Canada, the second-largest country in the world, is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, diverse cultures, and vivacious cities.

From the stunning Rocky Mountains to the historic streets of Quebec City, there’s something for everyone in this vast and captivating nation.

Travellers can also explore some of the top-rated attractions in Canada, including Nahanni National Park, Great Slave Lake, and the towns and cities of Churchill, Whitehorse, and Yellowknife.

This blog explains the top tourist attractions in Canada, highlighting things to do at each destination.

Where to stay

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  • Travelodge By Wyndham Ottawa East ($115 per night**)
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Top Tourist Attractions in Canada

1. Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls, one of the most iconic natural wonders on the planet, is a breathtaking spectacle. Located in the province of Ontario, this majestic cascade of water has earned its reputation as the best tourist attraction in Canada.

The mighty Niagara River plunges over a precipice, creating a mesmerizing curtain of water that drops dramatically into the Niagara Gorge below.

The falls are actually composed of three distinct sections: the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls, and the Bridal Veil Falls. The Horseshoe Falls, which resembles a horseshoe shape, is the most famous and the largest.

Niagara Falls

In the evenings, the falls are illuminated by a vibrant array of colors, creating a mesmerizing light show against the backdrop of the night sky.

Pro tip: Visit in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid crowds.

Things to do

  • Take a boat tour to get up close and personal with the falls.
  • Explore Niagara-on-the-Lake, a picturesque town known for its wineries.
  • Visit the Butterfly Conservatory and Bird Kingdom for a unique wildlife experience.

How do I get to Niagara Falls from Toronto?

Take the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) highway from Toronto to Niagara Falls. The journey typically takes 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on traffic conditions.

You may rent a car in Toronto and drive to Niagara Falls at your own pace. Rental car agencies are available at Toronto Pearson International Airport and throughout the city.

2. Banff National Park

Established in 1885, this park is Canada’s first national park and part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This national park is celebrated for its breathtaking landscapes, diverse wildlife, and outdoor recreational opportunities.

The most renowned attraction of the park is the stunning Lake Louise, where the turquoise waters reflect the surrounding snow-capped peaks, creating a scene of unparalleled beauty. Nearby, Moraine Lake captivates visitors with its surreal blue hue, framed by the Valley of the Ten Peaks.

Banff National Park

Pro tip: Go hiking or skiing depending on the season, but check the weather forecast before planning.

Things to do

  • Drive the Icefields Parkway for stunning mountain vistas.
  • Hike to Lake Agnes Tea House for breathtaking alpine scenery.
  • Relax in Banff’s hot springs after a day of exploring.

3. CN Tower in Toronto

Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, Ontario, this architectural marvel is one of the best tourist attractions in Canada, offering visitors an unparalleled experience that combines breathtaking views, fine dining, and a unique glimpse into engineering excellence.

CN Tower in Toronto

Standing at an impressive height of 553.3 meters (1,815 feet), the CN Tower held the title of the world’s tallest freestanding structure for over three decades after its completion in 1976. Its design, characterized by its slender, tapering form and signature pod at the top, has become synonymous with Toronto.

The CN Tower’s main attraction is its Observation Level, where visitors can embark on an elevator ride that whisks them to the top in a matter of seconds. Once there, panoramic vistas of Toronto and its surroundings stretch as far as the eye can see.

On a clear day, you can even catch glimpses of the distant shores of Lake Ontario and the Toronto Islands.

Pro tip: Enjoy delicious Canadian cuisine at 360 Restaurant (one of the restaurants of CN Tower).

Things to do

  • Take the glass-floored elevator to the observation deck for a panoramic view of Toronto.
  • Visit Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, located at the base of the CN Tower.
  • Adventure seekers can go for EdgeWalk, an opportunity to step outside and walk along the edge of the tower’s roof while harnessed to a safety rail.

4. Old Quebec City

Stepping into Old Quebec feels like entering a time capsule, where cobblestone streets, centuries-old architecture, and a vibrant cultural heritage transport visitors to a bygone era of European elegance and Canadian history.

Old Quebec City

Old Quebec is divided into two distinct but equally captivating districts: Upper Town (Haute-Ville) and Lower Town (Basse-Ville).

Upper Town is home to some of Quebec City’s most iconic landmarks. The historic heart of the city, Place Royale, is where Samuel de Champlain founded the first permanent French settlement in North America in 1608.

