10 Canadian Attractions Every Kid Should Experience

Canada is loaded with both adult and kid-friendly attractions from coast to coast and whether you live in this beautiful country or are just here for a visit, there are a few key ones not to miss. From the highest point in Toronto to the red sands in Prince Edward Island to the frozen city of Quebec, here are 10 Canadian attraction that every kid should experience in their lifetime.

10. The Carnaval, Quebec City, Quebec

If there is a winter experience that every kid should have in Canada it would be the Carnaval that takes place every year in Quebec City. Every year thousands of visitors flock to this cold weather event which plays host to a slew of activities including snow sculptures, human foosball, snow slides, night parades, outdoor dance parties, sleigh rides, skating and more.

Kids love to meet the mascot of the Carnaval, Bonhomme-the giant real-life snowman who loves to meet with the kids. Make sure to visit him in his epic Ice Palace that is created especially for him and serves as a focal point for several of the activities. Visit a traditional sugar shack, watch as brave men and women frolic in the snow in only their bathing suits at the snow bath and take in one of the family-friendly shows. Whatever you do, make sure you bundle up!

9. Green Gables, Cavendish, P.E.I

Every year hundreds of thousands of people come to the tiny island of Prince Edward Island to visit the site that inspired L.M. Montgomery’s famous Anne of Green Gables novel. This is the perfect place to take the kids and one of the most famed attractions across the country. Located in the popular town of Cavendish visitors to the site will have the opportunity to tour the house and take part in interpretation programs, as well as a stroll through the Haunted Woods and Balsam Hollow trails as found in the book.

Head down to Avonlea Village, a recreated rural community based on the village where Anne lived. Here you can enjoy a children’s music show, browse electric shops and join an authentic PEI kitchen dance party with the kids. Don’t miss the chance to let the kids dress up as Anne at Gateway Village where they can get a replica photo taken, memories that will certainly last a lifetime.

8. Santa’s Village, Bracebridge, Ontario

This 60-acre family entertainment park is nestled in a beautiful setting on the Muskoka River in Bracebridge, Ontario, just a couple short hours from Toronto. It was established in 1955 and this particular location was chosen, as it is exactly halfway between the equator and the north pole, a place where Santa chooses to spend his warm months. This park is only open in the summer and plan on getting there early in the morning to enjoy breakfast with Santa, every day between 9:30-10:30.

Younger ones will love the rides such as swan paddleboats, air bouncers, a miniature Santa roller coaster and more. The splash pad feature giant water buckets that tip and towering candy cane fountains. Come decorate your Christmas cookies at the bake shop, head to Santa’s cabin to grab a photo or visit the farm where there are plenty of deer, sheep, and goat. It is truly Christmas in July here at this unique Canadian attraction.

Via Groupon

7. Algonquin Park, Ontario

If you are looking to get outdoors in the summer and hit the campgrounds there is no better place than Algonquin Park in Ontario. Let’s face it, as much work as it is for parents to take their kids camping, kids absolutely love being able to explore the outdoors. A canoe ride in this park should be on anyone’s bucket list, slicing over the still water with an expanse of water, rock and pine trees in the distance.

Although this park offers a ton of backcountry experiences, they have also made it extremely family friendly with kid-friendly camping areas, rentals on-site and recommended short canoe trips. There is no shortage of beaches to explore, hiking trails, wildlife and enough room for any kid to run around until they can run no more. Hey, maybe they might even sleep in past 7 am.

6. Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto, Ontario

With a name like that, it’s hard to write this list without recommending that this Canadian attraction is visited. The CNE, also known as The Ex is an annual event that takes place for 18 days leading up to an including Canadian Labour Day. Activities here range from an incredible air show, rides, and games, a farm, special kids world, talent shows, special demonstrations and foods that kids will go crazy for.

Every year there is one day during the event that has super discounted prices for kids with the purchase of adult admission. It is here where you will find sing-along with Dora, meet and greets with your kid’s favorite characters, art studios, toy workshops and enough activities to keep you busy for days. Bring a stroller for the wee ones though as it does require a lot of walking.

5. West Edmonton Mall, Edmonton, Alberta

It is the largest shopping mall in North America and absolutely littered with things to see and do, from amusement parks to theatres to an indoor water park. Galaxyland, the indoor amusement park features 24 rides and attractions including roller coasters and thrilling launch rides. World Waterpark is the second largest indoor waterpark and features the world’s largest indoor wave pool and towering twisting waterslides.

The Ice Palace invites skaters of all levels to skate on this scaled down version of an NHL ice rink in the center of the mall. Other exciting things to do here with the kids is indoor mini-golf, an arcade, bowling alley, indoor skate park and explore the theme areas throughout. We promise you could spend 5 days here and still not run out of things to do.

4. CN Tower, Toronto, Ontario

It is Toronto’s most famous landmark and going to the top as a kid is absolutely one of the most memorable moments. For a long time this city attraction was the tallest free-standing structure in the world, and although it lost that title in 2010 it still remains a popular tourist attraction. Kids will love riding in the glass-fronted and glass-floored elevator up to the SkyPod for fantastic views over the city, especially if the kids are a little older to appreciate just how high up they actually are.

The lookout level offers the chance for kids to step out onto the glass floor and really feel like they are floating. If you have kids under the age you will want to make your way to the KidZone, a recent addition to the CN tower which features over 1,500 square feet of space for kids to play. Kids also happen to love the short 14-minute film that features streetcars and propels the audience through the city. Fun for both kids and adults, visit this iconic landmark next time you are in Toronto.

3. Calgary Stampede, Calgary, Alberta

This annual rodeo, exhibition and festival is held every July in Calgary, Alberta and calls itself the greatest outdoor show on earth. Kids love the chance to get up close and personal with the animals at the Stampede including cows, horses, donkeys, sheep, dogs and more. Captivating shows such as superdogs, acrodunk, Thomas and friends, Dora the Explorer and more happen throughout the festival.

Fun interactive activities and rides are located throughout the park, along with enough deep-fried chocolate treats to keep them going all day long. With a midway, market, one epic parade, the rodeo and plenty of parties; the time is now to put on those cowboy boots and hit this epic Canadian attraction with the kids.

2. Canada’s Wonderland, Toronto, Ontario

It is one of the best theme parks in Canada and the largest, opened in 19981 and improving each year that passes. Located in the north of Toronto, it is the perfect day trip for families with kids of all ages. Open daily from May to September and then weekends only until November your best bet to avoid lines is to go during the week before school is out for the summer. Featuring 16 roller coasters, a waterpark, many thrill rides and a special kids-only zone; this park has something for everyone.

Planet Snoopy and Kidzville is perfect the wee ones in your life and features character meet and greets, miniature roller coasters, live entertainment, bumper cars, train rides, swings and more. If you have older kids you won’t want to miss the Halloween Haunt where the park transforms into one giant spooktacular experience complete with rides, mazes and scare zones with live actors throughout the park.

1. Niagara Falls, Niagara Falls, Ontario

It is well known that the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is far prettier than the American, but truth be told how many kids really care about that. Sure they love to see the gushing waterfalls but what makes this attraction really awesome in Canada is the amount of kid-friendly attractions near the falls.

The best-known attraction has to be the Maid of the Mist boat cruise which takes passengers into the rapids immediately below the falls, an exciting experience for all ages. Lundy’s Lane is where the kids will want to head in this town as it offers activities such as bowling, arcades, mini-putt, haunted houses, laser tag and an indoor waterpark. Watch the fireworks over the falls during the summer, grab a bite to eat and wander alongside the impressive thundering falls.

The 7 Best Places for a Winter Wedding

The time for winter weddings is now, before they start becoming the norm and venues start to become unavailable. Why would anyone want to have a winter wedding, you may be asking yourself. Besides the beauty of the gently falling snow, twinkling lights, and gorgeous white shawls the bridesmaids can wear; consider the untapped, breathtaking venues. From Canada to Sweden all the way to Iceland; these are the seven best places for a winter wedding. Don’t blame us when you want to switch your wedding date from summer to winter!

7. Swedish Ice Hotel (Jukkasjarvi, Sweden)

mikeuk / Getty Images

From December to April, couples can say ‘I do’ here at the Swedish Ice Hotel, the world’s largest hotel made of ice and snow. The choices for ceremonies here include the Ice Church, one of the most unique locations in the world. Every year it is hand-carved by designers, different than the year before, and can hold up to 40 guests. The walls and ceilings are made of snow while the altar details and benches are made of ice. If you are a civil ceremony, the majestic Main Hall or one of the hand-carved art suites are perfect. The extras here include hand-carved ice blocks with your names in them, plenty of champagne, and world-class food. Couples can spend the night huddled together in a luxury suite, snow room, or anything in between. Don’t worry about being cold; this hotel has you covered with specialty sleeping bags made for two.

6. Budir, Iceland

olgashev4enko / Shutterstock

If you are looking to be married in a beautiful yet desolate landscape, there is no better place for a winter wedding than Iceland. Hotel Budir is where you lovebirds will want to head as they offer an unforgettable wedding experience. Situated on the oceanfront, the hotel is surrounded by a lava field with the Snaefellsjokul glacier in the background. The small, yet breathtaking church is located right beside the hotel although many people choose to get married on the white sandy beach or on the moss in the midst of the lava field. After the ceremony guests and the couple will head to the hotel for dinner, the restaurant here is considered one of the most romantic restaurants in all of Iceland. The happy couple can book to stay in the one suite while all other guests can occupy the additional 27 rooms.

5. Yoho National Park (British Columbia, Canada)

Lauzla / Getty Images

The secluded Emerald Lake Lodge in the heart of Yoho National Park is the perfect winter wedding destination. During the winter snow envelops the area and turns Emerald Lake into a true winter wonderland. There is a choice of three venues at this lodge, featuring seating from 24-88 people. Ceremonies can be held outside, with the mountains as the backdrop, or in the same room as your reception. Simple flowers, candlelight, and twinkling lights will set the stage for the utmost romantic experience. Snow-capped mountain peaks, crackling fireplaces, and snow gently falling make getting hitched in the Rocky Mountains, one of the best ideas for a winter wedding.

