The most popular cities in Canada cover a range of destination types reflecting the diversity of the country.
The following list comprises the top 10 most-visited cities in Canada (Source: Statistics Canada, International Travel Survey, 2007)
Often mistaken for the nation's capital (which is actually Ottawa), Toronto is probably the best known Canadian city, in large part due to the Toronto International Film Festival, the CN Tower and major sports franchises, including the Blue Jays, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Raptors. Toronto is less than two hours from both the U.S. border and Niagara Falls and within two to three hours of magnificent cottage country and provincial parks.
Vancouver – where the ocean meets the mountains. Aside from spectacular natural beauty, Vancouver has a laid-back charm that makes it one of the most popular Canadian cities to visit.
Millions of people saw the allure of Vancouver both first hand and on the screens of their TVs in 2010 when the city hosted the Winter Olympic Games. Many of the events took place in Whistler, one of the world's premier ski destinations, but also a year-round visitor draw.
Photograph by Chris Cheadle / Getty Images
French and English are the main influences, but this unique Canadian city is truly international. Montreal has an energy and joie de vivre found only in the world’s best cities. Whether you prefer modern conveniences like the vast Underground City and the Casino de Montreal complex or enjoy a quainter, more historic experience, Montreal will not disappoint.
Although the main draw to Niagara Falls, Canada, is to view the two waterfalls, the surrounding area has much more to offer. The Niagara wine region and the Shaw Festival are just two more reasons to visit.
Niagara Falls is probably best known as a honeymoon destination, attracting millions of newlywed or just plain romantic couples each year. In recent years, the area has become more sophisticated - in large part due to a new Casino that ushered in other fine dining and hotels.
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Quebec City offers an experience unlike any other in North America. Quebec City’s Old Town itself is a work of art: cobblestone walkways, well-preserved 17th century architecture, café culture and the only North American fortress walls that still exist north of Mexico - all of which has given it status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. French is still the prevalent language spoken is Quebec and can't help but add a certain allure to this already alluring town.
Photo courtesy Fairmont Hotels and Resorts.
The capital city of British Columbia is located on Vancouver Island (an island that is confusingly not home to the city of Vancouver). Victoria is a charming harbour city that is a gateway to all the wonderful towns, inlets, coves and Pacific Ocean scenery that is Vancouver Island.
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The Calgary Stampede put Calgary on the map and the city's role as host of the 1988 Winter Olympics solidified its place as one of Canada's top destinations. The Old West spirit is alive and well in Calgary where cowboy hats and line dancing are always in fashion. The city has enjoyed great prosperity since the 1990s and grown significantly. Calgary's proximity to Banff and other ski hills, icefields and other grand scenery is a big part of Calgary's draw.
Though Toronto and Montreal may be better known, Ottawa, Ontario, is Canada's capital city. Ottawa is a charming city to visit; it has a cultured, yet friendly atmosphere.
So much of Ottawa’s allure is due to the well-planned city that is pedestrian friendly and human in scale. The many historic buildings – most prominently the Parliament Building and the Château Laurier – are lovingly preserved.
Alberta's capital city is probably best known as a city of festivals, the two most famous being the Edmonton Folk Music Festival and the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival. Edmonton is also a launching pad for northern Alberta adventure.
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Nova Scotia's capital city has the amenities of a big city but the charm of a small town. Part of Halifax's charm is due to the hospitality of the people, something for which the whole Maritime region is famous. More of the city's charm can be attributed to an oceanside location, rugged shorelines, sandy beaches, nearby fishing villages and historic architecture.