With a geography as diverse as its history and people, Canada is an exciting country to explore. Few places on earth have natural wonders as awe inspiring as Canada. From coast to coast, each province offers its share of unique wonders. Whether it is the pristine beauty of a northern lake, the rugged expanse of the Rocky Mountains, the rolling grasslands of the prairies, the iconic red soils and lighthouses of the Maritimes, or the rich history and architecture, Canada inspires awe and offers an endless list of possibilities. Here are the top 25 things to do and places to visit in Canada:
1. Banff National Park – Alberta
Established in 1883 and a World Heritage Site, Banff is renowned for the beauty of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, the lush unspoiled landscapes, and unique thermal hot springs. With over one thousand miles of hikeable trails in the summer, pristine lakes to canoe or kayak, and superb skiing in the winter, Banff is truly an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. The downtown area offers quaint shops and beautiful hotels.
2. Cypress Hills – Saskatchewan/Alberta
Situated on the Saskatchewan and Alberta border, Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park offers a mix of grassland, wetlands, and forests. Any avid nature lover will appreciate the gently rolling hills, beautiful lakes, and the wide diversity of plants and animal life. Home to historic Fort Walsh, and with zip lines and real functioning ranches for horseback rides, Cypress is a diverse destination sure to fulfill numerous interests.
3. Wolf Lake – Yukon
Past Whitehorse, over mountain ranges and river valleys, lies one of Canada’s best kept secrets: the untouched wilderness that is Wolf Lake. One of the few lakes the rare and beautiful Artic Grayling calls home, Wolf Lake is a fisherman’s paradise. A rare gem, wildlife and natural photography opportunities abound.
4. Fernie – British Columbia
For over one hundred years the beauty of Fernie has been explored and admired. With a colourful history and a scenic downtown area to explore, Fernie offers something for the naturalist and historical enthusiast alike. A skiers’ dream since the 1940’s, Fernie is now also a popular destination for snowmobilers.
5. Drumheller – Alberta
Known as the dinosaur capital of the world, Drumheller is located in the heart of the Canadian Badlands. In the late 1800’s, while searching for coal amidst the rolling coulees near the Red Deer River, a dinosaur skull was found. Visit the Royal Tyrrell museum to see a wide variety of dinosaur and fossil exhibits, or visit the Atlas Coal Mine, a National Historic Site.
6. Fraser River – British Columbia
Spanning almost 1400km, the Fraser River is the longest river in British Columbia. Home to the world’s largest salmon migration and most productive salmon fishery in the world, the River has been a focal point for industry to grow. Sturgeon fishing in the Fraser River is renowned worldwide.
7. Old Quebec – Quebec
Don’t have the budget for Europe? Take a trip back in time to Old Quebec. Literally like venturing into another country, Old Quebec is the only walled city north of Mexico, the oldest in North America. With over half a millennium of history, the architecture in Old Quebec is some of the oldest, and most astounding in Canada. Enjoy the mix of heritage, culture, architecture and art. Home to cobblestone streets and the iconic Château Frontenac, as well as the world famous winter carnival, Quebec City is sure to fascinate and delight visitors of all ages.
8. Anne of Green Gables- Prince Edward Island
Known as the birthplace of Confederation in 1864, PEI has a rich history dating back thousands of years. Visit the gabled house that inspired Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, in the Prince Edward Island National Park. Don’t miss the site of Montgomery’s Cavendish home, where guided tours are given. When available, enjoy the Anne of Green Gables musical performed live at local Theatres.
9. Niagara Falls
From family fun to a romantic couple’s getaway, Niagara Falls offers it all. No matter the season, the Niagara region offers entertainment for all ages. Known for its captivating falls and incredible sightseeing, the Niagara region also offers a host of other activities including live music and theatre, to museums and cruises, shopping, golfing, and camping.
Dubbed the Catfish capital of the world for the abundant catfish found in the Red River, Selkirk boasts a twenty five foot fiberglass catfish sculpture. Close to the banks of Lake Winnipeg and the Red River, Selkirk is a beautiful outdoor destination. For history buffs, Selkirk is also home to the Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site and the Manitoba Marine Museum.
11. Butchart Gardens- British Columbia
Once an abandoned quarry, Butchart gardens has grown into an internationally recognized destination. Located in Victoria and designated a National Historic Site in 2004, over a million bedding plants bloom year round. The garden often features holiday shows and special events, plus it’s dog friendly.
12. The Forks – Manitoba
With over 6000 years of history as a meeting place, The Forks is Winnipeg’s most popular tourist destination. Nestled in the heart of downtown, The Forks offers unique attractions, a plethora of dining choices, incredible shopping, and live entertainment all year round.
