As Canada’s most beloved, and most diverse destinations, the three cities represent an eclectic mixture of forward-thinking urban lifestyle, love and respect for Mother Nature and an undying devotion to European heritage.
Unequivocally friendly and just enough quirky, they are close enough to be explored on a single journey, but worthy of multiple visits nonetheless.
If you’re craving for an adventure to the North, the following sights and stops should be on your itinerary in order to get a glimpse into the true spirit of Canada’s fantastic trio, starting with the still undiscovered, humble, yet welcoming embrace of Toronto!
Canada’s crown jewel of diversity
Despite being so gloriously urban with its multicultural population that boasts over 140 languages exchanged among approximately 2.8 million inhabitants, Toronto has a seamless flow to its everyday life. Try visiting the vivacious Entertainment District, and you’ll instantly feel at home among a slew of best eateries, a bar scene to match that of Sydney or New York, and some of the finest theatre and sports events the world has yet to see.
Wish to be awe-struck? Less than two hours to the south of the city are the famous Niagara Falls. Culture vultures will love the Royal Ontario Museum with eminent international exhibitions, and if you’re more into street art, then the well-known Graffiti Alley, the only spot where the said type of art is legal. Sci-fi lovers will be impressed by the The Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation and Fantasy, “hidden” in the Toronto Public Library (the Lillian H. Smith branch), while High Park hosts summertime performances such as “Shakespeare in the Park” for aficionados of classics.
The Paris of North
One of the most rewarding perks of your diverse Canada holidays is that you can treat yourself to a picturesque train ride to the city of Montreal and immerse yourself in the timeless beauty of the next city on your list. Dreamy during winter when it’s covered in snow, and enchanting in spring with its blooming splendor, Montreal is no less vivid or versatile than your previous destination. Somehow, it effortlessly preserves its European charisma, while eagerly developing its urban identity through prestigious galleries, museums and world-renowned festivities.
Every Tuesday, the Petit Campus in the lower Plateau of Montreal hosts an evening of unforgettable music, poetry, dancing and other types of performance, all improvised, and all named the Kalmunity Vibe Collective – a perfect chance to get a glimpse of the local artists and their unique nightlife. Lovers of fashion will enjoy their pick of vintage clothing stores, such as the Local 23 down in 23 Bernard, while if you’re looking for a cup of coffee with a unique view, search for a rooftop café. An absolute favorite among the locals is Terrasse Nelligan, atop the stunning century-old hotel of the same name.
Quebec’s radiant charm
Considered as one of Canada’s best-kept secrets, Quebec City has the same, if not greater French spirit as that of Montreal, and its European essence is almost tangible as you walk along the St. Lawrence River’s banks, soaking in the grace of Old Quebec, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
For a moment, you will have a distinct feeling of being in Europe, mostly due to its even-paced, warm atmosphere. The city’s architecture alone is enough to dazzle any visitor, from its massive colonial buildings, lush parks and fortresses, to meandering narrow streets and the hidden paradise of the rustic Île d’Orléans.
Another natural gem sitting tantalizingly near the old district is the Montmorency Falls Park, where adrenaline junkies can take a zipline ride over the cascades of water, which are a staggering one and a half times taller than the Niagara Falls. In case you’re a brave soul visiting in winter, bask in the wonderland of the Winter Carnival, and observe the traditional dogsled races, or take part in skating and sledding. For a more up-close and personal experience, visit the district of Montcalm, which despite being a predominantly residential area, offers a slew of galleries, cafes and hip restaurants with outdoor seating options.
While there, you’ll be able to choose from a wide range of luxurious hotels that proudly uphold the historic worth of each city, all the way to quaint, but equally alluring stone homes that have been converted to hotels, and offer a personal service not unlike that of boutique Paris hotels. While Toronto, Montreal and Quebec all deserve months of devoted exploring, you’ll find that a single day is more than enough to make you head over heels in love with these treasured Canadian cities.