Places to visit in Canada

There is an incredible amount of activities to entertain you and your loved ones when you visit Canada. From its natural beauty to its stunning architecture, experiencing the great Canadian outdoors is a must for any tourist. There is also world class shopping centres and fun for the entire family, so do not be afraid to explore and tailor your Canadian adventure. We've put together a list of the best of attractions, activities, shopping, restaurants, nightlife, and festivals to get you started. If Canada is in your mind now, you might want to explore Thomas Cook for a Canada Visa Application. 

 

One of the most wondrous places to visit in Canada, Banff National Park will leave you breathless. With its bright blue water against the looming Rocky Mountains, this World Heritage Site has been attracting visitors since its establishment in 1883. Hike over one thousand miles of trails and pathways or try out kayaking and canoeing in the summer months. During the winter, take advantage of pristine ski slopes. Throughout the year, the city of Banff is a tourist destination with stores and hotels to serve you year round.

 

Location: Banff, Alberta

Known for: Stunning natural beauty all year round. 

How to reach: Banff National Park is located 120 km from Calgary, or about a 1.5-hour drive.

Operating Hours: 8am - 8pm every day during the summer; 9am- 5pm every day during the off-season. Refer to park website before you visit to confirm operational hours.

Approximate Cost: INR 1000 for a day pass per vehicle

Type: Park

Known for its perfect "horseshoe falls," the Canadian portion is the largest of three waterfalls that make up the entire Niagara Falls. With 90% of the Niagara river gushing over, you can do everything from staring in awe to catching a ride on a ferry up close. You can even walk behind the falls! The city of Niagara Falls is a quaint, tourist-driven town with the biggest and best New Year's Eve celebration across the country. Be sure to check out nearby attractions such as the Skylon Tower observation deck, Niagara Botanical Gardens, and the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory. For the best in bargain shopping, Niagara Falls and surrounding regions are known for the best outlet stores. Shop your heart out knowing you won't find the same brands for less anywhere else in the country.

 

Location: Niagara Falls, Canada-US border

Known for: Niagara Falls is known as one of the greatest natural wonders of the world.

How to reach: Niagara Falls is accessible by car from three international airports: Toronto Pearson International Airport (1.5 hours), Hamilton International Airport (1 hour), and Buffalo-Niagara International Airport (30 min.)  Note that flying through Buffalo-Niagara International Airport will require an additional visa for entry into the U.S.

Type: Waterfall

Once the tallest freestanding building on Earth, the CN tower offers an uncompromised view of the city of Toronto. There are many ways to enjoy this landmark location from taking fun pictures outside the tower or enjoying a trip up to the top of the 553m high building. Intrepid souls can opt into the EdgeWalk and walk along the edge of the entire building! For a relaxed evening, you can head to the general observation deck or the 360 restaurant. It very gradually rotates as you eat your meal, for a panoramic view of the city and beyond.

 

Location: Toronto, ON

Known for: Being an iconic 19th-century building with furnishings and architecture that throw you back in colonial times. Its scenic location is also one to admire.

How to reach: By road, by subway (stop: Union Station), or by bus

Operating Hours: 9am- 10:30pm Everyday

Approximate Cost: INR 1250-2000 per person

Type: Notable Building/Landmark

Filled with over 5.7 million litres of water, visit Ripley’s aquarium to view over 20,000 sea dwelling specimen covering 450 species. Opened in 2013, the aquarium has several exhibits from around the world. Explore the ‘Canadian Waters’ for a glimpse into the country’s own underwater wildlife. Enjoy the dive show at the ‘Rainbow Reef’ exhibit to interact with animals from the Indo-Pacific regions of the world. Check out the largest aquarium, ‘The Dangerous Lagoon’ for sharks, stingrays, and sea turtles. Learn about crustaceans and other sea animals at the ‘Discovery Centre.’ When you are done with all of the exhibits, go behind the scenes at ‘the Life Support System’, which peeks behind the curtain of the entire aquarium’s control room. Located right next to the CN tower, Ripley’s Aquarium will not be hard to find. There are also duo-attraction passes covering both the tower and aquarium for a day filled with beautiful sights and exotic sea creatures.