Descending the famous Breakneck Stairs or taking the Funicular, you will reach Lower Town, where the city’s earliest commercial and industrial activities are located.

Pro tip: Explore the cobblestone streets on foot to soak in the historic charm.

Things to Do

  • Walk along the fortified city walls for fantastic views of the St. Lawrence River.
  • Visit the iconic Fairmont Le Château Frontenac for a taste of luxury and history.
  • Savor French cuisine at local bistros in the Petit-Champlain district.

Are there guided tours available in Old Quebec City?

There are numerous guided walking and sightseeing tours in Old Quebec City. These tours provide in-depth insights into the area’s history, culture, and stories.

5. Vancouver and Stanley Park

Vancouver, a coastal gem on the western edge of Canada, is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, diverse culture, and vibrant urban lifestyle.

One of its crown jewels is Stanley Park, a lush urban oasis that beckons visitors and locals alike to explore its captivating blend of natural wonder and recreational opportunities.

Vancouver and Stanley Park

Stanley Park is Vancouver’s urban sanctuary, covering over 1,000 acres of natural beauty. It’s often described as a “city park like no other” due to its unique blend of dense forests, seawall promenades, gardens, beaches, and cultural attractions.

Pro tip: Rent a bike to explore Stanley Park’s seawall, especially on a sunny day.

Things to do

  • Explore prime attractions of Stanley Park, like Totem Poles and Vancouver Aquarium.
  • Explore Granville Island’s artisan shops and food markets.
  • Take a day trip to Grouse Mountain for outdoor activities and scenic views.

6. Jasper National Park

When discussing the prime tourist attractions in Canada, we can’t ignore Jasper National Park.

Situated in the heart of the Canadian Rockies in Alberta, Jasper is a pristine wilderness paradise that captivates visitors with its dramatic mountain landscapes, crystal-clear lakes, abundant wildlife, and endless opportunities for outdoor adventure.

Jasper National Park

The park is characterized by rugged mountain ranges, including the awe-inspiring Columbia Icefield, which feeds several major glaciers, and the towering peaks of the Athabasca and Maligne mountain ranges. The iconic Pyramid Mountain, with its pyramid-shaped peak, is a prominent feature that graces the park’s skyline.

Pro tip: Plan your visit in the spring or fall to avoid the summer crowds.

Things to do

  • Go stargazing at the Jasper Dark Sky Preserve, one of the world’s largest accessible dark-sky preserves.
  • Take the Jasper SkyTram for breathtaking mountain views.
  • Visit Maligne Canyon and take a boat tour of Maligne Lake to see the iconic Spirit Island.

 7. Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island (PEI), located on the eastern coast of Canada, is a picturesque island province that charms visitors with its stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and warm hospitality.

Known as the “Garden of the Gulf,” PEI is famous for its rolling green hills, red sandstone cliffs, and pristine beaches, making it one of the best tourist destinations in Canada, especially for travellers seeking natural beauty, history, and a taste of maritime culture.

Prince Edward Island

Things to do

  • Visit Green Gables, the inspiration for L.M. Montgomery’s famous novel.
  • Drive the scenic Confederation Bridge for stunning coastal views.
  • Savor fresh seafood, including lobster and mussels, at local restaurants.

8. The Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia

The Cabot Trail is renowned as one of the most breathtaking drives in the world. This 298-kilometre (185-mile) route offers travellers a mesmerizing journey through pristine wilderness, coastal cliffs, picturesque fishing villages, and panoramic vistas that will leave you in awe of its natural beauty.

The Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia

As you drive along the winding roads, you will be treated to vistas of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Gulf of Maine.

The route takes you through Cape Breton Highlands National Park, where the rugged terrain, lush forests, and abundant wildlife make it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and photographers.

Pro tip: Start early to enjoy the drive without heavy traffic.

Things to do

  • Hike the Skyline Trail for a chance to spot moose and whales.
  • Visit the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site in Baddeck.

9. Parliament Hill in Ottawa

Parliament Hill is an iconic symbol of Canadian democracy and one of the top attractions in Canada for tourists and citizens alike. This historic site is home to the seat of Canada’s federal government and offers visitors a unique blend of political significance, architectural grandeur, and cultural experiences.

Parliament Hill in Ottawa

Niagara Falls lit at night by colorful lights with fireworks

It is the place where the country’s leaders gather to make decisions that shape the nation’s future. The Parliament of Canada consists of two distinct buildings on the hill: the Centre Block and the East Block.

