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The 10 Best Cities to Visit in Canada during the Summer

The 10 Best Cities to Visit in Canada during the Summer

Let me tell you something: Canada in the summer is a total vibe! 

Imagine soaking up the sun by pristine lakes, exploring hip urban neighborhoods, munching on street food at buzzing summer festivals, or simply enjoying the late sunset with a chiller in hand. It sounds quite like a summer dream, doesn’t it?

We know that picking the right city for your summer frolic can be a tad bit tricky; the Great White North has such a massive array of formidable contestants, after all. But worry not!

In this article, we round up the best cities to visit in Canada during the summer. So read on!

Banff, Alberta

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In Banff, you can indulge in oh-so-many outdoor activities! Whether you want to try whitewater rafting or hiking for trails like Banff’s Sunshine Meadows or Lake Agnes Tea House, there’s something special waiting for you.

And let’s face it, wherever you are in Banff, the views are just wowzers! Gondola rides, in particular, are highly recommended for a panoramic view of this mountain beauty.

Or just stake out a hammock by Lake Louise and revel in the picture-perfect landscape. Summer also pops up with full-scale festivals in Banff, from the Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival to various food and drink festivals.

Before I whistle off, one crucial thing: Banff’s summer wildlife sightings are pure joy, so be ready with your camera as you might bump into grazing elks or scampering squirrels!

Local Tip: Don’t forget to take a dip in the hot springs. Imagine soaking in warm water with snow-capped peaks around—cheers to the good times!

Montreal, Quebec

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First off, did you know Montreal is an island? Yup! And summer is the ideal time for some beach razzmatazz.

Clock Tower Beach and Jean-Dore Beach are local favorites for soaking up the warm Canadian sun!

If you’re all about the greenery, Montreal’s parks—notably Mount Royal Park—are no less than lush havens for picnickers, barbecue enthusiasts, bird watchers, or people who love to kick back and relax in the summer sun.

True to its ‘city of festivals’ tag, Montreal boasts an incredible lineup of summer festivals—music, film, comedy, food, you name it! 

Notable mentions include the famed Montreal International Jazz Festival, Just for Laughs, and food festivals like PoutineFest and RibFest!

Local Tip: For a memorable summer evening, kayak down the Lachine Canal under the starry skies!

Old Quebec

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The UNESCO world heritage site, Old Quebec City, is a cobblestone wonderland that gets extra lively in the summer! The walk through this historic neighborhood is a traveler’s delight.

Visiting Old Quebec in the summer means you get to see it at its colorful best! The hanging flower baskets, street-side terraces, and multitude of street festivals create a lively summer experience.

Water lovers, rejoice! Quebec City’s summer weather is perfect for a ferry ride over to Levis.

The city’s jam-packed summer event calendar, filled with parades, concerts, and festivals, ensures there’s always something happening. From the New France Festival to Cirque du Soleil, the city is buzzing with energy!

Local Tip: Try to visit during the Quebec City Summer Festival (Festival d’Ă©tĂ© de QuĂ©bec)—it’s the largest outdoor musical event in Canada!

Churchill, Manitoba

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You’d probably think I’m joking when I say “Polar Bear Capital of the World”, eh? But folks, that’s Churchill for you!

This little town up north in Manitoba proudly holds this title, and trust me, it’s worth all the high fives. The summer months arm you with the perfect opportunity for a close encounter with these gorgeous giants in the wild. 

Hop onto a specially customized Toyota Tundra vehicle, and you’re off on an unbelievable wild safari! Now talk about stars and lights. 

How about summer nights lit up with the Aurora Borealis? Yes, that’s right! Churchill offers a unique chance to witness the enchanting Northern Lights, even in the summer. 

This city is also your answer to all those fun summer water escapades. Whether it’s kayaking or just a tranquil boat ride, the river promises an enjoyable break from the summer heat.

Local Tip: Don’t forget your binoculars and camera. Whale-spotting along the Hudson Bay is a summer activity you don’t want to miss!

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

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Nothing says summer like a beach day, and Okanagan Lake is all set to host you. The valley’s crowning jewel, the lake, is a hub for all summer fun—swimming, sailing, boating, or simply sunbathing while enjoying a picnic.

Who says no to wine in the summer, especially when you’re in Canada’s second-largest wine production region? The summer climate in the valley is ideal for wine-growing, making it a hotspot for wine tourism.

