Best of Canada: Capital Culture and Cobblestones

Why do most Canadians only travel within Canada for those have to trips? The annual have to see family for the holidays, have to attend out of town wedding or meeting. It seems we save all our vacation trips for out of the country. But before you break the bank on gassing up, crossing the border, monitoring travel advisories or exchanging currency, check out our Best of Canada series on the many spots right here on home soil you’ve just got to see.

Toronto Theatre, Beaches and Sky-High Adventure

Hometown of Drake, with so much to see from the great heights of the CN Tower to the beaches of Scarborough Bluffs. Not your average sightseeing, the CN Tower offers its signature Edge Walk for an exhilarating 1168ft view. There’s plenty to explore in the downtown entertainment district where you’ll discover some of the city’s best bars, restaurants, theatre, and places to stay. Take in a live show at the Royal Alexandra or visit the permanent home of TIFF at the Bell Lightbox for year-round screenings of critically acclaimed films. From sky-high sightseeing, soaking up culture in the entertainment district and sun along the Bluffs, if you ask us, Toronto is the Drake of cities – good looking and a whole lot of fun.

Niagara Falls with small boat in forefront on a blue sky day

Photo by @lostvagabonds

More Than the Falls

Niagara Falls has plenty to offer in the off-season including smaller crowds and stunning fall colours. If you’ve only seen the great waterworks during the day, be sure to make a trip after dark to witness all the water illuminated by bright lights. Or take in a less touristy view by bike, riding one of the many cycle routes along the scenic region. There’s plenty more to explore like the 10 acres of secluded paradise known as Dufferin Islands full of perfect picnic spots and bird feeding stations. Check out the History Museum to learn about the past, or immerse yourself in present day wandering down iconic Clifton Hill. Taking in all the flashing lights, karaoke bars, celebrity wax figures, haunted houses, and candy shops. Full of wineries, farmers’ markets, incredible green spaces, rich culture and history, Niagara is much more than the falls it’s famous for.

Changing of the Guard in Ottawa

Photo by @attravelnlife

Capital Culture

Discover the history, functions and art of the iconic Parliament Hill buildings, including guided tours of the Centre and East Block exploring the offices of Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. The famous Rideau Canal is always worth a visit any time of year, whether in the winter for a picturesque skate, or warmer months for a paddle or leisurely walk. Stop by Notre Dame Cathedral to see the largest and oldest standing church in our nation’s capital, an incredible example of Canadian art from 1841. And just 30 kilometres west of downtown Ottawa, enter the once top-secret Diefenbunker. Built to protect top Canadian government officials from nuclear attack and now open to the public as a museum and National Historic Site. You’ll feel like you’re in a Bond movie as you explore the over 100,000sq ft labyrinth of extraordinary engineering and architectural features in this underground bunker.

Sunset behind building in Montreal

Photo by @margaret_e_mac

New Adventures in Old Montreal

This once-walled district of one of North America’s great cities is rich with archaeological reminders of a bygone era and bustling with life. Travel back in time for a stroll along Montreal’s oldest street, rue Saint-Paul. Enjoy shopping under the Neoclassical silver dome of Marché Bonsecours, raised in 1847 serving as City Hall, revitalized now as an artsy retail centre complete with 15 galleries and boutiques. The cobblestone streets full of art and inspiration at every turn, lead to many shops, restaurants, galleries and cafes galore housed in beautiful old buildings. A foodie’s paradise, explore the gastronomic delights on your own time or hop on one of the many food and drink tours. For a little bit of Europe right here at home, immerse yourself in this beautiful city’s cuisine, culture and all the good life has to offer.

The next time you have to fly somewhere in Canada, try exploring some of the action above. Your next trip might just turn out to be a place you’ll want to visit, again and again.

And when you do, be sure to share your adventures with us on social with #BestOfCanada.