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11 Most Incredible Cities in Canada To Add To Your Bucket List

From the thundering waters of Niagara Falls to the rugged peaks of the Canadian Rockies to arctic tundras, rugged coastlines, and desolate prairies. Blend these dramatic settings together with incredible architecture and history, and you’ll find yourself in the most beautiful cities in Canada.

In a country as vast and diverse as Canada, there are countless places to visit, each with its own unique attractions, including some stunning Canadian landmarks. It boasts beautiful landscapes, stunning lakes and magnificent wilderness areas. Not to mention a plethora of exciting recreational facilities, including some of the best ski resorts in the world.

Let’s face it, Canada is all-around extraordinary. So, let’s take a look at the most beautiful Canadian cities dotted throughout The Great White North.

1. Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver Waterfront
Vancouver Waterfront

Located in British Columbia, Vancouver is a strong contender for being the most beautiful Canadian city. You’ll discover mountain vistas in the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and Stanley Park downtown. The city’s sweeping panoramas are incredible and offer unlimited recreational opportunities.

The city is renowned for its art and culture scene, with various museums and galleries. These include the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Museum of Vancouver, and the Science World Vancouver.

The sky’s the limit for adventurers here. Try your hand at white-water rafting, zip-lining, or jet-boating. Enjoy mountain biking, hiking, canoeing, and more in the Pacific Spirit Park or cycle along the seawall downtown. Meander along the beaches in Kitsilano or head to Granville Island to shop for some special goodies.

2. Ottawa, Ontario

sunset ottawa
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Located in Ontario, Ottawa is the vibrant and colorful capital that offers a treasure trove of exciting attractions, fun activities, and tours.

Take a peek into the world of the Canadian government on Parliament Hill. If you’re a history buff, the city has world-class museums and galleries where you can learn about Canadian history and culture. Some excellent stops not to be missed include the National Gallery, The War Museum, The Museum of History, and the Science and Technology Museum, to name a few.

This beautiful city in Canada also offers stunning trails, boating, and kayaking on the Ottawa River. If you’re feeling peckish, don’t miss the Byward Market area – it’s a short distance from Parliament Hill. Here you’ll find delicious foods, drinks, and a vibey atmosphere.

3. Quebec City, Quebec

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Quebec City, the capital of the Canadian province of Quebec, boasts a distinctly European atmosphere. Located on towering cliffs overlooking the St. Lawrence Seaway, it’s the only capital in North America with its original city walls, the ancient Porte Saint-Louis.

The city’s Old Town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and can easily be explored on foot. I suggest taking a walking tour through the Old Quebec City streets; be awed by architectural treasures and learn about this magical place’s history.

A must-see on your list is Parliament Hill and the 100-year-old Chateau Frontenac that dominates the cityscape. Other city highlights include the Jacques Cartier National Park, the National Museum of Beaux-Arts, Montmorency Falls, and the Sainte Anne-de-Beaupre Shrine.

4. Montreal, Quebec

Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

Located in Quebec, Montreal is one of Canada’s largest city, famed for its architecture, superb cuisines, vibrant art scene, and exciting entertainment opportunities. The city boasts incredible structures, with skyscrapers rubbing shoulders with historical gems.

Another jewel to visit is the Basilique Notre Dame, the famous cathedral located at Place Jacques Cartier. Spend time inside admiring the stunning gold-adorned altar and stained glass.

Some other city highlights not to be missed include Old Montreal (Vieux Montreal) the futuristic Expo 67, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and the modern Olympic Stadium. Head downtown to find an array of cultural venues in the Quartier.

If you’re an avid nature lover, hike Mont-Royal and get sweeping views of the entire city. And if you’re into stunning scenery, visit La Grand Roue de Montréal, Canada’s largest observation wheel located at Montreal Old Port. 

5. Toronto, Ontario

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Toronto is Ontario’s capital and best described as the ‘cultural capital of Canada’. The energetic, vibrant city is located on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario and is home to an array of attractions and seemingly endless entertainment, shopping and dining opportunities.

However, most Torontonians would argue that what makes Toronto the best city is its diverse neighborhoods, from Little Italy to Chinatown and everything in between.

Walk the cobbled lanes amongst quaint boutiques and studios in the Distillery Historic District. If you’re a lover of the arts, head down to Rush Lane (better known as Graffiti Valley), to admire some incredible street art. The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is another exciting place to visit.

