Top 18 Canadian Highlights
As the second largest country in the world, Canada abounds with scenic landscapes and unique places to delight travelers. Throughout the country, there are vibrant, culturally rich cities surrounded by incredible natural beauty. So what are the top attractions in Canada? In western Canada, the Rocky Mountains, Vancouver, Victoria and Calgary are the most popular tourist destinations. In the central part of the country the most popular destinations are Niagara Falls, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City. Those who are interested in the Seaside provinces in the east, will be interested in the beauty of Gros Morne Reserve, as well as cities such as Halifax, St. John’s, which have a unique atmosphere. Far from the popular trails, but equally attractive and impressive, lies the north of Canada. Here you have the opportunity to see polar bears in their natural habitat, as well as the beauty of such remote places as the Nahanni Reserve and the towns of Whitehorse and Yellowknife. Let’s take a look at the sights of Canada.
Attractions of Canada
Niagara Falls is Canada’s most famous natural attraction, attracting millions of visitors every year. Located only an hour’s drive from Toronto, along the U.S. border, this waterfall is colossal: about 57 meters high. Visitors are able to view the falls at a strikingly close distance from the edge of the upper bank. The falls have been attracting tourists and daredevils for over a century. From the mid-19th to the mid-20th century there were numerous attempts to rappel down the falls in various makeshift boats and barrels. This state of affairs, along with tightrope walkers and other entertainers, caused the nearby town of Niagara Falls to acquire carnivals that have not subsided to this day.
Banff Preserve and the Rocky Mountains
Banff Reserve is located in the heart of the magnificent Rocky Mountains in the province of Alberta. It features some of the most attractive scenery, showcasing the beauty of Canadian nature. Turquoise lakes, mountain tops wrapped in snow and glaciers – all this splendor can be reached at this reserve. The jewel of this treasure trove of North American nature is Lake Louise, whose greenish water reflects the surrounding mountains. The Icefields Trail, which runs from Louise to the neighboring Jasper Preserve, is another must-see on your list of local attractions. At the southern end of the reserve is the small town of Banff, where you’ll find all sorts of hotels, stores, and eateries.
In the winter, however, Banff is a popular, lively area for winter sports. It is home to Lake Louise Ski Resort and Sunshine Village, two of Canada’s most famous ski resorts.
CN Tower in Toronto
In Canada’s largest city, which rests on the shores of Lake Ontario, stands the iconic CN Tower, one of Canada’s most famous landmarks. The tower is one of the tallest structures in the world, reaching a height of 553 meters. Inside is a revolving restaurant with an excellent menu. Here at lunch, visitors can enjoy a beautiful view of the city and the lake. Even those who are not drawn to look inside will stop to gaze at the structure, which can probably be seen from everywhere in the city. At night, the tower is ablaze with a multitude of colorful lights.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Vieux-Québec is a network of historic structures that still survive. In Lower Town, along the St-Lawrence River, is the Château-Frontenac, a grand hotel in the style of a medieval French château, as well as other valuable examples of old architecture. Uppertown sits on 100-meter cliffs and boasts places of interest such as the Fields of Abraham, the Fortress du Québec, and much more, all of which reflect the city’s historic past. In addition to the historic sites, visitors can see the works of artists displayed in famous local museums.
Just a two-hour drive from Vancouver is the famous Whistler Ski Resort (and also a campground). While the resort is popular for its predominantly winter sports, over time it has also offered recreational activities for warmer days: golf, mountain biking, and walking in the atmosphere of a lively town. In 2010, this town, by the way, received worldwide fame after the Winter Olympics.
In general, there are world-class slopes, hotels, numerous restaurants and cafes, as well as the opportunity to do many other outdoor sports, which is accompanied by a delightful view of the mountains.
Parliament Hill in Ottawa
Parliament Hill overlooks the Ottawa River and is an architectural ensemble of neo-Gothic buildings from the second half of the 19th century. The most prominent figure here is the Peace Tower, separating the House of Commons and Senate buildings. In front of the Houses of Parliament is the Centennial Flame, lit in 1966 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. Behind the buildings is a sculpture garden. In summer there is a changing of the guard on the front porch in front of the Houses of Parliament. Below Parliament Hill there is a pleasant path for walking along the river.
Inner Cove in Victoria
Few Canadian cities have an elaborate waterfront like Victoria’s Inner Cove. This place is great for relaxing strolls, shopping and entertaining with the backdrop of the bay. The main architectural figure in the area is the Empress Hotel, which stands out brightly. Over the years, this hotel has even hosted kings and queens. Today everyone has an opportunity to have a cup of tea with dinner according to the old tradition (high tea), which, by the way, is one of the points on the to-do lists of many tourists coming to Victoria. You can read more about Victoria in our article “The City of Victoria: Capital of British Columbia”.
