Not only is Canada one of the largest countries in the world but it’s blessed with spectacular landscapes and natural wonders that draw visitors from around the globe. One day, you can be in the pulsing heart of Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver and the next, standing in awe of the Rocky Mountains or the mighty rivers of the north.
With so many incredible destinations to discover within Canada’s borders, you might be wondering what is the number one attraction in the country? In this article, we’ll answer that question and highlight some of the runners-up, which are more than worthy additions to your Canada travel itinerary.
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Canada’s Number One Tourist Attraction – Niagara Falls
Canada’s most famous tourist destination is Niagara Falls, which straddles the border between Ontario and New York State. While the United States can lay claim to the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls, the Canadian side is home to the spectacular Horseshoe Falls and arguably offers a better overall view of this natural attraction.
Gazing in awe at Niagara Falls is something that people have been doing for centuries, with tourists flocking here since the mid-19th century. Not only did they come to watch as thousands of cubic meters of water plunged over the falls every second but to bear witness as others attempted to navigate the Falls in barrels or walk above it on a tightrope.
Today, one of the most popular ways to experience the Falls from the Canadian side is on-board the Voyage to the Falls boat tour, which takes you through the Niagara Gorge to see the rushing waters up close. During the Journey Behind the Falls experience, you’ll descend via an elevator to the underground tunnels to peer up at the Falls from below.
For elevated views of Niagara Falls, ride one of the “yellow bug” elevators that ascend the Skylon Tower, which features a revolving restaurant at its top and an amusement centre at its base. Alternatively, you can fly over the water via a zip-line – an activity that is not for the faint-hearted or for those who experience vertigo.
For a bird’s eye view of Niagara Falls, jump aboard a helicopter tour to fly above the Niagara Whirlpool (which lies downstream of the falls) and the Rainbow International Bridge that connects Canada with the United States. Young and old will also love viewing the falls from the SkyWheel, Canada’s largest observation wheel.
While Niagara Falls takes first place as Canada’s most popular tourist attraction, there are plenty of other incredible destinations to explore as part of your North American adventure.
Banff National Park
Surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, Banff National Park is the jewel in Alberta’s crown. It encompasses some of Canada’s most majestic scenery, including snow-capped mountains, spectacular glaciers, and turquoise lakes.
Aside from strolling along the shores of breathtakingly beautiful Lake Louise, you can hike to picture-perfect Moraine Lake. Lake Louise is connected to the town of Jasper via the Icefields Parkway, which is considered one of the most magnificent drives in the world. At the southern end of the park is the charming town of Banff, from where you can easily access the surrounding ski slopes.
Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Old Quebec is an atmospheric quarter of cobblestone streets and where Samuel de Champlain founded the city in 1608. It is divided into the Lower and Upper towns, with the latter home to the active military installation of La Citadelle and the Plains of Abraham.
Admire the stone-built Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church and shop along the Rue du Petit-Champlain, which is connected to the Haute-Ville via a historic funicular. From the Dufferin Terrace (directly in front of the Château Frontenac), you can enjoy stunning views across the St. Lawrence River.
Synonymous with skiing and snowboarding, Whistler is one of the world’s most famous winter resorts and lies just two hours’ drive from Vancouver. It rose to global prominence after hosting events as part of the 2010 Winter Olympics, with its mountain scenery providing an enchanting backdrop.
After an exhilarating day on the slopes of Whistler Blackcomb, you can spend your evenings mingling with other powder hounds in the chalet-style village at the mountain’s base. In the summer months, the resort transforms into a recreational wonderland for hiking, mountain biking, and golfing.