Toronto also boasts many museums, National Historic Sites, and famous landmarks, including the iconic CN Tower and the Royal Ontario Museum. Other popular places include Casa Loma, Toronto Island, and Nathan Phillips Square.

6. Calgary, Alberta

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Calgary, Alberta, is considered Canada’s wild west. It’s home to the famous Calgary Stampede, a week-long festival featuring concerts, rodeos, and exhibitions galore. However, there’s much more to Calgary than just cowboy hats and horses.

Experience life back then and learn about the pioneer days at the Heritage Park Historical Village or wander along the Bow River at the Prince’s Island Park. If you’re keen on witnessing majestic views, enjoy a meal at the SKY 360 revolving restaurant atop the 191m Calgary Tower.

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, there are many activities to revel in, including river rafting, biking, hiking, and more.

7. Halifax, Nova Scotia

Halifax Seaport Market4 blue airondack chairs outside
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One of the prettiest Canadian cities has to be Halifax, in Nova Scotia. The historic ocean port is the perfect place to walk around, explore and find fun things to do.

A good place to start would be the Halifax Peninsula, which has a four-kilometer boardwalk along the waterfront. You can also learn a lot about the history of Pier 21, the gateway for one million immigrants who first arrived on Canadian Soil. The city flaunts an array of renowned museums, including the Canadian Museum of Immigration and the Atlantic’s Maritime Museum. 

If you’re looking for a place to rest your feet, head to the scenic Halifax Public Gardens. A short distance from the gardens is the 19th-century Halifax Citadel, another fascinating National Historic Site.

There are plenty of adventure tours available around the city. I highly suggest catching a whale-watching tour or sailing to Peggy’s Cove. Or do a day trip to lovely Wolfville and explore its wineries and farmer’s market.

8. St. John’s, Newfoundland

St John's
Photo by Carol Fung on Unsplash

St. John’s boasts some of Canada’s most dramatic scenery and landscapes. This beautiful city is dotted with brightly colored homes, art galleries, and the Newfoundland Museum.

As North America’s easternmost city, the metropolitan has played several important roles throughout history. While visiting this city, be sure to check out Signal Hill and The Rooms for a step back into the past.

Stroll along St. John’s Downtown area. It’s a great place to grab a snack or two, find some souvenirs, and window shop. While you’re here, explore the beautiful coast or embark on a puffin and whale-watching tour.

9. Niagara Falls, Ontario

niagara falls ontario
Photo by Miltiadis Fragkidis on Unsplash

Niagara Falls, in Ontario,  isn’t just one of the most picture-perfect places in the country but in the world too. The spectacular waterfalls are, by far, the main attraction here. Hop on a helicopter ride, go on a cruise or take a deluxe day tour on foot to see these majestic cascades.

Apart from the falls, the city boasts various entertainment activities, like the indoor waterpark, the Guinness World Records Museum and mini-golf courses. Other popular family-friendly attractions include Old Fort Niagara and the Niagara SkyWheel.

If you don’t have kids in tow, try your luck at the Niagara Fallsview Casino or head off to sample some ice wine at the Inniskillin Winery. There’s plenty to do in this stunning city.

10. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

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There’s something spectacular about Saskatoon – Saskatchewan’s largest city. Nestled along the Saskatchewan River, it’s sprinkled with beautiful leafy trees which look particularly picturesque in fall. The city becomes a mirage of orange, yellow and red hues.

Step back in time at the Wanuskewin Heritage Park, the Western Development Museum, and the Ukrainian Museum of Canada.

If you’re a nature lover, head to the Beaver Creek Conservation Area or put on your hiking shoes and get trekking (or snowshoeing in winter) on the Meewasin Valley Trail.

Throughout the city, you’ll find modern art galleries, theatres, live music and exhibitions. Each year, the metropolitan attracts over 80,000 music fans to the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival held in the gardens of the iconic Delta Bessborough Hotel.

11. Winnipeg, Manitoba

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Located in Manitoba, Winnipeg boasts many indoor and outdoor activities coupled with architectural, cultural, historical, and gastronomic attractions.

While you’re here, one of the must-see attractions is the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which houses some stunning modern architecture. The Canadian Royal Mint, Winnipeg Art Gallery, and the Manitoba Museum are equally fascinating. The St Boniface Cathedral is another one of Winnipeg’s must-see sites in the city.

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