By Soren Rivero
Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary… we all know Canada’s most popular cities and why they’re famous. However, there’s so much more beauty waiting to be experienced outside of them. Check out these top 5 alternatives to big cities in Canada!
Churchill, Northern Manitoba
Small in size doesn’t mean small in opportunities! Churchill is one of the more underrated cities across Canada, even though there’s much to experience.
Sandwiched between Saskatchewan and Ontario, Manitoba is one of Canada’s many provinces. Churchill rests on the northern tip of Manitorba, which makes it cold and snowy almost year-round.
One of the most enjoyable things to do is to see the active wildlife that’s indigenous to these lands. Polar bears are some of the most abundant animals and can be seen all throughout the year. There are also great beluga whales, though they only really come out during the summer.
If you’re lucky, you’ll get a glimpse of the Northern Lights that span the horizon during winter nights. Churchill is an excellent place to view these, but if you really want to get close, you’ll have to visit our next location: Whitehorse!
Have you ever seen the Northern Lights up close and personal? If not, you can experience this delight by visiting Whitehorse in the magical lands of Yukon.
Yukon is a territory to the far Northwest of Canada. It's painted in snow almost all year-round, with winter lasting around five months. Visiting will require some extra preparation, especially if you’re going around winter — but the results will be more than worth it.
Spending time outdoors is the best activity here, especially with the stunning snowy scenery. If you go at the right time, you’ll see a landscape full of green complemented by the white snow. The small shops and restaurants are super pretty as well. Many locals regard Whitehorse as being the prettiest town in all of Northern Canada, and it holds up to its name!
And of course, there’s the Northern Lights, which you can see pretty much anywhere from Whitehorse. The best time to see them are at the beginning of winter when sunshine is scarce. You’ll get a glimpse of one of the world’s natural beauties that’ll be sure to spark some creativity in you!
Kaslo, British Columbia
Are you a jazz fiend? Well, we've got the perfect location for you!
Kaslo is a small city in the British Columbia province that’s very well-known for its annual summer jazz festival. During the festival, numerous bands and musicians perform live at Kaslo Bay Park. Swim around the stage, play with beach balls in the sand, or simply relax while enjoying the performances.
Kaslo also houses the SS Moyle (North America’s oldest paddle steamer) that’s been renovated into a museum. Here, you can learn about the history of the city as well as the paddle boat itself.
There’s dozens of hiking trails and mountainous regions that are open for exploration. You can travel by yourself, or take a tour. We highly recommend checking out Buchanan Lookout. Visitors can hike to the top of the summit to view Arrow Lake from over 5,000ft high.
Edmonton is the second most popular city in Alberta right behind Calgary. While both cities are quite popular, Calgary usually takes the lead for its unique western appeal and ample supply of job opportunities.
But don’t let that sway you from visiting Edmonton! This urban city lights up brighter than any other city in Alberta — which adds to its unique identity of “The Festival City.” Edmonton gets this name from the dozens of mesmerizing festivals it hosts, like the Luminaria Festival where you can walk through a trail of snow and candle lights in the Kurimoto Japanese Garden.
The city also hosts numerous scavenger hunts and segway tours for the adventurous tourist. These will allow you to see what Edmonton truly is — in all her festive glory.
Quebec City, Quebec
Last but not least, we have the beautiful, European-esque Quebec City. Often overshadowed by its sister city of Montreal, Quebec City is actually the capital of Quebec.
Putting that aside, Quebec City is one of the most unique places to visit in Canada. You’ll experience all the city was inspired by, especially its roots in European culture. There are cobblestone streets, stone buildings, and diverse cuisines. Often regarded as the birthplace of French culture in North America, visiting Quebec City will leave you speechless and inspired. Interestingly, Quebec City is the only city (aside from those in Mexico) that’s walled off. The city’s ramparts add to the ancient feeling, making it seem like you’re living in a whole different time period.
Visit the popular Old Quebec (an UNESCO heritage site) that houses plenty of historic landmarks and museums. One of which is the La Citadelle de Quebec that still stands as an active military base. You can visit from the outside while enjoying the unique architectural design, or take an inside tour where you can learn about the history of Quebec and La Citadelle.
Alongside that, you can visit North America’s only ice hotel, the Place Royale, or feast at the fine eateries around the city.