It’s a new year and we hope you put “travel more” on the top of your to-do list. It’s 2017, the 150th anniversary of the country, and there are dozens of places hosting celebrations, unique festivals, and award-winning attractions. Each destination on this list caught our attention with a little something special. Whether it be standout cuisine or fresh adventures, making the most of this noteworthy year starts with trying something new. In no particular order, here are the 17 Canadian cities you must visit in 2017.
What to See: Make time to visit the rousing Canadian Tribute to Human Rights. Feel the community spirit at Inspiration Village in ByWard Market, or admire local expression at the National Gallery of Canada. There’s no doubt that Ottawa is one of the best travel destinations in 2017.
Places to Eat: Union Local 613 offers communal style tables, martini glasses filled with powerful elixirs, and a late night menu (featuring “working womens chicken wings” and peanut butter pudding) that’s to die for. You might also want to stop at Sidedoor. The slate and black aesthetic makes the colourful entrees pop on the plates.
Where to Stay: Centrally located, stunningly beautiful, and even a little bit historic, Lord Elgin Hotel ensures an elegant stay in the city.
When to Go: There isn’t a bad time to swing through the capital city in this anniversary year. That said, Ottawa is going all out for Canada Day in July. Anticipate bold theatrical performances and live music.
Insider Tip: “Ottawa has rolled out the red carpet for the entire world in 2017, with a year-long celebration of big, bold cultural and sporting events, grand openings, top-notch culinary events, and community gatherings; North American premieres like La Machine – a giant robotic spider and dragon which will roam our streets for five days in late July – and world premieres like Kontinuum, a free multimedia time-travel experience all summer long in an underground transit station being constructed under downtown Ottawa; join all-Canadian celebrations of the 125th anniversary of the Stanley Cup (March 15-18), the JUNO Awards (April 2), and the CFL Grey Cup (November 26). As the nation’s capital, we’ve also invited embassies and high commissions to host free celebrations throughout the year to showcase their cultures; and we’re building Inspiration Village in the vibrant ByWard Market to celebrate Canada’s provinces and territories from May 20 to September 4. Best of all, various museum openings and expansions will continue to be a draw once 2017 is over.” – Jim Watson, Ottawa Mayor
What to See: Vancouver Art Gallery always features stunning art, and this year promises poetry readings and Monet’s Secret Garden summer gala to celebrate the Monet exhibition. Make a stop at Canada Place as well. This famous landmark has events going on all year, with a special surprise concert to celebrate the 150th anniversary.
Places to Eat: With reclaimed wood, Edison lights, and a menu that includes squid ink noodles and bacon pate, The Belgard Kitchen deserves to top your “try this” list.
Where to Stay: Located only a short walk to the harbour and known for its upscale accommodations, make your reservations at The Loden.
When to Go: With good weather and events like the Vancouver Fringe Festival (Sep 7-17) and International Film Festival (late Sep-early Oct), we’d recommend a Vancouver trip between September and November.
Insider Tip: “One not-to-miss experience is walking or biking around the Stanley Park seawall. It’s a favourite for locals as well as visitors. Another fun activity is to hop on the Aquabus, a rainbow coloured water taxi you can access from the downtown core, and head to the Granville Island Market. Go with an appetite, as you’ll want to sample from the diverse and delicious vendors at the market.” – Tourism Vancouver
What to See: In honour of the 375th anniversary of the city, Cite Memoire is projecting images, words, and lyrics on buildings, trees, and other surfaces around Old Montreal. Other top attractions of the city include new exhibits at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, an interactive exhibit of musician Samy Elmaghribi at the Museum of Jewish Montreal, and local wares from Jean-Talon Market. Simply put: Montreal is one of the best places to travel to in 2017.
Places to Eat: Give your taste buds an adventure when you try everything from tostadas from Tiradito, bison burgers from Pullman, or Portuguese chicken from Campo.
Where to Stay: Why not stay in a place known for elegance? Book a few nights at the exquisite Auberge du Vieux-Port or Hotel Nelligan.
When to Go: With Montreal is celebrating its 375th anniversary, 2017 is packed with events every month and season.
What to See: The Exchange District is hosting a ton of festivals in 2017, including the TD Winnipeg International Jazz Festival, Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival, Manitoba Electronic Music Exhibition (MEME) Festival, and Culture Days Manitoba. For further arts and inspiration, take some time to visit the Winnipeg Art Gallery and Leo Mol Sculpture Garden.
