To those who have never been there before, hearing the word “Canada” invokes images of igloos or meals soaking in a pool of maple syrup. And while there is admittedly an abundance of snow in the winter, the Great White North has much more to offer than Mounties and a handful of unwarranted stereotypes. From stunning skylines to bountiful rainforests, Canada’s diverse terrain and distinct provinces makes it a grab bag of breathtaking vacation destinations for all types of travelers this summer.
Combining old world charm and with modern skyscrapers, the island city of Victoria is no isolated destination, but it does have the small-town, down-to-earth vibe that tourists crave. If you’re considering a date with Mother Nature, there isn’t a better place to do it than the Pacific Coastline. Receiving over a million visitors annually, the world-famous Butchart Gardens has been treating travelers to scenic strolls along its flower-lined paths for over a century. During the summertime, the Gardens offer evening entertainment, night illuminations and Saturday fireworks, the perfect ending to a day for those celebrating an anniversary or a romantic date. More interested in orcas than orchids? Check out a whale watching tour. From feeling the wind whip through your hair as you speed across the water, to cheering on the massive mammals as they breach the water’s surface, there’s plenty of excitement to discover in Victoria’s harbour.
Where to stay
Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour – This upscale hotel near Victoria Inner Harbour provides easy access to downtown attractions, whale watching tours and Bastion Square.
Delta Hotels Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort – After an afternoon of roaming through Butchart Gardens, stop by this stylish hotel’s on-site spa to rest your feet and rejuvenate your weary muscles.
If the big city vibe isn’t what you’re searching for, this isolated resort town located within Banff National Park could be right for you. Hiking, fishing and biking are common ways to admire the natural beauty surrounding Banff, though you can take the Banff Gondola to the peak of Sulphur Mountain to gaze down upon the city, as well. While you may be familiar with Banff as a ski destination, the city also offers summer activities that make the trek into the mountains well worth it.
During the warmer months, white water rafting is a popular way for travelers to quench their thirst for excitement. More intense adventurers will love racing down rapids guided by professionals from Chinook Rafting or Hydra Rafting, while those traveling with seniors or young children can enjoy gently paddling through Bow River through Rocky Mountain Raft Tours. No matter what pace you choose, you’re bound to have a good time getting your feet wet in the buzz surrounding Banff.
Where to stay
Delta Hotels Banff Royal Canadian Lodge – With indoor and outdoor event venues featuring a scenic mountain backdrop, as well as the only spa on Banff Avenue, this hotel is a secluded, yet charming wedding destination or romantic getaway.
Kananaskis Mountain Lodge, Autograph Collection – Just outside Greater Banff, this hotel offers a first-class stay off the beaten path. Enjoy its nature-inspired design and modern amenities such as five restaurants, a spa and a heated indoor/outdoor pool.
So, you aren’t the get dirt under your fingernails, cook your meals over an open flame type. That’s just fine because for you, there’s Toronto. Canada’s largest city is home to the country’s only professional baseball team, and while hockey may be a more popular sport, there’s no better way to pass the dog days of summer than to attend a game at Rogers Centre. Whether it’s stretching after the seventh inning or chowing down on a plate of loaded nachos, the list of game day traditions seems to go on forever.
Speaking of traditions, one of Toronto’s most popular is the occurrence of music festivals each summer. Fans of classical music, jazz, hip hop, rock or something else entirely have something for them, as the city seems to have as many festivals as it does Blue Jay games. To make sure you catch the concerts that are right for you, check out this list of Toronto’s summer music festivals.
Where to stay
Toronto Marriott City Centre Hotel – If you really want to make attending a Blue Jays game at Rogers Stadium easy, then book a room at this hotel, the only one in the world located within a professional baseball stadium.
The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto – A beacon of beauty and luxury, The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto offers five-star amenities, some of the largest rooms in the city, and easy accessibility to the rest of downtown Toronto.
While climbing Mount Royal is a must-do when you visit Montreal, much of the excitement the city has to offer comes from the city itself. As a result of two successive colonization’s by the French then British, the architecture of Montreal’s neighborhoods remains staunchly unique. Walk through Old Montreal’s cobblestoned streets, or take a tour of Notre-Dame Basilica, the iconic Gothic Revival church. When you’re done taking in sights of the city itself, watch sparks fly above its skyline during the Montreal International Fireworks Competition. The largest pyrotechnic competitions in the world, shows are held every Saturday night from July 7 to August 8. Locals and tourists alike will be filing into rooftop bars to watch the show, but you can admire the show with the same view as the judges when spending the evening at La Ronde amusement park.
Where to stay
Delta Hotels Montreal – This downtown hotel features an on-site spa, M BIOSPA, making it an ideal spot to rest your feet after exploring the city’s eclectic neighborhoods.
Montreal Marriott Chateau Champlain – Offering sweeping views of the Montreal skyline from its spacious accommodations, this luxury hotel allows you to view the fireworks competition from the privacy of your room.
A striking juxtaposition from the lush forest surrounding it, Vancouver’s modern West Coast composition and abundance of attractions can almost make you forget about the region’s natural beauty. After taking in scenic skyline views from Vancouver Lookout, escape the familiarity of urban life with a trip to Capilano Suspension Bridge. Hanging 230 feet off the ground, the bridge stretches 450 feet over Capilano River, giving you the chance to answer the age-old question: how far would you go to take the perfect picture?
Though hiking and biking along the seawall are popular activities to do at Stanley Park, nothing says summertime like a swimming and sunbathing. Boasting a few naturally sandy beaches, washrooms, concessions and picnic shelters, Stanley Park is as picturesque as it is popular with the locals. Before heading back to where you came from, you’ve got to have a barbecue at the beach, a fun and delicious way to spend your Vancouver vacation.
Where to stay
JW Marriott Parq Vancouver – Situated in the Entertainment District, this pristinely elegant hotel is set against Western Canada’s majestic coastal mountains and offers stunning views from sunrise to sunset.
Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Downtown Hotel – Only a 10-minute walk from Stanley Park, the accommodations at this hotel feature ample natural lighting, 24-hour room service and access to the Marriott Pinnacle Health Club.
Looking to save for a baseball game in Toronto or a music festival in Montreal? See more of Canada this summer while spending less when you book your airfare and accommodations through Vacations by Marriott.