Happy Birthday Canada! If you are reading this on July 1st, 2016 that means that it is Canada Day, and my country is now 149 years. To celebrate Canada I asked some travel bloggers (from all over the world) to share what they think are the best places in Canada. I’ll disclaim not every province and territory was covered, but that’s not to say there aren’t any amazing places there because there are. This certainly isn’t a complete list of the best places in Canada, but hopefully it will get you inspired to see more of this great country. Now in complete randomness here are 19 Travel Bloggers and their picks for the 19 Best Places in Canada.
Ottawa, our Nation’s Capital, is home to over a million Canadians. Located on the shores of the Ottawa River, connected by a series of bridges to its sister city, Gatineau, Quebec, Ottawa is a city that offers so much to its citizens, and to the thousands of tourists that visit Ottawa every year.
Often the butt of political jokes, media mentions about Ottawa are frequently focused on the political stories coming out of Parliament Hill but, there are so many reasons to love Ottawa.
I am often reminded of how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful Canadian city. Ottawa has several world-class museums including the Canadian Museum of History and the National Art Gallery of Canada. Ottawa hosts many annual world-class festivals such as Winterlude and the RBC Bluesfest.
Ottawa is the only capital city in the world that has a large working farm in the centre of the city. Ottawa’s downtown core contains dozens of spectacular historical buildings. Ottawa hosts fantastic free events such as Christmas Lights Across Canada, public skating at Rideau Hall, City Hall, and on the Rideau Canal – the longest skating rink in the world.
Submitted by Sandy from Canadian Blog House
Most Canadians look to Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver as the prime destinations for travel. With Calgary and Edmonton, travelers often just fly in and move onto Banff or Jasper but there are so many reasons to stay and food is one of the best reasons.
Edmonton in particular is a city on the rise; while it gets little press it is a city with a lot of heart and character. The opening of the West Edmonton Mall was meant to draw attention to Edmonton but it drove shoppers out of the downtown core. Now the downtown is going through a serious revitalization with businesses working together to support each other. There is a real sense of community, one that you don’t see in other Canadian cities.
Researching Edmonton’s best restaurants I loved modern Korean at Nongbu, Mexican rotisserie at Rostizado and Italian snacks at Bar Bricco.
Edmonton is “the little city that could” and its spirit makes it such a great place to visit.
Submitted by Ayngelina from Bacon is Magic
Quebec City, Quebec
If you love European inspired architecture, Quebec City will be a location that you immediately fall in love with. Visiting here for a long weekend, we had the ultimate experience exploring everything this historic city has to offer and we certainly fell in love with the French influence throughout the city.
The Petit Champlain neighborhood of ‘Vieux Quebec’ is an iconic representation of the old town and is a picture perfect landscape for anyone interested in architecture, delicious Canadian cuisine and rich history. Think charming, colorful and vibrant facades and this is exactly what the old town of Quebec City is all about.
Take a stroll down the ‘Breakneck Steps’ but of course be careful because they really are pretty steep. After sampling some fine local poutine and maple syrup ice cream, consider taking the Quebec Funicular to the Upper Town area. A myriad of local restaurants will certainly attract your attention but we recommend trying one of the Cochon Dingue locations scattered around the city.
If you are planning on staying overnight in Quebec City, you have to consider staying at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, a breathtaking hotel that may be your only opportunity to stay in a spot that looks like a castle.
You can easily spend several days exploring Old Quebec inside the fortified city walls but for those of you interested in exploring a little further afield, consider heading over to Montmorency Falls that are just a short drive outside of the city center. This stunning waterfall may not get the media coverage of Niagara or Iguazu Falls, but it certainly is a spectacular sight at any time of the year.
Submitted by Chris from A Brit & A Southerner
Saanich Peninsula, British Columbia
A jewel in the Pacific Northwest, the Saanich Peninsula on Vancouver Island in British Columbia welcomes outdoor enthusiasts to experience its beautiful nature and slow-paced lifestyle.
As you approach Swartz Bay on the ferry, wooden houses peep out from behind their thick curtain of fir trees, rarely disturbed in their remoteness. You might spot a pod of orcas or humpbacks rising majestically out of the ocean whilst the Olympic Mountains loom up proudly in the distance.
