The second largest country in the world, Canada has no shortage of beautiful landscapes and unique sites 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 itineraries. In Central Canada, Niagara Falls, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec City, are some of the most popular possibilities. For those who venture out to Canada’s Maritime Provinces in 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 path, but equally impressive is Canada’s North, with an opportunity to see polar bears in the wild and explore the remote beauty of places like Nahanni National Park and the cities of Whitehorse and Yellowknife.
1-Victoria’s Inner Harbour
Few Canadian cities have done such a beautiful job of developing their waterfront area as Victoria and its Inner Harbour. This is a great place for strolling, relaxing, shopping, dining, and watching street performers all against the backdrop of the harbor. The centerpiece of this area is the historic Empress Hotel, one of the city’s most lovely buildings. Over the years, the Empress has welcomed kings and queens and, today, features a traditional high tea, which is one of the highlights for many visitors coming to Victoria. While the harbor area is popular year round, it is particularly lively during the summer months.
2-Ottawa’s Parliament Hill
Ottawa’s Parliament Hill stands high above the Ottawa River and is graced by the Neo-Gothic style Parliament buildings built in the last half of the 19th century. The most prominent feature is the Peace Tower that divides the House of Commons and the Senate on either side. In front of the Parliament buildings is the Centennial Flame, lit in 1966 to commemorate the centenary of the Canadian Confederation, and behind the buildings is a sculpture garden. In the summer, theChanging of the Guard takes place on the front lawn of the Houses of Parliament, weather permitting. Below Parliament Hill, a lovely walk runs alongside the Ottawa River.
3-Old Quebec (Vieux-Quebec)
Old Quebec, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is spread across the Upper and Lower Town of 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 rests on 100 meter-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 historical areas and is well developed for tourism. In addition to the historical sites, visitors will also find artists displaying their works on Rue du Trésor, interesting museums including the Musée de la Civilisation, and all kinds of shops and restaurants.
4-Toronto’s CN Tower
On the shores of Lake Ontario in Canada’s biggest city is the iconic CN Tower, one of Canada’s most famous landmarks. The tower is one of the tallest structures in the world standing 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 is also the LookOut and the Glass Floor, offering beautiful views out over the city and beyond. Even those who choose not to go up the tower will find themselves stopping to stare at the structure, which is visible from almost everywhere in the city. At night, the tower is lit in different colors.
5-Banff National Park and the Rocky Mountains
Banff National Park lies in the heart of the majestic Rocky Mountains in the province of Albertaand showcases some of Canada’s most beautiful scenery. Turquoise green lakes, snow-capped peaks, and glaciers are all easily accessible in this stunning park. The jewel of the park is theLake Louise, where green waters reflect the surrounding mountains and visitors can stroll easily around the shores. The Icefields Parkway that runs from Lake Louise to Jasper is an unforgettable drive and another must see in Banff. At the south end of the park is the lovely little town of Banff, providing all kinds of accommodation, shopping, and dining options.
In winter Banff is also a major winter sports area and home to Lake Louise Ski Resort andSunshine Village, two of Canada’s most prominent ski destinations.
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 American border, these massive falls drop approximately 57 meters. Visitors can see the falls at an astoundingly close distance from the edge at their top. Niagara Falls and the Niagara Gorge have been attracting tourists and daredevils for well over a century. Between the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries there were numerous attempts to plunge over the falls in various types of homemade boats and barrels. This, along with tightrope walkers and other spectacles, led to the adjacent town of Niagara Falls developing a carnival type atmosphere that still persists today. Families will enjoy a walk down Niagara’s outrageous Clifton Hill leading to the gorge and falls.