Choosing the finest places to visit in Canada might be difficult because the country is so large and diverse. With a total area of 9,985,000 square kilometres split across 10 provinces and three territories, there are virtually innumerable locations to explore. As a result, it’s reasonable to argue that no Canadian city is a horrible city.
There are several notable exceptions to the rule, of course. In order to compile this list, we’ve looked for cities with unique attractions that aren’t found anyplace else in America, if not the entire world.
These cities are all worthy of your travel bucket list, and we can’t wait to tell you why. They range from Canada’s largest national park to the capital city, and we can’t wait to explain why.
With this list of the finest Canadian cities, you’ll know just where to go on your next vacation.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Toronto, Canada’s largest city and the most visited in the country, has a lot going for it. With a population of almost three million, it’s easy to see why it’s at the top of our list.
In the first place, there are well-known symbols of the city of Toronto. The CN Tower is synonymous with Toronto, but many visitors also stop by Toronto Island, Casa Loma, and the Toronto Zoo while they’re there.
You’ll find some of the world’s most renowned museums here, including the Art Gallery of Ontario (the AGO) and the Royal Ontario Museum (the ROM).
Sports teams are also a big part of the community. You don’t have to be a sports fanatic to enjoy watching a game in Toronto, which has seven professional sports teams. Regardless of the season, you’re likely to be able to witness a professional sports game in Toronto, whether it’s the Toronto Blue Jays, the Toronto Raptors (2019 NBA champs!), or the Toronto Maple Leafs.
However, most Torontonians claim that the city’s numerous districts, each a micro-cultural hotspot with its own unique restaurants, stores, and parks, are what makes Toronto the finest city in Canada. You may sample cuisines from all over the world in Toronto’s many neighbourhoods, from Little Italy to Chinatown to the Danforth (which is home to a big Greek community).
Take a stroll around Lake Ontario or spend some time at one of the city’s beaches once you’ve had your fill of the city’s culinary offerings. Explore Toronto’s largest public park, High Park, or take a boat to Toronto Islands for a day of fun and spectacular city views.
Quebec City, Canada
It’s easy to feel like you’ve stepped back in time in ancient Quebec City, where horse-drawn carriages ply the cobblestone streets.
Quebec City, which is on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, is a French-speaking city, while most residents speak English in tourist areas. The fortified city centre of Vieux-Québec, which has the aforementioned cobblestone streets, stores, cafés, and restaurants, is where most tourists go.
The Fairmont feels like a castle. Even if you don’t have the opportunity to stay at Le Château Frontenac, it’s a must-see monument in Quebec City. Visit La Citadelle de Québec, a historic fort that is still in use by the military, and take a walking tour to learn about its history.
Quebec City will be like a candy store for art and ornate lovers. The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, for example, is one of the world’s most beautiful museums.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about Quebec’s past, the Museum of Civilization (or Musée de la civilization) is a must-see. You’ll depart with a renewed sense of purpose and a desire to return someday.
Canada’s capital city of Vancouver
Vancouver, Canada’s most beautiful city, is unquestionably the best. There are mountains on the north side, the Pacific Ocean on the west, and the large Stanley Park smack in the middle of the city.
It doesn’t matter if you’re strolling down the seawall in downtown Vancouver, enjoying the beaches of Kitsilano, or wandering through the trails of Pacific Spirit Park on the University of British Columbia campus. It’s simple to enjoy the outdoors year-round because of the moderate (though frequently wet) winters and the pleasant, sunny summers.
It’s easy to get about Vancouver on foot, and there are countless hidden jewels to be found around every corner. The downtown centre is a great place to live and visit and people-watch from a coffee shop, while Gastown is home to an eclectic mix of modern and eccentric stores and eateries.
Main Street on Granville Island is a foodie’s dream, with eateries dishing up the finest of Vancouver’s local gastronomy. It’s impossible to see everything there is to see in one trip, but it’s a lot of fun to try!
Alberta city of Calgary
The Calgary Stampede, a week-long celebration of rodeo events, concerts, special activities, and exhibitions, is held in Calgary, Alberta. Calgary’s annual “Cowtown” event attracts more than a million attendees each year, making it one of the country’s largest celebrations of farming and livestock.
Calgary isn’t only about cowboy hats, horses, and rodeos: you can visit Heritage Park Historical Village, take a look at the city from the top of the Calgary Tower, or stroll along the Bow River in Prince’s Island Park, a 50-acre park.
Despite the harsh winters, the residents of Calgary are always cheerful, maybe as a result of the city receiving the most sunshine of any Canadian city. More than 2,396 hours of sunshine may be found in Calgary on an annual basis. There’s a strong chance you’ll enjoy beautiful weather if you’re taking a trip.
The city of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada
When you’re in Ottawa, the nation’s capital, it’s hard not to get a little extra patriotic about Canada. It won’t take long for a visit to Ottawa to make you feel like a history buff.
To get an inside look at the Canadian government, take a tour of the Parliament Structure on Parliament Hill. The building itself is a work of art. Some of the country’s top museums and galleries may be found in the city.
At the Canadian War Museum, visitors may learn about the country’s military history, as well as significant events and wars that formed Canada’s identity and character. The National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of History, the Canadian Museum of Nature, and the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum are just a few more examples of the city’s rich cultural offerings.