 

Location: Downtown Toronto

Known for: Canada’s largest public aquarium 

How to reach: By road, by subway (stop: Union Station), or by bus 

Operating Hours: 9am- 11pm every day

Approximate Cost: INR 500 – 1750 per person

Tips: Do not forget your selfie stick! You can take pictures to remember your experience and share it with friends back home. 

Type: Animal Sanctuary

The roots of any place can be explored through its museums. To learn about Canadian history, head over to the Royal Ontario Museum. Established over one hundred years ago, the ROM is a world-renowned museum. Today, you will find diverse exhibits featuring over six million artefacts in forty galleries. Regarding Natural History, you will find exhibits dedicated to fossils and evolution, as well as Earth and space. By region, the ROM explores Canadian, East Asian, European, African, and Ancient world culture through galleries dedicated to each of these cultures throughout time. The ROM is also a fully accessible attraction, so visitors of all abilities can have access to programs and tours to fit their personal needs.

 

Location: Toronto, ON

Known for: It is the largest museum in Canada, covering topics of art, world culture, and natural history

How to reach: By road, by subway (stop: St. George or Museum station), or by bus

Operating hours: 10-5:30pm every day, excluding Christmas

Approximate Cost: INR 750 – 1000 per person

Type: Museum

As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this historic neighbourhood is guarded to this day by Fortifications of Quebec and the Citadel. There are several beautiful churches established in previous centuries to explore including the stunning Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, the Notre-Dame-de-Québec Basilica-Cathedral, the Jesuits Chapel, and St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church. Enjoy elegant restaurants and boutiques celebrating French Canadian cuisine and culture. Make sure you do not leave the province without trying the classic French fries dish, poutine. Vegetarians note that the gravy is often made from animal stock, so be sure to check with your server for options.

 

Location: Quebec City, QC

Known for: Its historic architecture, history, delicious food and exclusive shopping.

How to reach: By plane to Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport, by road, by bus

Type: Village

Unlike most urban parks, Stanley Park was not designed by a landscape architect or urban planner. Instead, it has evolved and grown naturally with the city of Vancouver over many years. A large part of the park remains untouched since the 1800s, and is densely forested with hundred year old trees as tall as 76 metres. Visitors are welcomed throughout the year to the park, and the attractions change with the seasons. The Vancouver Seawall is a promenade where can enjoy for walking, running, cycling, and skating. Further inland, there is over 27 miles of forest paths to take in, and you may even catch a police officer patrolling on horseback! For families, the miniature railway is a great way to see the park with little ones. Other naturally occurring exhibits include the water lily-covered ‘Beaver Lake,’ and the Lost Lagoon. Spend the day at Stanley Park in Vancouver for a refreshing kind of walk in the park.

 

Location: Vancouver

Known for: being a National Historic Site of Canada that is largely untouched by human activity

How to reach: Located next to downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park is highly accessible by road, by public transport and you can fly direct to Vancouver International Airport

Operating hours: 9am – 5pm every day

Approximate Cost: Entry to the park is free. Access to attractions like the aquarium is INR 1000 – 2000

Type: Park

Like Stanley Park in Vancouver, Toronto’s high park offers its citizens and tourists an escape from the city, right in the city. Sprawled over four hundred acres, High Park has sporting facilities, cultural spaces, educational institutes, gardens, playgrounds, and even a zoo. Located just west of the downtown core, you can head to the Colborne Lodge, spend time in the hillside gardens, enjoy a bite to eat at the Grenadier Café, and watch Shakespeare in High Park. For a more nature-oriented experience, visit the High Park Nature Centre and pet llamas at the park zoo.

 

Location: Toronto, ON

Known for: Being a beautiful green space away from the downtown hustle

How to reach: By air, by road and by public transport

Operating hours: 24 hours

Approximate Cost: Free

Tips: Do not forget to bring enough drinking water, a hat, a camera and a comfortable pair of shoes to explore to your heart’s content.

