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Colourful, Vibrant and Bustling

Cities in Canada

In addition to endless nature, Canada has many vibrant cities, each with their own unique character and charm. Find art galleries, museums, restaurants and endless more exciting activities to add to your itinerary. Canada’s urban atmosphere is not to be missed!

5 unforgettable cities in Canada

1. Vancouver

Vancouver is one of the few places on earth where you can ski, surf, and spot orcas while hiking. All on the same day!

Nestled between the mountains and rainforest of British Columbia, Vancouver has an abundance of activities to cross off your bucket list. Visit the trendy neighbourhood of Gastown for a cocktail, or get some delicious Dim Sum in China Town. And you cannot miss the artsy Granville Island! Once an industrial area, this part of Vancouver has now become a hip open market for locals and tourists alike.

Vancouver is a large city, but there is still an abundance of nature at your fingertips. Fifteen minutes' drive from downtown, you'll find thousands of hiking trails and lakes, or explore the area with a drive on the famous Sea-to-Sky Highway.

"If you enjoy nature, scenic drives, wildlife, and a decent glass of wine: British Columbia has it all."

Ben, Travel specialist
Enjoy a beautiful sunset over Vancouver
© Maarten van Engelen
Vancouver is a unique city in the province of British Columbia
© spencer watson

2. Calgary

A true metropolis, with a dazzling skyline set against the surrounding mountains, Calgary has so much to explore. It is located in the eastern foothills of Alberta’s Rockies, where the Bow and Elbow Rivers meet.

The most famous attraction is the annual Calgary Stampede rodeo show. In addition, Calgary has great parks, museums, and neighbourhoods to explore. From the hip shops and restaurants of 17th Avenue to the live music bars of Inglewood, you’ll find somewhere to unwind and let loose a little!

Sports are also very important to the Calgarians. The 1988 Winter Olympics were held here (you can visit the Canada Olympic Park!), and you will feel the buzzing energy of the city if the Calgary Flames make the playoffs!

Be amazed by the towering skyscrapers in Calgary
© jude joshua
Sunrise accentuates the beautiful skyline of Calgary
© kyler nixon

3. Edmonton

Known as Canada’s Festival City, Edmonton is the capital of Alberta and the ‘Gateway to the North’. It stretches along the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, just three hours north of Calgary and four hours east of Jasper.

Because of its northern location, Edmonton winters are harsh and dark. But the summers are quite hot - and the sun stays in the sky until midnight, making it the perfect location for festivals!

Edmonton has something for everyone. History buffs can visit the Fort Edmonton Park, and art lovers will enjoy the Art Gallery of Alberta. If science is your thing, check out the TELUS World of Science building. If you prefer music, the Winspear Centre is a must. Nature lovers can explore the many lush gardens and parks, either on your own or with the help of a local guide.

A stunning view of Edmonton, found in the north of Alberta
© Alicia paydli
As the leaves change colour, Edmonton is just as beautiful in autumn
© Billy hudy

4. Victoria

Victoria is one of the most picturesque cities in North America. From historic castles, to abundant gardens and insightful museums, you simply cannot get bored!

Located on the south side of Vancouver Island, Victoria is the capital of British Columbia. You won’t regret spending a day in the Inner Harbour, one of the most beautiful harbours in the world, and home to the Houses of Parliament, the Royal British Columbia Museum, as well as cafes and restaurants with stunning views of the water.

Once you've explored the city centre, spend some time in the famous Butchart Gardens, stroll through Goldstream Provincial Park, or enjoy a ferry ride to nearby Sooke (and keep your eyes peeled for whales). Don’t forget to leave plenty of time for the Cowichan Valley, where dozens of small vineyards offer tours and tastings.

The charming streets of Victoria, British Columbia
© Sonya romanovska
You can take a taxi boat to get around on Victoria Island
© Annie cotnoir

5. Chilliwack

Chilliwack is a unique little city, located about 240 kilometres from Vancouver and home to many ranches and farms. Take the Circle Farm Tour to visit the most surprising places. For example, Fantasy Farms organises an annual garlic festival, where you can enjoy spare ribs, live country acts, and buy fresh garlic.

If you have enough garlic at home, Chilliwack's historic city centre is home to numerous charming shops that show its colourful personality. You can visit The Book Man, a used bookstore, filled from floor to ceiling with the greatest reads. Or, experience a relaxing atmosphere in Inspired Arts and Gifts, where local artists exhibit their pottery, jewellery, blown glass and more.

If you want to get outside, take a dip in the pristine lakes of Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park or hike to the top of Mount Cheam, where you'll be treated to panoramic views of Fraser Valley.

A local shop in Chilliwack's city centre
© Indigenous Tourism BC/Alicia Haque / Stolo Gift Shop
Go on a canoe adventure in Fraser Canyon
© Destination BC/Hubert Kang

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You probably already have ideas for your holiday to the United States and Canada. Nature tours through the Rocky Mountains, spotting orcas near the San Juan Islands, or exploring the streets of San Francisco on the iconic cable car?

For the best local tips and advice, visit one of our online presentations. Meet our travel specialists and have all of your questions answered.