4. Dunton (Colorado, USA)

dszc / Getty Images

Think rustic charm meets natural splendor of the hot springs meets cowboy boots and cocktails in the saloon, that is what wedding guests will expect at this winter wedding venue in Colorado. The Dunton Hot Springs Resort is set deep in the San Juan Mountains of the Colorado Rockies and this restored ghost town turns into a winter wonderland with luxury cabins, an outdoor chapel, a saloon, and absolutely breathtaking landscapes. Enjoy sweeping views of 14,000-foot mountain peaks, alpine springs, and frozen rivers as you say, “I do” under gently falling snow. Enjoy a world-class dinner created by the finest chefs using organic ingredients to create the menu you have always dreamt about. Experience heli-skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling as a new married couple, as well as letting your guests experience a wide range of activities that await you in the winter months.

3. Quebec City (Quebec, Canada)

NicolasMcComber / Getty Images

This truly romantic destination is the perfect place to tie the knot any time of the year, but it gets even more magical in the winter months, alas a bit chilly, but definitely worth it. The European-inspired atmosphere, gourmet dining, stunning churches, chic hotels, and legendary hospitality make this a day you will never forget. Arrive at your ceremony in the legendary horse-drawn carriages, say ‘I do’ at a traditional sugar shack, or even get hitched at the Ice Hotel. Stay in a gorgeous hotel such as the Fairmont, customize your meal at one of many restaurants throughout the city and wander the historic streets of Old Quebec with the thousands of twinkling lights and beautiful decorations. There is truly no bad place to have your winter wedding in this iconic romantic destination.

2. Colorado, USA

Image courtesy of Jeffrey D. Walters / Getty Images

If you just can’t imagine having a wedding day without being blanketed by a covering of snow, Colorado is the perfect winter wedding destination for you. Colorado is blessed with a number of ski resorts, where you and your partner can get a few ski-runs in before or after the ceremony, as well as get married atop a mountain with stunning views and enjoy a luxury lodge experience. Or choose to exchange vows in one of many small chapels that are tucked into the Rocky Mountains. Whatever snowy experience you are after, it is easy to find in this state. From Aspen to Breckenridge to Telluride the choices are endless of winter weddings here.

1. Lake Tahoe, USA

vernonwiley / Getty Images

You will have to bundle up when you get married in Lake Tahoe in the wintertime as the temperature drops, but it will be well worth it when you are standing atop a mountain saying “I do” while looking out into the beautiful views. Stunning snow-capped mountains, fine dining, and elegant venues are located all around the lake, along with dramatic sunsets that seem to be even better in the wintertime. Think s’more stations, outdoor fire pits, mulled wine, and crackling fireplace indoors. The choice of where you choose to say your vows, well that’s up to you. The possibilities here are endless and whether you are looking for an intimate gathering or a full-blown winter wedding party; you will be sure to find it at Lake Tahoe.

Lonely Planet’s 10 Best Value Destinations for 2016

It’s that time of year again, when world renowned guidebook publisher and travel advocate Lonely Planet publishes their predictions and recommendations for the coming year of travel in what’s know as the “Best in Travel 2016” The entire guidebook is filled with top 10 lists with varying themes from Best Animal Adventures to Most Accessible Destinations. In this article however, we will take a look at Best Value. Lonely Planet knows that no matter how deep your pockets are, every traveler loves a deal, and for some, traveling on a strict budget isn’t just a lifestyle; it’s an art form. So without further delay, let’s take a look at the 10 best value destinations for 2016:

10. Western Australia

Typically Australia has been a place that for many, seemed out of reach if not for its geographic location than for its high costs due to a strong Australia dollar. But recently, the AUD has taken a dive, especially in comparison to the US dollar, while that means many Australians might be forced to limit their overseas travel plans, it also means that for many North Americans, a trip to Australia is cheaper than its ever been. Western Australia in particular offers better value than other parts of the country but with all the Australian culture and scenery one could want.

the pinnacles western australia

9. Timor-Leste

Not straying too far from the number #10 destination, the Southeast Asian nation of Timor-Leste occupies half of the island of Timor north of Australia in the Timor sea. This beautiful, lesser-known country is surrounded by coral reefs teaming with marine life of all shapes and sizes. Lonely Planet suggests venturing outside of the country’s capital of Dili and all its pricey international hotels and checking out the bargain beach shacks that can be found on the islands pristine beaches. If you’re not afraid to blaze your own trail and mix with the locals, Timor-Leste might be just the deal you were looking for.

Timor-Leste

8. Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast

While the west side of Costa Rica has been sufficiently explored by tourists, expats and Americans looking for their next vacation home, the east side of the country is still left mostly to the locals. Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast has plenty to offer in comparison to the well known towns of the east but with a much less touristy vibe, which also translates to better deals as well. The town of Tortuguero is famous for nesting sea turtles and the reefs of Manzanillo make for an excellent dive spot, but one of the biggest draws is the famous Costa Rica Sloth Sanctuary located south of Limón.

Sloth Costa Rica

7. Québec City, Canada

If a trip to Europe has been on your wish list but you lack the time and funds to make this a reality, Lonely Planet suggests North Americans head to Québec City. No, it’s definitely not Europe but they suggest it has enough of a foreign francophone vibe and old world charm to make you feel like you’re a long way from home. The city’s Old Town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and with the cobblestone streets, historic buildings and little French bistros, you might just get that taste of Europe for less than you thought.

Chateau Québec City, Canada

6. Galicia, Spain

Being a well visited country by many tourists, you wouldn’t think Spain would have a lot of deals left to be had, but head to the country’s northwest region of Galicia and you’ll find rocky coastline and villages relatively unexplored by tourists. Lonely Planet says that the value of this region comes not only from being a place relatively unexplored by tourists but also from the quality of meat, cheese and seafood that can be found in the many tapas bars throughout the Galicia region. They also suggest booking self-catering accommodations to save money even further.

Redes Galicia, Spain

5. Bosnia and Hercegovina

It is no secret that Europe has a bit of a reputation with travelers as being a pricey place to explore. While that is definitely true of the more major cities like Rome, Venice, London and Paris, it’s the lesser known cities and countries that offer the best value.  Hence, the #5 entry on this list: Bosnia and Hercegovina. The Balkan country encompasses all the major values you look for in budget travel including inexpensive accommodations and cheap eats and its historic cities of Sarajevo and Mostar offer the kind of history and charm you’d expect to pay a price for.

Mostar Bosnia and Hercegovina

4. New Mexico

Even with travel to America looking rather expensive to everyone except those who live there, Lonely Planet stresses the value that can still be found in the state of New Mexico. Cheap eats, affordable accommodations and free activities and attractions abound in this outdoor lovers paradise. With dry sunny conditions almost guaranteed, there are few better states where you can cram in as much time in the great outdoors (an activity that’s essentially free of charge.) Take a Breaking Bad tour in Albuquerque, hike the Apline forest or explore a free wild hot spring. The possibilities for value are endless in this state.

Bisti Badlands New Mexico

3. East Africa

Thanks to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, many tourists are sufficiently scared of the continent as a whole, and thus bookings for 2016 are on the low side. You can probably guess that means good deals are readily available for travel to the continents safer half; East Africa. Lonely Planet advises that the cities of London, Paris and Madrid are hundreds of miles closer to the outbreak region geographically than East Africa’s prime tourist spots are, and reminds travelers just how large a continent this is. So if you’ve ever felt compelled to have an African animal encounter, or explore Africa’s spectacular scenery, the time to head to places like Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania is now.

Blue Nile Falls Ethopia Africa

2. Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Vietnam

Backpackers have known for years that Vietnam is a budget travelers best friend and a recent study by priceoftravel.com confirms the fact placing Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi third and second in a list of the cheapest destinations in Asia. Lonely Planet says that in both cities, $20 USD or less per day will get you food, lodging and sights but the guidebook publishers say at that rate you’ll be living like a local (which we say isn’t a bad thing!) But if you want an experience that’s a sight step up, your authentic Vietnamese experience still won’t cost an arm and a leg.

Aleksandar Todorovic / Shutterstock.com
Aleksandar Todorovic / Shutterstock.com

1. Estonia

Lonely Planet says this year’s #1 best value destination will almost seem like the promised land compared to other popular European destinations. That’s because your Euros go a little farther in Estonia, a Northern European country where Nordic meets old-world Eastern European. If you’ve been getting around Europe by sleeping in hostel dorm rooms, you’ll be happy to know that upgrading to a hotel room of your own will seem quite affordable here, as will the food, drinks and nightlife. It’s not like there’s nothing to see either; the preserved Old Town in the capital of Tallinn has history and museums galore while the enchanting forests of Lahemaa National Park will amaze any traveler.

Lahemaa National Park Estonia

10 Historical Landmarks Every Canadian Should Visit

Canada is a relatively new country in the grand scheme of things and isn’t usually considered as a historical tourist destination. Most people who visit Canada come for the expansive, diverse and stunning landscape, and for good reason; Canada has some of the most impressive natural wonders in the world. But Canada does have an important and rich history, and you would be remiss to explore Canada without a visit to one of the nearly 1000 national historic sites and landmarks found across the country.

10. L.M. Montgomery’s Home -Cavendish, Prince Edward Island

Readers of the Anne of Green Gables series, one of Canada’s most well-known literary works, will be familiar with the National Historic Site. Located in rural Prince Edward Island, near Cavendish, is this quaint landmark; included in the historic site are the Green Gables house, the Cavendish home and the surrounding landscapes, including several lovely hiking trails ideal for a relaxing stroll. Even those who are not familiar with the books or the author will appreciate this beautiful home and the scenery typical of Prince Edward Island; plan for the day and bring a picnic to enjoy on the grounds!

