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Things to Do in Canada - page 4

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Fort York National Historic Site
3 Tours and Activities

Fort York is one of Canada’s most important and earliest historic sites and was in use between the 1790s and 1880s. The military fortifications consisting of stone and wood barracks, powder magazines and officers’ quarters were put in place by the British Army and Canadian militia troops as the primary harbor defense of the city of York, Toronto’s old name and back then the capital of Upper Canada. It guarded the entrance to Toronto Harbour and Fort York saw action three times, the most notable of these battles being the Battle of York in 1813, when the invading U.S. Army destroyed the fort and the retreating British soldiers blew up the powder magazines, killing hundreds. Of course, the British government was not pleased by the defeat and subsequent ransacking of York and this event spurred the much better known British invasion of Washington D.C. a year later, which resulted in the burning of Congress and the White House.

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Emily Carr House
8 Tours and Activities

The Emily Carr House was the childhood home of Canadian painter and author Emily Carr and had a long-lasting impression on much of her work. Today, it is an Interpretive Centre for Carr’s artwork, writing, and life.

Emily Carr’s work reads like an adventure. It carried her from remote native settlements throughout British Columbia to major cities like San Francisco, London, and Paris. But her childhood home continually appeared throughout all of her work, especially her writing. The house itself was built in 1863 and Carr called it home from her birth, in 1871, until she left to pursue artist training overseas. Her father’s death triggered ownership changes and, after years of passing through the Carr Family, the house was sold off. Although it was once scheduled for demolition, the house made its way back to the Emily Carr Foundation before being purchased by the provincial government and restored.

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Toronto Islands
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10 Tours and Activities
A quick ferry ride from the city center, the Toronto Islands are chain of small islands that offer a pleasant respite from the bustling city. Come here to soak up the sun, laze on the beaches, or take a peaceful bike ride. One of the most popular Toronto Islands is Centreville, which is a favorite for visitors. The island includes a children's amusement park, tiny shops on a turn-of-the-20th-century Main Street, and the Far Enough Farm, where the kids can pet lambs, chicks, and other barnyard animals. Kids will love riding the old-fashioned carousel and the miniature railway. The other popular islands, more residential than Centreville, are Ward’s Island, Algonquin (Sunfish Island), and Olympic. The Toronto Islands have several swimming beaches, including Centre Island Beach, Gibraltar Point Beach, Hanlan's Point Beach and Ward's Island Beach. The Islands also host a number of events, including the Olympic Island Festival, an annual rock concert.
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Hockey Hall of Fame
15 Tours and Activities

Hockey is akin to a religion in Canada and its shrine is The Hockey Hall of Fame, located at the foot of Front and Yonge near the Financial District in downtown Toronto.

The Hockey Hall of Fame offers something for fans and non-fans alike: the finest collection of hockey artifacts at all levels of play from around the world; interactive games that challenge shooting and goalkeeping skills; themed exhibits dedicated to the game’s greatest players, teams and achievements; multimedia stations; theaters; larger-than-life statues; a replica NHL dressing room; an unrivaled selection of hockey-related merchandise and memorabilia; and NHL trophies. The piece de resistance, of course, is hands-on access to The STANLEY CUP. A new addition to the Hall of Fame is to view The Clarkson Cup, awarded annually to the team that wins the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL) championship. Donated in 2013, it is named after former Governor General of Canada, Adrienne Clarkson.

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Prospect Point
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14 Tours and Activities

Found within the current bounds of Vancouver's Stanley Park, Prospect Point is not only the highest point in the park and a great viewpoint of the harbor, but a place of significant history. In the late 1800s, boats traveling into Burrard Inlet were forced to pass extremely close to Prospect Point, as uninhibited water from the Capilano River plowed into the harbor, carrying with it silt and rock. The mineral-heavy flow further out caused the waters to be less buoyant, but crossing so close to the cliffs of Prospect Point wasn't without its risks either. In 1888, a ship called the S.S. Beaver ran aground on the rocks. It was then that the decision was made to put a warning light on the point to help guide ships through the passage. Some 25 years later, a signal station was built on the point to relay information to ships entering the inlet and, in 1948, the current Prospect Point Lighthouse was erected.

