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.
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 with 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.
Banff National Park and the Rocky Mountains
Banff National Park lies in the heart of the majestic Rocky Mountains in the province of Alberta and 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 Lake Louise, where green waters reflect the surrounding mountains and visitors can stroll easily around the shores.
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. At night, the tower is lit in different colors.
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.
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.
The old section of Montreal, lined with lovely old historic buildings, welcomes visitors with great shopping and fine dining. Horse-drawn carriages take visitors through the cobbled streets and past the open squares.
While Montreal itself is a vibrant modern city, Old Montreal down by the waterfront is where most tourists come to soak up the atmosphere.
Polar Bears of Churchill, Manitoba
One of Canada’s most unique attractions is the polar bear migration that sees these beautiful creatures make their way from land out onto the ice in Hudson Bay, near the town of Churchill in Northern Manitoba. This small community opens itself up to tourists each fall. Tours take visitors out in tundra buggies with caged windows for close encounters with the polar bears. The prime viewing time occurs in October or November while the bears are waiting for the water to freeze before heading out onto the ice.
Gros Morne National Park
Newfoundland’s Gros Morne National Park is more remote than many of Canada’s most popular national parks, but worth the effort to discover this beautiful landscape of mountains and fjords.
The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring steep cliff walls, waterfalls, and interesting rock formations carved by the glacier-fed waters.
Vancouver’s Stanley Park
One of Vancouver’s greatest treasures is the 405-hectare Stanley Park, conveniently located on the west side of the downtown area. Situated on a peninsula, the park is surrounded by the ocean and home to huge red cedar and Douglas fir trees.
A seawall, which rings the park has an extensive walking, jogging, and biking path with designated lanes for walkers and bikers. From the seawall, there are some lovely views of the city and mountains.
Within the park are the Vancouver Aquarium, scenic Beaver Lake, and the Stanley Park Pavilion and Rose Garden.
Canadian Museum for Human Rights
Winnipeg’s newest attraction, which has drawn both national and international attention, is the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Opening in 2014 near The Forks, the building displays a unique design that is eye-catching, to say the least, with geometry and colors based on images of the Canadian landscape.
Unique is the concept behind the museum, which proved controversial when deciding which histories would be featured here. The museum highlights personal stories, capturing different perspectives, and focuses on a range of themes.