Pro tip: Attend the daily Changing of the Guard ceremony during summer.

Things to do:

  • Explore Parliament Hill’s Gothic Revival architecture and beautiful gardens.
  • Take a guided tour of the Parliament Buildings to learn about Canada’s history.
  • Enjoy outdoor skating on the Rideau Canal during the winter.

10. Calgary Stampede

The Calgary Stampede, often called “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” is a world-renowned annual event in Calgary, Alberta. This iconic celebration combines the rich heritage of the Canadian West with thrilling rodeo competitions, live entertainment, carnival rides, delicious cuisine, and a vibrant carnival atmosphere, drawing visitors from around the world.

Calgary Stampede, often called "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth

At the heart of the Calgary Stampede is the rodeo, where top cowboys and cowgirls from Canada and beyond compete in a series of exhilarating events.

From bull riding and barrel racing to steer wrestling and bronc riding, the rodeo showcases the skill and bravery of the participants as they strive for championship titles.

Pro tip: Book your tickets well in advance, especially for popular events.

Things to do

  • Explore the Western Oasis, a showcase of Western Canadian culture, art, and food.
  • Don’t miss the nightly Grandstand Show and fireworks.

11. Whistler, British Columbia

Whistler is a world-renowned resort town that entices visitors with its unparalleled natural beauty, year-round outdoor adventures, and vibrant alpine culture.

Whistler is perhaps best known as one of North America’s premier winter destinations. The resort town boasts two world-class ski areas: Whistler Blackcomb, which is consistently ranked among the top ski resorts globally, and Whistler Village, a charming pedestrian-friendly hub that serves as the gateway to the slopes.

Whistler, British Columbia in Canada

Skiers and snowboarders flock to the area for its vast terrain, deep powder, and well-groomed runs.

When the snow melts, Whistler transforms into a paradise for summer adventurers. Hiking and mountain biking enthusiasts can explore a vast network of trails that wind through lush forests, alpine meadows, and pristine lakes.

Pro tip: Plan your visit based on the season—skiing and snowboarding in winter and hiking and mountain biking in summer.

Things to do

  • Explore Whistler Village for shopping, dining, and vibrant nightlife.
  • Take the Peak 2 Peak Gondola for incredible mountain views.

 Tips for Traveling in Canada

Now you have an adequate idea regarding the top tourist attractions in Canada, here are some tips for a smooth and enjoyable journey:

Weather Variations: Canada’s weather can be highly variable. Pack accordingly, especially if you are travelling during the winter.

Language: Canada is bilingual, with English and French as official languages. However, English is widely spoken throughout the country.

Currency: The currency is the Canadian Dollar (CAD). Credit cards are widely accepted, but having some cash on hand is a good idea, especially in more remote areas.

Healthcare: Canada has excellent healthcare facilities. Ensure you have travel insurance for emergencies.

Transportation: Canada is vast, so plan your transportation carefully. Domestic flights are common for long distances, while cities have well-developed public transit systems.

 Conclusion

The top-rated tourist attractions in Canada offer diverse experiences, from natural wonders to vibrant cityscapes.

Whether you are admiring the majesty of Niagara Falls, exploring the historic streets of Quebec City, or venturing into the wilderness of Banff National Park, Canada can entice every traveller.

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FAQs

What city in Canada has the most tourist attractions?

Toronto (the capital of Ontario) boasts many tourist attractions, including the CN Tower, Royal Ontario Museum, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, Canada’s Wonderland, Toronto Islands, and diverse cultural neighborhoods.

Is Toronto better than Vancouver?

Both cities have unique characteristics and appeal, so it’s essential to consider what matters most to you when comparing.

  • Vancouver is known for its milder, more temperate climate with mild winters and warm, rainy winters. Toronto experiences all four seasons, including hot summers and cold winters with snow.
  • Natural landscapes surround Vancouver, including the Pacific Ocean, mountains, and lush forests. It offers easy access to outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and water sports. While not as naturally picturesque, Toronto is situated on Lake Ontario and has several beautiful parks and green spaces.
  • Toronto is the economic hub of Canada and offers a wide range of job opportunities across various industries, including finance, technology, and healthcare. Vancouver’s economy is also diverse, with strengths in film and television production, natural resources, and technology.
  • Vancouver is known for its high cost of living, particularly housing. Real estate prices in Vancouver are among the highest in Canada. Toronto’s cost of living is also relatively high, but it may have a broader range of housing options compared to Vancouver.