Canada’s three main cities are pretty special places. From the glories of nature in Vancouver to Toronto’s dynamism and soaring skyscrapers, to the grand Victorian architecture of the capital city, Ottawa, these three cities are diverse, varied, and exceptional places to visit.
Whether you are planning a Canadian road trip, making port after sailing up the West Coast on one of the exceptional cruises to Vancouver, or just taking in the best sights of Canada’s Ontario province, these jewels in Canada’s crown should not be missed. To help you get the best out of a visit to one, two, or all three, we’ve highlighted some of the top sights and attractions to see, and noted a few hidden gems along the way as well.
Fringed by the Pacific Ocean and surrounded by extraordinary landscapes, Vancouver is a true heaven for lovers of the great outdoors. But while mountain treks and whale watching are at the heart of the city’s appeal, it is a genuinely cosmopolitan town with a buzzing nightlife and splendid cultural scene. Downtown Vancouver offers the joys of the Vancouver Art Gallery and FlyOver Canada, while Stanley Park is one of North America’s greatest urban public parks. Come nightfall, head to Commercial Drive and be amazed by the array of bars, restaurants, music venues and nightclubs. GasTown offers more relaxed, charming and romantic experience after dark, with its beautiful cobbled streets, chic bistros and quaint circular lamps.
Toronto is a remarkable melting pot of cultures, a truly diverse city that thoroughly embraces difference, which makes it an incredibly dynamic and vibrant place to visit. The iconic image of Toronto is, of course, the CN Tower, but come down out of the clouds and explore the variety and life in the cities exciting neighbourhoods. There are six different Chinatowns, a Little Italy for foodies to drool over, and Greek Riverdale. Dine out in St Lawrence Market, or head to Harbourside for museums, galleries, and a truly cultural experience.
Often overlooked by Canadian visitors heading to the icy northern wilds or the more well-known sights of Vancouver or Toronto, Ottawa is therefore a bit of a hidden gem. Its gorgeous historic architecture is worth a look alone, from the Gothic Parliament Building through the stately Victorian houses of Downtown, to the delightful mess of the neighbourhoods surrounding the Rideau Canal. However there is more to Ottawa than just old buildings, and it has some of the finest and most impressive cultural institutions in Canada, as well as a genuinely cutting edge nightlife and dining scene. Don’t miss the National Gallery, or the Canadian Museum of History, and the culinary options in the ByWard Market neighbourhood will delight the palate of even the most serious foodies.
So what are you waiting for? Pack a bag, and head off to discover the best of what Canada’s most exciting cities have to offer.