Anne of Green Gables House

9.  Rideau Canal -Ottawa, Ontario

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rideau Canal in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa is an impressive feat of engineering and architecture, and is a favorite destination among both tourists and locals. Officially connecting Kingston to Ottawa, this 202 kilometers of canals is a beautiful chain of lakes, rivers and canals perfect for a day out canoeing or sight-seeing. The exact location of the UNESCO site is in Ottawa; originally built for military purposes in the 1800’s, the series of lock stations and fortifications are architecturally impressive and still completely operational- many still hand crank operated!  It is a favorite for locals too; during the winter months you can strap on some skates and travel nearly the entire canal- make sure you grab a beaver tail and some hot chocolate at one of the many kiosks set up along the way!

Rideau Canal Ottawa

8. Batoche, Saskatchewan

Established in 1872, this Métis settlement was the site of the historical Battle of Batoche during the Northwest Rebellion of 1885 and is now a National Historic Site in Canada. Situated in the heart of the prairies on the South Saskatchewan River, it is here that Louis Riel was infamously defeated and a new country was formed. Walking through this historical landmark, you realize what an important moment this was for Canadian history; in fact, you can still see some of the bullet holes from the final battle. Not just for history buffs, take the family and spend the day walking in the shoes of Métis settlers on the shores of the river and learn how the old way of life disappeared and a new one began.

Batoche, Saskatchewan

7. L’Anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland and Labrador

Visit the L’Anse Aux Meadows National Historic Site on the tip of the island of Newfoundland and you can see evidence of the very first European settlers to set foot on North American soil. Scattered amongst this striking landscape is evidence of an 11th century Viking settlement; the only known location of a Viking settlement in North America, this site holds a tremendous amount of historical importance in terms of migration and discovery. Spend some time looking for the excavated remains of the wood-framed turf buildings (like the ones found in Iceland and Norse Greenland), and wandering around the site. The scenic, yet unrelentingly harsh landscape makes it all the more impressive that an entire culture managed to settle and live here hundreds of years ago.

L’Anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland

6. Fortifications of Québec -Québec City, Québec

As the only fortified city north of Mexico, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is rich in history and architectural beauty, akin to historical cities scattered all over Europe. Walk the walls around Old Québec, nearly 4.6 kilometers in length to marvel at the views of the city and beyond, and to marvel at the military engineering of the fortifications developed in the early 1600’s. Old Québec is a beautiful city to explore by foot; many pedestrian only streets make it easy to get around, and the slower pace makes it easier to take all your pictures! There are also plenty of delicious cafés and quaint shops (although venture off the main streets for a less touristy experience), and plenty of maple syrup inspired treats to keep you going during the day!

meunierd / Shutterstock.com
meunierd / Shutterstock.com

5. Dawson, Yukon Territory

Way up north, in the harsh, unforgiving, stunningly beautiful landscape of Canada, you will find Dawson, Yukon, the heart of the Klondike Gold Rush and a charming town, well preserved and rich in history. Although small, there is plenty to do here; adventure enthusiasts will enjoy the outdoor landscape made for hiking and rafting, yet those searching for a more relaxing visit will enjoy the traditional pubs and boardwalks through town. Those feeling lucky can try their hand panning for gold in the Klondike Gold Fields and enjoy a tour through some of the still operational gold mines. Dawson is worth the trek up north, but given its remote location, be sure to stay awhile and enjoy the surrounding areas to make the most of your trip!

Pecold / Shutterstock.com
Pecold / Shutterstock.com

4. Fort Garry Hotel -Winnipeg, Manitoba

Those afraid of ghosts may want to skip the Fort Garry Hotel- the infamous Room 202 is said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman, but those brave enough won’t want to skip a visit to this landmark. A National Historic Site located in downtown Winnipeg, this famous hotel is one of Canada’s grand railway hotels, and built in 1913, it was the tallest structure in town upon completion. The architecture is reminiscent to other chateau style hotels in Canada, like the Fairmont Chateau next on the list, and is a unique and beautiful addition to the industrial core of Winnipeg.

Photo by: Fort Garry Hotel
Photo by: Fort Garry Hotel

3. Fairmont Chateau Frontenac -Québec City, Québec

One of the most beautiful and grand buildings in all of Canada, the Fairmont Château Frontenac in Québec is considered as one of the most photographed hotels in the world, in part because of its sheer size and grandiose nature on the Québec skyline. Designated as a National Historic Site in 1980, this hotel was built for the Canadian Pacific Railway company in the late 1800’s to promote luxury travel and tourism; it was a hotspot for wealthy travelers and those searching for a glamorous experience. This is the most prominent building in Québec and surely can’t be missed when exploring the area; spend some time exploring the glitzy, over the top décor inside and the intricate architecture on the outside- bring an extra memory card  for your camera when visiting this landmark!

Chateau Frontenac

2. Terry Fox Memorial -Thunder Bay, Ontario

All Canadians are familiar with Terry Fox; in fact, he is probably one of the most well-known Canadian icons, recognized nationally and around the world. Visiting the Terry Fox Memorial, overlooking Lake Superior, you can’t help but be overwhelmed by this man’s courageous and inspirational quest to make the world a better place. Terry Fox was a humble young man who has inspired generations of Canadian’s to raise money and improve the lives of cancer patients worldwide; because of him, hundreds of millions of dollars has been raised for cancer research. All Canadian’s can find something to relate to in Terry Fox and the life he led; because of this and his relatability, this Terry Fox memorial is possibly one of the most emotional and inspirational in all of Canada.

"Terry Fox" by Richard Keeling - Own work. Licensed under GFDL via Commons.
Terry Fox” by Richard KeelingOwn work. Licensed under GFDL via Commons.

1. Fortress of Louisbourg -Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

Located on the Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, this National Historic Site is one of the most important sites in defining Canada as it is today. The Fortress of Louisbourg was settled in 1713 and fortified later in the mid-18th century, and was the site of historic Anglo-French battles crucial to our history. Enter the fortified city and feel what it was like living in a fishing, port city during the 1700’s. Take one of the many walking and guided tours available, or spend some time exploring on your own; whatever you choose you will be sure to leave with a better understanding of how the original settlers of Canada lived hundreds of years ago.

LunaseeStudios / Shutterstock.com
LunaseeStudios / Shutterstock.com

15 Underrated Destinations in North America & Caribbean

Let’s face it, some famous places are so famous, it’s impossible to enjoy them anymore. They have become time consuming forced marches through hordes of tourists that kill the charm or grace of even the greatest destinations. As a result, we’ve compiled a list of the most underrated destinations where travelers don’t have to worry about getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of tourist traffic and can take a moment to enjoy the scene. We’ve even likely named a few you’ve never heard of! Although, you better act quick because there are warnings to heed as some of these places are beginning to grow. The New York Times recently noted that the lovely, uncluttered island country of St. Vincent built a $250 million dollar airport with non-stop flights to cities on both sides of the Atlantic. And the largely untouched Yellowstone National Park is even breaking ground and building hotels! On the reverse end of all this construction, a positive trend is emerging, especially among young travelers, it involves an interest in sustainable tourism, away from the destructive environmental footprints of tourist culprits like huge cruise ships. So here is the list of places that deserve more lovin’, respect and interest than they’re getting.

15. Tulsa, Oklahoma

Beautifully set on the banks of the Arkansas River in the foothills of the Ozarks, Tulsa was the Oil Capital of the World after they hit the first gusher in 1901. The subject of many country songs, the old oil capital has now diversified into technology sectors. It has two highly regarded art museums, plus professional opera and ballet companies. Whether by luck or design, Tulsa’s impressive enclave of Art Deco buildings remained intact and oil money went to renovations and additions. They’re building a whole new waterfront with more museums to come including the Route 66 Experience in honor of the city’s legendary status of the birthplace of one of the world’s most famous highways.

Ffooter / Shutterstock.com
Ffooter / Shutterstock.com

14. Saint Kitts Island, Caribbean

­With its neighbor and sidekick Nevis known as the decadent playground of the idle rich, St. Kitts is looking to go up market from its usual cruise ship fare, as well at the price of some of its informality and unspoiled assets. Entrepreneurs with big plans for huge marinas, big name hotel chains and golf course builders are all passing through the new private jet terminal. A development called Kittitian Hill calls itself an innovative exercise in sustainable living with menus ‘foraged’ from land and sea. They claim Irie Fields is the world’s first edible golf course. ‘Instead of the usual shrubs and trees, you’ll find organic crops and trees bursting with fresh fruit. Smart water management and an abundance of crops will all serve to reduce the course’s environmental impact’. Built on a former marijuana farm, Irie is also an island word for being at peace. Obviously named by someone who has never golfed. But intriguing nonetheless.

St. Kitts

13. Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico

Taos hasn’t rated in the big time ski resort list, but it’s staking its claim. Its underdevelopment has been one of its many charms, but now previously inaccessible expert runs are being opened up, the most notable being Kachina Peak with an elevation of 12,500 feet. Snowmaking capacity has been enhanced. The base village is in the process of upgrades, though cranky traditionalists might call them downgrades. The town itself has maybe 7,000 permanent residents. It is a completely charming place with an artists’ colony and a strong native presence. The simple southwestern food is propelled to great heights by local green chili sauce and access to fresh Pacific seafood not far away. In between skiing seasons, it is a wonderful place for strenuous hiking and sightseeing. The great British author D.H. Lawrence spent some time here in the 1920’s, a testament to the presence of sights and sensibilities that stir the soul. The Times advises ‘visit while it’s still manageable’. Julia Roberts bought a spread here. Consider yourself warned.

