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Vancouver vs Toronto Which city should tourists visit

Vancouver vs Toronto: Which city should tourists visit?

Two famous cities in Canada that attract many tourists are Vancouver and Toronto. These bustling cities are kind of the same due to being two of the biggest in the country, and yet, they feel really different!

It’s almost like choosing which child is your favourite. It’s hard! But we need to know which one is a better vacation spot for tourists.

Vancouver is the ideal choice for tourists who want to go on outdoor adventures because there are many parks and beaches to visit. Meanwhile, Toronto is the choice if you’re looking for a big-city experience because it’s a busier city.

If you want to know more details, read on as we discuss the differences between Vancouver and Toronto!

Vancouver vs Toronto What are the popular tourist attractions
Photo by Michel Stockman

Vancouver is the ideal tourist destination for nature lovers because it offers many scenic activities despite being an urban and dense city.

Meanwhile, Toronto offers many shopping choices and lively and fun nightlife. But you can still enjoy many places and exhibits for families.

When visiting a place as a tourist, you naturally want to go to some famous tourist attractions. So, do Vancouver and Toronto have good places to see?

Of course, they do! These two cities are famous in Canada, after all!

Vancouver is a great place for tourists if you want a city adventure in Canada. The positive aspect about it is there are so many things you can do because it’s a popular tourist destination in the country.

It also offers a fabulous nightlife experience because of the many pubs, bars, and nightclubs. You can experience the local scene and meet Torontonians while you’re there.

Meanwhile, Vancouver has many scenic destinations for nature lovers. There are nine beaches where you can play outdoor beachfront activities!

Aside from that, you can also cycle around the city and get to have a vacation at your own pace. Oh, and you will fall in love with the city’s peaceful setting despite it still being an urban area.

So, let’s talk about the popular places to visit in Vancouver and Toronto so you can finally tick off some boxes on your bucket list!

Vancouver’s Top Tourist Spots

Vancouver’s Top Tourist Spots
Photo by Lee Robinson

Vancouver is an ideal place for tourists who love scenic walks and outdoor adventures. There are plenty of activities in the city that you can do without spending too much money.

Vancouver provides many scenic attractions, which is one of the reasons many tourists visit this beautiful city. If you’re into outdoor activities, then you’ll fall in love with Vancouver. 

Don’t get us wrong, Vancouver is still a bustling city. That’s why it’s still being compared to Toronto!

But if you want to have a relaxing trip through scenic adventures, then it’s the place to go! Here are some popular tourists attractions in Vancouver.

Stanley Park

Stanley Park's Homepage
Photo by Mike Benna

Location: Vancouver, BC V6G 1Z4, Canada

Getting to Stanley Park is easy. It’s just a 6-minute drive from the downtown core. 

You can take transit, drive, cycle, or walk to Stanley Park. The City of Vancouver even has digital and printable maps available, showing us just how popular this park is!

Once you get there, you can join a guided tour if you want to learn more about the park or just prefer convenience. But if you want to explore on your own, you can totally do that, too!

You can take a bus tour, but that’s too common. Try a horse-drawn tour, where a guide will explain the highlights of Stanley Park, including the Lions Gate Bridge, Vancouver’s Harbour, and the Coastal Red Cedar Forest.

It’s also free to visit, so you can save some money while exploring the massive park. But some activities are not, and parking there is paid.

One of the things you can also do in Stanley Park is take the Stanley Park Train. It’s a 15-minute ride that will show you the park in a fun but relaxing way.

Besides that, you can also see the Brockton Point Totem Poles at Stanley Park. These hand-carved totem poles have been at Stanley Park since the 1920s!

Vancouver Aquarium

Location: 845 Avison Way, Vancouver, BC V6G 3E2, Canada

You don’t even have to leave Stanley Park to get to the Vancouver Aquarium because it’s located there! By going to one park, you can visit many places already!

Regular tickets cost anywhere from $39.95 to $51.95. The prices change depending on the day, so make sure to plan ahead!

There are many exhibits you can visit at the Vancouver Aquarium, where you’ll see beautiful animals that you won’t see just by going on a hike in the mountains! It’s a good way to spend a family day because kids will enjoy it, too.

