I’m just back from my summer trip to Canada, and oh my gawd, it was beautiful to see in the sunshine. Berrr-utiful.
This was actually my fourth time in Canada, which seems pretty crazy, but this was the time I fell in love with the country – maybe because this time, it was summer?
– Pic by @Fordtography
Canada is well known for its winter slopes and ski jumps , but under all that ice and snow there are loads of amazing things you can see and do in the warmer months too. The real problem is working out just where, across that vast expanse of a country, to actually go and how to fit it all in.
Let me help…
1. Montreal in summer
Fancy a little French twist to your Canadian vacation?
Montreal is the heart of the French-speaking region of Quebec and home to the country’s best servings of poutine. When you’re not walking the cobbled streets looking to line your belly with the fries and cheese curd dish, you can also tick off famous sites like the Notre-Dame, Montreal Biodome and Mount Royal.
Visiting this Canadian city in summer also means you can lay out on the Jean-Dore Beach, ride along Lachine Canal and make sure you’ve sufficiently piled on the pounds by grabbing gelato at the Atwater Market. I did an awesome food tour when I was here, which led me to some of the best falafel I’ve ever experienced.
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2. Toronto in summer
Toronto mixes city break with beach bum vibes and even has an area east of the city aptly named ‘The Beaches’ with four to choose from. From skyscrapers to sunbathing, jump on a tram downtown and quickly find yourself on Queen Street East where you can chill by the Lake Ontario shoreline, explore the hipster shops or listen to the sweet sounds of The Beaches International Jazz Festival.
Should you find yourself back in the city centre, look up an outdoor movie screening, head to one of the many food fests or simply walk the pretty waterfront.
I went for a meal up the CN Tower, the icon of the city. It was October when I was in Toronto, and the winds were definitely gale force. Made for an interesting dinner. The CN Tower rotates, so it’s the perfect way to get multi faceted views of the city.
Also, Niagara Falls! There are so many cool things to do around Niagara Falls from the Canada side, in the summer.
If you’re looking for accommodation, check out the cosy units at Precondo in Toronto.
3. Muskoka in summer
A few hours north of Toronto, you’ll find what’s known as cottage country and it’s every bit as quaint as it sounds, making it the ideal place to unwind for a week.
Celebs have the same idea and flock to the Muskoka district to escape, but places like Wolf Den Nature Retreat Hostel and Dream Catcher B&B manage to make it affordable for the rest of us. Tick off the Muskoka lakes and waterfalls in parks like Arrowhead Provincial, Georgian Bay Islands and Six Mile Lake and, when you want to amp things up, try one of the many water activities like paddleboarding, waterskiing or canoeing.
I’ve not been here yet, but I definitely plan to be back in Canada one day soon and sounds like it’ll be a cool place to check out. Perfect combined with a trip to Toronto, right?
4. Whistler in summer
Over on the west coast, Whistler is everything for nature lovers. Just two hours north of Vancouver, this Pacific Coast Mountain location has you hiking the Valley Trail, rafting the Cheakamus River and even spotting bears. There’s also zip lining and jet boating, horse back riding and canoeing — enough activities to keep you busy for sure.
On my recent summery Canada trip I spent two nights camping here and loved, loved, loved the views, the lakes, the mountains and that sushi restaurant we went to in the centre of Whistler. Gonna dream of that for nights to come. So good.
5. Alberta in summer
Make the childhood cowboy dream come true by heading to the ‘Texas of the North’. The western region of Alberta is home to part of the Rocky Mountains and when the sun is shining you can see them lasso in hand by doing the historic cowboy trail between the mountains and the Canadian prairie. Stay on a ranch, ride horseback and even catch a rodeo for that authentic outback experience.
Removing the hat, cram in some of the region’s other stunning places like Lake Louise, Banff and Jasper before stopping in the city of Calgary for the city’s zoo and Heritage Park. Alberta is where I spent most of my time on my recent trip, and I loved it. An absolute definite on the list if you’re planning on visiting Canada in the summer.
6. Vancouver in summer
Get all of the summer city vibes by alternating between Vancouver’s central hub of art and culture and the beautiful beaches of Spanish Banks and Kits Beach. You can also bike the likes of Stanley Park (bigger than NYC’s Central Park by the way), explore the art district of Granville Island or see the city from the water with a SeaVancouver tour.
For a different view, head half an hour east to Grouse Mountain where you can ride the gondola to the top of the peak and see the city below, or alternatively test your balance with a walk along the Capilano Suspension Bridge.
I’ve been to Vancouver in both winter and summer, but it was my June visit that had me googling how I could live there. Honestly, sat down by the water on Granville Island, eating my Mexican dinner from the food market, it was just some of the best vibes I’ve ever experienced in a city.
7. The Yukon in summer
Now this one is the new dream for me, the Yukon. Get lost in the wild landscapes of Canada’s westernmost territory.
Here, in Canada’s smallest region, bears are thought to outnumber people and although that can sound scary, it’s totally tempered by the fact that places like Whitehorse, Miles Canyon and Kluane National Park are so beautiful in the summer.
READ MORE: 29 Things to Do in Whitehorse
But it’s not all about the nature, sacred to the aboriginals and steep in the story of the gold rush, you can get that dose of history with a visit to places like the Dawson City Museum and SS Klondike before unwinding in the natural mineral pools of the Takhini Hot Springs.
I went to Dawson City in Canada in the summer, for the Dawson City Music Festival. It was wonderful being so far north in the lands of the Midnight Sun. Although it did mean there was no end to the party, which was dangerous!
Watch my video on YouTube to see the West Coast in June!
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Canada in summer
Seeing Canada in summer was incredible. I fell in love with the ranches in Alberta, the views in Whistler, the food and city of Montreal and the vibe of Vancouver. Canada has definitely moved up a few spots on my favourite countries list, and I hope you get to visit in the summer one day soon.