Photo by: Kevin Muncie via Flickr
Photo by: Kevin Muncie via Flickr

12. Quebec City, Quebec

They have a brand spanking new arena and a down payment on a National Hockey League franchise to renew their bitter rivalry with Montreal which goes far beyond the ice. So visitors will just have to make do with the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s impeccably preserved 17th century Old Town, gourmet French and Quebecois cooking, alongside some fabulous skiing at Mont Ste Anne and kite-flying on the Plains of Abraham. The Marche de Vieux Port is a foodie flash mob every weekend. Visit Notre Dame de la Victoire, a church built to celebrate an audacious victory over the British in 1642. Have a drink at the bar in the old Chateau Frontenac and enjoy the sumptuous views of the lower St. Lawrence and the Ile d’Orleans. The Winter Carnival is the best and biggest on the continent and the summer music festival is worth a detour as well. The list goes on and on with more enchantment at every turn.

Quebec City

11. The Catskills, New York

As recently as 2012, travel media were writing the Catskill’s obituary. For half of the 20th century, the Catskills were called The Jewish Alps. The Borscht Belt referred to the food, the clientele and a whole genre of comedy. Superstars like Woody Allen, Joan Rivers and Mel Brooks honed their skills at the legendary Grossinger’s Hotel, entertaining the Jewish clientele who flocked to the resort when many others denied them entry. Now the resurrection is underway with chic boutique hotels, snappy restaurants with uber-style—it has decider Vogue Magazine’s blessing of the Phoenicia Diner and Woodstock Way’s luxurious cabins.

The CatSkills, NY

10. San José del Cabo, Mexico

San José is the more mature, refined sibling of Cabo (Cape) San Lucas. The beaches and ocean is the same, just the people on them are perhaps a bit older and a good deal less hung over. It is joining the ever-growing trend to having more environmentally responsible tourism with Flora Farms, a resort with an organic garden in the foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains. Try the Farm Julep made with fresh watermelon juice. There is also a level of sophistication to engage the mind as well as the liver. Smart boutique hotels, good restaurants and art galleries showcasing Mexico’s best. This place offers a satisfying all-round vacation with a different far more satisfying version of the all inclusive.

San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

9. San Antonio, Texas

There is so much to see and do in America’s seventh-largest city, San Antonio. With over 20 million people visiting every year the tourist economy is booming. People flock to this city not only to remember Battle of the Alamo­, though they do that too, this famed battle site completely overshadows the city’s other UNESCO World Heritage Site, the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park with the ruins of four Spanish mission churches dating from the early to mid-nineteenth century. The River Walk is a must and recently grew 500% in length to a full 15 miles. It is celebrated in the country’s musical heart. The legendary blues player Robert Johnson recorded here. It is the “Guitar Town”, home of the great singer-songwriter Steve Earle and Lyle Lovett who sings of his love for his ‘San Antonio Girl”.

f11photo / Shutterstock.com
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

8. New Orleans, Louisiana

The year of 2015 is a somber milestone for New Orleans. A decade has passed since the devastation of Katrina. There will be memorials in honor of the victims, but also much pride to show how far the city and its people have bounced back. There are extra helpings of gumbo and jazz at the beautiful brand new venue of the People’s Health New Orleans Jazz Market which was built in dedication to the city’s greatest achievement: the creation of jazz. The South Market has got the resto/condo/boutique treatment, but the city’s unmistakable personality endures. In this time of reflection, go a little more native, beyond the cuisine clichés, a little couche-couche for breakfast, or try some comfort food like rice and beans and the aperitif called the official Cocktail of New Orleans, the Sazerac, named for the cognac that is its base.

Photo by: Bill Staney via Flickr
Photo by: Bill Staney via Flickr

7. Squamish, British Columbia

The city calls itself “where the oceans meet the mountains”. There is no outdoor adventure activity that can’t be found here – mountain biking, kayaking, white water rafting, wind and kite surfing. It is an acclaimed destination for rock-climbing on the 2000 foot Stawamus Chief mountain which towers 600m (almost 2000 ft) above Squamish, as the 2nd tallest hunk of freestanding granite in the world, after the Rock of Gibraltar. But the most recent addition to attract some of the millions who flock to nearby Whistler is the Sea to Sky Gondola that takes visitors up 3000 feet in 10 minutes to a separate network of high alpine trails to hike and snowshoe. The Gondolas website promises “breathtaking views of the mountains and ocean below”. That is a gross understatement. Each year Squamish plays host to one of North America’s largest convocations of bald eagles who hang out in Squamish during the winter.

Stawamus Chief Mountain

6. Campeche, México

Campeche has everything. It’s a UNESCO World heritage Site. Nearby Mayan ruins perhaps 3000 years old and jungle biosphere that is also declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Well preserved Spanish colonial architectures from the 17th century on, some of which have been turned into charming hotels. Not to mention the great seafood! Yet it remains relatively well-know bypassed perhaps for Yucatan’s hyper-popular beaches. The ruins of Calakmul, including the imposing five pyramids lie under the forest canopy teeming with monkeys and toucans. The Times seductively promises visitors “can experience a solitude unthinkable at tourist-clogged Maya sites like Chichén Itzá”.

Campeche Mexico

5. Cleveland, Ohio

Wait let me get my glasses. I thought it said Cleveland. It’s actually true! It’s no longer the ‘Mistake by the Lake’. The city has reconnected to the waterfront with the renovation of the warehouse district, The Gordon Square Arts district has a gaggle of spiffed up theaters – the stage kind. Waterfront warehouses are being transformed and the glassy geometric new home to the Museum of Contemporary Art is the height of sophistication. One wouldn’t expect the iconic symbol of Rust Belt decline to have miles of hiking and biking trails, but it does. And don’t forget the Hall of Fame. Go Cavs.

Cleveland Flats

4. Miami, Florida

South Beach has become the ultimate in North American chic. Loads of celebs, designer hotels and elegant restaurants. It is now larger and if at all possible, becoming more chic. They have hired Norman Foster and Rem Koolhaas, two of the world’s greatest living architects, both winners of the Pritzker Prize, the Nobel Prize of architecture, so this will be something to see. Designer giant Tommy Hilfiger bought the historic Art Deco gem, the Raleigh Hotel which has been famous since it opened in 1940. Did you hear that? It was the sound of a lot of coin being dropped. When future archaeologists find the ruins, they will think it the Versailles of Florida Panhandle, the center of a society dedicated to above all, conspicuous over consumption.

Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock.com
Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock.com

3. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Caribbean

It is everything you could want in a Caribbean getaway. Superlatives like ‘idyllic’ and ‘unspoiled’ are often used. Divers love the coral reefs and Saint Margaret beach is one of the nicest on the planet. There’s not that much to actually do on the tiny country’s 32 islands, unless you’re one of the one per cent who have private islands and hidden mansions. There’s not that much riveting history, architecture of culture really, except for the one that preaches of blissful relaxation in an impossibly beautiful setting. However, they did shell out a quarter of a billion dollars for a new airport with nonstop flights to and from North America and Europe. Might be good to see it before everyone else does.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

2. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park is the oldest National Park in the United States dating back to 1872. A 500 room lodge is being modernized. A few ‘sustainable’ lodges are opening making the home of Old Faithful a more welcome destination to spend more time in. It is staggering to know that most of the world’s geysers are here. Within the confines of the duty to protect and preserve this treasure, the Park Service is partnering with local nonprofits to responsibly open up the venerable park for both accommodation and exploration. There are new hiking and biking trails. You can take your own snowmobile tour for the first time in over a decade. And veteran visitors swear it is even more spectacular in winter.

Yellowstone National Park

1. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

No seriously. It’s a different way to build a city into a popular destination. Sure, there are famous things to see. The Liberty Bell, the Rocky statue on the Library steps.  But there’s not much of the ‘biggest this-’ or ‘oldest that-’. It’s more about creating a very engaging urban space. It’s a very livable, people-friendly functional urban space with European overtones. Which is saying a lot for a city whose previous contributions to American culture were cheese steaks and the most notorious sports fans in the country. There are free yoga classes on the Race Street Pier in the home of hockey’s Broad Street Bullies. Fairmount Park is the largest city park in the United States, bigger even than Central Park, and very runner/rollerblader/cycler friendly. It must be said pockets of shameful poverty remain. But cities in the world without a regrettable blemish are rare. A civilized city to savor.

Philadelphia Pennsylvania

10 Memorable Places to Get Engaged

Getting engaged is a huge deal. Not only are you agreeing to spend the rest of your life with someone (which is no small undertaking), the engagement itself will be a story that will be told over and over again for the rest of your lives together. And every good story has to have not only great characters (in this case the future bride and groom), but a great setting to start it off on the right page. So to help create the plot of your fairytale story, here are some memorable spots in which to get engaged.

10. Siesta Key -Florida, United States

Siesta Key beach is known to be one of the best in the world, with its temperate waters, signature white sands and miles and miles of beach to walk. Siesta Key is also known to have some of the best sunsets in the world. Take your beloved for a stroll on the beach at sunset and pop the question against the fiery night sky.

Siesta Key

9. Kylemore Abbey -Connemara, Ireland

Another castle to consider for the prince and princess in one of their most romantic moments. Kylemore Abbey in Connemara, Ireland. This castle has numerous restored rooms and six acres of walled Victorian gardens. There are sweeping views of the rolling Irish countryside. Think fresh air, a pastoral setting and history in which to chart your future.

Kylemore Abbey, Ireland

8. The Jefferson Memorial -Washington, D.C., United States

Getting engaged is no small feat, and perhaps surrounding yourself with meaningful words and history will enhance the depth of the commitment and of your love. Engagements at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C. are popular. After a stroll around some Washington landmarks, pop the question in the cradle of history, with thoughtful passages about rights and freedom taken from the Declaration of Independence upon the walls.