One of our favourites that we’re sure kids will also enjoy is the 4D Shark Experience. It’s an immersive experience with sound, smell, touch, weather, and lights to give the show a real-life vibe!

Media from SimEx-Iwerks

Another great exhibition to see is the B.C.’s Wild Coast Exhibit, where you’ll take a look at the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. For sure, it will touch your heart because the animals here are rescued.

VanDusen Botanical Garden

Location: 5251 Oak St, Vancouver, BC V6M 4H1, Canada

The VanDusen Botanical Garden won’t take too much of your time. That’s if you don’t get tempted to stop and smell…uh…look at the roses. 

Don’t touch and pick the flowers, okay? That’s not allowed!

It’s a purely eye-catching tourist attraction. There are pathways for your convenience so you won’t get lost.

In addition, you and your family can enjoy an afternoon picnic at the Great Lawn. Just remember to pack a blanket for your trip and get those Instagram-worthy shots.

Okay, so what else can you do here? Well, you can go to the famous Elizabethan Maze. It’s a labyrinth that will make you feel like you’re Alice in Wonderland!

There’s also the Bloedel Conservatory, which has over 100 exotic birds, 500 exotic plants, and koi fish!

We’ve made a table below to show you the ticket prices at the VanDusen Botanical Garden. You can purchase these online or at the admission desk.

VanDusen Botanical Garden Ticket Prices
Adult (19 – 64 years)Senior (65+ years)Youth (13 – 18 yearsChild (5 – 12 years)Preschooler (4 and under)

Below is a table showing you more places to go to in Vancouver that you can add to your travel itinerary. We’re here to help, after all!

More Tourist Attractions in Vancouver
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park3735 Capilano Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7R 4J1, CanadaAdrenaline junkies can walk the suspension bridge and see the stunning rainforest.
Gastown305 Water St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1B9, CanadaEat local food and go shopping until your wallet gives up!
Spanish Banks BechMetro Vancouver, BC, CanadaSwim and enjoy the beach. Play outdoor beach activities, like volleyball.
Vancouver Lookout555 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6B 4N6, CanadaTake a glass elevator 168 meters high and see 360° views of Vancouver.

Toronto’s Top Tourist Spots

Toronto’s Top Tourist Spots' Homepage
Photo by Conor Samuel

Toronto is definitely a popular city. Yes, it provides fantastic nightlife to cap off your day in the city, but it still offers many tourist attractions for travellers who aren’t quite into hiking activities.

There are many exciting places to go to, but many tourists go to Toronto for food, shopping, and sports. You won’t find too many nature-inspired activities if that’s what you’re into.

But let’s see what destinations you can visit in Toronto!

CN Tower

Location: 290 Bremner Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 3L9, Canada

Website: CN Tower

You’ve probably seen this tall building in pictures. If you search “Toronto,” you will most likely see this pop up, especially in the city’s skyline photos.

So, what is it, then? It’s the famous CN Tower!

It’s a communications tower located in Downtown Toronto. Did you know it’s the tallest freestanding structure in the Western Hemisphere?

If you are willing to let the little daredevil inside you come out, you can try the famous EdgeWalk! Here, you’ll get strapped onto a harness (for safety, of course!) and well… just follow your guide and walk on the edge of the skyscraper.

It’s an adrenaline-pumping experience for tourists, or anyone, really. I mean, you’ll be 356 meters off the ground!

But believe me, this is a thing you’ll continue to talk about for years! 

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Location: 288 Bremner Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 3L9, Canada

Website: Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Another great attraction located really close to the CN Tower is Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. It’s just beside the tower, so you can have a 2-in-1 travel package here.

In fact, you can purchase tickets bundled with the CN Tower! That’s how close they are to each other!

Alright, so what can you do here? Only see over 100,000 animals in a massive tank!

This is an ideal tourist destination for families. Even if you’re a solo traveller, you can definitely enjoy this experience!

One of our favourites is the Dangerous Lagoon. Here, you can watch sharks, turtles, and many more beautiful creatures in an underwater tunnel.

