In 2017, Canada celebrated its 150th anniversary! From coast to coast, 2017 promoted the unexpected wonders that the entire country has to offer. And with such a large country, there are pretty much an unlimited number of things to do or places to see. Whether it is seeking one of the most breathtaking landscapes in Alberta or rooting our Celtic heritages in Nova Scotia, here is your guide on the best places to visit in Canada along with iconic things to do in the area.
Best Things to Do in British Columbia
Long Beach, Tofino- One of the best surf towns in North America, Tofino, a beautiful beach town clinging to the wild west coast of Vancouver Island has 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.
Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary- Although it’s considered a provincial park, Khutzeymateen is also known as a protected space for the region’s grizzly bear population.
Stanley Park- This vast park draws eight million visitors per year, many of whom may skate or walk past you on the Seawall, a scenic, 5.5-mile path running along the water on the park’s perimeter. It’s just one of many trails among the park’s 1,000 acres, which also house an aquarium, nature center, and other recreational facilities.
Whistler – Whistler is a must visit if you’re passing through British Columbia. No matter the time of year, you’ll find so many things to do in Whistler you’ll have no problems enjoying this scenic spot. From hanging by the lake to wizzing down the mountainside, you can find it all in this charming Canadian gem.
Best Things to Do in Alberta
Banff and Lake Louise- Actually, most of Alberta is famous for its parks but inside of Banff National Park, you will find an area that surrounds these two towns is a Rocky Mountain wonder, filled with waterfalls, wildlife, and blue glacial lakes. This peaceful place of solitude has trails where you can hike up into the mountains or around Lake Louise. There’s also loads of camping in Banff, making for an unforgettable outdoor retreat!
Calgary Stampede- This ten-day affair welcomes cowboys and girls around along with thrill rides, games, food, and the nightly Grandstand Show. Around town, free “Stampede Breakfasts” are hosted by numerous establishments either at indoor or outdoor locations and usually consist of pancakes. Many big-name country music performers also typically come to the city for this event hosted in July.
West Edmonton Mall- Once you are tired of all of the hiking and exploration go visit the largest shopping mall in North America. This mall houses over 800 stores in an area of over 490,000 m2. You can only imagine what the parking lot looks like.
Best Things to Do in Saskatchewan
Wanuskewin Heritage Park- This non-profit cultural and historical center for the First Nations celebrates the very first people who were on this land 6,000 years ago.
Wascana Center- This 9.3 square kilometer park built around Wascana Lake in Regina contains government, recreational, cultural, educational and environmental facilities. It is a great place to get away and just spend the day by the water.
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Best Things to do in Manitoba
Churchill- This subarctic town has earned international fame as the polar bear capital of the world. So plentiful are the bears that the town actually has a “polar bear jail,” which holds wayward bears that wander into town until they can be released back into the wild. Seen on foot, from the air or from a boat encountering a polar bear in the wild is an unforgettable experience.
Catch the Aurora- In the later winter period, tour groups will take you north to see beluga whales, seals, bears where you can even watch the glowing beauty of the aurora near Wapsuk National Park.
Pisew Falls Provincial Park- Pisew meaning lynx is a picturesque setting with a 42-feet waterfalls that you get to after a short boardwalk across an observatory. There are also longer hiking trails for those interested in doing a full day experience.
Best Things to do in Yukon
Kluane National Park- Home to Canada’s tallest peak (Mount Logan, altitude 19,551 feet), this giant national park houses blue glaciers, lush valleys and untamed territory which can be seen from the sky aboard a helicopter or an airplane. This is one of those places where during a hike, you could walk for days without seeing another person.
Takhini Hot Springs- Takhini Hot Springs is a natural hot spring located just outside the border of Whitehorse. It is a locally run business which incorporates two pools at different temperatures and has a campground with over 80 sites. The location is very peaceful with beautiful sunsets to enjoy.
Best Things to Do in the Nunavut
No Roads- Alright, this one isn’t an attraction but one interesting thing is that there are no roads in Nunavut. Well… this isn’t entirely true. There are roads within all communities, but there are no roads to connect the 25 communities with each other. Instead of hopping on a bus, locals have a different form of public transit: small planes.
Dance Festivals– Northerners love to dance. When Europeans came to Nunavut, they brought with them their fiddles and jigs, and now most communities have their own style of square dancing. Although traditional Inuit drum dancing and throat singing are still done, these days kids are most enamored with hip-hop and breakdance.
Best Things to do in Ontario
CN Tower- This Toronto landmark, the former tallest freestanding structure on earth is, at 1,815 feet. And despite the fact that some of its glory has passed, the allure of a visit here is perhaps greater than ever, with the addition of its vertiginous glass floor and the installation of extra entertainment features, such as the EdgeWalk, which dares people to walk along the abyss on a five-foot-wide span atop the tower’s main observation deck, 116 stories above the ground.
Wolf Howling in Algonquin Provincial Park – Get in touch with your primal side and howl at the moon. Naturalists gather every Thursday in August for public wolf howls. Sorry, translations not included.
Boat Tour of the 1000 Islands – having a famous salad dressing, 1000 Islands is a historic region once patrolled by pirates. Now, boat cruises journey through the area, giving visitors an optimal and stunning view of the archipelago of 1,864 islands. Ancient castles, turquoise-colored waters, and sandy beaches are just some of the sights you’ll see here.
Canada’s Wonderland – This amusement park is packed with over 800 attractions for the entire family. Situated close to major highways, it is a full day of fun for the entire family. Read our Canada’s Wonderland review here.
Falling For Niagara – These famous falls that sit on the border between Canada and U.S. are a must! Niagara Falls is also located in an area surrounded by vineyards famous for making some of the best wines (and ice wines) in Canada! In the warmer seasons, farms are open to pick wild fruit including cherries, apples, and strawberries.
