Many people know that Western Canada is a place where alpine dreams come to life. But
sometimes, quiet nights at the ski lodge lose their luster. You crave
excitement, culture, world-class food, and a vibrancy that only a city can
bring; it's time to return to reality beyond the slopes, and you're in just the
right place to do it.
Canada possesses some of the finest landscapes in North America—glaciers,
mountains, lakes, and seascapes—but the real unsung heroes are its cities.
Urban life in Canada doesn't end west of Toronto, and here's living proof:
are some cities that only a local could love. And then there's Vancouver.
let falling in love with Western Canada's largest city worry you; it's
inevitable. Just ask one of the over 8 million annual visitors: Vancouver
strikes the heart at first glance, and never lets up.
Vancouver is more than a city break; it's an odyssey through the entire
Canadian experience—the nature, the modernism, and the multiculturalism. And no
other urban destination in Canada combines them all quite like "Vancity."
other place in North America can you catch a wave on the Pacific, grab a picnic
among trees dating back half a millennium, and hike into the heavens for a
bird's eye view of skyscrapers and sea—all within the course of a single day.
where to begin your Vancouver city break? Consider an action-packed day with driving
(or hiking) through Stanley Park, a gondola ride up Grouse Mountain, treetop
trekking at the Capilano Suspension Bridge, shopping on Robson Street, and a
relaxing dinner in Yaletown.
to Canada's Wild West: Calgary, a city where cowboy boots outnumber stilettos
and petrodollars do the talking. But don't let the rough-and-tumble,
no-holds-barred reputation fool you—Calgary is as cultured and vibrant as Canadian
urban destinations come.
you visit in winter or summer, Calgary never fails to fill your day with
excitement. In July, the city springs to life as the Calgary Stampede, the
world's most famous rodeo dubbed "the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,"
rolls into town. If you're lucky enough to stumble into Calgary during the winter,
dive into the chaos of "the Sea of Red" along with Calgary's most
fervent hockey fanatics to cheer the Flames on to a win.
round, armchair Olympic hopefuls will love imagining themselves standing on the
podium at Canada Olympic Park, the site of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games and
home of the Canada Sports Hall of Fame and Canada Olympic Hall of Fame.
more cultured and historical side of Calgary, unleash your inner art critic at
the Glenbow Museum, home to Western Canada's largest art collection, or wander
through history in the Heritage Park Historical Village, Canada's largest
open-air ethnographic museum.
a city bearing the mark of the royalty, Victoria never fails to live up to its
namesake. A city of gardens surrounded by sea and mountains, this
behind-the-scenes beauty may get less press than its mainland BC compatriot,
Vancouver, but is, in many ways, the more arresting of the two.
Victoria begins with little more than wandering through the very walkable
downtown. Start your day by frolicking in the resplendent gardens of Beacon
Hill Park before heading over to the Inner Harbour, a focal point for
Victoria's street life and entertainment.
the talents of Victoria's finest showmen and soaking in turn-of-the-century
architecture, clear your lungs of the sea breeze by hopping on a bus to
Butchart Gardens. Maintained with enough gusto to make a Japanese rose-gardener
blush, Butchart Gardens will reinvigorate all the senses just in time for an
evening out on the town including a hearty sampling of west-coast fusion
cuisine in or around Chinatown.
some of your favorite Western Canadian cities? Leave us a comment below to tell
us about your experiences!