Places to Eat: Winnipeg restaurants take pride in conjuring unforgettable flavors from local ingredients. Give your taste buds a holiday when you try eateries like deer + almond, Peasant Cookery, and The Roost.
Where to Stay: Treat yourself to a spa day in 2017and visit the luxurious Fort Garry Hotel. Or, enjoy a sleek, modern stay when you book the Mere Hotel.
When to Go: The best times to go to Winnipeg in 2017 are (1) January, for the Winnipeg New Music Festival, from Jan 28-Feb 3, and (2) July, for the annual Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival.
Insider Tip: “Winnipeg is a vibrant four-season destination. We’re owning our tongue-in-cheek nickname “Winter-peg” with incredible experiences from a pop-up restaurant serving gourmet meals on a frozen river, to Western Canada’s largest winter celebration Festival du Voyageur, to thousands of skaters gliding along one of the world’s longest skating trails at The Forks and admiring warming huts dotting the frozen rivers designed by leading architects, like Anish Kapoor. Winnipeg’s summer sizzles with so many festivals from the North America’s second largest Fringe Theatre Festival, to the internationally acclaimed Winnipeg Folk Festival, to the world’s longest-running and largest multicultural festival, Folklorama.” – Dayna Spiring, president and CEO of Economic Development Winnipeg
What to See: Conception Bay South won two 150th Anniversary Garden awards, so be sure to admire the several lush gardens in the city. We’d also recommend sailing lessons through the Royal Newfoundland Yacht Club and tours through Ocean Quest Adventures.
Places to Eat: Conception Bay South is about good food, without the need to dress up dishes with cutesy names or wacky ingredients. Instead, get freshly caught cod from Hooligans Sports Bar, old-fashioned flavors from Bergs Famous Ice Cream, and sweet chicken wings from Vio’s Bayside Bistro.
Where to Stay: Located on Kenmount Road (one of the city’s main streets), Capital Hotel is a perfect spot to call home base during your trip. And if you’re looking for something quick and affordable, the Sunset Motel is a welcoming option as well.
When to Go: Don’t miss humpback whale season. Visit Conception Bay South July-August.
What to See: Aside from the legendary Calgary Stampede, get to know Calgary with a visit to Bowmont Park, Studio Bell: National Music Centre, and Big Rock Brewery.
Places to Eat: Calgary knows meat, period. Try dishes like pork belly potato skins from MARKET, homemade sausages from CHARCUT, and juniper smoked elk from NOtaBLE.
Where to Stay: When someone said that it’s all about location, location, location, they were talking about the Le Germain Hotel. Located at the base of Calgary Tower and a short stroll from Stephen Avenue Walk, this upscale accommodation is a well-seasoned choice for your trip.
When to Go: If you’re going to Calgary for the first time, touch down during the Calgary Stampede in July. It’s the biggest event of the year and a must-do for all travellers.
Insider Tip: “As Canada’s sunniest major city, any time is a great time to visit Calgary! For music, arts, and culture lovers the summer months offer a nearly constant array of outdoor festivals including Sled Island, the Calgary Stampede and the Calgary Folk Music Festival. Paired with a cold brew from one of our many distinct craft breweries and you’ve got a perfect pair. Attractions like Heritage Park, Canada’s largest living historical village and Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre deliver arts, culture, and opportunities to experience more year-round.” – Tourism Calgary
What to See: Stretch your imagination with a trip to Art Gallery of Guelph, which will be featuring “A Sense of Wonder” in spring—a project that supports the deaf and disabled community. Other Guelph museums, such as Civic Museum, McCrae House, and Locomotive 6167 are also top attractions to check off your 2017 to-do list.
Places to Eat: “Local cuisine” isn’t just a buzzword in Guelph. Prepare to salivate over dandelion green jus atop baseball sirloin at 39 Carden Street, nachos made with locally grown ingredients at The Wooly, and homemade sauces and dressings at Baker Street Public House.
Where to Stay: Cozy and refined don’t always belong in the same sentence together, but they do when you talk about Norfolk Guest House. This charming red brick inn features fireplaces in the rooms and tasteful décor.
When to Go: Make your way to Guelph in July, when the annual Hillside Festival takes place July 14-16.
What to See: If your lips have never tasted the rich flavours of Nova Scotia wine, 2017 is the time to rectify that. Make a stop at the Luckett Vineyards for wine tasting or one of their special Wine & Dine nights. For greenery of a different kind, stop by the KC Irving Environmental Science Centre and Harriet Irving Botanical Garden, or learn more about Wolfville’s history with a visit to the Randall House Museum. If you’re asking yourself where to travel to next in 2017, make Wolfville your top choice.