Jefferson Memorial, Washington

7. Venice, Italy

Again, it may be cliche, but Venice straight up just oozes romance. This city of waterways has amazing architecture, deep history, and a laid-back vibe that gives you time to pause and savour the moment. Floating in a gondola would no doubt make for a memorable proposal- but to make it even more romantic, have your gondolier stick to some of the side canals, for a more intimate moment.

couple venice

6. The Pitons, St Lucia

The Pitons are black volcanic mountains, and provide a majestic backdrop for any engagement.  If your partner is outdoorsy and enjoys fancies a hike, a proposal with a view atop one of the Piton spires could be a step in the right direction toward a ‘yes!’. If you are a little more sedentary, the Pitons themselves can be viewed from various locations and hotels around the island.

The Pitons, St Lucia

5. Quebec City -Quebec, Canada

With its European flavour, cobblestone streets and romantic bistros that line the street, this walled city is the epitome of romance. There are a few good spots to seek out for your proposal. The Joan of Arc Garden, located within the Plains of Abraham, with its numerous, vibrant flower beds is a popular spot. Another idea is at the Chateau Frontenac. This historic hotel has rooms with amazing views as well as boasting amazing, classic architecture.

quebec city

4. Neuschwanstein -Schwangau, Germany

Want a romance with a fairy-tale ending? Start your marriage off with a proposal in a real-life castle. The Neuschwanstein Castle is a 19th century castle located in Southwest Bavaria in Germany. This popular castle ushers through some 6,000 visitors every summer. Why is it so romantic? It’s the inspiration from an actual fairy tale: Disney’s Sleeping Beauty fashioned their castle after Neuschwanstein. We’d say this proposal spot is definitely fit for any princess!

Neuschwanstein Castle Munich

3. Central Park -New York City, United States

Any season will do for a romantic proposal in New York’s iconic Central Park, but the fall provides a pretty backdrop, with loads of trees tipped in vibrant oranges, reds and yellows. Pack a picnic and go for an afternoon stroll or even a horse-drawn carriage ride. A couple of the most popular proposal spots? The Bow Bridge or the Carousel at 46th St.

Central Park

2. Paris, France

It’s a little bit cliche, but Paris really is the city of love. There is something indefinable in the air that communicates romance. The more obvious places to get engaged centre around the Eiffel Tower, either in a hotel with a view or at the Tower itself, or along the banks of the Seine River. Given the romance vibe in Paris, you could propose literally anywhere and have it be meaningful. Want something a little different, but with a spectacular view? Climb the 300 steps up to the dome in the Sacre Coeur Basilica, in Montmartre. The climb is a little daunting, the view is incredible.

Paris, France

1. Santorini, Greece

This group of small islands is one of the most scenic areas in Greece, and is considered one of the most romantic destinations in Europe. Santorini is actually perched on the rim top of an active volcano. The topography of this area creates some spectacular hillsides and cliffs, which provide wonderful views of the clear seas below. It’s also famous for show-stopping sunsets, which will create the perfect backdrop to pop the question.

Santorini Island - European Islands

The 10 Freshest Farmers Markets in Canada

Summer is officially here and now is the time to take advantage of the wonderful bounty our farmers grow, from coast to coast. Canada is blessed with an abundance of fresh seasonal produce, award-winning local wine and locally raised meats; all available at one of the many farmers markets. From the largest year-round market to the historic market of Halifax, to the market that specializes in potatoes; we have rounded up the 10 freshest farmers markets in Canada. From coast to coast, there is great food to be found at all of these awesome markets.

10. St. Lawrence Market -Toronto, Ontario

Although this market is open almost every day of the week, we highly suggest visiting on a Saturday. Saturdays are when both the North and South Market open to the public, as opposed to every other day when just the South Market is open. The North Market stands in a space that has been used as a marketplace since 1803, making this the second most historic market on the list. Ontario produce, eggs, poultry, honey, olives and fresh baked bread are amongst the favorites here. The market starts early; 5 am on Saturdays and by 9 am is packed full so make sure you come early if you want to avoid the crowds. Expect to find exotic cultural food, peameal bacon sandwiches, homemade pasta noodles, camel meat and everything else in between. Make sure to carve out a few hours to walk around this gigantic market and you will soon understand why it’s hailed as being one of the best in the world.

St. Lawrence Market

9. Charlottetown Farmers’ Market -Charlottetown, P.E.I

It wouldn’t take a genius to figure out that potatoes are the main star of this market, but that’s not all you will find here at this overly friendly farmers market. Fresh produce, organic cheeses, handmade chocolates, fresh coffee and baked goods are just a slice of what you will find here. Besides all these amazing products, what really make this market so special are the people you will meet here. From vendors who give you the perfect advice on how to boil the perfect potato to meeting entire families who take part in the growing and harvesting; it is truly the people who make a difference here. Come hungry to this market as there is no shortage of hot and cold food to buy and enjoy in the seated dining area, where you will enjoy Celtic music and a sense of community that you can only find on the island.

Photo by: Martin Cathrae via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by: Martin Cathrae via Wikimedia Commons

8. Jean-Talon -Montreal, Quebec

The flavors and sites here have been attracting visitors since 1933 and Jean-Talon Market remains one of the favorites across the country. Open all year round, Saturdays are the liveliest and perhaps the best time to visit as this day houses the most vendors. This is also the day where you will find the most fresh, seasonal produce in the province. Summer is the favorite time to visit, with brightly colored produce and terrific wine. Visitors will find gourmet meats, cheese, the famous maple syrup, pastries, spices and so much more. Eating your way through this market is highly recommended, from maple glazed salmon bites to slow braised meat tacos to artisanal ice-cream. Hailed as the largest open air market in North America, don’t be surprised to find yourself standing beside famous Montreal chefs, food bloggers and amateur foodies.

Songquan Deng / Shutterstock.com
Songquan Deng / Shutterstock.com

7. St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market -Waterloo, Ontario

Located just an hour outside of Toronto, visitors here will feel as though they have stepped back in time. The nearby countryside is home to an abundance of Mennonite farmers, many of whom can be seen traveling in their horse and buggy. These farmers are who you will find selling products at Canada’s largest year-round market. A fire nearly destroyed this wonderful market a few years back but the market is back up and running in full swing. Expect to shop both indoors and out when you visit in the warmer months, as over 300 vendors congregate here. Many shoppers come here specifically for the fresh produce and hormone-free meats, although you can find just about anything you have ever wanted. Expect entertainment, music, buskers and more when you take a visit to the St. Jacobs Market in Waterloo.

St. Jacobs Farmers Market, Ontario

6. Crossroads Market -Calgary, Alberta

It is Calgary’s largest year-round market and provides a bustling atmosphere with an abundance of vendors and products. It also happens to be just five minutes from downtown with plenty of ample parking. The marker is only open on the weekends so make sure you plan around visiting then. With over 150 vendors here, it is considered part flea market and part food market. The abundance of fresh local products is what really makes this market a winner. Visit in the summer and fall to experience Alberta’s local produce or head over to the cheese shop where over 300 varieties of cheese are sold. The market is a great place to grab some local meat, fresh squeezed juice and a loaf of freshly baked bread.

Photo by: Crossroads Market
Photo by: Crossroads Market

5. Marche du Vieux-Port -Quebec City, Quebec

This year round market entices visitors with its fresh products, locally sourced items and friendly atmosphere. Arguably the best time to visit here is in the summer when the strawberries are at their finest. Locals and visitors also love this market for the specialties you can’t get anywhere else; such as the ciders, maple syrup, pates and preserves. The cranberry wine also happens to be a huge hit with visitors. The market is located on the waterfront and during the summer there is often live music or other entertainment located just outside the building. Even if you just come for the experience, we promise you won’t be leaving this market empty handed. Insider’s tip: head to the spice store at the very end of the building and get lost for hours discovering the worldly spices that you have never even seen before.

Photo by: Le Marche du Vieux-Port
Photo by: Le Marche du Vieux-Port

4. Evergreen Brickworks Farmers’ Market -Toronto, Ontario

In one of the most picturesque settings in Toronto also lies one of the best farmers markets in the country. What was once a former quarry has been transformed into a park and every Saturday morning from May until November between 65 and 85 vendors show up to sell their products. Expect to see fresh produce, organic baked goods, free-range meats, teas, leather products and everything else in between. Some favorites include fresh-made meals from Canadian chef Doug McNish and the abundance of organic options. We recommend you come hungry to this market as the plethora of breakfast and lunch options is unbelievable. From handmade Belgian waffles to organic French fries, we promise you won’t leave here feeling hungry. Take a stroll through the magnificent park afterwards to work off those waffles.

Photo by: Evergreen
Photo by: Evergreen

3. Marché St. Norbert Farmers’ Market -Winnipeg, Manitoba

From May until November, rain or shine you can find Manitoba’s farmers selling the bounty of their fields to visitors at Manitoba’s largest and best-known market. This market originally started back in 1988 with just eight vendors that gathered on the grass to sell their products and support other local producers. The market has grown enormously since then and features about 150 vendors, intent on keeping its local roots. Visitors here can expect to find an abundance of fresh local produce, freshly baked breads, home-style jams and preserves, freshly cut flowers and more. One of the more interesting things to note about this market is their online presence, which was created to help farmers sell their products over the winter. Customers can go online and order their products directly from the producers, who then prepare the order and meet in a designated spot for delivery. This market is big on sticking with their local roots and this is just one awesome way of keeping everyone connected.

