The expanse of Canada's natural beauty, from mountains and glaciers to secluded lakes and forests, is almost unparalleled worldwide. But Canada's allure is not just the great outdoors. Canada has cosmopolitan cities that are clean, safe, friendly and multicultural. In fact, Canada repeatedly is lauded as one of the world's most livable countries. Whether your interests are river rafting or live theater, Canada won’t disappoint.
Canada has many modern, multicultural cities, each with its own distinct personality. Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are possibly the best-known, but there are so many others that highlight different aspects of Canada, such as its maritime culture, mountainous landscape, French history, or its indigenous people. Each city is delightful for different reasons.
In addition, Canadian cities are generally much smaller than the biggest counterparts in the United States, so they are easy to navigate. Canadian people, even in big cities, tend to be friendly to strangers and crime is relatively low.
Although it’s doubtful you’ll get to all of them in one trip, these cities are the most popular destinations for visitors to Canada:
Vancouver, British Columbia, has been a hot spot in Canada for years as far as the number of people who want to live there goes. No wonder. It is on the water and next to a mountain range, making it postcard pretty. In addition, in a country where winter reality can be harsh, Vancouver has a moderate climate, which includes not much snow and early spring. Downsides include lots of rain and low housing availability despite high prices.
Calgary, Alberta, is probably most famous for its Calgary Stampede, an annual rodeo that attracts more than a million people every July. Calgary is a natural gateway to the Rocky Mountains.
Niagara Falls, Ontario, is home to the Horseshoe Falls, the most powerful waterfall in North America and possibly the best-known in the world. The city itself is very touristy, but there are more charming places nearby.
Toronto, Ontario, is the biggest, brashest city in Canada, often mistaken as the nation's capital. The nearly 6 million residents of the metropolitan area are a diverse mix of English, Chinese, East Indian, Irish, Scottish and Italian, among other ethnicities. Vibrant and textured, Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities in the world.
Ottawa, Ontario, is Canada's capital and home to the country's government. The city has a cultured yet friendly vibe.
Montreal, Quebec, is Canada's second largest city but arguably the cultural capital of the country, with its wide range of festivals and museums. It is European in feeling and quite liberal in character. Much of the old part of the city has been preserved and is a highlight for visitors.
Quebec City, Quebec, is a stunning city because of its location, architecture and level of historical preservation. French is even more common here than in Montreal, though most of the people you will interact with if you're a visitor also speak English.
Halifax, Nova Scotia, represents all that is great about the Maritimes (a group of three provinces in Eastern Canada that all border the Atlantic Ocean): Friendly, down-to-earth, fun, affordable and scenic.
Victoria, British Columbia, has a rich English history dating back to the 1840s when the city was established as a trading port but a deeper provenance as an aboriginal community.