Places to Eat: Pair up regional reds and whites with dishes like kettle soup from Library Pub, or spicy chicken kofte from Troy Restaurant.
Where to Stay: If you’d like local wine to complement your accommodations, you’ll love both the Victorian-styled Blomidon Inn and the tranquil Tattingstone Inn.
When to Go: The best time to visit Wolfville is between August and September, which is when the Deep Roots Music Festival takes place and the Magic Winery Bus offers its most popular tours.
Insider Tip: “Wolfville has a tonne of activities planned in 2017 to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. Keep your eyes on our website for details. We also have our signature events that are getting more and more popular every year (Devour! Deep Roots Music Festival, Uncommon Common Art, Valley Harvest Marathon). Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards will also be opening in July 2017, one more winery to add to the list!” – Wolfville Tourism
What to See: You can’t see forward without first looking back. For that, make a stop at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology to see artifacts and collections from yore. Stop into Museum London, which is hosting art classes throughout the year, and the Covent Garden Market, which has been around since the 1830s and still offers fresh produce and cooking lessons.
Places to Eat: London restaurants have good taste with a streak of naughtiness. Experience the spectrum when you sample market salad with crispy parsnips from David’s Bistro, and cocktails from Robinson Hall like “Sex in the Driveway” and “Kate’s Melons.”
Where to Stay: Idlewyld Inn & Spa was once the mansion of Charles Smith Hyman, the former Mayor of London, seven-time Canadian men’s singles tennis champion, and the fellow credited with introducing bridge to the country. Quite the resume, eh? Enjoy a sense of old-school royalty when you stay there during your trip.
When to Go: Aim your trip anytime between summer and late fall, so you can experience the Clovermead Adventure Farm. More specifically, make time to come to town in July for Pride London, taking place July 20-30.
What to See: The 150th anniversary is very much on display at the Confederation Centre of the Arts. They’re hosting a series of art exhibitions and heritage programs, including “The Dream Catchers,” which is a touring workshop that asks young people their dreams for themselves and the country, that concludes with an expansive exhibit of their self-designed dreamcatchers at the Centre. Other top attractions in Charlottetown include Victoria Row, which is always full of boutiques, antique shops, and outdoor performances.
Places to Eat: When you’re on Prince Edward Island, seafood is king. Don’t miss dishes like fresh oysters at Sims Corner Steakhouse and Oyster Bar, or seared scallops from The Pilot House.
Where to Stay: Plush but classic, Eden Hall Inn (built in 1897) and the award-winning Great George are top choices in the city.
When to Go: Arrive in Charlottetown between May-September, when the reboot of “Anne of Green Gables” (filmed on Prince Edward Island) premieres on Netflix. You’ll also be in town to catch “Anne & Gilbert: the Musical,” and go on an historical outing with the Confederation Players Walking Tours.
Insider Tip: “No matter the season, Charlottetown is always stacked with festivals and events to suit every taste. This year, the city will kick-off the Island’s much-beloved summer with Canada Day celebrations (July 1), a Tall Ships Regatta (June 30 – July 2) and DiverseCity (June 25), an ever-growing festival showcasing the many cultures that make up the mosaic of PEI today. Old Home Week (Aug 10 – Aug 19) perfectly pairs old traditions with fresh new features, including high-quality entertainment and kid-friendly programming. Music and the arts take centre stage in late August, with the PEI TD Jazz and Blues Festival (Aug 24 – 26) and Art in the Open (Aug 26), a contemporary open-air, pedestrian art festival that invites you to engage and experience art in a variety of downtown heritage spaces. The Island’s largest outdoor market of the year, Farm Day in the City (Oct 1) celebrates the bounty of the Island’s farmers, producers and artisans, and fills the downtown core with the old-fashioned charm of a country fair. The Jack Frost Children’s WinterFest in late February is a spectacular kid-centric festival that features an outdoor snow kingdom, an indoor playland and a live children’s stage with highly-acclaimed performers from across the country and beyond.” – Discover Charlottetown
What to See: With an ever-changing gallery and theatre schedule, you don’t want to miss any events at The Langham. For more outdoorsy fun, check out professionally led mountain bike tours through Retallack, kayaking lessons with Kaslo Kayaking, or get to know the SS Moyie at the National Historic Site.
