Beautiful green spaces, friendly locals, and distinctive cultures. These are just a few of the reasons why our readers gave Canada a big thumbs-up for an urban getaway.
“Vancouver and the surrounding areas are simply stunning,” said one fan. With its laid-back Pacific Northwest vibe, and local attractions like Stanley Park, Granville Island, and the Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver embodies what so many travelers love about visiting the Great White North in general: nature is at your doorstep, as well as fine dining, shopping, and cultural attractions. “There is so much to do, with water activities and mountains close by,” said another.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated cities on their sights and landmarks, culture, cuisine, friendliness, shopping, and overall value.
Vancouver snagged the No. 2 spot, with Victoria, a culinary capital on the rugged, southwestern tip of British Columbia, following close behind. Montreal, famous for its cobblestoned lanes and Gothic Revival cathedrals, struck readers as “quaint” and “unbelievably friendly.” Come winter, you’re as likely to spend a day cross-country skiing at Mount Royal Park as you are perusing contemporary art in industrial neighborhoods like Griffintown. And one reader noted that the strength of the American dollar is making it even more affordable. “Our money went further than we expected — though we would have loved every moment in this beautiful, walkable city regardless.”
Our readers made it clear that all of Canada’s top cities, as diverse as they are, had one virtue in common. Even when the temperatures drop and the city sidewalks are blanketed in snow, locals greeted visitors with warmth and hospitality. “People went out of their way to help or provide advice,” said one traveler of their experience in Victoria.
Whether you’re crossing the border for a long weekend or taking an epic, 20-day luxury train trip from coast to coast, these are the favorite Canadian cities you can’t miss.
“You owe it to yourself to visit Quebec City,” insisted one Travel + Leisure reader. “The Old World charm can’t be overstated.” And though this 400-year-old metropolis, it never feels stale or stuck in the past. Visitors will find a trendy, upscale shopping scene and no shortage of timeless romance, like a dinner cruise on the gleaming St. Lawrence River. Several readers cited Vieux-Quebec, the old, walled part of the city, which is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, as “beautiful,” and “charming,” while others noted that the top-notch festivals, like the Festival d’Été and Winter Carnival, are reason enough to go north. “I thought I stepped into a mini-Paris,” added one fan. “I loved the history!”