Type: Park

Members of Canadian government gather here to conduct the country’s business on Parliament Hill. Characterized by beautiful, historically significant architecture, you can learn about the history of Canada while enjoying the scenery. Learn about Canada’s struggle for independence, the Central Tower fire, along with more recent events that have moulded the country’s identity. If you are visiting in spring, it’s impossible to miss the Canadian Tulip Festival, where over one million tulips bloom every year. In 1945, the Dutch royal family sent one hundred thousand tulip bulbs to Ottawa to show gratitude for Canada protecting and sheltering royals during the Second World War. The Dutch Royal family continues to send ten thousand bulbs every year to this day, and it beautifully symbolizes Canadian camaraderie with foreign nations.

 

Location: Ottawa

Known for: being the country’s capital, and the annual Canadian Tulip Festival

How to reach: By road, by public transport, and by air

Approximate Cost: Free to visit

Type: Notable Building

Experience the best in new cinema from across Canada and around the world at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). With over half a million attendees, the film festival is one of the most accessible film festivals with multiple screenings at affordable prices. There are passes available for the entire festival as well.

 

When: September

Canada is a place that is welcoming for all ethnicities, cultures, sexual orientations and identity. As host to World Pride in 2014, Toronto continues to be one of the largest celebrations of the LGBTQ community around the world.

 

When: July

Literally translating to “white night,” Nuit Blanche is an outdoor winter celebration of art that goes through the night. Many museums, galleries and art-focused spaces stay open and are free to the public.

 

When: End of September

Many tourists start in the heart of the country, Toronto. Often confused for the country's capital, Toronto is the most populated city in Canada, with over 2.8 million people. Home to the CN tower and the Toronto Raptors, you can find the best in entertainment, food, and nightlife, as well as exciting outdoor excursions like Centre Island and High Park. It's a highly diverse region so you can count on multi-ethnic cuisine at any budget. You are likely to meet locals and tourists alike in the city, especially as festival season and summer come around. Celebrate Canada Day in July with the rest of the country through the live action of this city.

 

Attractions: CN tower, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, Royal Ontario  Museum, Lake Ontario, Casa Loma, Canada’s Wonderland

Activities: Walking tours, shopping, visit the Toronto islands

Food: The Richmond Station, The Keg, Canoe Restaurant & Bar

Shopping: Toronto Eaton Centre, Yorkville shopping centre

Located on the west coast of Canada, there is so much to do in British Columbia's largest city. From skiing and snowboarding to hiking and surfing, there is something for everyone no matter what time of year you visit. You can experience some of Canada's mildest weather in Vancouver and take in beautiful Pacific Ocean view while you visit. You can also traverse the Rockies, famous mountain range spanning most of western North America. Regarding art and culture, Vancouver is a country leader with spaces to learn like the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Museum of Anthropology. Within the city, you will find all the amenities you need to branch out and explore the rest of scenic Western Canada.

 

Attractions: Stanley Park, Science World, Vancouver Aquarium, Museum of Anthropology at UBC, Vancouver Art Gallery

Activities: Take a stroll in the city’s many parks, visit a museum or art gallery

Food: Chambar restaurants, Meat & Bread, Miku Vancouver, Bluewater cafe, Hawksworth restaurant

Shopping: CF Pacific Centre, Oakridge Centre, International Village Mall, Park Royal

 

As the cultural capital of the country, Montreal is the largest city in French-speaking Quebec. Based on an island in the St. Lawrence River, this scenic city is also Canada's second most populous. Named after Mount Royal, a hill in the heart of the city, this destination was once a battleground for French and English colonizers. Discover French Canadian culture, cuisine, and entertainment through the city's incredible attractions. While Quebec mandates French as its official language, you will hear several unofficial languages while you are in Montreal. 