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Glenbow Museum
1 Tour and Activity
Glenbow is the largest cultural museum in western Canada, in particular highlighting the history and culture of indigenous Canadians. The museum combines artifacts, artworks, archives, documents and fun interactive exhibits.
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Toronto City Hall
11 Tours and Activities

The New City Hall is one of Toronto’s most characteristic landmarks. Overlooking the busy Queen Street West in downtown Toronto, the New City Hall is nicknamed “the eye of the government” because of its shape on a plan view. The building’s easily identifiable dual curved and almost identical towers surround a council chamber that is mounted on a raised platform, a creation of Finnish architects Viljo Revell, Heikki Castrén, Bengt Lundsten, and Seppo Valjus, as well as landscape architect Richard Strong, who designed the building after an international architectural competition that yielded submissions from 42 countries in 1958. Part of the competition also included the Nathan Phillips Square below, which is now home to overheard walkways, a reflecting pool, and large concrete arches – it remains one of Toronto’s main gathering places, and New Year’s Eve celebrations are held there every year.

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More Things to Do in Canada

Casa Loma

Casa Loma

10 Tours and Activities

Literally the “House on a Hill,” Casa Loma - a mock medieval castle with Elizabethan-style chimneys, Rhineland turrets, secret passageways, and an underground tunnel - towers above midtown Toronto on a cliff. A walk through the sumptuous interior of this eccentric 98-room mansion is a trip back in time.

Inside, you can wander through the majestic Great Hall, marveling at its 59 foot (18 meter) high hammer-beam ceiling, while in the Oak Room the stately paneling took three years for artisans to create. Elegant bronze doors open up into the Conservatory, which is lit by an Italian chandelier with electrical bunches of grapes. Rugs feature the same patterns as those at Windsor castle. The original kitchen had ovens big enough to cook an ox, and secret panels and tunnels abound. The stables were used by the Canadian government for secret WWII research into anti-U-boat technology.

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Scotiabank Arena (Air Canada Centre)

Scotiabank Arena (Air Canada Centre)

6 Tours and Activities

Well known as the ACC, The Air Canada Centre is home of the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League (NHL), the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the Toronto Rock of the National Lacrosse League (NLL). Some of the art deco facade on the outskirts of the arena pays homage to the building’s history previously occupied by Canada Post’s Toronto Postal Delivery Building.

Since its inception in 1999, the outlying area of the ACC has developed into Maple Leaf Square, with the Le Germain hotel and condominiums as well as a number of restaurants, supermarkets and office buildings in the vicinity. The ACC is a premier concert and event venue. The Tragically Hip played ACC’s first concert and other bands like Bon Jovi, U2, The Police and Rush have played up to 4 or 5 concerts in one tour at the ACC.

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Humber Bay Park

Humber Bay Park

1 Tour and Activity

Humber Bay Park consists of two man-made peninsulas, that jut out at the mouth of Mimico Creek just before it joins Lake Ontario. Humber Bay Park East is a great place to go animal watching, as a large number of cormorants, geese, herons, swans and ducks congregate here. Also frequently seen are Great Egrets and Red-Tailed Hawks, and you might even spot a turtle basking in the sun on a nice day. Most people combine this with a walk on the many trails that either lead along the shore of the lake or through the greenery of the park. Along the shore, you will find two sandy beaches and if you are a photographer, Humber Bay Park is also a great spot to see the spectacular Toronto Skyline with the CN Tower rising up in the midst of the skyscrapers. The two peninsulas are connected by a small pedestrian bridge and on the other side at Humber Bay Park East, visitors can find a parking lot and the big marina.

