Best places to experience the true spirit of Canada

a Canadian flag and mountain ranges

The Canadian natural and urban landscapes are undeservedly neglected in most travel plans. However, if you are looking for the best places to experience the true spirit of Canada, you have stumbled upon a guide that will list and explain why the home of maple syrup (among other things) should definitely be on your travel horizon.

Essentially, this is a big country that boasts one of the most mesmerizing and impressive landscapes in the world. On the one hand, you can encounter lakes, mountains, and other natural sceneries of indescribable beauty. On the other, Canadian cities are a perfect starting and finishing point on your trip. They offer you a chance to experience incredible architectural gems in a progressive and liberal society. Read on to find out more about the most breathtaking and exciting places in Canada you should visit on your next trip to the Great White North.

Toronto

If you are looking for the perfect city to start your Canadian journey, Toronto is the place for you (and my hometown). It is one of the largest and culturally most important cities in this country. Toronto’s distinguishing landmark is the CN Tower which you must have seen if you have ever received a postcard from Toronto.

When it comes to its tourist potential, Toronto’s transportation system makes movement through the city impeccable, with a network of subways, street cars, and roads. However, if you get bored with Toronto’s bustling urban energy, you can always take the ferry across the harbour to the nearby Toronto Islands.  

a Toronto skyline with skyscrapers and CN Tower
The famous CN Tower dominates the Toronto skyline

Banff

If you are looking to visit the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Banff is a great resort town to start your hiking, biking, or skiing journey from. It is located in the Banff National Park, the first national park established on Canadian soil. As for what it can offer to its visitors, Banff is a town that is brimful of small, local cafes, restaurants, art galleries, shops, and other tourist amenities. You can find the beautiful Mount Norquay towering over this little town and the famous Lake Louise just an hour away from Banff.

Icefields Parkway

Icefield Parkway is a world-famous 144-mile double-lane highway drive between Jasper and Lake Louise. What makes it so epic is that this road offers an incredible overview of the Canadian Rocky Mountains while taking you through orchards, waterfalls, lakes, and other intact natural scenery. This route is fantastic for those who enjoy hiking and camping in breathtakingly beautiful Canadian nature.

a big lake at the foot of mountains in Canada, symbolizing the best places to experience the true spirit of Canada
Canada is home to supreme vistas and natural sceneries.

Vancouver

Vancouver is another big Canadian city that should be on your priority list, especially if you are visiting western Canada. This city is famous for its multiculturalism and green living. Around 50% of its citizens speak languages other than English, making it a truly inspiring and eclectic city. As for what you can do besides the essential sightseeing around the city, Vancouver is a well-known stop for any serious skier given its nearby world-renowned ski resorts such as Whistler Blackcomb. The local city council continuously strive to achieve the best living standard by pioneering and incorporating green design ideas into the city’s infrastructure.

In fact, a rising number of US citizens are moving to Vancouver and other Canadian cities to pursue a cleaner, more humane way of living. If you are considering moving to Canada from NYC, be mindful that you might need to hire an international relocation company to help you get here from NYC, with the necessary vehicles and equipment.

Cape Breton

Cape Breton is a unique part of the province of Nova Scotia located on the east coast of the country. It is one of Canada’s most beloved road trip destinations because of its amazing landscapes that line the famous Cabot Trail – a 186-mile route through the Cape Breton National Park. You will be able to see fantastic nature from Cape Breton’s lookout points, picturesque fishing villages, and one of the most breathtaking scenic routes in the world. A drive through Cape Breton is one to not be missed.

Prince Edward Island

This lovely eastern province and island is famous for its green hills, red cliffs, and amazing seafood everywhere you go. Also, given that most locations in Canada are oriented towards active vacations such as walking or hiking, this island is the perfect getaway where you can relax and enjoy the island scenery. This island is also huge in the golfing world due to its many golf courses available for play. Beside these luxurious, upper-class amenities, the island is also famous for its seal population – as many as four different species of seal inhabit its shores throughout the year.

Niagara Falls

colorful waterfalls and a tree
Niagara Falls are an incredible sight any time of the year and the best place to experience the true spirit of Canada

And, last but certainly not the least, the amazing Niagara Falls. There is hardly a person who has not heard of this collection of waterfalls on the United States and Canada border. The Niagara Falls are indeed a natural wonder that merits at least a day of your attention, especially if you are staying or moving to Toronto in the future. 

The waterfalls – Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls – make up an astounding six million cubic feet of water that splash downward every minute. This makes the word wonder in the phrase “natural wonder” a literal description of what experiencing the Niagara Falls is like.

All in all, we hope this short guide has helped you visualize the best places to experience the true spirit of Canada. Of course, there are many more amazing spots which you can visit, especially if you enjoy spending your holiday in the great outdoors. Don’t forget Quebec, Newfoundland and the other provinces and territories (coming in a future post). Whatever your favorite places are, we are confident you will love every minute spent in this beautiful country. Just make sure you stay safe and healthy during your travel.

31 thoughts on “Best places to experience the true spirit of Canada

  1. Molly @ Transatlantic Notes January 5, 2021 / 1:21 pm

    I’d love to go to Niagra Falls, that’s a bucket list visit for me! Great ideas for other areas to visit in Canada — it’s a beautiful place!

