It’s no secret that some big-time superstars are born and bred in Canada. The sounds of Leonard Cohen, Alanis Morrissette, Celine Dion, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Avril Lavigne, Drake and Justin Bieber have all infiltrated your speakers at one point or another. Most of them – coincidentally – make for the perfect background music for summertime travels.
While others are doing ordinary camp things this summer, take the family on an adventure that gives them something to brag about when school rolls back around in the fall. Canada – home to the Canadian tuxedo, gorgeous landscapes and maple syrup – offers a vacation unlike one your family has seen before. Whether it’s taking in the cascading waters of Niagara Falls or exploring the diversified city of Toronto, there’s no reason a summer vacation in Canada will ever be forgotten.
Even if you don’t know much about Toronto, you might know that Drake loves this (his) city and that Wayne’s World – the hit 90’s film written by Mike Myers – was based off his upbringing in the Toronto suburbs. That’s reason enough to gather the family for a summer trip to Toronto. You can soak up views of Toronto at the top of the CN Tower or take a nature-lover’s approach to the city life when you venture out to the Toronto Islands. For a day with the kiddos, head to Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada or dabble in a little bit of culture and history at Toronto’s crown jewel, the Royal Ontario Museum. If you’re a fan of being spooked, feel compelled to glide with the ghosts in The Original Haunted Walk of Toronto. Enjoy the thrill of haunted theatres and make sure to snag a ticket for a nighttime séance. If you’re having a hard time narrowing down where you want to eat, stroll through the St. Lawrence Market or Kensington Market for a selection of market-based delights, old-school treasures and the cutest cafés. The Toronto Zoo is a place the whole family can enjoy and strikes a wild way to close the book on a terrific Toronto vacation.
Stepping into Montreal is like crossing over the vast ocean into a beautiful European city. The city is paved with cobblestone streets and locals speaking French. A Parisian dream day, anyone? It’s an even better place to take the kids. You can get the kiddos experimenting at Montreal Science Centre. For a sun-inspired day, head to Six Flags’ La Ronde or spend the day chilling at Jean-Doré Beach. To keep it in the city streets, opt in for a bike ride along the Lachine Canal. If you’re an early bird, wake up to catch the sunrise from the top of Parc du Mont-Royal. Following that, you have to make time for poutine. La Banquise, Poutineville and Patati Patata are local favorites. Once you’re full, walk off the poutine on St. Paul Street in Old Montreal, or take your time strolling through the local markets. From the incredible work at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to the life that lives at Space for Life in East Montreal, there’s plenty of ways to feed your soul in Montreal.
A city that experiences an abundance of rain makes for a gorgeous destination in the summertime. The city of Vancouver is lined with lush green trees, making it stand out from other city destinations that might be on your bucket list. When you’re not strolling the city streets, you can spend the day bonding with your family at Stanley Park. Vancouver is as green as it gets, making Queen Elizabeth Park and VanDusen Botanical Garden notable destinations for a day of exploring the greenery in the city. Venture into the mountains at Grouse Mountain. where you can partake in the Grouse Grind, a 2-mile trail that is referred to as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster”. If you’ve packed the finer items from your closet, indulge in upscale evening in Yaletown – home to unique restaurants and stylish shops. You can explore the rich, cultural past of Vancouver at The Museum of Anthropology or get a look at the city in its entirety at the Vancouver Lookout. If you’re up for the challenge, take the family to Capilano Suspension Bridge – the oldest attraction in Vancouver that spans over the Capilano River. Take on the necessary blend of thrill and relaxation with a family trip to Vancouver.
What better way to spend your summer vacation than by admiring the towering waterfalls of Niagara Falls. Stand tall over the jutting water as you watch from the observation tower at Prospect Point in Niagara Falls State Park. If you’d like the opposing view, sail along the foot of the falls with the Hornblower Niagara Cruises. Think something similar to Jim and Pam’s wedding in The Office, but a little less romantic. Whether you’re trailing high above the falls or you’re submerged (not literally) underneath them, there’s nothing more exhilarating than following the falls. When it’s time to venture off to something else, you can take the family to Old Fort Niagara, Niagara SkyWheel or partake in the Journey Behind the Falls where you get to weave behind the falls. Close out your summer vacation with a family dinner at Skylon Tower following an experience with the fireworks and falls at night, offering flavorful dishes and one last view of Niagara Falls.
When the busy city life loses its appeal, Victoria offers a peaceful getaway for your summer travels. For starters, this old town is chock-full of gorgeous architecture. Show the kiddos masterpieces they will never forget when you trail the paths that are littered with Victorian-style castles and churches. While you’re at it, you can climb 87 steps up to the tower at Craigdarroch Castle to experience breathtaking views of the entire town. Come down from there to treat yourself to well-earned treat from BeaverTails. Shaped like a beaver’s tail, this dessert comes in many variations with banana, caramel and chocolate delights – just to hint at a few. When you and the kiddos are ready for some outdoor adventure, head to the West Coast Lighthouses for some zip lining, hiking and kayaking.
A great escape, Banff is outdoor heaven for nature lovers. Made up of Mount Rundle and Cascade Mountain, this rocky mountain destination is perfect for your family’s summer vacation. You can reach new heights with your loved ones when you soar over the mountains in a Banff Gondola. Banff National Park is reason alone to visit this town in Alberta. Strap on your hiking boots and climb up to the free-standing limestone pillars known as the Hoodoos. If your kiddos aren’t up for all that, you can coast on a bike ride along Healy Creek Trail. According to travelers, a must-visit during your time in Banff is to Sunshine Village. From the middle of June to early autumn, you can explore many hiking trails and soak up spectacular alpine views. When it’s time to put your adventures to rest for the day, stroll along Banff Avenue. Here, you can treat yourself to wonderful art galleries, shops and savory restaurants. From staying indoors at Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum to feeling renewed at the Vermilion Lakes, there’s an endless amount of ways to keep your family entertained.
Halifax is perfect for good, wholesome family fun. To begin your trip here, you want to start at no place other than Peggy’s Cove Coastal Region. As one of the most popular stops in Atlantic Canada, this is a perfect retreat for the family – featuring an iconic red and white lighthouse. You can even sign up for a tour of the lighthouses that includes a Lobster Roll lunch. For a brief journey into the history of Halifax, you can stroll through time at Halifax Public Gardens. This place was established in 1867 and offers a serene oasis for a perfect picnic day. Don’t forget to spend some time at the Historic Properties Wharf or the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site before saying goodbye to captivating Halifax.
Quebec City is a portal to another time. The cobbled streets and charming buildings make you feel like you’ve stepped into a French movie from 1960. Because of its French-Canadian culture, the city is as inviting as they come. Stroll past Chateau Frontenac or visit the polar bears at Aquarium du Québec. If Niagara Falls is not on your list, that’s quite alright. The Montmorency Falls are just as scenic and 30 meters higher! For the calming outdoors, visit Parc National de la Jacques-Cartier. If you want to stay indoors, take the kids to Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec to enjoy more than 38,000 works of art. The Baie de Beauport is the perfect beach for gathering the kiddos for a day of fun in the sun, and it features a plethora of charming restaurants and bars. While you’re relaxing by the water, the kiddos can partake to a game of beach volleyball and kitesurfing lessons. At the end of the day, this city has enough charm for everyone.
Ready to plan your summer vacation to Canada? Explore a new destination and have the trip of a lifetime when you book your accommodations, flights and rental cars with Vacations by Marriott.