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The next time you're driving to Toronto or Niagara Falls, stop in Hamilton, where tourist traffic isn't quite so rampant. The Niagara Escarpment provides spectacular scenery, with beautiful trails and waterfalls. Visit nearby farms, orchards and vineyards, or plan your trip to coincide with Hamilton's lively fall fairs.
We won't lie: Niagara Falls is uber-touristy. There are wax museums and a Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, and if it's a fast-food chain, you can probably find it here. But even the most jaded hipster shouldn't pass up a chance to visit this town, because the Falls themselves are spectacular.
Collingwood is more than just a neighbour of Blue Mountain Ski resort. This town on Nottawasaga Bay has its own delights to discover, from historic homes to parks and trails, a marine heritage museum, and its own annual Elvis Festival.
Although the name suggests otherwise, the Blue Mountains is an actual town in Grey County that consists of several small communities including Thornbury, Christie Beach, Clarksburg, Heathcote and Ravenna. The area is very picturesque and scenic in the summer months and during "apple season" in the autumn, but the town is most famous for its mountains. Tourists flock to Intrawest's Blue Mountain Ski Resort year-round for its wide array of offerings. If you aren't in the mood for skiing or snowboarding, take a stroll through Blue Mountain Village and enjoy a coffee at one of the cafes or a meal in one of the many restaurants located in the village.
Ottawa is a compact, clean, cleverly planned centre of culture and politics. And it's an ideal choice for a weekend getaway. Start downtown at the architecturally stunning National Gallery of Canada, and don't miss the Canadian Nature Museum and the National Aviation Museum. Rideau Canal offers boating in the summer and ice-skating in the winter. Gatineau Park attracts cyclists and walkers, while Byward Market blends old and new Ottawa.
Montreal, c’est si bon! This French-speaking city is considered the cultural capital of Canada, and is a cosmopolitan celebration of Québécois style. A horse-drawn carriage ride around the cobblestone streets and grand buildings of Vieux-Montréal will give you a taste of European flavour. The Basilique Notre-Dame is a confection of stained glass, and the Plateau Mont-Royal district will delight you with its quaint boutiques and cafés. Dig in to a massive plate of poutine to fuel up for a tour of the epic Olympic Park.
New Brunswick's transportation hub is vibrant Moncton, one of the country's fastest growing cities and a community steeped in history. Its storied past is brought to life in its many cultural institutions and museums, from the Acadian Museum to Le Centre Culturel Aberdeen. The city's largest green space, Centennial Park, includes many attractions and activities, from hiking and skiing trails to an artificial beach to an aerial treetop obstacle course and zip line.
Catapulted to fame for its part in the 1988 Winter Olympics, this former coal-mining town in the Canadian Rockies is a perfect base for visiting some of the country’s most impressive national parks. First stop for most visitors is the ski trails in Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park. Contemplate natural wonders at the Museum and Geoscience Centre, and mush through the snow on a sled-dog tour.
Soaring mountains, jewel-coloured lakes and pristine wilderness await you in Canada’s first National Park. The irresistible beauty of the landscape invites travellers to immerse themselves in the outdoors all year round — whether hiking through untouched forests and paddling the turquoise lakes in summertime, or skiing the slopes and soaking in the steamy hot springs during the winter. Travellers also enjoy the warm hospitality of Banff or Lake Louise, the region’s charming mountain townships.
Escape the urban bustle and make Jasper your home base for exploring Canada's extraordinary wilderness. As a mountain town, it's low-key and unpretentious with good food and drink; as a destination, it's an outdoor sports lover's playground, with hiking and golfing in summer and skiing and dog sledding in winter. If it's chilly, heat up at Miette Hot Springs in the National Park.
It's true: you can surf in Canada. And Tofino, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, is where you'll find exceptional surfing, Canadian-style. Busiest in summer, Tofino also fills up in winter when storm watchers descend upon this tiny town. Stay at an upscale inn and enjoy the town that affectionately calls itself The Tree Loving Capital of the World.