    • Michelle (Boomer Eco Crusader) January 5, 2021 / 6:32 pm

      I have been to Niagara Falls so many times and it never gets old. Every time, I am in awe of its majestic beauty. Definitely a bucket list destination.

  2. brittshedhappens January 5, 2021 / 3:08 pm

    Great suggestions – I still remember the first time that I saw Niagara Falls and how in awe I was about it all. Now, we have the opportunity to go every other year or so. I would add, in addition to visiting the falls themselves, branch out just a little wider and check out the region surrounding it. Especially if you’re a wine lover! There are some INCREDIBLE wineries in the area!

    • markstraveljournal January 5, 2021 / 3:28 pm

      Yes you are right. Check out Niagara on the Lake and vicinity for some great wineries and golf courses. Thanks for your comments.

    • Michelle (Boomer Eco Crusader) January 5, 2021 / 6:34 pm

      Yes! Niagara-on-the-Lake is amazing. In addition to great wine and theatre, you can get Cows ice cream – the only place in Ontario where you can. Oh now you’ve got me craving some Wowie-Cowie. This is not good.

  3. Michelle (Boomer Eco Crusader) January 5, 2021 / 6:31 pm

    As a fellow Canadian, it warms my heart to see this list. You hit all my favourite spots. The only one I would add is Quebec City! I love its European feel and old-world charm. There are so many wonderful places to explore here. Thanks for spreading the word! I can’t wait until we’re free to travel again and I can return to some of these places. I haven’t even been to Toronto in almost a year.

  4. nortoncharity January 9, 2021 / 6:50 pm

    Those places all look so amazing. I have never been to Canada before but I would love to visit it sometime.

    • markstraveljournal January 10, 2021 / 9:15 am

      Canada is great, but I’m biased (being Canadian and all…). Thanks for the comments.

  5. nianni January 11, 2021 / 3:31 am

    All these places looks beautiful, will love to see them one day.

      • nianni January 11, 2021 / 8:36 am

        I hope so too 🥺

  6. Jonathan Lessuck January 12, 2021 / 8:11 am

    A great intro to Canada. While I like Banff, it has really become like a cruise resort town. I much prefer Canmore. 10 miles from Banff, but a little more “real.”

  7. Jupiter Hadley January 14, 2021 / 9:40 am

    I’ve always wanted to visit Vancouver! Thank you for this post, there are so many different parts worth checking out.

    • markstraveljournal January 14, 2021 / 9:43 am

      You can’t go wrong with Vancouver. Thanks for the comments.

  8. aspoonfulofvanilla January 14, 2021 / 12:16 pm

    Canada is a place I have always wanted to visit. Toronto, Vancouver and Prince Edward Island have always been at the top of my list.

    • markstraveljournal January 14, 2021 / 12:22 pm

      Great travel plans to have for the future! Thanks for the comments.

  9. Anika May January 15, 2021 / 8:14 am

    Great post! Canada has always been high on my travel list, especially Banff and Toronto, they look incredible.

  10. Jaya Avendel January 15, 2021 / 4:19 pm

    Canada is a lovely country, so I love the places you share where the land is at its most beautiful. Where I live in the Blue Ridge, the Blue Ridge Parkway goes behind my house and I love the drive it offers from overlook to overlook to see the mountain views. I would be on the Icefields Parkway in no time!
    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • markstraveljournal January 15, 2021 / 5:06 pm

      Nothing like a beautiful drive with great views. Appreciate your comments, thank you.

  11. Castlesandturrets January 16, 2021 / 7:00 am

    This is just such a great post about Canada – it really is a beautiful place. One day I’ll be able to visit all of these suggestions, and I cannot wait 😀 Great post thank you for sharing!

    • markstraveljournal January 16, 2021 / 7:27 am

      Being Canadian, I couldn’t agree more… thanks for the comments.

  12. Megan Rae January 16, 2021 / 9:31 am

    canada looks so beautiful! i would really love to visit one day ❤️

  13. Thecaskconnoisseur January 16, 2021 / 11:11 am

    I’ve always wanted to go and visit The Niagara Falls. Every time I’ve seen it on the Tv it just looks beautiful. I’ve always wanted to visit Montreal in Canada, I certainly need to go and explore that side of the world once it’s safe.

    • markstraveljournal January 16, 2021 / 1:56 pm

      You certainly do need to get to Canada in the future. We have great beer here in addition to the scenery…cheers!

  14. lynnmumbingmejia January 16, 2021 / 5:37 pm

    Reading your post makes me feel ashamed that as a Canadian haha. I’ve barely visited anywhere! I’m currently in Vancouver and I’ve only gone as far as Banff! I’d love to visit Nova Scotia, PEI, Quebec and Ottawa soon! Thanks for sharing Mark x

    http://www.lynnmumbingmejia.com

    • markstraveljournal January 16, 2021 / 5:44 pm

      Time to make some future travel plans, eh… I’m fortunate to have been coast to coast. We have a great country to explore! Thanks for the comments,

  15. nortoncharity January 17, 2021 / 8:38 am

    I would love to go to all these places! I have never been to Canada before but it sounds wonderful!

    • markstraveljournal January 17, 2021 / 8:44 am

      Lots of places to visit after the pandemic. And yes Canada is wonderful. Thanks for dropping by.

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