When you think of Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto, you are reminded that Canada has some really great cities, with each offering world renowned attractions and amenities that cause people to relocate or visit from all over the world.
But Canada is a huge country and in addition to its better known big cities, there are many smaller cities that deserve mention, for their ability to completely overwhelm and enchant visitors. You may not have heard of these Canadian cities, but once you read about them, you will definitely want to head off on a trip to Canada.
Stratford, Southwest Ontario
If you take a picturesque ride west and a bit south of Toronto you will come to the city of Stratford. Internationally renowned for its vibrant art scene, it is home to The Stratford Festival, North America’s largest classical theater repertory company. Each season, they present a dozen or more productions in four distinctive venues including: classics, contemporary dramas and musicals, with a special emphasis on the plays of Shakespeare.
The city is much more than its theater however, Stratford is synonymous with the arts: music, dance, painting, sculpture, literature, and the culinary arts can all be found here in abundance. Stratford is alive with the sights and sounds of actors, musicians, chefs, hoteliers, artists and writers displaying their crafts. The city’s arts and culture scene is the leading contributor to its mood and its economy. While here you can also take in the city’s natural and rustic beauty and its surroundings which are lush and green. Things to do in Stratford include: parks, museums, and art galleries. There is also a wealth of fine dining and many spas which provide relaxing retreats.
Quebec City, Quebec
Step back in time in Quebec City. This 400 year old city is filled with charming cafes and cobblestone streets, and looks like it is located in any old-town in France or Spain. With classic architecture and centuries-old buildings, its romantic appeal is in full display. The city’s historic Old Town has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and rightly so, because its beauty and historic significance makes it a real treasure.
Nestled against the beautiful St. Lawrence River, that invites evening strolls and relaxing pauses along its banks. You can also visit the Cartier-Brébeuf National Historic Site of Canada, located on the north bank of the Saint-Charles. It commemorates the period when Jacques Cartier and his shipmates wintered near the village that would become Québec City. There are various activities including an exhibit on Cartier’s voyages, the reconstruction of a longhouse, and a model of a merchant ship. For those who love sailing, windsurfing, and sea kayaking, visit Beauport Bay, a favorite spot for those looking to relax and enjoy the sun and sand.
If you truly enjoy crystal clear lakes, gorgeous mountain scenery, and all of the summer and winter activities that go along with them, you have to visit Banff. Banff was Canada’s first national park and the city is the only one situated within a national park. Banff has become one of the world’s premiere destinations, featuring a region of unparalleled majestic mountain scenery. Every year, millions of visitors make the trip to take in its stunning views and vast collection of activities.
Banff is home to magnificent hiking trails, countless photo opportunities around nearby Lake Louise, and waiting hot springs to relax and rejuvenate any tired body. The city offers year round activities that include skiing in the winter, and golf in the summer. And you can stuff yourself on the delicious local cuisine year round.
Tofino, British Columbia
If you have never heard of Tofino, one visit and you will be telling everyone you know about its unique allure. Home to less than 2,000 of Canada’s friendliest residents, Tofino is located on the west coast of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island. This tranquil coastal town offers warm summer breezes and all the hiking, surfing, kayaking and whale watching you can take and just when you feel too exhausted to stand, you can partake in the local hot springs which are world famous. Rent a beachfront cottage and wake up to the coastal winds and beautiful Pacific while you are here. And enjoy the delicious local food and hospitality that make Tofino unforgettable.
These cities might not be familiar to you, but give them a chance and they might become some of your favorite holiday destinations!