Photo by: St. Norbert Farmers' Market
Photo by: St. Norbert Farmers’ Market

2. Halifax Farmers’ Market -Halifax, Nova Scotia

This market has a long history, dating back to 1750 and in 2010 finally relocated to its current location on the south end of the Halifax Waterfront. The new space provides plenty of room for people and the natural light makes this a gorgeous spot to spend the morning. Unbeatable ocean views coupled with a hip vibrant atmosphere are just the beginning of what makes this market so spectacular. You can make your way here year-round and although the market is now open seven days a week, we highly suggest visiting on a Saturday when all of the vendors are present. Some of the favorites at this market are the artisanal crafts, seasonal produce, local wine and of course the freshest seafood found anywhere in the province. This market also runs a really neat program called Lunch and Learn, which features presentations on sustainability, wellness, food demonstrations and workshops.

Photo by: Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market
Photo by: Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market

1. Trout Lake Farmers’ Market -Vancouver, British Columbia

This market is loved by many and has quite the history to go along with it. The market actually started with 14 farmers who squatted at the Croatian Cultural Centre back in 1995. Today the market has moved to John Hendry Park and is one of the most beloved markets in all of the country. Visitors come from all over the world to pick up the freshest cherries and blueberries, stock up on free-range eggs and organic meats and get the freshest vegetables found anywhere in the city. The market is open on Saturdays from May to October and people are encouraged to use public transit, walk or bike here. Think fresh baked bread, artisan crafts, fresh cut flowers and a community like atmosphere. Make sure you come to this market hungry and grab some lunch from one of the terrific food trucks, the favorite being the crepe stall.

Photo by: Vancouver Farmers Markets
Photo by: Vancouver Farmers Markets

Canada’s Top 15 Best Value Cities to Visit in 2015

A recent study by the popular hotel booking site Trivago, released the top 15 best value cities in all of Canada to visit in 2015. The study took the average price of a hotel room, combined it with the satisfaction of hotel guests and looked at everything there was to do in that city. What they found was 15 cities that boasted incredible value, amazing hotels and plenty of things to do whether you are looking for romance, family vacation or just an escape to a new city.

15. Toronto, ON

With the Pam Am games making its way to Toronto this summer, we were actually surprised to see this city still end up on the list as hotel prices in the city jumped. Luckily it seems that Toronto is home to enough hotels, rentals and other accommodations that the prices don’t seem as astronomical as one might think. With access to professional sports fields, the CN Tower, the new Ripley’s Aquarium, the five-star restaurants and festivals throughout the city; there is certainly no shortage of things to do. Public transportation got a facelift for the Pan Am games and getting around the city is cheap and easy. The average accommodation price per night in the city is $179 with lots of deals to be found online, making Toronto a perfect place to visit this year.

Toronto

14. Vancouver, BC

Vancouver is one of the most expensive places to live in Canada, but quite affordable if you just want to visit for a few days. With an average hotel price of $179, this city is a prime spot for tourists from all over the world. Summertime brings visitors who walk along the seawall, dine on delicious seafood and explore the nearby towns. One of the best times to head here is in the fall, when the hotel prices drop significantly, the leaves start changing color and the weather is still nice enough to enjoy the outdoors. Vancouver transit makes it easy to get around the city at a reasonable price and there are plenty of free activities for everyone to enjoy, including Stanley Park, walking the beaches, visiting the many art galleries and visiting Granville Island.

Vancouver from the Water

13. Ottawa, ON

The capital of Canada makes this list with an average price of accommodation being just $155 a night, a bargain considering more than 80% of travelers are happy with their hotel stays. Visiting Canada’s capital is something everyone should do as the city of Ottawa is full of history, excitement and spectacular architecture. The summer is the absolute best time to head here as the warm weather and festivities make the city feel alive and buzzing with excitement. It also happens to be when hotel prices are at its highest though. It is a good thing then that the city offers incredible value. Tour the parliament buildings for free, head over to the RCMP stables for a chance to look around and perhaps a musical performance if you are lucky or spend an afternoon at one of the city’s beaches. Ottawa is teeming with markets, bike paths, picturesque picnic areas and outdoor art throughout the city for you to enjoy.

Ottawa, Ontario

12. Calgary, AB

It is one of the most expensive places to live on this list but visiting here gets you good bang for your buck and promises an unforgettable vacation, minutes from the beautiful mountains. A hotel room in this city goes for an average of $172 a night and many travelers choose to make Calgary their home base while they explore the city and the surrounding mountains. Plan your vacation around one of the many free summer festivals and you won’t have to reach deep into your pockets to explore all this city has to offer. Besides festivals, visiting the numerous attractions here cost little to nothing, including one of the world’s largest indoor botanical gardens, the plethora of art galleries, shops and the free entertainment during the stampede. Ride a portion of the CTrain for free, grab an inflatable tube and float down the Bow River or simply explore the downtown area and all its charm.

Calgary, AB

11. Niagara Falls, ON

Niagara Falls is home to the most inexpensive average hotel room on this list, coming in at $112 a night. If you have never been to the Canadian side of the falls, there is no better time to visit than 2015. Besides getting an incredible deal on hotels, Niagara Falls is packed full of activities, many of which can be done at little cost. Cruise the streets down by the falls which are packed with wacky fun houses, arcades and rides that are lit up with flashing lights and sounds. Visit one of the casinos and try your luck at one of the many games or slots. Walking along the falls and watching the spectacular firework show that happens in the summer won’t cost you anything either. Surrounding this area also happens to be a large number of wineries that you can tour for free, with tastings only costing a few dollars.

Niagara Falls 1

10. Montréal, QC

The city of Montreal is a perfect getaway, whether you are looking for a romantic escape or heading there for the slew of incredible music festivals and culture. With an average nightly price for accommodation being $172, one can enjoy this city while not breaking the bank. Exploring the city is best done on foot, whether you are traversing the streets of Old Montreal, taking the Golden Square Mile tour or curbing your hunger in many of the city’s most appetizing attractions. Montreal is also loaded with opportunities to try something new for free, including outdoor yoga classes and ballroom dancing. The city teems with rooftop patios and sidewalk cafes; perfect for people watching and relaxing. Take in one of the many free concerts and performances that happen throughout the city year round and enjoy one of the finest cities in all of Canada.

Montreal Canada

9. Edmonton, AB

It may not be the first place you think of when you think vacation in Canada, but Edmonton has a lot to offer and at the average price of just $151 a night, you can’t go wrong heading to this city. If you are looking to explore the outdoors, Edmonton might be just right for you. The city is famous for its North Saskatchewan River Valley, which offers over 100 kilometers of recreational trails, wildlife viewing, city views and Canada’s largest historical park, Fort Edmonton Park. One thing to splurge on when visiting here is the West Edmonton Mall. It is the largest shopping and entertainment complex in North America complete with amusement park, artificial beach, indoor wave pool, casino, movie theatres and an indoor lake. If you happen to visit here in the winter, head outside the city away from the lights and look for the Northern Lights. They are often visible from December to March.

Ronnie Chua / Shutterstock.com
Ronnie Chua / Shutterstock.com

8. Québec-City, QC

It is one of the most romantic cities to visit in all of Canada and with an average room price of $161 a night; many couples choose to visit Quebec City anytime of the year. In the winter the city comes alive with Christmas lights, turning the historic part of the city into a true winter wonderland. In the summer, the cobblestone streets are full of tourists, outdoor cafes and festivals. There are many historic churches that boast incredible architecture, an impressive number of parks and green space and a plethora of boutiques and shops to discover. The cuisine in the city is incredible, the people are friendly and strolling through the walled city of Old Quebec anytime of the year promises to be absolutely charming. For free entertainment, one should head down to the boardwalk along the St. Lawrence that is always full of buskers and entertainers during the summers.

Quebec City

7. Victoria, BC

It is one of the most beautiful cities on this list if you are into stunning mountain views, ocean harbors, colorful houses and natural beauty. It also happens to be a bargain when you look at the average nightly price of accommodations only being $143. The city is full of things to do and see, whether you want to splurge and visit the famous Butchart Garden or the Royal BC Museum, or whether you are looking to stick within a budget. Strolling the causeway, home to breathtaking views of the water, parliament and skyline is a popular activity for both locals and tourists. It is here when you can snag a seat on the Harbour Ferry and discover floating restaurants, historic homes, classic yachts and shipyards during the 45-minute narrated tour. Between the parks, mountains, beaches and art; there is no shortage of things to discover in this city.

Victoria coast line

6. Mississauga, ON

If you want to be close to the city of Toronto but don’t want to shell out the money, Mississauga is the absolute perfect place to stay. With an average room price of just $123 a night, spending less on a hotel means more spending money in your pockets. Many vacationers choose to make Mississauga their home base and travel into the city to explore the many activities and sights that Toronto offers. If you are looking for things to do in Mississauga though; why not head to the parks in Port Credit or feel like a kid again at Playdium Arcade. Mississauga is also home to a wealth of restaurants featuring cuisine from all over the world and it pays to check them out heading into Toronto for a great meal. Whether you are staying here for the city itself or looking to spread your budget by staying outside of Toronto, Mississauga is a great value city.

Atomazul / Shutterstock.com
Atomazul / Shutterstock.com

5. Kelowna, BC

Kelowna’s location along the eastern shoreline of Okanagan Lake creates a diverse landscape where outdoor recreation thrives and people from all over the world flock to this incredibly beautiful city. The lake itself draws many tourists interested in boating, kayaking and swimming while the rolling terrain is great for hikers, golfers and bikers. In the wintertime skiers and snowboarders head to Big White Mountain. The plethora of outdoor sports is what makes this city so affordable to visit. Pack a picnic, grab your kayak rental and head out for the day. Perhaps strap on a pair of snowshoes and explore the region. Head out and visit the wineries where they offer free tours and cheap tastings. With an average nightly room price of just $140, Kelowna is the perfect natural outdoor getaway.