Enjoy a relaxing yoga retreat – There are also a number of rejuvenating yoga retreats in Ontario. They offer the opportunity to improve health and fitness, relax on private beaches and explore lesser-known areas of Canada.
Best Things to Do in the Northwest Territories
Nahanni National Park Reserve- Nahanni National Park Reserve, encompassing 30,000 square kilometers, is a designated UNESCO world heritage site. Nahanni combines wilderness with diverse peaks to create a mountaineering mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. Trekkers explore the valleys and mountain passes of the Ragged Range. You can also catch the aurora here in the winter.
Great Slave Lake- This freshwater lake, located in the southern half of the Northwest Territories, is the 11th largest in the world and, after Great Bear, the biggest entirely within Canada. It is a fisherman’s dream lake with fish galore, and houseboats where you can sleep and stay over the water.
Best Things to do in Quebec
Old Quebec – The oldest walled city in North America, Quebec City holds both European charm and sophistication alongside its unmistakable French Canadian character. Home to the iconic Chateau Frontenac, poutine, the clip-clopping of horse-drawn carriages on cobblestone streets, as well as a world-famous winter carnival, there’s always plenty to do, see and eat.
Parc de la Chute-Montmorency – Whether you’re riding the gondola, climbing the scenic stairway or crossing the suspension bridge, the views of the Montmorency Falls are simply breathtaking. Experience the power of nature, only 15 minutes from downtown. For thrill-seekers, 3 via ferrata routes and a double zipline are a sure-fire way to get your adrenaline fix.
Montreal – Despite being one of the most populous cities in Quebec, and in all of Canada, Montreal still has a distinct charm to it, making it well worth the visit. There’s a quaint cosmopolitan feel to the city, with plenty of chic eateries, hip bars, and lively nightclubs. There are loads of things to do in Montreal, so you can bet a trip here is going to be a good time.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Best Things to do in Newfoundland and Labrador
St. John’s Signal Hill National Historic Site – As the entrance to St. John’s harbor, it is here where you will find Cabot Tower, the iconic symbol marking the first wireless transatlantic signal ever received. Along with that are some very panoramic views over the harbor of lighthouses and fishing boats.
Gros Morne National Park – This UNESCO World Heritage site is a coastal park filled with astonishing diversity (coastal lowland, high peaks, plenty of cliffs, untouched lakes, waterfalls and even a former fjord, now cut off from the ocean) where you can see the earth’s mantle exposed displaying the borderline where continental waves drift.
East Coast Trail – While over 300 kilometers long, the East Coast Trail is made up of many pathways such as Biscan Cove Path and Father Troy’s Trail where you can find natural wonders along the coastline such as cliffs, fjords, and an astounding wave-drive geyser known as the Spout. You’ll discover icebergs, wildlife of many kinds, and historical sites such as lighthouses. As you cross the 50-meter suspension bridge, you may uncover a new love for nature.
Best Things to do in New Brunswick
Bay of Fundy – Shortlisted in a massive competition to be named the new seventh wonder of the world the tides of this big bay are truly one of a kind. They rise and fall more than 50 feet in some places. These can be seen most dramatically at a place like Hopewell Rocks, unique stone formations that, at low tide, form towers on dry land but become bona fide islands as the water rises.
Parlee Beach Provincial Park – Fine sands and warm waters make it one of the finest on the Atlantic coast. The community here is known as the lobster capital of the world and displays its pride with a bus-sized lobster statue near the visitor information center. Seafood is the specialty at most local restaurants.
Hopewell Rocks – At high tide, the Flowerpot Rocks look like tiny islands and kayakers paddle between them. When the tide level drops, visitors can walk on the ocean floor and look up at the heavily eroded pillars. A great place to stop on your trip or grab a group and go camping! Campfire and low tides = wanderlust!
Best Things to do in Nova Scotia
Sable Island- Famous for its shipwrecks and wild horses, this strip of sand off the coast is one of Canada’s furthest offshore islands. Shifting sand dunes dominate the landscape along with wild horses that roam freely, and the world’s biggest breeding colony of grey seals lives on its extensive beaches.
Peggy’s Cove – The fishing village of Peggy’s Cove has a back-in-time feel and sits on the foggy Atlantic Coast. Fishing wharves, boathouses, colorful heritage homes, and art galleries line the winding road through the community.
Kejimkujik National Park – Kejimkujik National Park is the Maritimes only inland national park, though it does have a seaside adjunct with a stunning white sand beach. The inland area is popular for its lakes and rivers with excellent paddling, historic canoe routes, portages and hiking trails.
Prince Edward Island
Best Things to do in Prince Edward Island
Cavendish Beach – Hitting the cool Atlantic waters, backed by rolling hills, dunes, and rocky cliffs, there are few places more pleasant to spend a summer’s day than Cavendish. Of course, you have to also explore the historic sites nearby including the Green Gables Heritage Place, the muse of Lucy Maude Montgomery and home to the Island’s most famous fictional resident.
The Bottle Houses – More than 25,000 glass bottles form the walls and design features of the light-filled buildings known as The Bottle Houses. A quirky artist and builder used colored bottles to construct a six-gabled house, a hexagonal tavern, and a chapel furnished with pews and an altar which is all built of glass and cement.
North Cape – North Cape is a scenic drive that passes through farmlands and follows an eroding, rural coastline to the province’s northernmost point. Intense winds make the blustery cape an ideal setting for towering turbines which lead all the way to a lighthouse.
Hopefully, this has given you a few good ideas on the best places to visit in Canada, alongside with all the incredible things to do in my home country. Apart from these places, if you’re looking for something fun to do in Canada, you can also check out this article featuring music festivals in Canada.