The capital of Ontario, the largest city in Canada, and the city that attracts the most visitors in the entire country — there’s a lot to be said for Toronto, a bustling city of almost three million people, which is why it earned the top spot on this list. First, there are the infamous Toronto landmarks. You can’t mention Toronto without thinking of the iconic CN Tower, and many tourists take the time to visit popular destinations like Toronto Island, Casa Loma, and the Toronto Zoo as well. There are world famous museums, like the Art Gallery of Ontario (the AGO) and the Royal Ontario Museum (the ROM), and other major attractions like the Hockey Hall of Fame and Nathan Phillips Square.
With horse-drawn carriages clip-clopping along the cobblestone streets of old Quebec City, it’s easy to feel as though you’ve jumped back in time in this historic city.
Overlooking the Saint Lawrence River, Quebec City is a French-speaking city (though most people speak English in the popular tourist areas) that is rich in culture and history. Most visitors are drawn to Vieux-Québec, the fortified city core that features the aforementioned cobblestone streets, lined with boutiques, cafés, and restaurants. The castle-like Fairmont Le Château Frontenac is an iconic Quebec City landmark and is well worth exploring, even if you aren’t lucky enough to be staying as a guest
Vancouver is easily the most beautiful city in Canada. With mountains to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the enormous Stanley Park right downtown, the city’s landscapes are jaw-droppingly gorgeous. Whether you’re exploring the beaches in Kitsilano, meandering the trails of Pacific Spirit Park by the University of British Columbia campus, or cycling along the seawall downtown, there are plenty of ways to enjoy Vancouver’s natural beauty. Thanks to warm, sunny summers and mild (though often wet) winters, it’s easy to enjoy spending time outdoors year-round. Many of Vancouver’s neighborhoods are easily walkable, and there are hidden gems around virtually every corner. The downtown core is prime for finding a seat at a coffee shop and watching the world go by, while nearby Gastown offers a mix of quirky, contemporary, and cool shops and restaurants.
There’s an exciting, youthful vibe about Saskatoon — Saskatchewan’s largest city — that contributed to its well-deserved spot on this list of Canada’s best cities. One of Saskatoon’s surprising claims to fame is that it’s said to boast the highest number of restaurants per capita of any city in the country. There are many options for those who want to experience fresh flavors grown right in Saskatchewan. Of course, you can’t have a true culinary tour of the city without sampling a slice of Saskatoon berberry pie.
With a population of just over 25,000 people, Whitehorse is certainly one of the smaller cities on this list, but it’s a charming place to visit, combining the old and the new, and it serves as a great launching point for a trip exploring Canada’s vast and beautiful north.
Downtown Whitehorse is small but walkable and well worth a visit — but many of the best attractions are just outside of town. Check out the Takhini Hot Springs and Yukon Wildlife Preserve, both just half an hour from Whitehorse. If you’re willing to brave the cold winters of the north, a Northern Lights tour is the adventure of a lifetime.
One of the best cities in the Maritimes has to be Halifax. It’s known as a city that is easily accessible by foot, making it a lot of fun to wander around, exploring the different neighborhoods without setting out a formal itinerary.
A good place to start out is to head to the Halifax Peninsula for a walk along the four-kilometer boardwalk winding along the waterfront, which is bustling with activity in the summer months. Be sure to check out the Canadian Museum of Immigration, Cable Wharf (from here, you can catch a whale watching tour or sail out to Peggy’s Cove), and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic along the way.