You Need to Add These Cities to your Canada Itinerary This Year
I cannot say enough good things about my home. Canada is a dream country for many to live, to see, to experience. Mind you, if we could have a little less cold, I would be slightly happier…In any case, I am not alone with admiration for the Great White North. For Oscars week, Fill My Passport called on her friends in the travel industry to nominate favourite places to go that would earn a Traveller’s Academy Award so to speak. And here are the nominees for best places to add to your Canada Itinerary.
Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario
Nominated by Fill My Passport
Northern Ontario is a true gem. I don’t up there enough. That is my ultimate confession. But although I don’t explore that area of my home province often, its magic remains in my heart. Lake Superior is the largest of the great lakes. Its vast size allows for thousands of islands, great fishing conditions, and, a history unmatched through time. Some embark on the Lake Superior Circle tour to get an idea of just how large this lake is with stops all along the shores in both Canada and the USA. And honestly, that is an epic road trip. While up here and exploring the lake’s beauty, make sure you stop at Lake Superior Provincial Park. I think it is one of my favourite places on earth. Perhaps thanks to its location – a far off spot that I cannot access easily – making it a beautiful experience each time with visits few and far between. (frequent visits could take the special away…). Perhaps thanks to the history. Here in the park are the oldest drawn pictures by the Ojibwe people. Messages to the earth inked to the rock edges along the Lake Superior shore.
These images are sacred. They are the messages of love and wishes of hope from the tribes. For generations these First Nations people put their visions into art and proclaimed it to earth. They are remarkable symbols of endurance as for centuries they have withstood the test of weather, age, and erosion, as well as evading acts of vandalism. Perhaps it has to do with the difficulty in accessing them, but these beautiful painted messages have braved the elements to this day. These are the remaining pictographs upon Agawa Rock in the Canadian Shield. There may have been more over the years, but to this day any further messages and what they said or represented are sadly unknown.
Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
Nominated by Kate of Tear Free Travel, Instagram
Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Canada has so many wonderful destinations to choose from but our favourite is Vancouver Island. It is a beautiful island with so much for the visitor to see and do. Not least is the capital of British Colombia Victoria which is situated on the southern shores of this large island which stretches 460 km long and 100 km wide.
Getting to Vancouver Island from Vancouver requires a ferry journey (look out for orcas), a flight which if you are feeling adventurous can be done by seaplane. If you are in Seattle there is a ferry which can take you straight to Victoria (this is a fantastic journey and well worth doing for fantastic views of both cities from the water).
Victoria itself is a fantastic city to explore with some beautiful sights such as the habour where you can have High Tea at the Empress Hotel. Sit and enjoy the views and watch the seaplanes fly in and out of the harbour. Or take a whale watching trip to spot the many whales including orca that can be around the island.
Butchart Gardens a world famous botanical gardens are an absolute must-see when on the island and are beautiful at all times of the year and are about an hour north of Victoria.
Travelling the southern part of the island is possible on the excellent public transport network but to venture further I would recommend a hire car as the best option. There are some beautiful forests and mountains to visit with an abundance of wildlife such as bears and cougar.
There’s no doubt that Canada is one of the most popular film locations in the world. While most movies are taped in Vancouver, British Columbia, Alberta is also home to several Oscar-nominated movie scenes.
So why exactly should you visit Banff? Besides the obvious fact that movies have been filmed in and around the area and that it is breathtakingly beautiful?
If you are a nature lover, Banff deserves a spot on your bucket list – without saying! Here you can find some of the most spectacular views and wildlife scenery. From jagged, snow-capped mountain ranges and sparkling emerald lakes to wild goats crossing the highway, Banff is full of pleasant surprises. And if you’re more of an adrenaline junkie, Banff has you covered as well. You got your classic summer action itineraries like whitewater rafting, zip lining, and AV touring and winter fun activities such as Heli-skiing, ice climbing, and snowmobiling. No matter which season you visit, Banff has the perfect list of ingredients to make an unforgettable trip.
I nominate Toronto for an Oscars destination for a number of reasons. Toronto’s full of hidden gems and truly has everything you could ever want in a vacation destination. We’ve got some interesting architectural pieces like the Art Gallery of Toronto, Robarts Library and the Royal Ontario Museum (not to mention the CN Tower!). We’ve got plenty of sports teams to cheer on if that’s your thing and our shopping (especially Queen Street West) rivals anywhere in the world. We’ve got fantastic events year around like the world famous Toronto Christmas Market and the Canadian National Exhibition. Not to mention all our street art and that Toronto skyline! My two favourite parts of Toronto however are the food and the nature.
We’re the fourth largest city in North America but we’ve got incredible parks and nature all around us. We’ve got plenty of ravines which make for excellent hiking. We’ve also got one of the largest urban parks – Rouge National Urban Park. You also absolutely can’t miss the Toronto Islands and the Scarborough Bluffs which are both beautiful and stunning! Now, for the food. Toronto has a food scene to rival any of the big ones (I’m looking at you London and New York ). We’re in on all the trends but we also embrace the little hole in the walls that completely thrive here. Whether you’re looking for Ethiopian, Cuban or Chinese you’ll be able to find it here. And don’t get me started on our epic desserts. They’ll make your Instagram followers swoon. No matter the kind of traveler you are, there is something for you to do in Toronto and it’s why it’s one of the best places in the world.
Nominated by Stefan of Nomadic Boys, Instagram
One of our favourite cities is Montreal Quebec. It is one of the few places we’ve visited that we’re realistically considering making it a more long term home base.
One of the reasons we love Montreal is because it is gay friendly. We felt very comfortable in most places in the city as a gay couple. Plus, they have a very popular gay scene, boasting the largest gay village in North America.
As well as the Pride Festival in the summer, Montreal is famous for having events during the other months of the year. There’s an electro festival, comedy festival, film festival, and even an Igloo Fest held in the peak of the winter season.
Besides this, there are many other really cool things to do in Montreal, warranting it being added to your Canada Itinerary. Enjoy walking through the streets of the “Vieux-Montreal” (old town) and visiting the Gothic style “Basilique Notre Dame” Church. Trek up to the peak of the famous “Mont Royal” mountain, located 233 m/765 ft high to get the best views of the city below. And of course there’s the food – Montreal has a huge mix of European and North American classics to try including its famed poutine, smoked meats and bagels.
This is truly one of the best destinations we’ve ever visiting and deserves to win the Oscar for Travellers!
This literally is scratching the surface of everything Canada has to offer. Consider these incredible cities when making up your Canada itinerary. They were nominated for a reason 😉
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Fill My Passport collaborated with other travel writers on this post. All opinions are our own and none was influenced by Fill My Passport.