There’s still a lot of summer left in Canada, which means there is plenty of time to hit the road for a vacation before heading back to school and the usual fall grind.
With the Labour Day long weekend quickly approaching, you may find yourself in need of a little inspiration on where to visit. Have no fear — Canada is filled with beautiful locations that you can explore.
From coast to coast, here are some of the best places to travel in Canada this Labour Day weekend.
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A half-hour or so west of Victoria, this is a quiet seaside town with a lot going for it. Stop in for a lunch or dessert at Mom's Café, which packs 50 apples or more into each massive apple pie. Stick in the Mud is a great coffee house with a strong community spirit.
The Sooke Potholes don’t sound sexy, but they’re a beautiful spot to watch waterfalls cascade into a series of small pools. There are several waterfront restaurants overlooking Sooke Harbour, including West Coast Grill.
This is a city that’s very much on the rise these days. The sleek, new Dorian Hotel, a Marriott Autograph collection property, is a boutique hotel with a gorgeous rooftop bar/restaurant. Also stylish is the Westley Hotel, part of the Hilton Tapestry Collection.
Be sure to check out Major Tom, which was recently named the best new restaurant in Canada. Perhaps even better is Orchard, a plant-filled gem that serves up fabulous Mediterranean-Asian cuisine, including divine, soy-glazed sablefish.
For the more adventurous, Rocky Mountain Sidecar Tours offers fun rides around Calgary and Banff in a motorcycle sidecar.
This is a surprising city with a world-class museum, fabulous restaurants and a lovely setting on the South Saskatchewan River. The gorgeous Remai Modern art gallery in downtown Saskatoon includes almost all the lino cuts produced by Picasso during his incredible career. They also have other modern and contemporary art.
Just outside of the city, Wanuskewin Heritage Park is a remarkable spot that focuses on the region’s indigenous history and culture. It’s also great for hiking. Relax on The Prairie Lily, which offers marvellous boat rides on the river.
Check out the Museum of Human Rights for an inspirational tourist experience. Assiniboine Park was designed by a student of Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed Central Park in New York. The "Journey to Churchill" is a great exhibit in the park that features a glass tube below a polar bear pool, allowing you to see these massive animals frolic in the water.
Take a short drive from downtown to the Bridge Drive-In for what's called a "goog:" a blueberry milkshake with lots of other goodies that's served in an old-style spot on the shores of the Red River.
Music lovers will want to check out Salisbury House for memorabilia from The Guess Who and lead singer/songwriter Burton Cummings.
Less than an hour from Toronto, north Durham Region is filled with cool activities and business owners who share and support one another.
The Underground Bake Shop in Beaverton is a tasty spot led by a 24-year-old baker who honed her craft in her parents’ basement during the pandemic. Just around the corner is The Shortiss, a café and bakery that wouldn’t be out of place in Toronto’s West Queen West.
Greenmantle Pottery and Concession 6 Studio are great for art and pottery lovers, while the Lucy Maud Montgomery Manse in Leaskdale is a must-see for lovers of Anne of Green Gables. Don’t miss a stop to admire the animals at Forget-Me-Not Alpacas, and be sure to visit The Sunflower Farm for great Instagram shots.
This region is roughly an hour from Montreal, but a world away. Small villages and towns such as Sutton and North Hatley are a delight for photographers. Auberge West Brome is a great family inn with an indoor pool, spacious grounds and a wonderful restaurant.
A deep, beautiful limestone gorge slashes through the middle of the city of Sherbrooke, and there’s an easy walking trail you can take for great views. The city also has a series of 18 gorgeous, trompe l’oeil murals. Try a boat cruise on Lake Memphremagog in the stylish town of Magog.
Shediac is a great Maritimes beach town. For delicious east coast eats, The Lobster Deck has great lobster rolls and good fries. Be sure to snap a photo of the giant lobster in town, which kids love to climb (some adults, too!).
North of Shediac you’ll find a series of pretty beaches and seaside homes proudly displaying the Acadian flag. Miramichi is famous for its fishing, and is also home to the Rodd Miramichi Resort.
The Muir is a new, five-star hotel along the city’s famous harbour, which promises to elevate the city to a new level of luxury travel. The Halifax Public Garden and the waterfront boardwalk are great places to explore while the weather’s still great.
Take the ferry over to Dartmouth to explore trendy shops and restaurants, including The Canteen and Two If By Sea Cafe. Kept is a lovely home décor and gift shop with candles, cocktail guides, kids’ books and beach-themed items.
There’s so much more to PEI than lobsters, lighthouses, and Anne of Green Gables. The Inn at Bay Fortune is run by celebrity chef Michael Smith and offers inspirational dinner menus at a luxurious inn.
There's an entertaining potato museum in the town of O'Leary, where you'll learn that French royalty used to put potato blossoms in their hair.
Cap Egmont, a French-speaking area not far from Summerside, is home to a collection of small buildings fashioned almost entirely out of wine bottles. One of the buildings is a chapel, and, yes, you can get married in it. There’s another bottle village near Point Prim, which is home to a lovely brick lighthouse. The Point Prim Chowder House serves up fresh chowder that’s bursting with flavour.
The hike from downtown to Signal Hill takes you through The Battery, a colourful collection of small, wildly-coloured homes that cling to the St. John’s Harbour cliffs. It might be the best urban walk on the planet.
The Rooms is a marvellous museum that explains the history of the area’s indigenous peoples and immigrants. Take a walk around the charming, waterfront village of Quidi Vidi, where you’ll find a terrific restaurant called Mallard Cottage.
Yukon is a marvellous destination that’s easily reached from Alberta or British Columbia. Dawson City is famous for its colourful gold rush history, and you can stay the night in a hotel that once housed as a bordello. One odd attraction in town is the Sourtoe Cocktail which is served at the Downtown Hotel, which involves downing a shot of alcohol in a glass that contains a human severed toe. If you let the toe touch your lips, you get a certificate.
The Northwest Territories is home to one of Canada’s most powerful and beautiful rivers, The Nahanni, which was declared the first World Heritage Site by the United Nations in 1978. It’s a highly-rated kayaking and canoeing experience, but you should have a guide, and it’s best if you’ve had some training. You’ll see tall, rocky mountains and traverse through one of the deepest river canyons in Canada.
Nunavut, which is the easternmost of Canada’s three northern territories, is an outstanding place to learn about Inuit culture and to explore other-worldly landscapes. You’ll find towering, snow-capped mountains, plains littered with muskox and caribou, and seas teeming with seals, whales and walrus. It’s also great for bird-watching.