Many people in Montreal are fully trilingual, and the city is full of neighbourhoods with ethnic specialities. Indulge in authentic dim sum and roast duck in Chinatown. If you have a favourite regional cuisine, chances are there is a neighbourhood in Montreal that offers it. When you are not gorging at the incredible restaurants, do not forget to take a walk through Old Montreal for a romantic evening out. Please note that Montreal has one of the longest and coldest winters across the country, so prepare to bundle up if you are visiting this December!

 

Attractions: Montreal Botanical gardens, Montreal Biodome, Mount Royal, Saint Joseph’s Oratory, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Activities: take a walk in the botanical gardens, visit one of the many museums

Food: Brit & Chips, Le Club Chasse et Pêche, Bouillon Bilk, Toque, Ferreira Cafe

Shopping: Centre Eaton de Montréal, Place Montréal Trust, Complexe Desjardins

Famous for the Calgary Stampede, Calgary will get you energized and excited. As Canada's first city to host the Winter Olympic Games, the city has the infrastructure of a large metropolis and boasts the friendly nature of a smaller community. Between the Rockies to the west and rolling plains stretching out across the east, Calgary is a genuinely scenic city. 

It's also close to favourite Western Canadian destinations like Vancouver, Banff, and Canmore, all within a drivable distance. These magnificent cities along with Calgary are also great destinations for camping and glamping. You can experience the outdoors your way at camping sites with full shower and power facilities, or rough it in lesser-serviced regions. Try your hand at fishing for trout in Bow River, or enjoy a relaxing spa day at any of the city's world-class hotels.

 

Attractions: Dinosaur Provincial Park, Calgary Zoo, Calgary Tower, Heritage Park Historical Village, Glenbow Museum, Fort Calgary

Activities: visit the old fort, dress up and learn about life as a pioneer in Canada

Food: Cactus Club Cafe, Big T’s BBQ and Smokehouse, the Cattle Baron Alberta Steakhouse & Bar, River Cafe

Shopping: CORE shopping centre, CK Chinook Centre, Sunridge Mall

The nation's capital, Ottawa has a lot to offer for nature and history lovers. Visit during spring to experience the magical Canadian Tulip Festival, with tulips from Denmark delivered yearly. Originally sent as a gift to Canada for safeguarding the Dutch princess during the Second World War, the royal family continues to send ten thousand bulbs to Ottawa every year. 

Take a tour of the parliament to learn more about Canada's history, and be sure to take in the beautiful Gothic architecture. In addition to being the central hub for the federal government, Ottawa is also the most educated city in the country. Art and history lovers are encouraged to visit a host of cultural institutes and galleries like the National Arts Centre and the National Gallery. You can also get more for less when you visit Ottawa thanks to its proximity to the border of Ontario and Quebec. With Montreal within driving distance, you can visit more than one of Canada's major cities on the same day.

 

Attractions: Parliament hill, Canadian Museum of Natural History, National Gallery of Canada, Canadian War Museum, Canadian Museum of Nature, Rideau Canal

Activities: skate on the canal, visit one of many museums, tour the parliament buildings

Food: Pure kitchen, Play food & wine, The Keg steakhouse 

Shopping: CF Rideau Centre, St. Laurent, Carlingwood Shopping Centre

Bring the entire family and learn something new while having fun at Science World. The geodesic dome structure hosts a variety of exhibits showcasing math and science concepts. Keep the kids engaged with an interactive OMNIMAX film on topics ranging from wildlife to space science. Explore exhibits like BodyWorks about human biology, the sustainability gallery, and puzzles and illusions to learn more about the world we live in. If you are spending time in Vancouver, you won’t want to miss this experience.

 

Location: Vancouver, BC

For: All ages

Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate

Approximate Cost: INR 750 - 1000 per person

Tips: Plan ahead and go early to avoid crowds. Science World opens at 10 am everyday, and you can check their website for closing times daily. 

