With Canada Day right around the corner, it’s time to start planning how you’ll be celebrating your day off. So why not enjoy this national holiday by visiting one of the most Canadian places in the country? We’ve got the 10 places that make for fantastic one-day excursions that showcase how great Canada is.
1. The Capilano Suspension Bridge (Vancouver, British Columbia)
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is easily one of the best tourist attractions in Vancouver, BC. The Canadian attraction has a history dating back to 1888. Still, it didn’t become a full-fledged tourist destination until 1983, when Vancouverite Nancy Stibbard bought the bridge and revamped the entire experience.
The name “Capilano” stems from a First Nations word from the Squamish Nation meaning “beautiful river.”
You can spend several hours enjoying the Capilano Suspension Bridge. First, walk over the 70 meters high bridge with a rushing river below you. Next, go on the Treetops Adventure, where seven connected suspension bridges take you through the lush BC forest. You can also go on the Cliff Walk, visit the Raptor’s Ridge wildlife center, and stop for lunch at one of the many nearby restaurants. It’s the perfect Canada day exploring the natural beauty and landscape of British Columbia.
2. Polar Bear Dip in Lake Louise (Banff, Alberta)
Typically, a polar bear dip is reserved for January 1, when the winter water is cold and refreshing. However, Lake Louise is a glacial lake, which means the water typically doesn’t get above 4°C. This also means that most people can’t handle much more than a few minutes in this water. So why not jump into Canada Day with a freezing plunge?
Lake Louise is the quintessential Canadian vacation. The lake is a stunning, powerful blue. You can hike around the area and take in nature, canoe on the lake, visit the Takakkaw Falls, and more.
Just don’t be surprised if it’s busy – you won’t be the only one thinking Lake Louise is a great Canada Day trip.
3. Victoria’s Inner Harbor (Victoria, British Columbia)
Victoria is the capital of British Columbia and, once you visit, you can see why. The harbor area has just about everything you want on a summer vacation day – boating, shopping, great food, galleries, and museums.
Most importantly, you can visit one of the most prestigious Canadian hotels – the Empress Hotel. A landmark since the 1900s, the Empress Hotel has had countless famous visitors such as Shirley Temple, Edward Prince of Wales, King George VI, and Queen Elizabeth.
If you visit here, you absolutely have to book high tea at the Empress. It’s the perfect ode to Canada’s British ties to the Crown.
4. Fortress of Louisbourg (Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia)
If you want to soak up some history this Canada Day, the Fortress of Louisbourg is the perfect spot to visit. Settlers took hold of this site in 1713, turning it into a fortress in the mid-18th century. This spot marked vital points in history in the Anglo-French battles and defined what Canada is today. The Canadian government decided to rebuild the site in 1923 after recognizing its historical significance.
Today, visitors can explore the Fortress and transport themselves to another time. You’ll walk around the area and see French soldiers marching, chat with the villagers and fishers, and play ancient games. This is a delightful adventure for families.
5. Dinosaur Provincial Park (Calgary, Alberta)
A lot of Canadians don’t realize that Canada has its own version of Jurassic park! But, of course, we mean with fossils, not real dinosaurs. Dinosaur Provincial Park is approximately a two-hour drive from Calgary and has some of the most diverse dinosaur fossils in the world. To date, 35 species of dinosaurs have been found in the park, dating back to 75 million years.
You can spend your day hiking through the park, going on a guided tour, or even camping out for a few nights. This park is an excellent adventure for kids or adults!
6. Explore Place d’Armes (Old Montreal, Quebec)
Walk through Old Montreal and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Europe. Some of the oldest buildings in Old Montreal date back to the 1600s. Place d’Armes is the second-oldest public site in the city and gives visitors a feel for just how much history Canada has.
Place d’Armes is a public square surrounded by some of Montreal’s oldest buildings – the Bank of Montreal, the Art Deco Aldred Building, the New York Life Building, and the Notre-Dame Basilica. When you’re not enjoying the stunning European-influenced architecture, you can enjoy the performers and street food throughout the square.
7. Niagara Falls (Niagara Falls, Ontario)
Niagara Falls is possibly the country’s most stunning and famous waterfall. Of course, we share the Falls with our American friends, but many would agree the view from Canada’s side is the best. It’s a right of passage that every Canadian visit Niagara Falls at least once, so you may as well go all out and visit on Canada Day!
The best part is your excursion to Niagara Falls can look completely different than the next person’s. There are so many ways to experience the site, so it’s quite hard to decide what to do! You can journey behind the Falls, take a helicopter ride over the water, take a cruise close to the Falls, zipline above the water, or simply enjoy the views from a nice restaurant.
8. National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa, Ontario)
Established in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa is a massive gallery of Canadian art. Today, the facility has more than 75,000 works of art from Indigenous and Canadian artists. The facility is committed to the preservation and promotion of art with Canadian history.
Since the gallery has so many pieces, you can expect that you’ll spend several hours exploring the facilities. Nothing will make you feel more Canadian than seeing the work of some of this nation’s greatest artists.
9. Ottawa’s Parliament Hill (Ottawa, Ontario)
Canada’s version of the White House is Parliament Hill. If you’re not interested in politics, you’ll still enjoy the beauty of the Parliament building. The structure was a military base in the 18th and 19th centuries. In 1859 Queen Victoria chose Ottawa as Canada’s capital and the site was transitioned into a government building.
If you come during the right time, you’ll be able to catch the entertaining Changing of the Guard. Additionally, visiting the Parliament on Canada Day means you’ll get to enjoy plenty of free celebrations, including a parade and fireworks.
10. See Some Polar Bears (Churchill, Manitoba)
The typical Canadian stereotype of constant snow may be more accurate in some areas than others. In Churchill, Manitoba, the stereotype goes one step further with polar bears. From July to November, the small town of Churchill gets massive crowds who want to see the polar bears from a distance. Churchill is a small town home to approximately 1,000 residents but has become world-renowned as the “Polar Bear Capital of the World.”
Come here on Canada Day to get a view of these fascinating creatures – safely and from a distance, of course. In addition to polar bears, you might see the aurora borealis, whales, and unique birds.
Enjoy your Canada Day with one of these 10 truly Canadian attractions. Which is top of your list this year?