In the small town of Sidney, you can dine on fish caught fresh from the sea before browsing the many book and thrift stores.
The Peninsula’s forests are best explored after rain, when the fresh scent of pine will lead you along a trail under the watch of various species of tree. Clouds of mist disperse to reveal a lake basking secretly in serenity, its calm surface occasionally rippled by a seal poking its head up nosily. Prepare to be enthralled by an eagle swooping low over the water to snatch up its prey.
Sitting on a quiet pebble beach and watching the setting sun cast its calming colours over the ocean, it’s difficult not to feel blessed being here.
Submitted by Shannon from Soleseeking
One of the things I loved about my expedition to Churchill, Canada, to see the polar bears is that is was so remote. The area is only reachable by train or plane. We rode around each day in a tundra buggy–sort of like an old school bus with tractor wheels–and got mighty close to the bears. It was very exciting. Churchill is a modest town, so we slept and ate in modest facilities and basically I had the time of my life.
Submitted by Carole from Berkeley and Beyond
Whistler, British Columbia
In the early 90s, I went to Whistler for the first time with my friends even though I grew up in Vancouver. I remember falling in love with everything about the place. It’s roughly a 2-hour drive from Vancouver and when you arrive in the winter it’s like you have traveled to a snowy wonderland. The Village or town centre, which is situated between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, has restaurants, cafes, shops, and nightlife. The mountains themselves have everything you could possibly want as a skier or snowboarder, from easy runs to double black diamonds, moguls, and terrain parks. I loved Whistler so much I moved there for a year so I could snowboard as much as I could and live the mountain lifestyle.
Fast forward to 2016 and even though I now live in Southern California, I still try to go at least once a year. Last year I managed to go three times and added in riding a floatplane over glaciers and Olympic bobsledding to my Whistler resume. My love for Whistler isn’t just a wintertime thing either. Summer is just as amazing with all the hiking, biking, canoeing, and swimming. It’s the perfect place for an outdoor adventure lover.
Submitted by Arnette from Round The World Girl
I recently had the opportunity to take a road trip up the stunning Bruce Peninsula to Tobermory. Little did I know that I would quickly fall in love. As soon as you enter this small, charming village that hugs two pretty little harbours, you can’t help but smile. Most of the shops and restaurants are located around Little Tub, the main harbour. All of which are cool, eclectic and NOT chain stores or restaurants. Tobermory is home to many of Ontario’s natural wonders, from the infamous Grotto to the beautiful Flowerpot Island. It’s a treasure trove for nature enthusiasts and is home to some of the most picturesque trails in Ontario, including the Bruce Trail. If you love the great outdoors, charming villages that are water side, and exploring natural wonders – than you’ll love the Tobermory area. It is by far my favourite place to visit and explore, and can’t wait to return.
Submitted by Stephanie from The World As I See It
Magdalen Islands, Quebec
Imagine infinite orange cliffs against which waves come crashing in a sweet lullaby and white sandy beaches for miles on end. Islands right in the middle of the St. Lawrence gulf you would never imagine are in Quebec. Welcome to the Maggies, officially known as the Magdalen Islands or Les Iles de la Madeleine. The locals are as friendly as can be and they love to tell a good story, especially the lobster fisherman that took me out on his boat one early morning. Camp at the Parc de Gros-Cap, rent a scooter from the Agence de location des îles, stop for a visit at the fromagerie and the smokery, perfect for a picnic atop the Butte ronde. If you have time, don’t miss Entry Island where the highest point in the archipelago awaits.
Submitted by Jennifer from Moi, Mes Souliers
Galiano Island, British Columbia
Galiano Island is a secret gem of the West Coast. A Southern Gulf Island, Galiano sits between Vancouver Island and the mainland and despite being the first ferry stop from Vancouver, it has never caught the tourist bug. Galiano residents are friendly and welcoming, but this small island community is all about peace and quiet, natural living, the arts, and appreciating the pristine island surroundings. Whether you are swimming off the many beaches, kayaking the bays, hiking the countless trails up Mount Galiano, Bluff Park or the marine-access only Dionisio Point, exploring the inland old growth rainforests or merely reading your book on the deck with the Pacific Ocean as your backdrop, Galiano is a true paradise. Why few tourists? Well, with no bank or public transportation, few cafes, and little in the way of bonafide attractions, Galiano has always stayed genuine to itself, never seeking change, making it a true West Coast treasure. Regardless of the season, if you’re looking to rent an oceanfront cottage and really get away from it all, Galiano Island is everything about the West Coast that we all love to brag about.
