The Best Small Town in Every Province


Monday mornings: The pop of your spine as you stretch awake, the bitter aftertaste of breakroom coffee grinds, and the surprise reminders of meetings you forgot you accepted. Isn’t it time to embrace those PTO days? There’s an outside world ready to be unspooled by your own curiosity. So, go! And if you need suggestions for which places to add on your to-do list, we know some top small towns you can’t miss.

We searched every province for places that offer a range of welcoming charm, unique festivals, historical significance, and rigorous activities. Plus, to keep things fair, we kept our selections under a 6,000-person population size. Ready? These are the best small Canadian towns to explore in each province.

Fernie, British Columbia

Pop. 5,249

How can you not be in a good mood when you’re walking around a city named Fernie? This small town in British Columbia has all the charm you’d hope for in a place surrounded by forest. With pine-scented air, wooden signs swinging lightly in the breeze, and cafes where you’ll find swirls of cream inside freshly brewed cups of coffee, this place is serenity personified.

Jasper, Alberta

Pop. 4,590

You’ve probably heard about Jasper National Park, but what about the town of Jasper itself? Pencil in this spot on your travel list, because this mountain village won’t let you down. Crisp air, cozy restaurant booths, and access to big mountains just outside your hotel all add to the picture-perfect atmosphere. Oh, and fun fact: Nearby Jasper National Park is the second largest dark-sky preserve in the world.

Maple Creek – Saskatchewan

Pop. 2,084

With a slogan like “Where past is present,” you can count on the town of Maple Creek to honour its Wild West roots. With tons of festivals, historic buildings, and friendly folks, this is the kind of place where you might run into a horse rider on your way to a fine arts gallery.

Gimli – Manitoba

Pop. 5,845

What do Manitoba and Viking culture have in common? The town of Gimli! In fact, the town name represents the Norse place of the gods. And if you had any questions about the love this unique place has for the great land across the ocean, just check out the 4.6 meters-tall statue of a proud Viking welcoming you to town.

Tobermory – Ontario

Pop. 3,850

If you prefer flippers over shoes, we know exactly where you need to visit next: Tobermory, Ontario—the freshwater scuba diving capital of the world. That said, goggles aren’t the only fashion statements around here. As an outdoorsy hot spot, beards and flannel fit in like a hipster in an avocado shop.

Mahone Bay – Nova Scotia

Pop. 1,036

Where can you find equal parts shorelines and scarecrows? Mahone Bay. Home to white-paned windows and tangerine sunsets, this small town in Nova Scotia is the pinnacle of vacation living. If you haven’t been here yet, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Victoria-by-the-Sea, Prince Edward Island

Pop. 104

Photos via: Left Flickr/Dave Bezaire; Top Right Flickr/Dave Bezaire; Bottom Right Flickr/Leonora (Ellie) Enking

Tiny but mighty, Victoria-by-the-Sea is ready to nestle its way into your heart. This small town in Prince Edward Island is home to PEI’s largest tree (and yes, there was a fierce competition, thank you very much). This spot is also known for local theatre and a beautiful setting to simply get away from it all for an extended holiday.

Springdale, Newfoundland and Labrador

Pop. 2,171

The creak of wood planks as you walk through the lush wetlands only adds to the atmosphere of bright flowers and darting wildlife. You’re in Springdale, Newfoundland and Labrador, and when you add in local attractions with the welcoming setting, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been here before.

Hudson, Quebec

Pop. 5,135

If you walk around with an easel by your side and a pencil in your back pocket, Hudson is likely on your radar already. This small arts community in Quebec welcomes all types of creative thinkers and expressionists.

St. Andrews, New Brunswick

Pop. 1,889

It’s a place that lives and breathes the sea. With bobbing ships keeping time of day and aquarium exhibits aglow in the late morning, this relaxed town is a welcoming refuge for all sorts of visitors.

Why don’t we travel as much as we should? With a world of beauty, mystery, and sweets so good they make your lips curl in happiness, there’s no reason to stay stuck in routine. Make a date with any of these top small towns in Canada and get to know another side of life.