaining ashore. Organize it before you arrive and you will not be disappointed and you certainly won't go hungry. The population is 2,263 as of 2016.
6 Nelson, British Columbia
In an area known for its huge bodies of water, Kootenay Lake impresses even the hardest to impress lake-hunters. The city of Nelson sits along the shore of Kootenay and appears to look even smaller than it is due to the vast expanse of dark blue water that cocoons it. Nelson has 10,664 people according to 2016 numbers.
Life is relaxed in Nelson and as such it has become a haven for writers, musicians and other forms of artist, drawn in by the gorgeous nature and endless opportunities to become overwhelmed and inspired. You don’t have to bring a paintbrush with you to Nelson but it isn’t a bad idea.
5 Goderich, Ontario
Every town has their claim to fame, something they can put on promotional material in an attempt to attract potential holiday-makers and adventure hunters to their borders. Goderich in Eastern Canada has a particularly interesting one.
Legend has it that Queen Elizabeth II once claimed Goderich to be the prettiest town in all of Canada. While this cannot be confirmed with total accuracy, it isn’t hard to imagine any visitor, royal or otherwise, uttering those words. In the end though, you are just going to have to see for yourself. And there’s the marketing slogan! Goderich has a population of 7,628 according to 2016 numbers.
4 Forget, Saskatchewan
A truly tiny piece of Canada, the town of Forget is unfortunately quite aptly named. Home to just 40 residents in the modern age, it does appear to have almost been forgotten by the settlements and cities that share the landscape with it.
The population is mostly made up of farmers and artists who value the self-reliant lifestyle that doesn’t require the comforts many people have come to take for granted. None of this means it is not worth a visit however, quite the opposite in fact. A jaunt through the unusual town of Forget will, in fact, be a wonderfully memorable experience.
3 Lacombe, Alberta
16 miles from the nearest major city, Lacombe is carved into the lush parkland of Central Alberta and takes its place between the mighty Rocky Mountains and endless prairies reaching east.
The city centre is so picturesque and uniquely Canadian here that the Main Street has been featured in several popular movies through the years. Canada’s oldest operating blacksmith shop still plies its trade here as well, a must-visit for the curious tourist. What's the population? As of 2016, it was 13,057.
2 Iqaluit, Nunavut
The only city in Nunavut, Iqaluit translates to "place of fish," a nod to the creatures that have kept residents fed for many years. Home to a population of approximately 7,000, the climate here is typical of the Arctic Region, offing reaching into the -20’s and beyond.
Perhaps a surprising tourist option here is to marvel at the landing strip that is so long it could accept a space shuttle without hesitation. Many of the largest aircraft ever designed will be tested here to see how they cope with the extreme temperatures. The population was 7,740 as of 2016.
1 Farnham, Quebec
From 1876 to 2000, Farnham had the official designation of town as opposed to city due to its small and sparsely populated territory. A merger with the nearby Rainville bumped the number of inhabitants up past 8,000 and suddenly a city was born!
Farnham is a great place to ride bikes thanks to the meticulously planned cycling infrastructure while golfers will find it to be a paradise too. Musicians can enjoy the old church turned recording studio in town and historians have plenty to occupy themselves with in the form of buildings still standing from the earliest days of the town.