The Great White North: Top City Breaks in Canada

Updated On: January 24, 2023

Best City Breaks in Canada

It is no doubt the United States is entertaining. However, if you go up north, you will find fabulous scenery with sharp-looking wildlife and some award-winning architectural cities ahead of you in what is called Canada.

Canadian cities are among the most stunning cities across the globe, and their beauty is unmatched. Whether you are looking for a winter destination, a beach holiday, a vibrant city, or a secluded spot, Canada has the ideal city break for each traveller.

So, let’s introduce a list of the top 10 city breaks in Canada to visit on your next holiday. Explore them all to pick your favourite!

1. Toronto

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As its largest city, Toronto tops the list of the best city breaks in Canada. It is renowned for its diverse culture, attractions, museums, and vibrant nightlife. 

Toronto is home to various museums and galleries, including the Royal Ontario Museum, one of North America’s largest museums of natural history and international cultures. Other excellent museums include the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art. 

On top of the things to do in Toronto is climbing its most iconic attraction, CN Tower. It is an experience of a lifetime to see a panoramic scene of the city from such a height. You can also take ferry rides to the Toronto Islands found off-shore and spend a one-of-a-kind day out. 

When the sun sets, visit the Entertainment District, home to numerous clubs and concert venues, and live the nightlife experience to the fullest.

2. Montréal

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Montréal
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If you wish for a European-style city break in Canada, Montréal is more of a French than a Canadian city. This brilliant, French-speaking city promises an unforgettable trip with many fantastic things to do.

Montréal is famous for its rich history and cultural attractions, especially the Old Montréal neighbourhood. It is a central point of historical sights, such as the Notre Dame Basilika, the Old Port, and Place d’Armes. Spend some time strolling through the old, cobbled streets while admiring the masterful architecture of Old Montréal.

Other top destinations in Montréal include Mount Royal and Mount Royal Park. The park boasts scenic landscapes, lakes, and woodlands and offers plenty of activities. It is a wonderful place to hike various trails, picnic, or play in a skating rink. You can also climb Mount Royal and enjoy a fantastic city view from above. 

3. Quebec City

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Quebec City
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Quebec City is one of the best city breaks in Canada for those seeking sightseeing and cultural activities on their trip. The city’s preserved architecture, historic districts, and fantastic cuisine are a few examples of what it offers.

On a short trip to Quebec City, you can visit the Plains of Abraham, a historic park offering scenic views of the St. Lawrence River. For sightseeing, you can take a walk through the Old Quebec district. It is a historical spot that boasts many cultural attractions, such as the Place Royale and the iconic Château Frontenac.

If you’re visiting Quebec City in the winter, held in late January and early February, head to the Winter Carnival! It is a big festival featuring many events and winter activities, such as skating, ice canoeing, dogsledding, snowshoeing, and more.

During the summer, you can attend the Quebec City Summer Festival held in July. It is Canada’s largest outdoor music festival, featuring many performances and worldwide celebrities.

4. Ottawa

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Ottawa
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Ottawa, the capital of Canada, is a lovely city where tourists of all ages can have fun and a wonderful time. Its cultural attractions, landmarks, museums, galleries, and annual festivals draw visitors to explore the city and have an enjoyable holiday. 

One of Ottawa’s most famous attractions is the Rideau Canal, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is mainly used now for pleasure boating. The canal also offers great walking and biking trails along amazing scenery. 

In the winter, the Rideau Canal is turned into the world’s largest skating rink and becomes a popular tourist destination for ice skating. It also becomes the centrepiece of Ottawa’s Winterlude festival. 

Winterlude is Ottawa’s annual winter festival held in February that offers numerous entertaining activities. In addition to skating on the Rideau Canal skateway, you can watch live ice sculpting, play in the Snowflake Kingdom, and enjoy many other snow-related activities.

5. Victoria

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Victoria
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Victoria, the capital of British Colombia, is one of the best vacation spots in Canada, with the majestic Olympic Mountains providing a stunning backdrop for the city. 

Although Victoria is not directly on the Pacific coast, some locations in the city offer great views over the vast ocean. For example, the waterfront pathways of Dallas Road offer fantastic sceneries along four kilometres. 

Another example is the Ogden Point breakwater, a popular walk and cruise ship destination near downtown Victoria. It is a great spot to watch sunrise or sunset over the stunning Pacific scenery. 

Victoria is also one of the world’s best locations for whale watching. You will find many tour operators providing guided trips for whale watching, usually leaving from the Inner Harbour. In addition to many whale species, such as humpback, killer, grey, and minke whales, you can spot other marine creatures, including dolphins and sea lions.

6. Vancouver

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Vancouver
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Vancouver is a port city and a popular vacation spot known for its pleasant climate, fantastic scenery, and diverse culture. It is encircled by stunning mountain vistas and boasts a long stretch of coastline with many gorgeous beaches. 

Vancouver is home to the famous Stanley Park, one of the world’s best city parks, providing various exciting experiences for visitors of all ages. It features vast green spaces, lakes, and stunning mountain and ocean views. The park is also home to Canada’s largest aquarium, which has countless fish to see and a 4D theatre.

7. Niagara Falls

Best City Breaks in Canada
Niagara Falls
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Niagara Falls City in Ontario, named after the renowned waterfalls, lies on the western bank of the Niagara River that runs along the boundary between Canada and the United States. The city boasts the largest of the three waterfalls that form Niagara Falls, the Horseshoe Falls.

The Horseshoe Falls is a world-famous tourist attraction known for its breathtaking scenery and the exciting activities it offers. You will find boat tours providing close-up views and helicopter tours providing bird-eye views of the falls.

One of the must-visit attractions in Niagara Falls is the Journey Behind the Falls, where you can get breathtaking views of the Falls from behind and below. You will take an elevator down to a tunnel that leads to observation decks from which you can see a majestic scene of the water rushing down to the basin.

8. Edmonton

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Edmonton promises a thrilling adventurous experience in Canada’s Northmost. It is home to amazing valleys, parks, waterfalls, a majestic river, and many cultural attractions.

The North Saskatchewan River is one of Edmonton’s main attractions, offering various recreational activities. There are guided boat trips you can join to explore and admire the river closely, and you can also rent a canoe or a kayak.

The river valley is a vast parkland with many parks offering various outdoor activities. It is an ideal spot for a picnic beneath the shady trees. It also features paved trails perfect for strolling, rollerskating, and hiking. In winter, you will find some skating rinks to go skiing.

Edmonton is also one of Canada’s best places to see the Northern Lights around spring and autumn. As best observed in the darkest skies, try to go to a remote place away from city lights, preferably in the countryside, to see the shimmering lights in the night sky.

City Breaks in Canada: A Never-Ending List

After passing from Toronto to Niagara Falls, with every beautiful scene, greenspace, lake, structure, and shore, we can conclude that Canada is home to some of the world’s best city breaks.

Check out more Canadian places to plan your trip, or if you’re brave enough, explore our list of the top haunted places in Canada!