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Toronto High Park

Toronto High Park

1 Tour and Activity

High Park, with its numerous cultural institutions, sports facilities, playgrounds and even a zoo, is the largest park in the Canadian metropolis Toronto and serves as a recreational area for locals and visitors alike. About a third of the park is left in its natural state and is home to both large groups of trees, shrubs, grasses and Canadian flowering plants as well as the many species of birds that are native to the area. High Park is especially beautiful late April and early May, when the Sakura cherry trees around Hillside Garden are in full bloom and spread their wonderful fragrance. The first of these trees that now make up a huge big pink canopy were given to High Park as a present from the citizens of Tokyo, while later on more and more Sakuras got donated by various sources.

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Ripley's Aquarium of Canada

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada

11 Tours and Activities

Opened on October 16, 2013, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is located in the heart of downtown Toronto, next to the Rogers Centre and the CN Tower. It features a total of has 5.7 million liters of marine and freshwater habitats, including a spectacular and crowd-pleasing walk-through tank. It is organized into nine galleries featuring 16,000 animals from different areas of the world: Canadian Waters, Rainbow Reef, Dangerous Lagoon, Discovery Centre, The Gallery, Ray Bay, Planet Jellies, Life Support Systems and the Shoreline Gallery. Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is home to more than 13,500 exotic sea and freshwater specimens from more than 450 species, including octopuses, eels, sharks, stingrays, seahorses, exotic fishes, sea dragons, and many more. It also hosts many unique events for an additional fee, including a Stingray Experience, Friday Night Jazz, sleepovers, yoga, Sea Squirts for children, and photography classes. There is a store and café on-site.

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Bata Shoe Museum

Bata Shoe Museum

1 Tour and Activity

This quirky museum is dedicated to the style and function of footwear in four impressive galleries. With over 10,000 pairs of shoes, displays range from different cultures from China to Egypt and even a collection of 20th century celebrity soles

The museum has three types of exhibitions:

The main exhibitions, which include one semi-permanent and three changing exhibitions in specially-designed galleries, which can go on to become Travelling Exhibitions

'Snapshot' exhibits, on display for one or two weeks and feature five to ten display cases

Online exhibitions

Semi-Permanent exhibitions give you an overview of footwear history such as the All About Shoes flagship display, a voyage through 4500 years of footwear.

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Dufferin Terrace (Terrasse Dufferin)

Dufferin Terrace (Terrasse Dufferin)

23 Tours and Activities

At the base of the Château Frontenac, Quebec City’s Terrasse Dufferin promenade looks out across the St Lawrence River from its clifftop perch atop Cap Diamant. Named after Lord Dufferin, who was Canada’s governor between 1872 and 1878, come in summertime when green and white-topped gazebos fill the 425-meter-long boardwalk and street performers entertain. Time your visit for the early evening, and you’ll also get to see the sun set over the Laurentian Mountains to the north. In winter, Dufferin Terrasse is especially popular for its Les Glissades de la Terrasse toboggan run, which wooshes people up to 60 mph down an 82-meter slide.

Just underneath Terrasse Dufferin, by the statue of Samuel de Champlain, you can visit the archaeological site of Champlain’s second fort which dates back to 1620.

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Mount Royal

Mount Royal

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The mountain is the site of Mount Royal Park, the work of New York Central Park designer Frederick Law Olmsted. It's a sprawling, leafy playground that's perfect for cycling, jogging, horseback riding, picnicking; in winter, miles of paths and trails draw cross-country skiers and snowshoers.

On clear days, you can enjoy panoramic views from the Kondiaronk lookout near Chalet du Mont Royal, a grand old white villa that hosts big-band concerts in summer; or from the Observatoire de l'Est, a favorite rendezvous spot for lovebirds. En route you'll spot the landmark Cross of Montréal, which is illuminated at night.