Travel to Vancouver city’s edge to view a miracle in action. Every March to October, thousands of whales migrate through Vancouver waters, and are a common sight during the season. There are several whale watching tour operators offering a variety of options.  Kayak or canoe to get up close and personal with the whales, or you can lay back and relax in a tour boat. One spectacular way to watch whales is in the air and there are seaplane tour operators who do just that. Whatever your budget, sighting a whale is a truly Canadian experience you won’t want to miss.

 

Location: Burrard Inlet

For: Everyone

Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate

Approximate Cost: Variable

Tips: Make sure to grab a pair of binoculars, as you will see a wide variety of seabirds, dolphins, otters and sea lions! 

Experience a pedestrian’s paradise tucked away in Toronto. With quaint cobblestone lining the streets, you will be transported to the early 19th century save for the modern restaurants, bars and boutiques. If you are looking for a walking-only outing in the city, this one’s for you.

 

Location: Toronto

For: All ages

Difficulty Level: Low

Approximate Cost: Variable

Tips: You do not need a reason to visit the Distillery District, but you will probably stay for the food, art and shopping. Many businesses found in the area are small and super trendy, so expect to pay a bit more for the ambience.

Canada has a vast, sprawling landscape that is hard to fully grasp from on the ground. Experience a city from the sky with a hot air balloon ride. Several locations in Canada offer hot air balloon rides. We recommend searching for ones close to your planned destination to save time and money.

 

Locations: In Alberta: Edmonton, Calgary & Grand Prairie; In Ontario: Kitchener-Waterloo, London, & Ottawa; In Saskatchewan: Saskatoon & Regina; In Manitoba: Winnipeg

For: All ages (except infants)

Difficulty Level: Low

Approximate Cost: INR 12,500 per person

Tips: A hot air balloon ride is a once in a lifetime experience. However, it’s highly dependent on weather conditions. Be prepared to reschedule your ride at a moment’s notice due to inclement weather. Choose a location where you will be staying for some time, in case your original ride is postponed.

Found in a grungy neighbourhood in Toronto, find yourself transported after a short elevator ride to the chic bar and lounge, Alo. Known for its focus on gastronomy science and cutting edge cocktails, eating at this world-class restaurant is an experience all of its own. Splurge on its six-course tasting menu with sommelier-selected wine for the full experience. Or you can taste the fare for less with their small plates menu offered at the bar.

 

Must have: any of their cocktails

Approximate Cost for two: INR 5,000 - 12,000

Address: 163 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5V 2L6, Canada

Hours: 5pm-1am Tuesday to Saturday; Closed on Sunday & Monday

Founders Normand Laprise and Christine Lamarche exemplify Canadian values through their locally sourced menu at their restaurant in Montreal. Their seasonal menu changes daily based on deliveries from their farmers, local artisans and bakeries. The restaurant also serves as an elite training institute for the best Canadian chefs. Honing their skills under the watchful eyes of master chefs, you can expect a lively environment with the best local Canadian food.

 

Must have: Seared local duck foie gras, succulent lobster stuffed mushroom

Cost for two: Rs. 6000 - 10,000

Address: 900, PLACE JEAN-PAUL-RIOPELLE, MONTREAL (QUEBEC) H2Z 2B2 CANADA

Hours: Tuesday to Friday, from 11:30 am to 1:45 pm
            Tuesday to Thursday, 5:30 pm to 10 pm
            Friday and Saturday, 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm

Bringing an original take to Canadian cuisine, Hawksworth is named after its world renowned owner, Chef David Hawksworth. A Vancouverite himself, Hawkworth trained in Michelin-starred restaurants to hone his skills for nearly two decades. Today, he’s taken over the culinary world in Vancouver and across Canada. Experience japanese inspired local food at its peak in any of the restaurant’s beautifully designed spaces.