You can also watch the mesmerizing jellyfish at Planet Jellies. Here, you get a closer look at these dangerous but beautiful creatures dancing away.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls' Homepage
Photo by Rikin Katyal

Location: Ontario, Canada

Website: Niagara Falls Tourism

No trip in Toronto is complete without going to the beautiful Niagara Falls. It’s one of Canada’s most famous tourist spots, and we can all see why.

Going there doesn’t mean just looking at the falls. Don’t worry about activities because there is plenty to do here.

First, you can zipline to the falls with a speed of 70+ kph! Adrenaline-seeking tourists can still get their rush in Toronto!

Second, you can have a romantic getaway with your partner and sip on some wine. It’s a perfect honeymoon experience!

Third, the Journey Behind the Falls will let you experience breathtaking views up close to Niagara Falls. Don’t get surprised if you get soaked here despite wearing a poncho. Just enjoy the Falls water!

Here’s a table below of other famous spots in Toronto you can visit!

More Tourist Attractions in Toronto
St. Lawrence MarketToronto, ON M5E 1C3, CanadaMany mouthwatering dishes from the local community.
Art Gallery of Ontario317 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T 1G4, CanadaStand in awe at the magnificent art exhibitions.
Hockey Hall of Fame30 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M5E 1X8, CanadaSee all things hockey because it’s a sport ingrained in every Canadian’s heart.
The Distillery District55 Mill St, Toronto, ON M5A 3C4, CanadaTravel back in time and drink some beer pints.

Vancouver vs Toronto: What’s the weather like?

Vancouver vs Toronto What’s the weather like
Photos by Ashwini Chaudhary(Monty) (left) on Marvin Zettl (right)

Vancouver has milder temperatures year-round than Toronto, with an average summer of 20°C to 23°C. Meanwhile, Toronto’s warm and humid summers can reach up to 35°C.

In addition, winter seasons in Toronto can drop down to -30°C, while Vancouver can experience -10°C. But the latter gets more rainfall than the former annually.

Vancouver has mountains, which will make you instantly think it’s colder than Toronto. But the mountains help warm the city.

The mountains actually help snuggle in Vancouver, thus, protecting it from colder temperatures. Moreover, it’s right next to the Pacific Ocean, which helps control the heat levels.

In addition, Vancouver gets quite a bit of rain throughout the year than Toronto. So, remember to bring an umbrella on your trip because it has a rainy climate.

Vancouver’s location gives it an edge as being one of the warmest cities in the country. Can you believe it? A warm climate in Canada?!

I mean, a warm climate in Canada FOR Canadians. What’s warm for the locals isn’t really considered warm in other countries.

Moreover, summers can get anywhere between 20°C to 23°C, while winters reach an average of about 7°C. But don’t get comfortable because if you visit it in December or January, you need to bundle up because the average temperature can drop to -10°C.

Vancouverites aren’t used to intense snow. Many cars don’t even have winter tires because it’s not common to have so much snow in the city.

If you want to visit Vancouver, the best months are from July to September. There’s little chance of rain, so you can enjoy some sightseeing trips around the city.

In contrast, Toronto has a continental climate. What does it mean, you ask?

It has warm and humid summers and cold winters. Toronto’s location actually affects its weather because it’s inland. But compared to other Canadian cities, Toronto’s climate is pretty mild, but still not milder than Vancouver.

In the summer, the temperature can average 20°C but reach over 35°C. Meanwhile, you can experience cold temperatures of -30°C during the winter season.

But it’s typical in Canada to get extreme weather. In fact, the Greater Toronto Area got 22 and 30 cm of snowfall last March 2023. 

So, the best time to visit Toronto is from June to September. June will still be hot, but the summer means many festivals and events in the city.

Vancouver vs Toronto: How much budget should I bring?

Vancouver vs Toronto How much budget should I bring's Homepage
Photo by Emil Kalibradov

Vancouver is more affordable for tourists because many attractions don’t require admission fees. It also requires a cheaper average daily budget of $200 per day, compared to $300 for Toronto.

Let’s be real. Canada is not a cheap country. As a tourist, your budget will also depend on your home country’s currency.

So, let’s talk about the average budget when visiting Vancouver and Toronto! We’re doing this all in Canadian dollars, by the way.

In Vancouver, expect to spend about $200 per person per day. Eating out will take about $50 or less, depending on the food shops you go to.

