Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Canada

The second largest country in the world, Canada has no shortage of beautiful landscapes and tourist attractions.

 From coast to coast, the country has vibrant and culturally rich cities with incredible natural wonders.

In Western Canada  , the Rocky Mountains; Okanagan Valley; And Vancouver, Victoria and Calgary are some of the best cities to visit and frequently dominate itineraries. 

In Central Canada  , some of the most popular tourist destinations are Niagara Falls, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City.

For those traveling to Canada’s eastern Atlantic provinces ,  the  cities of  Halifax and St. John’s offer the beauty of Gros Morne National Park in its own right.

North of Canada, but just as impressive, is  Canada’s North  , where large rivers flow into the Arctic Ocean, creating some incredible terrain for canoeists and where polar bears can be seen in the wild.

 Travelers can explore the remote beauty of places like Nahanni National Park; Great Slave Lake; and the towns and cities of Churchill, Whitehorse and Yellowknife.

1. Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is Canada’s most famous natural attraction, bringing in millions of visitors each year. 

Just over an hour from Toronto, on the American border, these majestic falls drop approximately 57 meters. You can see the falls from a surprisingly close distance from several vantage points.

Niagara Falls and Niagara Gorge have been attracting tourists and daredevils for over a century. 

From the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century, there were many attempts to dive the falls in a variety of homemade boats and barrels.

 This, along with tightrope walkers and other spectacles, developed a carnival-type atmosphere in the town near Niagara Falls that persists to this day.

Families will enjoy hiking Niagara’s iconic  Clifton Hill  to the gorge and falls. 

Other popular things to do here include a cruise to the base of the falls, a trip to the Skylon Tower for a fantastic aerial view, and a look from the base of the falls on a trip behind the falls.

2. Banff National Park and the Rocky Mountains

Banff National Park is located in the heart of the majestic Rocky Mountains in the province of Alberta and offers some of the most beautiful scenery in Canada. 

Turquoise lakes, snow-capped peaks and glaciers are easily accessible in this stunning park. Take a scenic drive or go on one of the best hikes in Banff.

The jewel of the park is  Lake Louise  , where the green waters reflect the surrounding mountains and glaciers, and visitors can easily walk around the shore. 

A short distance away is Moraine Lake, another impressive alpine lake with a slightly more dramatic setting. Bow Lake in Banff National Park | Photo copyright: Lana Law

The Icefield Parkway  , which runs from Lake Louise to Jasper, is an unforgettable drive and another major attraction in Banff. 

At the southern end of the park is the lovely small town of Banff, which offers all sorts of options for accommodation, shopping, dining and nightlife.

3. Toronto’s CN Tower

On the shores of Lake Ontario in Canada’s largest city is the iconic CN Tower, one of Canada’s most famous landmarks. The tower is 553 meters high and dominates the skyline.

 At the top, you can enjoy fine dining  at the revolving  360 restaurant and enjoy dining while overlooking the city and the lake. The lookout  and  glass floor  offer beautiful views across the area. 

For an added thrill, consider stepping outside the enclosure onto the metal walkway for the CN Tower Edgewalk.

 You will be ushered in and then walk around the building, 116 stories or 356 meters (1,168 feet) below the ground.

But even those who decide not to climb the tower are staring at the structure, which can be seen from almost everywhere in the city. At night the tower is illuminated with different colors.

4. Juneau Québec (Vue-Québec)

Old Quebec is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Canada’s historical gems. Spanning Quebec’s Upper and Lower Town, this area contains some of the city’s most historic buildings. 

Lower Town, along the St. Lawrence River, is the site of the original settlement and is home to the magnificent Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, as well as many other treasures. 

The Upper Town rests on 100-meter-high cliffs and is home to the  Citadel  , the  Plain of Abraham  , the  Place d’Armes  and the  Parc Historique de l’Artillerie  .

Old Quebec is one of Canada’s most popular historic areas and is well developed for tourism. 

In addition to the historical sites, other highlights include the artists who  display their works on the rue du Tracer; interesting museums, such as the  Musée de la Civilisation; and unique shops and restaurants.

5. Whistler

Just two hours from Vancouver is the famous ski resort of Whistler Blackcomb and Whistler’s year-round resort destination.

 While Whistler has always been an important winter sports area, it has also developed into a popular summer destination with golf, mountain biking and a lively town atmosphere no matter where you visit.

The village gained international attention in 2010 when it became a venue for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

 The area offers world-class skiing, hotels and dining, as well as a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities and beautiful mountain scenery.

6. Ottawachi Parliament Hill

Ottawa’s Parliament Hill stands above the Ottawa River and is lined with neo-Gothic-style parliament buildings built in the last half of the 19th century. 

The most prominent feature is the  Peace Tower,  which divides the House of Commons and the Senate on either side.

In front of the Parliament Buildings is the Centennial Flame, lit in 1966 to commemorate the Centennial of Canadian Confederation  , and behind the buildings is a sculpture park.

During the summer,  the Changing of the Guard  takes place on the lawn in front of the Houses of Parliament, weather permitting. Below Parliament Hill, there is a beautiful walk along the Ottawa River.

7. St. John’s Signal Hill National Historic Site

At the entrance to St. John’s Harbor, overlooking the city and ocean, Signal Hill is a National Historic Site. It was here, in 1901, that the  first wireless transatlantic signal  was received. 

Although the present fort was built during the hostilities of 1812, it also played a strategic role during the Seven Years’ War with France.

Cabot Tower  is one of the prominent landmarks of Signal Hill. It was built in 1897 to commemorate the four hundredth anniversary of the discovery of Newfoundland.

 It now commemorates Guglielmo Marconi’s reception of the first transatlantic radio telegraphy signal in 1901, transmitted 2,700 kilometers from Poldhu in England.

The tower houses exhibits on the history of Signal Hill and the history of communications (with a special section on Marconi).

 From the top, you can enjoy panoramic views of the city and coastline all the way to Cape Spear – the easternmost point in North America.

8. Old Montreal

Old Montreal, lined with beautiful historic buildings, is the place to go for great shopping and fine dining. While Montreal itself is a vibrant modern city, Old Montreal, down the waterfront, is where you’ll want to go to soak up the atmosphere.

Some of the must-sees in Old Montreal include  rue Boncourt  and the landmark Marche Boncourt in the old town hall building, the interior of the beautiful Notre-Dame Basilica, the  lively  Place  Jacques  -Cartier  and the 1870s  City Hall  .

9. Polar bears of Churchill, Manitoba

One of Canada’s most unique attractions is the polar bear migration that sees these beautiful animals emerge from land on the ice in Hudson Bay near the town of Churchill in northern Manitoba.

This small community opens to tourists every fall. Tours take visitors in tundra buggies with caged windows for up-close encounters with polar bears.

 Prime viewing time is in October or November, when the bears are waiting for the water to freeze before moving onto the ice.

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