13. Uranium City – Saskatchewan
Located on the northern shore of Lake Athabasca, Uranium city, now considered a ghost-town, was once a thriving community. When the Uranium mine closed in the early 1980’s the economy collapsed and residents were forced to leave, abandoning the town and its structures. With a unique history, unparalleled natural beauty and incredible topography, Uranium City holds an attraction all its own.
14. Whistler Blackcomb – British Columbia
Internationally regarded as one of the top four season resorts in North America, Whistler is any winter sports enthusiast’s dream. Featured as the alpine venue for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Whistler is also a great vacation destination for the whole family. Unique boutiques, award winning restaurants, an active nightlife, and beautiful hotels complete the quant alpine village.
15. Toronto – Ontario
Toronto is a one of a kind experience. The massive city offers every kind of attraction one could think of. Museums, galleries, music, dining, arts, theater, sports, shopping; Toronto has it all. Visit the Hockey Hall of Fame or the CN Tower. Hunt down some quaint antique and thrift stores before taking in live theater and finish with a fantastic dinner. For those that have never experienced riding the subway before, it’s a must try experience.
16. Notre Dame Basilica Cathedral – Quebec
A wonder of architecture, Notre Dame was the first cathedral built in North America. Located on the same site since 1647, the Cathedral has been burnt to the ground , rebuilt, and undergone many changes, often led by renowned artists and architects. Recognized as a World Heritage Site, the Cathedral sits in Old Montreal.
17. Parliament of Canada – Ontario
One of Canada’s most beautiful architectural features, the Parliament of Canada building is a must see. Located in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, the building features breathtaking architecture, sculpture, and art. During the day take a guided tour or explore on your own. Be sure to experience the wonder of the Parliament illuminated at night.
18. Charlevoix – Quebec
Take an enchanting train ride or drive through the beautiful landscape of Quebec to reach the small town of Charlevoix. With activities year round including whale watching, cruises, fishing, hiking, dogsledding, and skiing, Charlevoix is a perfect getaway for couples, singles, or families. The town also features quant bed and breakfasts as well as the stunning Fairmont Le Manoir Richeliu hotel.
19. Dawson City – Yukon
Located on the banks of the Yukon River, Dawson City is a vibrant community, best known for its history of gold mining. Erected during the famous Klondike Gold Rush in the late 1800’s, many of the current buildings in Dawson City still resemble a frontier gold town. Take in Dawson’s unique culture, arts, and museums, while enjoying the pristine natural beauty of Canada’s North.
20. Batoche National Historic Site- Saskatchewan
A visit to the Batoche National Historic site is a journey back in time to the last battle Northwest Resistance of 1885. See and touch the bullet holes which still remain in the rectory wall of the beautiful white church. The natural beauty of the rolling parkland is ideal for outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and canoeing.
21. Reindeer Lake
Located in the remote wilderness of Northern Saskatchewan, Reindeer Lake is known for its world class fishing. Trophy size northern pike, walleye, and lake trout are not uncommon. Over six miles wide, the spectacular scenery is a key aspect of the unspoiled north. Deep Bay in Reindeer Lake is 13km wide and over 700 feet deep due a meteorite strike. According to local legend, it may also be home to a river monster.
22. Flin Flon – Manitoba
One of only two border communities in Canada, Flin Flon is located north of the 55th parallel of latitude. The country changes from the grassland of the prairies to rugged, forested terrain, rich in mineral deposits like zinc, copper, silver and gold. The Flin Flon Station Museum exhibits many tools and mining samples and provides information on the community’s unique history. One of Canada’s richest mining communities, and home to one of the largest smelters in Canada, Flin Flon also features a surrounding area rich in natural beauty. Campgrounds, sandy beaches and look out towers dot the surrounding cottage country.
23. Sable Island – Nova Scotia
Isolated and remove, Sable Island is only accessible by plane or boat. Now protected by Parks Canada, anyone wishing to visit must obtain permission. Located roughly 300km from the Halifax coast, the sandy island is one of Canada’s furthest offshore islands, and is home to hundreds of wild horses. With a history spanning more than four hundred years, Sable Island has come to be called “The Graveyard of the Atlantic,” as more than 350 shipwrecks have been recorded.
24. Cavendish Beach – Prince Edward Island
The iconic red sands of Prince Edward Island are on full display at Cavendish Beach. Marvellous rock structures tower from the beach, which touches the cool waters of the Atlantic. Sandy dunes and red sandstone cliffs rise up in the background. In the summer months a variety of water activities and deep sea fishing are offered. Small farming communities surround Cavendish, complete with unique dining and shopping options.
25. Churchill – Manitoba
Known as the polar bear capital of the world, Churchill is located on the shores of Hudson Bay. The subarctic community boasts a large tourist industry, with many people flocking for their chance of spotting a polar bear or a beluga whale. The northern lights can also be a spectacular sight, and bird watching has become a popular attraction.