10 Spectacular Places in Canada to Visit Now
Canada will be a hot destination in 2017. Both The New York Times and Lonely Planet have ranked the country as the #1 place to visit this year, and Princess Kate and Prince William took a highly-publicized tour of the country in the fall.
Convinced you need to visit, pronto? We've compiled this guide of the top must-see destinations in the country to get you started.
Québec City offers sites such as Canadian troops staging military ceremonies and snacks like the classic Canadian poutine—french fries smothered in cheese curds and gravy. It's the only walled city north of Mexico, and offers 400 years of history and charm. Feel like you're in a European village of yesteryear with beautiful, cobblestoned Old Québec, a UNESCO world heritage site.
Banff National Park
Three Canadian Pacific Railway construction workers came across a cave with hot springs in Alberta's Rocky mountains in 1883, a site that would eventually become Banff National Park (the world's third national park, and Canada's first). The city of Banff within the park is the highest town in Canada. Beautiful mountains, forests and lakes cover more than 1.6 million acres, where you can ski, hike, horseback ride, canoe and much more.
An attractive playground for skiers, Calgary is nestled in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. Check out the Canada Olympic Park (you can even use some of the facilities built for the 1988 Winter Olympic Games yourself), shop your heart away at Stephen Avenue Walk or learn about the city's Wild West history at Heritage Park.
Another great destination for winter sports enthusiasts, Whistler is also a popular locale in the summer for its beautiful lakes and golf courses. During the winter, hit the slopes at Whistler Blackcomb Mountain, a ski resort that spans more than 8,100 acres of land, and join the spectators at one of the city's many ski and snowboard competitions.
Great Bear Rainforest
Experience the world's largest intact temperate rainforest (bet you didn't think that'd be in Canada) and spot black bears in the 250 miles of temperate rainforest on the central and north coast of British Columbia. The rainforest's waters are also teeming with marine life including sea otters, sea lions, dolphins and whales.
Jasper National Park
The most massive national park in the Canadian Rockies, Jasper National Park has magnificent mountain peaks and plenty of wildlife, including elk, grizzly bears, black bears, moose, deer, bighorn sheep, wolves, coyotes and the rare woodland caribou. Many trails are accessible straight from hotel doorsteps.
During their 2016 trip to Canada, Princess Kate and Prince William visited the archipelago of Haida Gwaii in British Columbia. Go there to learn about the culture and history of the Haida people (who populate half of Haida Gwaii) with a visit to the Haida Gwaii Museum, and to experience the locale's museums and galleries.
Vancouver offers both dense urban life and beautiful nature with popular attractions such as the large urban space Stanley Park and the horticultural hotspot Queen Elizabeth Park. If you want to hit some shops, check out Gastown for home decor stores.
Montreal boasts the world's second-largest French speaking population after Paris, France. Visit one of the city's abundant public markets, such as Jean-Talon, to buy city delicacies and chat with locals, or head over to Basilique Notre-Dame, a stunning gothic chapel.
Perhaps the most famous tourist hotspot in Canada, Niagara Falls — the site of three waterfalls that hug the border of Canada and New York — welcomes 12 million tourists every year. Take in the natural beauty of the falls, then explore the area's wineries (the Niagara Icewine Festival is January 27 - 29), nightlife, and museums.
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.