This is my first attempt at listing all the top destinations in Canada. Keep in mind that this is my personal suggestion. I am certain that many others have other suggestions, so feel free to share in the comments below. While I was building this list, I found myself wanting to list more. Unfortunately, I had to stop somewhere.
Furthermore, I am gaging the interest of my readers to find out if I should write a post in the future about some top air or hotel reward redemption and to where.
As for the rankings, because everyone has different personal preferences, I listed in alphabetical order, rather than ranking them. It is way too subjective to rank them, because someone may prefer nature, others big city, others culture, etc. Either way, I believe I covered most of what Canada has to offer in the list below:
Anyone who is interested in the Canadian Rookies, Banff is front and centre about a 45 minute drive from Calgary, Alberta. I would say that this is one of the best places for those who love skiing. If you are looking for the best ski or snowboard trails, I would aim for Banff as the top choice in the country.
This is my one and only mention of the Prairie provinces. But if you are looking to explore the Prairies, Calgary is probably the top city to start with, and then work your way from there.
Also, an honourable mention goes to Jasper, Alberta, which is about a 3 hour drive from Banff.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
This is my only mention of Altantic Canada. If your time is limited and you are only able to visit 1 place in this region, then I would head to Halifax. The largest city in the Altantic province, but not longer enough to overwhelm anyone, is also located next to the ocean. Halifax really gives a taste of everything that Altantic Canada has to offer centralized in one place. If you do have time, I would recommend making taking a road trip around the Atlantic provinces to visit all the other top sites.
Montreal is pretty self-explanatory and it delivers exactly the way it is marketed. Lots of culture, diversity and history behind the city. Though after visiting a few landmarks and historic sites, I would say Montreal is more of a place to have a fun time. Montrealers really know how to have a good time! If you are the type of person who likes to stay up late at night, then you will want to stay in the downtown core.
Niagara Falls, Ontario
If you are looking for one of the top natural wonders of the world, look no further than Niagara Falls, on the Canadian side! Oddly enough, it is nicer on the U.S. side, so because of that, the view is better from the Canadian side. There is this joke that every immigrant in Canada has a photo by the Niagara Falls. This has become a very touristy place in Canada, but I would recommend that you look past that aspect if you want to see this amazing natural wonder. When you are completely focused on the falls, you will forget about all the tourists around you.
I put Ottawa on the list because in my experience during my travels, not many people are aware that Ottawa is the capital of Canada. Very rarely would we visit a country around the world and not at least attempt to visit the capital city. Granted Ottawa is a very low profile and quite relative to many of the capitals of the world. I really believe that it is still worth a trip, even if it is a day trip so to learn more about the country. Ottawa is probably the best city in the country for someone who wants to learn more about the country as a whole. Be sure to participate in all the tours (many are free) around the city (many only offered in the summer), it will also really help you with your Canadian history class!
Quebec City, Quebec
If you are looking for 1 city to visit during the winter, I would actually pick Quebec City to check out the Winter Carnival. Lots of history in Quebec City, and I would even argue that Quebec City feels even more European than Montreal (even though many would say that Montreal has the most European feel outside of Europe). So if that is what interests you, Quebec City would be my top choice for this aspect. Besides, it is only a 3 hour drive from Montreal, so you can easily visit both cities on the same trip.
Probably the most cosmopolitan city in Canada. If you are a fan of big cities, there is no bigger than Toronto. Toronto may not feel like a touristy place, so it may not be the type of city you want to Google to figure out what to do and where to go. Enjoy it for what it is, a big city. Ideally it would be better if you know someone from there to show you around to more of the hidden gems.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Someone once asked me, if I had a lot of money, where would I live in Canada. Personally, I would choose Vancouver, hands down, without a second thought. Probably one of the most beautiful cities in the world (of over 1 million people). Normally beauty and city do not go hand-in-hand, Vancouver is the exception to that. I would recommend to visit in the summer though, it gets painfully rainy in the winter.
Honourable mention goes to Victoria, British Columbia. If you are looking for a smaller version of Vancouver, yet just as beautiful, then I would make a trip to Victoria, which is only a ferry ride away from Vancouver.
Whistler, British Columbia
If you are interested in skiing, but also looking for a ski resort to relax in at the same time, I would say Whistler is the top choice in Canada. The drive to the mountain from Vancouver is also very scenic. Stop along the way to take some pictures. Whistler offers a nice little village to roam around while you are not skiing.
Another natural wonder, if you want to see the northern lights, I would pick Whitehorse as the top destination. It requires a lot of timing and luck of the weather though. So you may need to budget a week to ensure that you give yourself enough time to see the lights. Though, beware that there is not much to do in terms of city activities. If you love winter related nature, you will want to make some side trips in the surrounding area.
Honourable mention goes to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Also a great place to see the Northern lights. I was only going to list one place in the territories to represent. If you had to choose one of the two places, I would go with Whitehorse.
So there you have it. My list. As I mentioned earlier, I wrote this list as a stepping stone towards other potential topics.
Basically, I would like to know if my readers would be interested in reading about top air or hotel reward redemption at specific places in Canada. As Canada is a fairly large country, the point of the list is to give ideas (but not limited to) on places within Canada that I can focus on when discussing some top miles and points redemption.
Please let me know in the comment section below!