Kelowna BC

4. Winnipeg, MB

Winnipeg is a diverse city that combines breathtaking architecture with ample green space to create this unique backdrop for a vibrant city. Visitors here will find warehouses that have been converted to restaurants and shops, outdoor festivals and concerts and an abundance of art and culture. The city is home to over 1,100 restaurants and is known for its top notch food scene that is well-priced. One of the most popular things to do in this city is head to The Forks, a downtown area where the two rivers meet that is home to the market, artisan shops and interactive fun. With an average room price of $141 a night, this cultural melting pot beckons visitors from all over the globe. It is recommended you head here in the summertime because the winter here can be downright freezing cold!

Winnipeg, MB

3. Mont-Tremblant, QC

This city located in the Laurentian Mountains is most famously known for its ski resort located at the foot of Mont Tremblant Mountains. Winter sports enthusiasts flock here to downhill ski, snowboard, snowshoe, dog-sled and cross-country ski in some of the best snow in the country. But winter isn’t the only season that flourishes here. Summertime brings eco-adventures, hiking, canoeing, cycling and fishing with Lac Tremblant at the centre of most of these. An average room price in this city will run you $189 a night, keeping in mind that winters are the most expensive. Many of the hotels offer discounts if you book early in the season and work with the ski resort to combine lift tickets with hotel prices. Book early, pay once and enjoy this awesome destination, summer or winter.

Mount Tremblant

2. Kamloops, BC

Kamloops is a hidden treasure amongst the West coast of Canada and with a highly affordable average nightly room rate of just $119; it won’t stay hidden for long. Home to the 5th best golf course in Canada, one of BC’s biggest ski hills and an abundance of outdoors to explore; visiting Kamloops and sticking on budget is easy. Many of the activities and restaurants are lower priced than the surrounding areas such as Vancouver or Kelowna, making this city incredibly budget friendly. Popular activities include a visit to the BC Wildlife Park, a hike to the waterfall, a visit to the farmers market and taking in the largest cowboy festival in Canada. There are endless possibilities for winter or summer, making this the number two valued city in all of Canada.

Kamloops
Philip Bird LRPS CPAGB / Shutterstock.com

1. Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

It is the city with the most expensive average accommodation on this list at $203 a night, but seeing as Niagara-on-the-Lake is known as one of the prettiest towns in all of Canada; it comes as no surprise that it can be pricey. You won’t find high rise hotels here either; instead you will find historic homes, charming B&B’s and beautiful cottages that offer luxury amenities. This 19th-century village is home to award-winning restaurants and wineries and world-class theatre. Strolling the charming streets, touring the wineries and walking along the river won’t set you back anything. This romantic getaway is often visited by those looking for an intimate experience, complete with fine dining, great wines and cozy accommodations; which are exactly what they will find in the charming town.

Niagara On The Lake

The 8 Most Romantic Cottage Destinations in Canada

From coast to coast, the country of Canada is packed with magnificent scenery, charming small towns, snow-capped mountains, rolling hills, and thick, lush nature. If you are looking for a romantic getaway there is no need to look further than this country packed with hospitality and romance. Choosing to stay at a cottage rather than a hotel doesn’t mean sacrificing comfort and amenities. What it does mean is more privacy, seclusion and opportunity to rekindle that romantic spirit. From Newfoundland to Ontario to British Columbia, these eight romantic cottage destinations are sure to make you swoon.

8. Heart’s Delight, Newfoundland

With a name like Heart’s Delight it would be hard to expect anything but romance from this destination. Located on the Atlantic Coast in rural Newfoundland, it is truly a getaway from everything and everyone. Visitors looking for romance coupled with nature should put this small town on the top of their list. With views of Shag Rock, icebergs outside your window and visiting whales that you can see from your porch; the conditions are ideal for a whole lot of snuggling, candlelight and romance. There are many choices to choose from in terms of cabins and cottages along Trinity Bay and if you fancy a road trip, make sure to check out the two neighboring towns, Heart’s Content and Heart’s Desire. Take a sunset hike, watch the fisherman gather their catch and enjoy the tranquil and peaceful nature of beautiful Newfoundland.

Heart's Delight

7. Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Whatever season you choose to visit Cape Breton, one thing remains the same. The slow paced laid-back lifestyle is perfect for a romantic getaway. Choose a cottage located along the Cabot Trail and awake to the sound of the waves crashing against the cliffs. The beauty of the landscape here is almost poetic and it’s as if you have stepped into another world once you cross over to the island from the mainland. Delicious seafood dinners in cozy pubs with fiddlers playing a quiet jig are ideal for reconnecting with your partner. There are plenty of opportunities to explore the landscape by hiking or cycling in the summer and snowshoeing in the winter. If you are looking for the ultimate relaxation getaway to rekindle the romance, where cell phones are turned off and the only sounds are the waves crashing and the birds chirping, Cape Breton should be at the top of your list.

Cape breton highlands

6. Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

It is known as one of the prettiest small towns in all of Canada, with its historic houses and theatres, garden boxes lining the streets and boutique shops. With every season come new surprises in terms of landscape and scenery, making it a year-round romantic destination. The cottages here are more than likely houses that are hundreds of years old, adorned with original features and charm. In a region full of world-renowned wineries, it isn’t hard to find romantic experiences here. Winery tours and dinners are a must for anyone visiting Niagara-on-the-Lake and prepare to open your senses to an exhilarating culinary experience. Get around town by horse-drawn carriage or rent a bicycle and tour the historic downtown. The Niagara River meets Lake Ontario here and days are passed by sitting on the sandy shores, or walking the trails along the river. One of Ontario’s best kept secrets; this town was made for the romantic couple.

Niagara On The Lake
LesPalenik / Shutterstock.com

5. Algonquin Park, Ontario

The pristine wilderness setting of Algonquin Park sets the stage for romance for the true nature lovers. Thousands of lakes, rocky ridges and forests are yours to explore on one of many romantic getaways that await visitors. Most of the romantic cottages you will find around Algonquin Park feature luxury accommodations and fine dining. Think wood burning fireplaces, handcrafted furniture and private hot tubs on the deck. This region of Ontario is full of upscale, high profile cottage owners and for the right price; you could have the romantic getaway of a lifetime. Paddle your way through one of the thousands of lakes without seeing another soul, hike through the wilderness to watch bears and moose in their homes and return to your cottage retreat for a 5 star dining experience. It is one of the most breathtaking natural scenic experiences in Ontario and begs to be explored, made better only by the company you are with.

Algonquin

4. Quebec City, Quebec

Quebec City remains one of Canada’s top romantic getaway destinations year after year. The Rue du Petit Champlain has been called one of the prettiest streets in all of North America and while taking in the sights from the top of the stairs, it is easy to see why. Visiting in the wintertime is actually when Quebec City is at its most romantic. The charming shops and boutiques are decorated with twinkling lights, horse-drawn carriages clop along the cobblestone streets and fires crackle in the confines of your cottage. Choose to stay in a cottage outside of the city where you can escape from it all and take in the breathtaking landscape. Many have beautiful views of the Saint-Lawrence River or are placed on the banks of the many surrounding lakes. Cozy up in a quaint café, stroll hand in hand through the historic city and dine in luxury at one of the award-winning restaurants.

quebec city

3. Whitehorse, Yukon

The choice is yours, the Northern Lights or the Midnight Sun. Whichever one you choose, visiting the Yukon is like visiting another planet all together, and although it may not be your first thought when you think romance; this cottage destination has it all. The luxury log cabins that are located outside of Whitehorse offer everything from outdoor hot tubs to saunas to luxury linens to satellite TV. Combine that with the endless opportunities to explore one of the most uninhabited regions in the world and this promises to be a trip of a lifetime. Couples can hike, canoe, mountain bike, horseback ride, ice fish, ski, snowboard and more through the Yukon’s epic landscapes. The Yukon also happens to provide incredible views of the breathtaking natural phenomenon referred to as the Northern Lights. What’s more romantic than witnessing this incredible natural light show that occurs in the sky?

Yukon, Northern Lights

2. Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia

Peggy’s Cove is full of cozy cottages, romantic B&B’s and picturesque landscapes that will create unforgettable memories. The small fishing village is famous for its lighthouse and the story of Peggy, which can be romantic or practical, depending on who you ask. Nestled amongst glacier rock formations and surrounded by nature, this romantic getaway is best spent relaxing and exploring the landscape. Long walks on the beach, sunset picnics with a nice bottle of wine and ocean views as far as the eye can see are just a few of the activities that romantic couples do here. Bask in the sun, feel the ocean salt as it hits your cheek and dine in one of the intimate seafood restaurants nearby. Above all, Peggy’s Cove gives couples the chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and experience the sounds of nature around them.

1. Banff, Alberta

The West Coast of Canada is truly breathtaking with its awe-inspiring mountains, colorful lakes and romantic hot springs. Lake Louise in Banff has been named as one of the top honeymoon destinations in Canada year after year for its romance factor. Secluded, pristine, cozy and unbelievably beautiful; this area of the country offers hidden cottages in the mountains and a setting for romance unlike any other. Vacation goers can choose from luxury cabins on the shores of the lakes or secluded cottages hidden in the mountains reached only by hiking. Winter brings wood fires, snowshoeing and the experience of a  winter wonderland while summer lets visitors canoe, swim and hike through the beautiful land. Whichever season you prefer, we promise this won’t be your last romantic cottage getaway here.

Banff National Park

10 Ideas for Winter Fun in Quebec City

Quebec City is breathtaking in the winter season with the towering historic buildings covered in lights, the snow softly falling and the sounds of holiday music throughout. This winter wonderland is the perfect destination for those travelers looking to bundle up and have a great time in the snow. Adrenaline seeking visitors will find plenty of options from snow tubing down a hill at 80km/h to ice canoeing through the Saint-Lawrence River. Visitors looking to have relaxing fun will enjoy both the Nordic Spas and the abundance of winter hiking and snowshoeing trails. From the biggest Winter Carnival in the world to the coldest hotel to spend a night in; Quebec City is the perfect city to find wintertime fun.

