If France has the Eiffel Tower and Rome has the Colosseum, what iconic tourist spot comes to mind when you think of Canada?
Being the second largest country in the world, it houses countless natural wonders as well as several awe-inspiring man-made attractions. This is probably why it’s hard to think of just one place or monument to represent it.
It was tough to shortlist but we have picked five amazing sites from among hundreds. Here are must-see places to start off your journey to discovering your amazing new country:
Niagara Falls, Ontario
This famous tourist attraction is not just one, but actually three majestic waterfalls located on the border of Ontario and New York (US). Horseshoe falls on the Ontario side offers the best and most expansive views and the most attractions. The place offers a variety of activities – you can take a cruise, sightseeing tour, even a helicopter ride to get a closer view of the falls. In the vicinity are souvenir shops, golf courses, a casino, museums, wine tours, restaurants, and spas. Fireworks light up the sky to cap each fun-filled evening. You can go to the Niagara Parks official site or Niagara Falls Canada to know more and start planning your trip.
Here’s Expedia’s Niagara Falls vacation travel guide video:
Banff National Park and Lake Louise, Alberta
Canada’s first national park is also the largest and most visited site in the country. Its breathtaking scenery, especially Lake Louise’s electric blue waters, is only one of the many reasons tourists flock to it every year. Banff National Park has a large concentration of wildlife that includes black bears, grizzly bears, bison, moose, bighorn sheep, wolves and bald eagles. It is also a major winter sports area as it is home to Lake Louise Ski Resort, and Sunshine Village, two of Canada’s most prominent ski destinations. The quaint and lovely town of Banff provides all kinds of accommodation, shopping, and dining options. Know more about Banff National Park at Banff and Lake Louise.com or Canadian Rockies.
Here’s a preview of what you’ll see at Banff (from the Banff National Park video vault):
Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland (UNESCO World Heritage site)
This unique park on the west coast of Newfoundland boasts of an astounding amount of geological diversity – from coastal lowlands to soaring peaks; alpine plateau to glacial valleys; as well as pristine lakes, waterfalls and fjords. It is also here that you can see a rare example of the process of continental drift, where deep ocean crust and the rocks of the earth’s mantle are exposed. The site made it to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1987 and was described as “an astounding wilderness environment of spectacular landlocked, freshwater fjords and glacier-scoured headlands in an ocean setting. An area of exceptional natural beauty”. Learn more about Gros Morne National Park here.
Watch this video blog from A for Adventure to see the raw and dramatic beauty of Gros Morne National Park.
CN Tower, Toronto
The polar bear capital of the world is also one of the best spots to see beluga whales, exotic birds, and a grand display of northern lights (depending on the time of year). Churchill is in Northern Manitoba, roughly 100 kilometres from the Manitoba/Nunavut border. While in Churchill, you can also learn about its fur trade history, go kayaking, and hiking. Ready to go see the bears, whales and northern lights? Go to Everything Churchill or Great White Bear Tours.
This site is a good contender for the title of “Canada’s most iconic landmark”. The CN Tower is located on the shores of Lake Ontario, Toronto and is considered to be one of the tallest free-standing structures on earth. The tower itself is 553.3 metres high (1,815 ft.) and is one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. It houses a revolving restaurant, aptly named 360, that offers fine dining as well as breathtaking views of the city and beyond. It also has a Look-Out and Glass Floor for the more adventurous visitor. The tower is lit in different colors at night and is visible from almost anywhere in the city. Information on admission rates, activities and events are found at La Tour CN Tower.
The Provincial Response Level is still “Critical” at this time. This means that we should avoid non-essential travel and remain cautious about catching and spreading the virus. However, with vaccination efforts now being fast-tracked, loosening of restrictions and the reopening of the province is on the horizon.
In the meantime, let’s follow all public health guidelines to keep us on target. Keep these five wonderful destinations in your bucket list until we can all travel again safely.
Article updated June 21, 2021.
Sources: UNESCO World Heritage list; 10 places every Canadian needs to visit, Tim Johnson, Reader’s Digest; 15 top-rated tourist attractions in Canada, Lana Law, Planet Ware.
5 must-see places in Canada
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