Travel

Canada Activities

Activity city
Basilique Notre-Dame
110 Rue Notre-Dame W., Mount Royal
Located in the heart of Old Montreal and dating from the early 1800's, Basilique Notre-Dame is a Gothic Revivalist masterpiece. The church is worth a visit—irrespective of faith, or lack thereof—purely to marvel at the incredible craftsmanship that fills every corner. Pinewood sculptures depict the stations of the cross, there are exquisite black walnut wood carvings framing the aisles, the altarpiece artwork (thirty-two bronze panels) depicts humankind marching toward Christ, and the organ has an incredible 1,648 pipes. The most striking features, though, are the stained-glass windows, and the vaulted, star-painted ceiling with three octagonal skylights. The ceiling—a mix of lapis lazuli blue and shimmering gold—combined with the multicolored flecks of light cast through the cavernous space from the stained glass, creates an incredible interplay of light and color.
Granville Island
Downtown
An indoor market flowing through six former ship-building factories, Granville Island Market is packed with food vendors, locally-made crafts, and fresh groceries. Hop on the ferry and spend a morning drinking too many coffees as you eat your way through the seafood, produce, and snack stalls. Aside from the food, there are dozens of artists-in-residence on the island selling their wares, which include ceramics, jewelry, paintings, and glass pieces. Musicians regularly set up shop, adding to the already lively atmosphere.
Montreal Botanical Garden
4101 Rue Sherbrooke E., Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie
A taste of the tropics in the middle of the city: Visiting the Montreal Botanical Garden—bursting with color—in the middle of their glacial winter feels like an unexpected surprise. The sheer scale here is staggering, with 10 greenhouses and 22 themed gardens, both containing over 22,000 varieties of plants and flowers. Making your way through the grounds feels like taking a journey through the continents, with Japanese- and Chinese-style gardens, tropical plants, and cacti all in abundance. The most interesting spaces are in the aquatic garden, which displays the incredible range of natural life below water; and for the more medical-minded, the toxic and medicinal plants garden is a fascinating look at the natural world's impact on healing. With a special youth garden and an on-site restaurant, it makes an ideal weekend family activity no matter the season.
Stanley Park
Downtown
There’s no denying Vancouverite's passion for the outdoors, every inch of the city is covered in joggers, bikers, or people simply enjoying their surroundings. Stanley Park is the locals' playground, a sprawling green oasis spanning 1,000 acres, and covered in trails, wildlife, landmarks, and a handful of restaurants smack in the middle of the city. Our favorite for a long hike, the Siwash Rock Trail leads to a historic rock—that depicts the legends of the local Siwash people—and is over 32 million-years-old. Other must-sees include the First Nations totem poles at Brockton Point, the Rose Gardens, and the Seawall. For those visiting with kiddos, the miniature train is a perfect family activity that takes you on a winding journey through the breathtaking wilderness of the park.
The Seawall
Stanley Park, Downtown
The Seawall (mostly contained within Stanley Park) is the world’s longest, uninterrupted waterfront path, hugging the sea for a full 14 miles along Vancouver’s waterfront. You can walk or bike the trail—there’s a pedestrian-specific section of around five miles that takes two to three hours to complete, depending on the person—and take in the driftwood-strewn beaches, views of the city skyline, cedar-covered mountains, and the Lions Gate bridge. A dream for nature-lovers or parents looking to give kiddos a chance to run off some energy.
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