Calgary is the largest city in the Canadian province of Alberta. It’s located between the Canadian Prairies and the foothills of the majestic Canadian Rockies. The city developed rapidly after oil was found nearby in the early 1900s, and is now one of Canada’s largest metropolitan areas. A highlight is the world-famous rodeo event – the Calgary Stampede. It’s held over ten days each July and features rodeos, chuckwagon races, parades, competitions, crafts and food.
Canada’s capital city is located at the confluence of three rivers, namely the Ottawa, Gatineau and Rideau Rivers. Many commercial and federal establishments can be found in Ottawa, and these include Parliament Hill. The government seat is famous for the Change of the Guard, which takes place daily throughout the summer. The city’s star attraction is the Rideau Canal, which is the oldest functioning canal system in North America, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It freezes over in the winter, becoming the world’s largest ice skating rink.
Nestled between two spectacular mountains named Whistler and Blackcomb, this resort town is the largest and most well-known skiing destination in North America. It’s a two-hour drive from the city of Vancouver, however this is one road trip you’ll love – the route, which is called the Sea-to-Sky Highway, is incredibly picturesque. At the base of the two big mountains, there are three quaint villages called Whistler Village, Creekside and Upper Village that are also well worth a visit.
7. Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island is the eighth-largest island in the world, and is named after the British explorer, George Vancouver. You can get there by taking a ferry from Anacortes, Port Angeles or the city of Vancouver on the mainland. Some highlights of this wild place are the little city of Victoria, the Butchart Gardens and the surfing town of Tofino. Venture further north if you want to experience real wilderness.
6. Quebec City
You could easily mistake Quebec City for a European destination, and that’s because it’s the capital city of the Francophone (French-speaking) province of Quebec. The Vieux Quebec is the city’s historic district, and is great if you really enjoy a good view. Other attractions in the historic district include the Citadel and the Place-Royale, where explorer Samuel de Camplain established the first French North American settlement. The city’s most iconic building is the Chateau Frontenac, a 19th-Century grand hotel that is the most photographed hotel in North America.
Toronto is the most populous city in Canada, as well as being one of the largest cities in the whole of North America. It also happens to be one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse cities in the entire world. Some of its districts include Chinatown, Little India and Little Italy. The enormous CN Tower is a big tourist draw, offering spectacular vistas at the top. Should you want to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city for a while, take a boat to the nearby Toronto Islands, which have great beaches and outdoor activities.
Although Quebec City is the administrative capital of Quebec province, Montreal is undoubtedly its cultural and financial capital. It’s home to the largest Francophone community outside of Paris, and is a bustling metropolis with downtown and historic districts. There are also several highly distinctive neighborhoods to explore and even an annual Formula 1 motor race, which usually takes place in June. If you’re taking your kids with you, there are also numerous theme and water parks for you to enjoy.
3. Niagara Falls
These world-famous waterfalls are located on the border of Ontario province, and the US state of New York. The Canadian side of the falls, known as Horseshoe Falls, offers the best views and the most attractions. Observation towers, restaurants, souvenir shops, casinos and hotels aplenty can be found here. A particularly good spot to see the falls from is Queen Victoria Park, which also boasts nightly fireworks displays during the summer.
2. Banff National Park
This stunning national park is located in the province of Alberta, and is Canada’s premier national park. Scenery that will take your breath away is visible everywhere you look, and the opportunity to see wildlife is one of the best in the world. From the Trans-Canada highway that passes through the park, you’ll be able to see black bears, grizzly bears, bison, moose, bighorn sheep, wolves and bald eagles, among many other species.
Straddled by the Coast Mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other, Vancouver is a city that makes swimming in the ocean, rollerblading through scenic parks and skiing down a mountain in a single day possible. It’s Canada’s third-largest metropolitan area, and is a hugely popular tourist destination. Must-see attractions when you’re in the city include Stanley Park, which is a huge area of woodlands, gardens and green spaces, and the incredible food market on Granville Island.