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Vancouver was founded as “Gastown” by an Englishman with a penchant for beer and storytelling. Today Gastown is a historic section of the Canadian metropolis, and the lively pubs still reflect the area’s former status as a sort of community drinking center. The city’s forests, grand parks, and impressive suspension bridge beckon travelers to explore them, as do the city’s shops and museums. Relive the glory of the 2010 Winter Games with visits to Olympic venues and the marvelous Olympic Cauldron.
We've heard Toronto described as "New York City run by the Swiss," and it's true—you can find world-class theater, shopping and restaurants here, but the sidewalks are clean and the people are friendly. The best place to start is literally at the top—the CN Tower, the tallest freestanding structure in the Western Hemisphere.
Montreal, c’est si bon! This French-speaking city is considered the cultural capital of Canada, and is a cosmopolitan celebration of Québécois style. A horse-drawn carriage ride around the cobblestone streets and grand buildings of Vieux-Montréal will give you a taste of European flavor. The Basilique Notre-Dame is a confection of stained glass, and the Plateau Mont-Royal district will delight you with its quaint boutiques and cafés. Dig in to a massive plate of poutine to fuel up for a tour of the epic Olympic Park.
Quebec City may be the only fortified city north of Mexico, but it welcomes visitors with open arms. Explore the Citadel, where you might catch Canadian troops staging a military ceremony. As for food, you could splurge on afternoon tea at the Chateau Frontenac, or do as the locals do and snack on poutine—french fries with gravy and cheese curds.
Once a destination for honeymoons and family vacations, Niagara Falls has really stepped it up as an action-packed vacation spot. The falls are literally the biggest draw – watching the frothy water tumble at alarming speeds can be mesmerizing. Throw on a poncho and hop aboard the Maid of the Mist to cruise close enough to the falls to be drenched by spray. Hit the main strip of Clifton Hill for flashy tourist attractions and restaurants galore.
Canada's capital is a compact, clean, cleverly planned center of culture and politics and a destination for every season. Start downtown at the architecturally stunning National Gallery of Canada, and don't miss the Canadian Museum of Nature and the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. Rideau Canal offers boating in the summer and turns into the world’s largest skating rink when frozen in the winter. Gatineau Park attracts cyclists and walkers, while Byward Market blends old and new Ottawa.
Victoria is a thriving city of heritage architecture and time-honored traditions like afternoon tea. With the ocean at its doorstep and wilderness in its backyard, it’s also a perfect place for outdoor enthusiasts. You can find everything from a world-class science and natural history museum to a blooming public park where peacocks roam freely, plus a range of unique shops, cafes and restaurants. And more cycling routes than any other Canadian city, providing a great way to explore the scenery.
The sophisticated city that grew out of the Canadian West, Calgary balances the modern and the traditional with pioneer charm. For the full western experience, show up in time for the annual Calgary Stampede, complete with rodeos. Year-round you'll find abundant shopping, dining and nightlife; a short drive away are some of Canada's finest national parks.
Whistler, British Columbia, is a short trip from Vancouver by road or air. The stunning landscape, pedestrian-only Village and genuine, down-to-earth mountain culture make Whistler an unforgettable year-round destination. Winters provide reliable snow for skiing, snowboarding and Nordic sports while golf, mountain biking and hiking fill the warmer months. Festivals, spas, restaurants and bars combine with endless outdoor activities to make Whistler the ultimate place to escape and unwind.
Flanked on all sides by the Rockies, Banff offers an irresistible combination of perfect powder, luxury lodges, fine dining and lively nightlife. A thriving arts scene and proximity to Lake Louise and Kananaskis County add to its allure. Don’t miss the hoodoos, intriguing rock spires, in Banff National Park.