The largest city in Alberta, Calgary is situated between the Canadian Prairies and the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. After oil was discovered nearby in the early 1900s, Calgary boomed into what is now one of Canada’s largest metropolitan areas, attracting thousands every year to its world-famous rodeo event, the Calgary Stampede. This Old West celebration is held over ten days in July with rodeos, chuckwagon races, parades, competitions, crafts and food.
Located at the confluence of the Ottawa, Gatineau and Rideau rivers in southeastern Ontario, Ottawa is the capital of Canada. As the nation’s capital, Ottawa is home to many financial, commercial and federal establishments including Parliament Hill, the government seat where the ceremonial Changing of the Guard takes place daily during the summer. Running right through the heart of the city, the Rideau Canal is Ottawa’s star attraction. In winter the canal becomes the world’s largest ice skating ring.
3.Banff and Lake Louise, Alberta
Set inside the borders of the vast Banff National Park, the area that surrounds these two towns is a Rocky Mountain wonder, a place of electric blue glacial lakes, waterfalls, abundant wildlife (from elk to bighorn sheep to grizzly bears) and breathtaking grandeur. Stay either in Banff, the busy hub of the area and home to classic hotels like the Fairmont Banff Springs, or pursue some solitude up at Lake Louise, where hiking trails up into the mountains-and beautiful silence-are just steps away.
4.Kluane National Park, Yukon
Home to Canada’s tallest peak (Mount Logan, altitude 19,551 feet), this giant national park in the western Yukon-22,000 square kilometres of blue glaciers, lush valleys and untamed territory-can be seen from the sky, aboard a helicopter or an airplane equipped with skis (which allow high-altitude snow landings). Or, even better, hike it using the park’s vast network of trails-you could walk for days without seeing another person.
5.Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland
Sitting on the coast of western Newfoundland, this is a truly unique park, a place that packs an astounding amount of geological diversity (coastal lowland, soaring peaks, precipitous cliffs, untouched lakes, waterfalls and even a former fjord, now cut off from the ocean) into a place that you can visit in just a couple days. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Gros Morne is also a geological wonder, an area where the earth’s mantle is exposed, clearly displaying the process of continental drift.
6.Long Beach, Tofino, British Columbia
Named “the best surf town in North America” by Outside magazine, Tofino, a beautiful beach town clinging to the wild west coast of Vancouver Island, has, despite its relatively remote location, been drawing surfers, nature-lovers and those with wandering souls for years. Located just south of town, Long Beach is an almost mystical place, a broad and-yes-long beach of great waves and breathtaking beauty.
Situated between the Coast Mountains and the Pacific Ocean in British Columbia, Vancouver is favored for its majestic landscapes that present a natural playground where tourists can swim in the ocean, rollerblade through scenic parks and snow ski in the mountains all in one day. The third largest metropolitan area in the country, Vancouver is one of the most poplar places to visit in Canada. Vancouver’s star attraction is Stanley Park which covers a huge area of woodlands, gardens and green spaces. Some of the city’s other top sites include Granville Island’s remarkable food market and Chinatown’s vibrant array of shops.
The second largest city in Canada after Toronto, Montreal is the cultural and financial capital of the Quebec province. Boasting the largest French-speaking community outside of Paris, France, Montreal is a bustling metropolis comprised of a downtown district, a historic quarter, entertainment district and several distinctive neighborhoods. Montreal’s main sights include downtown skyscrapers like the Olympic Tower, the historic buildings of Old Montreal and several family attractions like theme and water parks.
The capital of Ontario, Toronto is the most populated city in Canada as well as one of the largest cities in North America. With a large number of ethnic districts like Chinatown, Little India and Little Italy, Toronto is also one of the world’s most culturally diverse cities. The city’s main tourist draws range from impressive landmarks such as the iconic CN Tower and the fairy tale castle of Casa Loma. Additionally, the Toronto Islands are a popular destination with beaches and outdoor activities.
Quebec City may be the capital of the Quebec province in eastern Canada, but its French heritage, architecture and language make it appear more like a charming European village. Perched on a hill overlooking the St. Lawrence River is Vieux Quebec, the city’s historic district. A walk along the cobblestone streets of the Old City offers encounters with attractions like the Citadel and the Place-Royale, the area where explorer, Samuel de Camplain, established the first North American-French settlement. The city’s icon, the stunning Chateau Frontenac, is regarded as the most photographed hotel in North America and offers tours even without an overnight stay.