 

Must have: wagyu carpaccio & local white sturgeon

Cost for two: Rs. 9,000 - 12,000

Address: Narainen St, Grand Baie, Canada

Hours: Breakfast    Monday to Friday 6:30 AM until 10:30 AM
                             Saturday, Sunday 7:00 AM until 10:30 AM

           Lunch         Monday to Friday 11:30 AM until 2:00 PM

           Dinner        Monday to Sunday 5:00 PM until late

           Brunch        Saturday, Sunday 10:30 AM until 2:00 PM

Vegetarians may find Canadian cuisine a challenge. Luckily, Chef Jason Leboe went ahead and opened a restaurant with a half vegetarian menu in the middle of Canadian cowboy territory. The Calgary restaurant produces the best food in the city, and its cabbage dish has become a centrepiece in food magazines across Canada. A restaurant that truly serves everyone, Pigeonhole is one you won’t want to miss.

 

Must have: butter-braised, charcoal-charred cabbage, smoky sweet potato

Cost: Set menu Rs. 3000-4000

Address: 306 17TH AVENUE SOUTHWEST, CALGARY, ALBERTA

Hours: Monday to Saturday 5pm - ‘late’ Closed on Sunday

This microbrewery brings you the best beer in a relaxed, laid back environment. Beer tasting is similar to wine tasting, and you can learn about the different types of beers brewed in the facility.

 

Must try: Beer tasting menu

Operating Hours: Mon - Fri 3:00 PM - 3:00 AM
                             Sat - Sun 1:00 PM - 3:00 AM

Location: Montreal

Do something different while you are visiting and laugh the night away at a comedy show. With Canada’s best comics, as well as newbies giving stand up a shot, you are sure to be entertained throughout the evening.

 

Must try: “OTP” Old Town Paloma

Operating Hours: Ticketed events; check their website secondcity.com for more

Location: Toronto, ON

Pub crawls are a budget-friendly way to feel out the vibe of a city’s nightlife. With drinks included, pub crawls tour local bars and restaurants stopping at up to five locations in one ‘crawl.’ Check out pub crawls across the country for more great ways to explore Canadian cities.

 

Operating Hours: ticketed event

Location: Montreal

Unleash your inner cowboy at this country style bar and saloon. Grab your cowboy hat and get ready to ride a mechanical bull, because Calgary is calling!

 

Must try: hearty Texas chilli

Operating Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 4:00PM - 2:00 AM

Location: Calgary, AB

Let go and live your wildest dreams out at this VIP club located in the Casino du Lac-Leamy. With world class DJs, bottle service, and ice sinks in VIP, you will forget the cold and dance the night away in the country’s capital.

 

Operating Hours: Friday & Saturdays: 10pm - 2am

Location: Ottawa, ON

Located in the prairie province of Alberta, the West Edmonton Mall is so large, it even has a waterpark! You can find all your favourite brands and discover new ones too. Be sure to check out GalaxyLand and the Mayfield Toyota Ice Palace while you visit the largest shopping centre in Canada.

 

Location: Edmonton

Known for: Being big, the water park, and more

Bargaining Skills: Not required.

Located in the country’s capital city, the Byward Market began as a farmer’s market and has expanded to include everything from jewellery to clothing to Beavertails (a Canadian delicacy). Shop the entire building and do not miss out on vendors lining the streets outside.

 

Location: Ottawa

Known for: Beavertails and beautiful flowers 

Bargaining skills: Not required.

Once an abandoned railway and industrial area, the neighbourhood has transformed into a hip, trendy place to live, work and play. Visit its chic eateries and shop the beautiful boutiques and specialty stores.

 

Location: Vancouver

Known for: Being a one stop destination for shopping, dining and entertainment

Bargaining Skills: Not required

Connected by three kilometres of boardwalk, Halifax’s downtown area is filled with more than restaurants and shopfronts. It also has beautiful galleries, the Museum of Immigration, and hosts the Halifax farmer’s market every week.

 

Location: Halifax, ON

Known for: the Piazza at Bishop’s Landing

Bargaining skills: Not required

One of Toronto’s leading attractions, the Eaton Centre is nestled in the heart of downtown. Check out the famous Canadian Hudson’s Bay Company department store as well as Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstroms, and H&M.

 

Location: Downtown Toronto

Known for: Having everything

Bargaining skills: Not required.

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