Places to Eat: With cool mountain air just outside, enjoy breakfast with a hot cup of coffee at Bluebelle Bistro & Beanery, some pizza and live music at Buddy’s Front Street Pizzeria, and homemade soups from Treehouse Restaurant.
Where to Stay: With views of Kootenay Lake, the cozy yet vintage Kaslo Hotel is the perfect spot to stay during your trip.
When to Go: August is the most eventful time of the year in Kaslo, with both the Columbia Basin Culture Tour and the Kaslo Jazz Etc. Summer Music Festival taking place during this summer month.
Insider Tip: “Kaslo, set on the shores of a vast lake and surrounded by mountain ranges, is not on the way to any major centre. People just don’t arrive in this village by accident. And most, once they’ve arrived, find it very hard to leave. Far from being a negative, Kaslo’s isolation from the box stores, chain coffee shops and traffic of the city contributes to what makes it work. The village of less than 1,000 souls, with its tree lined residential streets and shop and restaurant-lined main street is the quintessential small town. People rely on each other here, and support their merchants and other local services.” – Visit Kaslo
What to See: In honour of the 150th anniversary, the University of New Brunswick Art Centre is showcasing “Souterrain Impressions,” which honours the Canadians who fought for a better future during WWI. For more local pride, take a walking tour through Fredericton Heritage Trust or taste regional produce at Fredericton Farmers Market.
Places to Eat: Fredericton has a ton of great nibbles and sips to try. Indulge in sparkling cocktails at Brewbakers, specialty cider at Red Rover Craft Cider, tasty ales at Picaroons Traditional Ales, local hops at Maybee Brew Co., and signature meats and brews at The Hilltop.
Where to Stay: Located in the heart of New Brunswick on the Saint John River, Delta Hotels by Marriott Fredericton is a prime spot.
When to Go: Aim your trip to Fredericton between mid-January through July for the city’s biggest festivals, including FROSTival and the New Brunswick Highland Games.
Insider Tip: “Visit the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, who will see their multi-million dollar expansion complete in 2017. The Gallery, located downtown in a city of 57,000, has one of Canada’s most extensive collections of British paintings and comprehensive holdings of several leading Canadian artists. Soak up the sounds at the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival – the best international festival experience on Canada’s East Coast with the best jazz, blues and world music taking centre stage (in intimate venues along the downtown). The annual festival (Sept 12 – 17, 2017) features over 400 artists and 150 performances on 27 stages – all within 6 city blocks!” – Fredericton Tourism
What to See: Learn about the history of fashion and society at the upcoming “Fashion History: Clothing & Society” session, hosted by Stratford Perth Museum. For more artist expression, don’t miss Gallery Stratford and the famous Stratford Gardens.
Places to Eat: Enjoy seasonal suds from Black Swan Brewing or sustainable seafood from Pazzo. The Stratford Chef School also offers dinners, if you want to try innovative flavours from new chefs.
Where to Stay: Located in the heart of town with a top-notch restaurant on the street level, Mercer Hall is a perfect home base on your holiday.
When to Go: May through October is the most popular time to travel to Stratford, as Art in the Park takes advantage of the sunny weather and the Stratford Festival showcases works from Shakespeare.
Insider Tip: “The Stratford Festival (North America’s largest for classical theatre), is the main reason people visit Stratford. In fact 95% of visitors come because of the Festival, where they can see some of the finest theatre in the world. It attracts half a million people a year – more than 27 million in its 64-year-history. With 14 productions in four theatres each season, the Festival features works by Shakespeare, other classics, musicals and new plays. Christopher Plummer, William Shatner, Maggie Smith and Colm Feore are among the many great actors who have appeared on its stages.” – Stratford Festival
What to See: Rossland is a winter wonderland. Enjoy the stunning mountain views as you’re skiing, snowboarding, or sledding down the slopes. Turn to Black Jack Ski Club for access to the best trails. When you want to know where to go in 2017, this is the place.
Places to Eat: There’s a little bit of everything in Rossland, and luckily, it’s all good. Give in to the hoppy flavours at Rossland Beer Company, twirl up some noodles at Mook Thai, and dig into a pie at Misty Mountain Pizza.
Where to Stay: With picturesque views, nothing beats the Red Mountain Resort.
When to Go: Rossland comes alive in winter. Don’t miss the annual Rossland Winter Carnival or the 2017 Red Mountain Resort Canadian Open Freeride Championship.