Submitted by Emily from See Her Travel
I call it my “happy place” because, regardless of the season, Mont-Tremblant dazzles. Every visit feels like you’ve been transplanted to an entirely different country — one made of quaint gingerbread-style houses, awash with more to do than you’ll have time for in just one trip.
In winter, don’t be fooled into believing there’s nothing more than skiing. Au contraire. There’s plenty of indoor and outdoor fun to be had: To name only a few activities, there’s the panoramic gondola ride up the mountain, pottery, horse-drawn sleigh rides complete with folk songs and local legends, a waterpark, snowshoeing, dog-sledding (and even horse-sledding!) and snowmobiling.
And then there’s summertime, with horseback riding, rock climbing, Euro-bungee, Le Géant (a stunning golf course), lake cruises, dune-buggying, birds of prey experiences, ziplining, hiking and so much more.
There’s also a lot of eating to be done here. Teeming with excellent restaurants, Mont-Tremblant’s pedestrian village alone has dozens of spots in which foodies will rejoice and waistlines will expand. Speaking of the village, don’t forget to spend some time people-watching — and keep your eyes peeled for the well-known celebs who have homes at Tremblant.
Submitted by Andrea of Mommy Gearest
Though I lived in Toronto for five years it’s still a city I enjoy visiting. I learn more and experience new things every time I go back. It really is a world class city that should be a stop for anyone visiting Canada. From adventures like walking along the edge of the CN Tower, to spending a relaxing day on the beach on the city’s main island, to trying tasty foods (Toronto is heaven for foodies), Toronto really does offer a little something for everyone. It’s the fifth largest city is North America, making it a prime spot for fashion, festivals, and more. It has unique districts in the downtown core that will lead you from hipster bars, to antique stories, the best of shopping, and markets full of handmade items. But the best part about Toronto is the unlimited amount of entertainment that you can find any time of year.
Submitted by Taylor from Taylor’s Tracks
Revelstoke, British Columbia
After four years living in Canada, driving a van from Vancouver Island to Saint John’s, Newfoundland, and then back again, exploring literally hundreds of cities, towns, villages and national parks, our absolute favourite place in Canada is Revelstoke in BC.
Home to the highest vertical drop out of any ski resort in North America, Revelstoke is a literal outdoor playground. It is located right in the middle of the Monashee and Selkirk mountain ranges, with the town sitting on the edge of the Columbia River. If you are looking to go skiing, mountain biking, rafting, fishing, rock climbing, kayaking, hiking, camping, mountaineering, or anything else that involves being outdoors you will be hard-pressed to beat this gorgeous place.
Submitted by Alesha And Jarryd from NOMADasaurus
Iceberg Alley, Newfoundland and Labrador
Between May and July, something incredible appears on coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. Floating in from western Greenland, thousands of icebergs catch the Labrador Current, and are pulled into Iceberg Alley in Newfoundland and Labrador. Of the thousands of icebergs that are calved off of the Greenland glaciers, only 1-2% survives the 2-3 year journey to Iceberg Alley.
Iceberg Alley can be visited from north to south through following cities: Cartwright, Battle Harbour, Point Amour, St. Anthony, La Scie, Twillingate, Bonavista, St. John’s/Cape Spear and all the way down Bay Bulls/Witless Bay. If you are hoping to see icebergs in St. Anthony, it’s good to be aware that earlier on in iceberg season, it is most common to find the bergs further north in the alley.
What makes a visit to Iceberg Alley so incredible isn’t just the amazing views, but also the incredible towns and famous Newfoundland hospitality and food that you will can experience while you visit.
Submitted by Kevin from Wandering Wagars
Peyto Lake, Alberta
When you have the chance to live in the middle of the Canadian Rockies, you can’t be unhappy. It’s simple; you can’t have enough of these stunning mountains, glaciers and turquoise lakes. I just needed to hitch-hike to discover the nicest spots around. I had heard of Peyto Lake when I was studying at the tourism school. Of course, it was on the list. I was nearly there. A few minutes of hiking later, I was in peace. The place was simply surreal. Picture the quietest place in the world surrounded by nature and this would be it. Don’t be scared of the Canadian winter; Peyto Lake is still the best Canadian hidden place through seasons.