Signal Hill in St. John’s
At the entrance to St. John’s Harbor stands the famous Signal Hill, which overlooks the city and the sea. Here in 1901 a signal sent from across the ocean was first received. The site also played a strategic role in the Seven Years’ War (1756 – 1763), although the fortifications that stand there now were erected during the hostilities of 1812.
On Signal Hill, one of the key structures is Cabot Tower, which was built in 1897 to commemorate the four hundredth anniversary of the discovery of Newfoundland. This tower is also famous for the fact that here Guglielmo Marconi in 1901 organized the first radio communication across the Atlantic Ocean, the signal of which traveled a distance of 2,700 km from England. Inside the tower are exhibits reflecting the history of Signal Hill as well as the history of communications (with a special section dedicated to Marconi). From the upper section, visitors can enjoy a panoramic view that includes the city and the coastline all the way to Cape Speer, the easternmost point in North America.
The old part of Montreal, lined with pleasing historic buildings, welcomes visitors with many stores and excellent eateries. Here you can ride horse-drawn carriages through stone-paved streets along open plazas. While Montreal as a whole is a modern, vibrant city, the old neighborhood is where tourists come to soak up the unique atmosphere. Some of the most prominent landmarks include the Basilique Notre Dame de Montréal Cathedral, the Bonsekur Market, the Place Jacques Catier, and the historic Municipal Building.
Polar Bears in Churchill, Manitoba
One of Canada’s most unique attractions are polar bears. Watching them move from land to ice floes in Hudson Bay near the town of Churchill is quite unusual and fascinating. Every fall this town opens its doors to tourists. Visitors can take a tour in special buggies whose windows are covered with metal nets for closer contact with the bears. The best time (peak migration) to observe is in October and November, when the bears are waiting for the water to freeze.
This cove, located in eastern Canada between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, is famous for its spectacular waves. The difference between low and high waves here is the largest in the world. The maximum wave height reaches about 19 meters (10 fathoms). There are many ways to enjoy this natural wonder, but the most spectacular views are from the reefs and rock formations of Cape Hopewell, the Fandi Reserve and Grand Manan Island.
Gros Morne Sanctuary
This reserve, located in Newfoundland, is much more remote from populated areas than most other famous national parks in Canada. Nevertheless, it is worth a drive to see the beautiful scenery consisting of mountains and fjords. The park has steep cliffs, waterfalls and intricate rock formations and is therefore a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Most visitors prefer a river tour to appreciate the local beauty, but you can also hike a few trails on your own to enjoy the views. There is also the option of kayaking down the river.
Stanley Park in Vancouver
One of Vancouver’s greatest treasures is the 405-hectare Central Stanley Park, conveniently located on the west side of downtown. The park is a peninsula surrounded by the open sea on one side and the harbor on the other. The promenade, which runs along almost the entire coastline of the park, is an excellent path for running, walking, biking, rollerblading or skateboarding. As for the view from the shores of the park, it consists of either mountains or city buildings. It all depends on where you’re at. Within the park, you can visit the oceanarium, scenic Beaver Lake, and more. You can read more about the park in our article Stanley Park.
Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg
Winnipeg’s newest attraction that is attracting the attention of both local and foreign audiences. This place opened in 2014 next to The Forks. In terms of appearance, it is dominated by a special, unique design that attracts the attention of many passers-by. Also unique is the concept according to which the theme of the museum was selected.
The Canadian Rocky Mountains
When you think of these mountains, you think of a landscape of towering snow-capped mountains, turquoise lakes, waterfalls, and dense evergreen forests. Here in British Columbia, nature is simply breathtaking, and you can be sure that the impression of admiring these places will stay with you for a long time. These mountains, by the way, have also been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List for their marvelous beauty.
Pacific Rim National Park Reservation
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is located on Vancouver Island and consists of 3 parts: a 6-kilometre long beach on the shores of Wickaninnish Bay, over a hundred islands and rocks of the Broken Group Islands archipelago in Barkley Sound, a 75 kilometer trail through rainforest, sandy beaches, caves and waterfalls on the West Coast of the West Coast Trail. Unique, isn’t it? By the way, in the spring about 10,000 whales migrate through these waters, which can easily be seen right from the shore.
Once you drive this highway, you will be very impressed. Not only for the beautiful views of the mountains, chances are you will spot wildlife in all its glory: massive bison, bears, moose, ibex, bighorn sheep, snow rams, you will almost certainly come across these animals on your way along the highway and see them for yourself.
Athabasca Falls is located in Jasper National Park, Alberta. The waterfall is known for its power and large amount of falling water. The waterfall is about 30 kilometers from the town of Jasper and is surrounded by scenic area. The height of the falling water is small – 23 meters, but the width of the waterfall of 18 meters creates an impressive spectacle. Even when the water level in the river is low, a copious amount of water falls into the gorge. See more unique places in our Best Places in Canada section.