Okanagan Valley’s extensive network of hiking and biking trails invites you for a summer outdoor adventure. Trails like the Kettle Valley Railway Trail and the Mission Creek Greenway offer gorgeous landscapes along with a healthy dose of summer sun!

Oh, and did I mention farmers’ markets? Summer brings these markets to life across towns in the valley, displaying the freshest of local produce.

Local Tip: An early morning hot-air balloon ride provides jaw-dropping views; it’s a fabulous way to start a summer day!

Prince Edward Island

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Spending a summer in PEI means being in a beach haven! The island proudly parades over 50 beaches, each offering its own unique charm.

Whether it’s building a sandcastle, exploring a lighthouse, or simply unwinding by the waves, sun-drenched summer days on PEI are nothing short of perfect. For all you history buffs, summer is a prime time to explore the birthplace of the Confederacy.

Don’t forget to delve into the island’s rich culture and heritage at the Green Gables Heritage Place or the Charlottetown Historic District.

Local Tip: Summer isn’t complete without a seafood catch. PEI’s famous lobster suppers are a seasonal must-try!

Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

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Have you heard of this not-so-secret gem on the West Coast? Yes, I’m talking about Salt Spring Island in British Columbia.

Known as the “Hawaii of the North”, it lights up like a star when summer rolls around! If you’re a nature lover at heart, Salt Spring Island is your kind of paradise.

Crystal-clear lakes, sprawling parks, and a plethora of hiking trails have the makings of a dreamy summer adventure. Want to know the best part of Salt Spring’s summer fires?

Saturday Markets. Local artisans come out displaying their crafts—handmade soaps, pottery, jewelry, and more. Food-wise, it’s a riveting roller coaster!

Local Tip: Check out the local vineyards. A glass of wine is perfect for those warm summer evenings!

Niagara Falls, Ontario

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Sure, Niagara Falls are a year-round attraction, but summer is when they show off their sunny side of charm! The jaw-dropping Cascade isn’t the only summer attraction here.

Get set for some exhilarating boat rides up to the Falls or be dazzled by the summer-only fireworks. And when accompanied by the Falls Illumination, it’s a spectacle you’ve got to see to believe!

Niagara-on-the-Lake, a charming little town nearby, is a bonus summer destination. It’s winery tours, gourmet restaurants, and summer theater festivals—Shaw being a highlight—that top off the Niagara summer experience!

Local Tip: Don’t miss out on the vibrant nightlife at Clifton Hill. A hub of excitement, it’s filled with wax museums, eateries, haunted houses, and a giant Ferris wheel.
In addition, for the best summer getaway, take the picturesque Niagara Parkway drive. It’s supposed to be ‘the prettiest Sunday afternoon drive in the world’!

Jasper, Alberta

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Summer is when Jasper National Park becomes a playground. Its glistening lakes, snaking rivers, and lofty waterfalls are a visual treat—Maligne Lake and Athabasca Falls, in particular, are must-sees.

Jasper offers countless trails, each unlocking a unique summer spectacle. Whether it’s the Valley of the Five Lakes or Mount Edith Cavell trails, each step unfolds a new scene of wild wonder.

Speaking of wild, experiencing Jasper’s wildlife during the summer is an unforgettable adventure. Be it spotting elks, deer, or bears, or listening to the forest whispers, there’s a wild magic to it all!

Local Tip: Drive along the Icefields Parkway. It’s arguably one of the most beautiful drives in the world!

Vancouver, British Columbia

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Vancouver in the summer means beaches. Kitsilano, English Bay, or Stanley Park’s Second Beach—take your pick, lay back, and soak up the sun.

Or better yet, bike around the seawall for some stunning warm-weather scenery! Street festivals in Vancouver during the summer are also a riot of excitement.

From the International Jazz Festival to the Pride Parade and various food festivals, it’s one vibrant summer bash! Amplify your summer fun with a plethora of outdoor activities.

Try a round of golf, go hiking, or check out the Grouse Grind, Lynn Canyon Park, and the Capilano Suspension Bridge! Yes, Vancouver takes its ‘outdoorsy’ tag seriously.

Local Tip: For the best views, take the Skyride to the top of Grouse Mountain. This is where the panoramas are dope!
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