One of the things Ottawa excels at is putting on an enormous event. When it comes to Canada Day, no city does it like Ottawa. In the month of February, Ottawa hosts Winterlude, a festival that celebrates all things cold. If you haven’t ice skated on the Rideau Canal, you haven’t properly experienced Canadian winter. Many more festivals, such as the Canadian Tulip Festival, are held throughout the year.
The city of Montreal in Canada’s province of Quebec
Since its founding as a French mission post in 1642, Montreal (or Mont- Réal as it was known back then) has grown to be a major commercial and cultural hub in North America and the globe. After Paris, it is the only other French-speaking metropolis that ranks higher than Montreal in terms of population size.
Despite its size, Montreal has managed to maintain many of its oldest buildings and districts, unlike many other similarly large cities in North America. To gain a sense of “Ancient Montreal,” visit Vieux-Montreal, the core of the original colonial town, with its gorgeous old townhouses; and Vieux-Port, the equally beautiful “Old Port,” with its excellent promenade.
Montreal’s historic charm is complemented by the city’s modern entertainment, museum, and cultural areas, so there is no shortage of things to do.
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, is another excellent choice.
As far as “bits of old England” go, the Canadian city of Victoria is the closest you’ll ever get. Its moderate temperature, which is significantly more analogous to the British Isles than Canada’s, has made it a favourite destination for both vacationers and retirees.
When it was created in 1843, the name Victoria was chosen in honour of the reigning king. And to top it all off, the Fairmont Empress, built-in 1904 and one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks, serves what is possibly Canada’s most genuine afternoon tea.
Explore the city’s Inner Harbour with its long promenade and beautiful Butchart Gardens in spring. The Royal BC Museum has a huge collection of artifacts from British Columbia‘s cultural and natural heritage.
Newfoundland and Labrador
St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, are one of the most overlooked cities on this list. Newfoundland is an altogether different nation in many aspects, from the native dialect and distinct Newfoundland accent to its colourful dwellings and the rough natural grandeur of its shore.
Although St. John’s is located in the easternmost part of the United States, it has played a significant role in Canada’s history. Get to know St. John’s history by visiting Transmission Hill, where Marconi received the first transatlantic wireless signal, as well as the awe-inspiring museum The Rooms, which chronicles the history of Newfoundland before it became a province of Canada!
Excellent Fire of 1892 devastated St. John’s downtown centre, but it is now a great spot to window shop, dine, and pick up unique souvenirs. Take an excursion to see the whales and puffins that leave from a little pier just outside of town.
Prince Edward Island’s capital city is Charlottetown.
The main city of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, is a wonderful place to start if you’re considering a visit. It’s important to spend some time in this little but intriguing city, which served as the birthplace of the Canadian nation.
If you’re interested in learning more about the arts on Prince Edward Island, make a trip to the Confederation Centre of the Arts. One of the largest national art centres in America, it covers a whole city block downtown and includes a gigantic theatre; an art gallery; a gift store; an outdoor amphitheatre; and even an eatery. For a complete listing of upcoming events, from concerts to musicals to comedic performances, see the center’s website.
Check out the local eateries in Charlottetown to get a real sense of the island. Fresh fish and potatoes are the epitomai of PEI. There are a number of restaurants in Charlottetown that serve some of the greatest food in the province.
In the city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, the biggest city in Saskatchewan, has a vibrant, young spirit that helped it earn a position on our list of Canada’s top cities.
Saskatoon has the distinction of having the most restaurants per capita of any U.S. city, which is rather astonishing. There are a wide variety of locally sourced foods to choose from in Saskatchewan. A trip to Saskatoon wouldn’t be complete without trying the city’s famous Saskatoon berry pie.
Efforts have also been made to develop a vibrant artistic and cultural community in the city. Art galleries, theatrical performances, and public artworks are just some of the things to see and do in the city’s cultural district.
There’s a lot going on in Saskatoon in terms of culture, but the best thing about the city is right outside – just lookup. There is nothing like the sky in Saskatoon to be found anywhere else. In Saskatoon, you’ll see why it’s known as the “Land of the Living Skies” whether you’re watching the sunset or looking for cloud patterns.
Even though Whitehorse, Yukon, is one of the smallest places on this list, it’s an excellent starting point for an exploration of Canada’s vast and picturesque north, with a population of just over 25,000 people.
Whitehorse’s downtown is compact, but it’s walkable, and it’s well worth a look, but the city’s greatest sights are found just outside the city. Within 30 minutes of Whitehorse are the Takhini Hot Springs and the Yukon Wildlife Preserve.
If you’re up for the challenge, a Northern Lights trip is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Halifax is one of the top cities in the region. It’s recognized as a city that’s easy to get around on foot, making it a great place to just roam around and see what’s out there.
In the summer months, the four-kilometre boardwalk along the shoreline of the Halifax Peninsula is a great site to begin your exploration of the city. The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, the Canadian Museum of Immigration, and Cable Wharf (from where you can take a whale-watching excursion or sail out to Peggy’s Cove) are all worthwhile stops along the journey.
One of Halifax’s most beloved attractions, the 16-acre Public Gardens, can be found on the city’s historic Spring Garden Road. It’s just a short walk away from the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site of Canada, a 19th-century fort with stunning vistas and fascinating history. Halifax is famed for its wonderful donairs and tasty seafood, so stop by one of the city’s numerous restaurants when you’re ready to refuel.