Are We There Yet? – The Great White North

A trip to your northern "neighbours".

Jennifer Coxby Jennifer Cox

For some reason or another not a lot of Americans think that Canada is a “desirable” vacation destination. While the Winter Olympics helped to showcase the incredible natural beauty of Whistler, British Columbia, places like Vancouver, Victoria, Montreal, and Ottawa are only a hop, skip and a jump over the US border.


Vancouver and Victoria, BC, offer the best of both worlds – being situated right on the water means lots of beaches, oceanfront views, and picturesque quaint towns with great eats and the friendliest of residents, but they also have modern downtown areas as well. From suspension bridges to aquariums to festivals and nightlife, Vancouver has got it all, while Victoria is known for its oyster bars, whale watching, bustling harbourfront, and more.


Further east you’ll hit Montreal in Quebec, a city notorious for its European influence, cobblestone streets, cosmopolitan downtown core with world-class restaurants, bars, and lounges, and colourful history. Wander around Old Montreal and the port where you can sit on an outdoor patio and enjoy crepes with wine, take a horse-drawn carriage ride, or visit the bevy of galleries and souvenir shops. In the evening hit up St. Laurent Street, or “The Main,” for a first-rate meal at one of their many high-end supperclubs, and don’t forget to take in a Habs or Alouettes game too.


Ottawa, the capital of Canada, is not only a family-friendly city, with an amazing selection of museums and parks… it’s also a busy and popular region with several universities, lively areas like the Byward Market (where you can shop and eat), piano bars, pubs, and plenty of shopping malls. Explore the various cultural pockets of the city, like Chinatown and Little Italy.


Canadians may be known for their polite demeanour and obsession with hockey, but when there are so many great cities to check out just north of the border, it’s silly not to check it out eh?


Bon Voyage,



Jenn Cox is a Montreal-based freelance journalist. Visit her website or email her at