As for hotels, the typical rates can start anywhere around $150 to $250 per night. Booking your accommodation early can help knock those prices down, especially if you’re going during peak seasons.

If you visit parks and beaches, you can save more money because you don’t have to pay entrance fees. Plus, the transportation isn’t too pricey at $10.75 for a day pass.

Vancouver vs Toronto How much budget should I bring
Photo by Chelms Varthoumlien

Now, Toronto’s a different story. It’s a much more expensive place, and it is pretty known to Canadians that it costs a lot there! 

Yes, Vancouver is expensive as well. But as a tourist, you will spend more in Toronto.

Compared to Vancouver’s $200-a-day budget, Toronto will need about $300 daily from you! But of course, that depends on what activities you will do.

Toronto’s famous tourist spots are usually indoor places that need admission tickets. Food will also cost about $90 per day unless you eat at fancy restaurants in the city.

Moreover, the TTC day pass rate is $13.50. Just try to avoid riding taxis because that will drain your budget.

Additionally, hotels in Toronto are expensive, which shouldn’t be shocking, but it still is every time you look at the rates. A one-night stay will cost an average of $170 to $330!

Look around for discounts and try to avoid booking your accommodation too close to your trip. The rates tend to get pricier the closer the dates are.

Vancouver vs Toronto: How tourist-friendly are these cities?

Vancouver vs Toronto How tourist-friendly are these cities' Homepage

Vancouver and Toronto are safe cities for tourists because they have high safety indexes of 59.29 and 57.58, respectively. In addition, Canada is the 12th safest country worldwide.

But Toronto gets more crime than Vancouver. Its crime index is 42.42, which is 0.71% higher than Vancouver’s 40.71.

Are Vancouver and Toronto tourist-friendly (Is Canada safe for foreigners?) cities? Yes, they are!

These two cities are popular destinations in Canada. Locals are most probably used to seeing tourists lugging their suitcases around.

In addition, the Global Peace Index ranked Canada as the 12th safest country in the world, just behind Switzerland. It has a safety index of 1.389, compared to Iceland’s Top 1 ranking at 1.107.

Furthermore, Vancouver and Toronto are two of the safest cities in the country, and many immigrants (toronto vs vancouver for immigrants) move here, too. Naturally, you’ll find bad people in the community and some seedy neighbourhoods, but these cities are generally safe to visit.

Vancouver vs Toronto How tourist-friendly are these cities
Photo by Stephen Picilaidis

According to Numbeo, Vancouver and Toronto have a safety scale of 59.29 and 57.58, respectively. The higher the score, the safest it is!

But you should know that Vancouver has a lower crime rate than Toronto. If you compare the size and population, this makes sense since Toronto has 2.7 million people compared to Vancouver’s 2.6 million.

Although both cities are safe for tourists, you should still remain vigilant because bad seeds in these cities can still take advantage of tourists and their lack of knowledge of the area.

Vancouver vs Toronto for Tourists: How They Stack Up

Vancouver vs Toronto for Tourists How They Stack Up
Photos by Richard Kidger (top) and Mike Benna (bottom)

Overall, Vancouver and Toronto are great places to visit in Canada. It’s just that one has more edge than the other.

But that depends on you and what type of vacation you prefer. If you want to go on outdoor adventures, Vancouver has a lot more to offer.

That doesn’t mean that Toronto doesn’t have that, it’s just limited compared to Vancouver. But if you want to experience a big city adventure, then Toronto is the right place to add to your travel destination list.

Here’s a comparison table to review what we’ve discussed above. Now, go on and enjoy your Canadian trip!

FactorThe Better CityNotes
Tourist AttractionsTieBoth cities offer many popular attractions. The better city will depend on your personal preferences.
WeatherTieVancouver has milder temperatures, but it rains a lot more. Toronto is a lot colder in the winter and humid in the summer. Climates in both cities are not as extreme as in other Canadian cities.
BudgetVancouverVancouver is cheaper for tourists. There are many attractions that don’t require entrance fees.
Tourist FriendlyTieBoth cities are generally safe for travellers.

FAQ about Vancouver and Toronto for Tourists

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