10. Spend a Night at the Ice Hotel

The only ice hotel in North America is located in Quebec City and offers visitors a unique once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend the night in a structure comprised entirely of ice and snow. Only open from January to March, this hotel fills up quickly and we suggest if you want to spend a night here you should book as far in advance as you can. If sleeping on a block of ice isn’t your cup of tea, the hotel offers tours throughout the day for visitors wanting to explore.

Visitors can tour the 40 plus rooms and suites that contain beds made out of ice, fireplaces and one even houses a personal spa. Visit the grand room and the wedding chapel while you marvel at the ice sculptures throughout. Make sure to visit the ice bar and order up a shot of something in one of the very cool ice glasses. This hotel is cold so make sure you are dressed appropriately whether you are coming to visit for a couple hours or staying the night. Located minutes away from downtown Quebec City this is a must visit for anyone looking to have some winter fun and adventure!

Lukas Maverick Greyson / Shutterstock.com
Lukas Maverick Greyson / Shutterstock.com

9. Quebec Winter Carnival

Home to the world’s largest winter carnival, it wouldn’t be a trip to Quebec City without experiencing this larger than life festival that runs for two weeks. Since 1955 the winter carnival has been an integral part of the city and each year only gets bigger and more exciting. Whether you come for a week or a day; there are more events than you could possibly imagine. The international snow sculpture competition features artists from around the world; creating towering masterpieces at the Plains of Abraham. This location also features shows, activities, tobogganing, a Ferris wheel, an ice bar and even Jacuzzis –it’s truly a playground for all ages.

The night parades are truly spectacular and both young and old visitors will enjoy watching the enormous floats, marching bands, dance groups and lively characters strut their stuff down the streets in time to the music. Don’t forget about the most important character of this carnival though; Bonhomme -the King of the Carnival is often spotted at these night parades or can be found at his majestic ice palace; home to many of the carnival activities. Come experience the magic as the city turns its keys over to Bonhomme and everyone celebrates the wintertime fun.

Maridav / Shutterstock.com
Maridav / Shutterstock.com

8. Snowshoe or Ski the Plains of Abraham

The Plains of Abraham are a significant part of North America’s history and was the scene for the 1759 conquest. Today is serves as a city park dedicated to providing supreme outdoor space to both residents and visitors. Although breathtakingly beautiful in the summer months; this park is an ideal winter playground for both snowshoers and cross-country skiers. Unobstructed views of the Saint-Lawrence River will enthrall winter sports enthusiasts.

The park offers 12km’s of ski trails for both beginner and intermediate skiers along with a waxing room and heated restrooms. For folks who don’t have the proper equipment it can be easily rented on-site by the hour, day or season at the Plains of Abraham Museum. Here you can also rent snowshoes and head out to the 3.8km round trip trail specifically dedicated to snowshoers. For a unique twist on this sport, visitors can register for the moonlight snowshoe trek; where a guide takes you through the trail by lantern and talks about the history of the site. Exploring this beautiful city park rich in history is the perfect way to enjoy a snowy afternoon in Quebec City.

Skiing Plains of Abraham Quebec

7. Relax at the Nordic Spas

What is more perfect than relaxing at the end of a busy fun-filled but cold winter’s day? How about relaxing at one of Quebec City’s famous Nordic spas? The Nordic Spas here are based on the Scandinavian design which focuses on alternating hot, cold and rest to bring you to a deep state of relaxation. Each spa is unique in what they offer in terms of hot and cold; one may offer a steam bath while the other offers a sauna while another offers your choice of pools but all work towards the same goal; bringing each visitor to a place of absolute relaxation and serenity.

Along with hot pools, saunas, cold waterfalls and snow; the Nordic Spas almost always offer massage therapy, body treatments and healthy dining options. For visitors with kids be sure to find a kid friendly spa or one that offers certain “kid hours” as many are adults only. Some of the spas in the area offer lodging which can be a longer experience for those looking for more than just a few hours in the pools. Above all, the Nordic Spas are truly a place to heal, wash the tension away and relax after a long fun-filled day in the outdoors.

Photo by: Siberia Station Spa
Photo by: Siberia Station Spa

6. Become a Musher for the Day

Dog sledding is a unique experience and one that you won’t find so readily available in other parts of the world. But here in Quebec City the open spaces, weather conditions and the fact that these canines are in their element provides the perfect backdrop to try out this unique sport. There are many companies that offer this adventure that range from one hour trips to week long excursions so however long you dare to experience this traditional method of transportation from the Great North; this will be one experience you won’t ever forget.

Getting introduced to the magnificent dogs will be the first step on this exciting journey and you will become fast friends with them as they will be obeying your call. An experienced driver or “Musher” as they are traditionally called, will give you a lesson on how to drive the sled and the inn’s and out’s of commanding your pack. From there it’s off you go on an exhilarating journey, winds pummeling your cheeks, the sounds of the panting dogs and the beautiful scenery that surrounds you.  As you race behind the strength of these animals going full throttle you will wonder how you will ever top this amazing winter experience.

Maridav / Shutterstock.com
Maridav / Shutterstock.com

5. Visit the Aquarium

The Aquarium du Quebec is truly worth visiting anytime of the year but becomes a magical land of twinkling lights and activities in the winter time. From December to March the aquarium is transformed into a winter wonderland (Festi Lumière) from 6pm-9pm on certain nights of the week (these nights change based on the months so make sure to check before you go). Illuminated slides, inflatable games, an outdoor fireplace, festive music and the 400,000 lights create the perfect evening of winter fun.

The aquarium is also the perfect place to head to during the day where over 10,000 marine animals inhabit the aquarium. Discover reptiles, sea mammals and many species of fish that call this place home. The outdoor exhibits feature polar bears, walruses, seals and Arctic fox whereas the indoor areas allow you to get up close and personal with the sting rays in the petting pool. Come for the day and explore both inside and out but make sure to stay for the Festi Lumière at night to participate in the celebration of winter and all it has to offer.

Stingray

4. Play at Village Vacances Valcartier

If you’re looking for some outdoor exhilarating fun for the whole family there is no better winter playground than Village Vacances Valcartier located just outside Quebec City. One of North America’s largest winter playgrounds, it offers over 35 different sliding tracks for tubes or snow rafts (all provided). Daredevils can race down Everest; the highest accelerating slide in North America where riders will reach speeds up to 80 km/h. For the visitor looking for something a little gentler, the central area of the park offers seven family friendly slopes. Groups of up to twelve can squeeze into one of the unique snow rafts and slide down the moderate level hill guaranteeing a lot of laughs and entertainment.

Visitors to the park can also indulge in ice karting, similar to go-karting but think studded tires and icy roads; both one and two person carts are available. For a more leisurely activity head to the skating paths which are especially magical at night with the lights and music playing. The park offers a variety of eateries and visitors can spend the whole day indulging in outdoor fun and finish with a fantastic meal. This is a definite day trip while visiting Quebec City in the wintertime.

Sergei Butorin / Shutterstock.com
Sergei Butorin / Shutterstock.com

3. Ice Canoe on the St. Lawrence

For visitors looking for perhaps the most unique experience you can have in Quebec City, ice canoeing should be on the top of the list. What was once a necessity in order to transport goods between the Quebec shores and Levis has now been turned into an exciting competitive sport and more recently an activity that anyone with enough courage and guts can try. The Saint-Lawrence is unique in that it does not fully freeze over and currents change several times a day leading the ice to bob and shift around.

Experienced guides will take visitors out into the icy waters with GoPro cameras strapped on, neoprene socks pulled up high, ice crampons clamped on and a big sense of adventure. Experience the challenging waters that constantly shift and change making each experience different. Enjoy a mug of hot chocolate while you savor the views of Old Quebec pausing on an ice field to get the full experience. Not for the faint of heart but a memory that will last a lifetime; ice canoeing can only be truly experienced in Quebec City.

meunierd / Shutterstock.com
meunierd / Shutterstock.com

2. Visit Parc de la Chute-Montmorency

One of the essential stops for any visitor to Quebec City is Parc de la Chute-Montmorency and it just so happens to be exceptionally breathtaking in the wintertime. At 83 m high (that is 30 m higher than Niagara Falls) this towering waterfall creates an unusual sugarloaf at the bottom in the winter months. The sugarloaf is formed from the very fine splashes of water that freeze into a giant ice cone. There is no shortage of activities to do in the park whether you are looking for adrenaline pumping exercise or something more relaxed.

Snowshoe and walking trails run about 3km long and allow trekkers to discover the parks cove, falls and the sugarloaf. To get more out of the park check out the snowshoe and dinner package which includes a four course meal, cable car ride and guided snowshoe trek. Ice climbing at the base of the falls is another popular activity here and beginners can take an introductory course where as experts can pre-book a climbing route. Explore this park on foot, snowshoe, up the falls or on a cable car ride; whichever way you choose we promise a stunning landscape that will take your breath away.

Montmorency Falls Quebec Winter

1. Visit Old Quebec

Historic, beautiful, walled city, charming, cultural, and interesting; these are all words that can be used to describe the amazing part of Quebec City that is known as “Old Quebec”. It is easy to understand why this area is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site with its centuries-old architecture, historic sites and beautiful views of the Saint-Lawrence River. Winter time is especially magical in this part of the city as the entire Old Quebec becomes transformed into a Christmas village.

Between the twinkling lights that cover each and every building to the elaborate decorations hung throughout the streets and the falling snow that never seems to stop, it’s no wonder so many visitors choose to brave the cold and visit during the holiday season. Christmas markets, events and concerts are present throughout the historic district and there is no shortage of one-of-a-kind shops and boutiques to pick up those last minute holiday gifts. One can spend days wandering the streets soaking up the views; from visiting the famous Chateau Frontenac to wandering the winding cobblestone streets. Old Quebec in the wintertime should be at the top of your list of wintertime activities in the city.

Old Quebec Winter