Insider Tip: “Rossland has been a great place to visit for years, but the trails in our area just keep getting better and better. If you are a hiker, mountain biker, wildlife enthusiast…this is the place to be in summer! Fresh air, over 200 km of professionally maintained single track trails (making us the mountain biking capital of Canada), fresh lakes nearby, funky downtown with boutique shops, cafes and restaurants using fresh locally sourced ingredients, etc. You also don’t get the ‘fake’ or ‘manufactured’ vibe here, it’s a real town with real people living real lives in a thriving little mountain town. We have festivals year-round that are known all over the world like Winter Carnival in January, the Rubberhead Enduro race in July and the Broken Goat trail running race in July. However, my favourite time in Rossland is when there is one of the smaller bike or running races going on. People are out, there is usually a good after party with music, lots of food to be had, overall cool vibe.” – Kristi Calder, Tourism Rossland
What to See: The Stars & Thunder fireworks competition and music festival is poised to be a must-see event in 2017. The lineup is stacked with acts like Keith Urban and Simple Plan, and the fireworks show is an international competition between eight countries.
Places to Eat: Try out some fresh seafood at Fishbowl Restaurant, or enjoy hearty Italian dishes from East Side Mario’s.
Where to Stay: Whether you want to rent a canoe, enjoy a holiday feast, or take in a massage, you can expect to be pampered at Cedar Meadows Resort and Spa.
When to Go: Due to the ample wakeboarding opportunities, summer is the prime season to visit Timmins.
Insider Tip: “This year in the context of the Canada 150 celebration the City of Timmins is going all out with a celebration the likes of which you would expect to see only in big cities such as Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, or Vancouver. In fact, on June 24, the City will kick off Stars & Thunder, an International Fireworks Competition & Music Festival. Eight countries will be competing for the fireworks crown in an extravaganza not seen before. Each night will see a lineup of music stars such as Keith Urban, Johnny Reid, Hedley, Simple Plan, Tom Cochrane, Michel Pagliaro and many more. If there was ever a time when you wanted to discover the City of Timmins, 2017 is the year.” – Guy Lamarche, BSocSC; CTIS, Manager Tourism & Events, Corporation of the City of Timmins
What to See: If you haven’t experienced the great outdoors in Rimouski yet, make 2017 the year you do. Slather on sunscreen and visit Parc National du Bic, Des Portes de l’Enfer, and Tide Tower. Downtown Rimouski, with its nearby boardwalk along the St. Lawerence River is also a must.
Places to Eat: With local ingredients and French preparation, Quebec’s food scene is world renowned. Try some local fare when you stop into Chez Saint-Pierre or Le Bien Malt.
Where to Stay: Stay at the Gouverneur for river views and easy access to the Reford Gardens.
When to Go: For idyllic weather, make your way to Rimouski in late summer through fall.
What to See: When those summer nights warm up, you know that the outdoor concerts at Mackie Lake House are just getting started. Catch a show and enjoy lake views in the process. For other must sees, take a jaunt around Grey Canal Trail or sip on drinks at the BX Press Cidery & Orchard.
Places to Eat: The valley knows good brews and wines. Treat yourself to a tasting tour when you try out spots like Wild Oak, Marten Brew Pub, Intermezzo, and Okanagan Spirits.
Where to Stay: Stay at Outback Lakeside Resort for designer vacation rentals with views of Okanagan Lake and access to hot tubs, pools, fitness equipment, and game centres.
When to Go: Autumn is magical in British Columbia. Visit during the fall months to attend the annual Vernon Fall Festival and enjoy ciders and brews on the Vernon Tasting Trail.
Insider Tip: “Majestic mountains, sprawling, lush valleys, lakes in every direction, and friendly people are what puts Vernon, BC on the must visit list. This four-season destination has plenty to do any time of the year. World class ski resorts, and hundreds of miles of trails and runs for skiers, snowshoers, hikers and bikers bring outdoor adventure to a new level. Vernon is surrounded by lakes. Boating, SUP, water sports, scuba diving, swimming and fishing brings visitors from all over the world. Vernon loves to celebrate! There are winter carnivals, fun spring celebrations, summer fests and fall fairs. All are accompanied with seasonal treats. Lush farms, orchards, wineries, cideries, meaderies, and distilleries are all part of the Vernon experience.” – Angeline Chew, Tourism Manager, Tourism Vernon
There are so many life-changing 2017 trips to take this year, and that’s a great thing. Cheers to the 150th anniversary, and happy travels!