Submitted by Melissa from A Broken Backpack
Sunshine Coast, British Columbia
A scenic forty minute ferry ride from Vancouver will take you a million miles away from city life to lakes, hills, harbours, and river rapids. The Sunshine Coast, BC is a series of small towns which each offer unique activities from craft beer drinking in Gibsons to paddleboarding at Sechelt Inlet, taking a boat tour around Pender Harbour or swimming in one of ten lakes found on the Coast. We spent last summer living in a 70s caravan in Roberts Creek, going on cycles, doing yoga (well I did), hiking around Smugglers Cove and roadtripping as far as Skookumchuck Narrows. When we return to Scotland we plan to apply for immigration to Canada with the hope of living an easy outdoor life on the Sunshine Coast, BC.
Submitted by Craig and Gemma from Two Scots Abroad
Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia
I stood at the railing of Evangeline Beach, overlooking the Bay of Fundy. Evangeline Beach is near the town of Wolfville, Nova Scotia. I watched the water lap against the rocks along the shoreline. The water is about 3 feet below the overlook I am standing on. I look over the water and it is hard to imagine that just this morning, I had walked straight out about a half mile into the bay. The spot where I was standing is now under several feet of water. The Bay of Fundy is well known for its tidal changes, and is measured to have the largest range in the world. On average the Bay sees tidal ranges of 46.5 feet. The tidal changes are so large that it isn’t uncommon to see boats sitting on ground during low tides. The Bay of Fundy is also one of the few places in the world to go whitewater rafting on a tidal bore. Tidal bores are where tides force a river to run backwards.
Jennifer from Made All The Difference
Fredericton, New Brunswick
Fredericton, New Brunswick’s capital city, is often overshadowed by its larger neighbours Moncton and Saint John. This is a shame, as Fredericton has much to offer travellers. Its vibrant and colourful downtown is filled with small boutiques, delicious restaurants featuring fresh local produce, and a fascinating historic quarter. The world-class Beaverbrook Art Gallery is a must for culture buffs, and foodies shouldn’t miss the excellent farm and cultural markets, held each weekend. Oh, and Fredericton is the epicentre of craft beer in the Maritimes… just sayin’. Fredericton is bisected by the St. John River making it perfect for summer water sports or simply for a picturesque drive along the water (the fall colours here are heavenly). This university town makes a great central base for exploring the rest of New Brunswick and with the top-rated B&B in North America, Quartermain House, how could you not want to unpack your bags here?
Submitted by Alison from Cheeseweb.eu
We adore Montreal. Not only is Montreal our favorite Canadian city, but it is also one of our favorite cities in the entire world. There’s just something about the city that speaks to us. We love the walkability, the architecture, the markets, the French sensibility and the food. Especially the food. Although the food scene in Montreal is eclectic and international, it maintains a uniquely French Canadian vibe. Of course we love stalwart restaurants like Au Pied de Cochon and Joe Beef, but we also enjoy eating smoked meat sandwiches and exploring the city’s ethnic fare from Portuguese to Japanese. But it’s the poutine that we love the most in Montreal. Poutine was invented in the province of Quebec, and nobody makes this tasty concoction of French fries, cheese curds and gravy better than in Montreal.
Submitted by Daryl and Mindi from 2foodtrippers
Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
One of my favourite places in Canada is the Okanagan Valley in the British Columbia interior. Located a 5 hours drive from Vancouver, the region is rich in nature, outdoor adventures, delicious foods and lots and lots of wine. It is the perfect place to head for a weekend getaway during the hot months of summer. From swimming to paddleboard to just relaxing on the beach, there are plenty of lakes in the region to soak up some sun. For the wine lover the 180km-long Okanagan Valley has more wineries than you can count and realistically taste. The area is also rich in orchards filled with fresh fruit ready for the picking. Or if you prefer a more active experience there are a number of hikes in the area or you can bike along the Myra Canyon Trestle Bridges. Regardless of your interests, there is something for everyone in the region.
Submitted by Adelina of Pack Me To
What is your favorite place in Canada?
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