Other features of the park include Lac des Castors (Beaver Lake), a sculpture garden, a lush forest, with numerous sets of stairs, and two cemeteries.

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Harbourfront Centre

Harbourfront Centre

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3 Tours and Activities
One of the most enjoyable activities for both locals and visitors is spending time on the Toronto Harbourfront. It’s a great place to stroll, have a picnic, shop, duck in and out of art galleries, or grab a ferry to the Toronto Islands. Queen’s Quay is usually the first stop for visitors to the Toronto Harbourfront. Ferries to Toronto Islands and harbor boat rides depart from here. At York Quay are a series of galleries including the Photo Passage and the Craft Studio, which runs courses in ceramics, jewelry, glass-blowing, and textiles. Concerts are held at the Toronto Music Garden, the Power Plant is a contemporary art gallery, and the Premiere Dance Theatre host many dance performances. Throughout the summer, especially during the weekends, the Toronto Harbourfront puts on a kaleidoscopic variety of performing arts events at the York Quay Centre; many are aimed at kids, some are free. Performances sometimes take place on the covered outdoor Concert Stage beside the lake.
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Cave and Basin National Historic Site

Cave and Basin National Historic Site

6 Tours and Activities

Originally called Banff Hot Springs Reserve, Cave and Basin National Historic Site was the birthplace of both Banff National Park and the entire Canadian National Parks system. Today, 43 national parks, 167 historic sites, four marine parks and one national urban park (which make up the largest network of protected lands in the world), can trace their roots back to these warm mineral waters in Banff, Alberta. Reopened in 2013 after a three-year renovation project, Cave and Basin is now home to an interpretive museum and a boardwalk hike past countless thermal pools, but the short walk down a stone tunnel into the large hot spring cave remains the most spectacular attraction. A waterfall pours down from the ceiling, filling the jade-green hot spring. The setting is so beautiful that it isn’t hard to believe that when three Canadian Pacific Railway workers discovered the springs, they immediately laid claim to the land and saw its potential as a major tourism draw.

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Old Town Victoria

Old Town Victoria

8 Tours and Activities

Chalk artists, buskers, horse-and-carriage rides, and walking tours: Victoria’s Old Town has enough attractions to keep the curious visitor occupied for an entire day. With many side streets and small squares to duck into, Old Town offers plenty of big shops and restaurants as well as smaller, independently owned boutiques and eye-catching street art. Old Town’s cobblestone streets wind together through alleyways where some of B.C.’s oldest and grandest architecture can be found. Curious pedestrians can begin at the Empress Hotel (Insider’s tip: For a truly spectacular experience, indulge in afternoon tea at the hotel, which offers a full English high tea.) and head down the Victoria Inner Harbour Walkway toward Government Street. When the weather’s nice, Government Street is lined with musicians and performers, in addition to the cafes, specialty shops, gift shops, and numerous pubs for the thirsty traveler.

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Queen Elizabeth Park

Queen Elizabeth Park

41 Tours and Activities

Come for the views at this 128-acre (52-hectare) park located at Vancouver’s geographic center – it’s the highest point in the city. You can look out over the gardens and grounds all the way to downtown and the North Shore mountains. Within the park itself, there are Quarry Gardens, former rock quarries now filled with flowers, shrubs, and other plants; an arboretum – the first to be established in Canada – with more than 1500 trees; and a Rose Garden that blossoms with many varieties of the flower. In spring and summer, you can browse the Painters’ Corner, where local artists display and sell their work. Seasons in the Park, a restaurant overlooking the gardens, serves lunch and dinner daily.

If you’re looking for more athletic pursuits, you can golf the park’s Pitch & Putt course, play tennis on one of the 17 public courts, or join the lawn bowlers at the Vancouver Lawn Bowling Club, which welcomes visitors several times a week during the spring and summer.

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Vancouver Maritime Museum

Vancouver Maritime Museum

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5 Tours and Activities
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